Level 1 Part 5 Online Course

Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.
— Oprah Winfrey

Welcome to Salsa Secrets Level 1 Part 5 Online Course. We are honored to have you with us for another round! Included in your class is 4  Video Lessons and 4 bonus Audio Tracks. Please feel free to contact us with any questions at: dance@salsasecrets-portsmouth.com


Level 1 Part 5 Salsa

Our philosophy as a dance company is not based upon the information, but rather, the experience. Thus, the aspect of vibrational resonance is primary within our company as it supports the idea of music and dance as modalities of healing. We are going to present to you all the tools you need to develop excellent salsa dance technique. In order for this natural development to occur, you must practice. Your muscle memory will develop more and more as you repeat the movements. That said, we don't want you to become hyper focused upon the steps as the dance offers so much more.

How to Work with the Lessons

The lessons progress from one movement to another. It is recommended that you pause the video lessons and work with each component individually for a period of time, until it feels comfortable and then move onto the next component. We've included some practice audio tracks of music at an appropriate learning tempo for you to spend time with. There is no need to rush. Practice is the key to expanding your dance repertoire and your muscle memory for the movement patterns. 

The Creation

Each and every time, we step onto the dance floor, we are embarking upon a new creative journey. There are so many variables that make each dance different from the ones before and different than the ones to come. The way we feel, the partner we dance with, the music, the lights, the floor, and our expectations all lead us to different points at which we begin our creation and the path that we follow with the dance.

Dance is a conscious co-creation between one’s own heart and their environment. When we dance salsa, we co-create with another being as well. Two hearts within one environment, sharing a creation. No matter how many times we dance at the same place to the same song with the same partner, each moment is it’s own. Each creation has its own vitality.

When we focus upon a conscious co-creation, the movements and the moments become compost. What remains is the feeling and what develops is our essence.

Video Lessons

Video 1 - The Closed Connection

Up to this point, we’ve worked completely in the open connection with our Salsa dance curriculum. Now, we will explore the closed connection and all of the beautiful possibilities it offers.

Closed Connection

  • Defining the Frame

  • Basic Step in the Closed Connection

  • Shapes of the Extension

  • Cross Body Lead in CC

  • Right Turn in CC

  • Inside Turn in CC

Duets in the Closed Connection

  • Right Turn, CBL

  • Right Turn, Inside Turn

Important Concepts

  • Leaders build a frame with R to L

  • Followers fill in the frame

  • Leaders R Hand on Follower’s L Shoulder Blade

  • Elbow to Elbow Connection

  • Lean into the Frame

  • Hook to Hook Connection at L to R

  • Air Bubble Between

We are working with the Closed Connection in this lesson. Everything up until this point has involved working the the Open Connection. The Closed Connection is a more intimate connection, shrinking the space between two partners. Using both the Closed and Open Connections gives us greater versatility as dancers. The dance expands and contracts between the leader and the the follower which leads us toward a more vital dance experience.

It is extremely important to note the frame. Leaders, we must pay attention to the structure of a solid frame. The lead and communication between the leader and the follower in the closed connection happens with the two most solid points of contact, which are the elbow to elbow connection and the leader’s right hand on the follower’s left shoulder blade. Get used to working with a structured frame.

Followers, play with all four of the shapes of the extension, throughout our practice time in each of the closed connection videos. Get to know each of the shapes and then decide upon which you prefer.

When working with the Closed Connection, we want to make certain that we are not over exhausting our bodies. We want to develop a strong, healthy pattern, not one based on tension. That means, take breaks when your shoulders or arms become tired.

Details of CBL in CC:

  • Leaders and Followers, your footwork is exactly the same as CBL in the Open Connection

  • Leaders, the lead comes between 3 and 5 using the right hand on the shoulder blade

  • Left to Right connection assists, but does not lead the movement

  • Followers, step forward on 5, then pivot

  • The whole CBL in CC takes place using the box as alignment, leaders step out, followers stay inside

Details of RT in CC:

  • Leaders, send the message between 1 and 3

  • Leaders, be aware of the follower’s Left hand on 3

  • Followers, listen to the preparation for the Right Turn

  • Followers, slide the hand inside the frame on 3

  • Followers, your footwork is exactly the same, step forward on 5, then pivot

  • Followers, keep your frame, “shield” to easily integrate back into CC

  • Leaders, keep your frame during her turn

  • Followers, remember your spotting

Details of RT into CBL Duet:

  • Establish Elbow to Elbow Connection immediately when the follower completes her RT

  • Maintain posture and spotting on both ends

  • Be aware of safely leading the RT into CBL

Possible with CC

  • Right Turn

  • Inside Turn

NOT Possible with CC

  • Hesitation Left

  • Outside Turn

Details of Inside Turn in CC:

  • Leaders and Followers, your footwork is exactly the same as CBL with Inside Turn

  • Leaders, the lead comes between 3 and 5 using the right hand on the shoulder blade

  • Leaders, invert the connection between L to R from Closed Hand to Open Hand

  • Leaders, keep the elbow above the wrist of the L to R connection

  • Halo with L to R

  • Leaders, don’t turn for the follower

  • Followers, step forward on 5, then pivot

  • Followers, let the left hand slide off the frame

  • Followers, maintain the frame, “shield”

  • Leaders, catch the left shoulder blade of the follower between 7 and 1 to re-establish the CC

Details of RT into Inside Turn Duet:

  • Establish Elbow to Elbow Connection immediately when follower completes her RT

  • Open up to 90* as the leader and use the details of the Inside Turn in CC to support the movement

Video 2 - Closed to Open and Open to Closed

We expand our duets in the Closed Connection and begin to learn transitions from Closed to Open and Open to Closed with the Basic Step.

Partnering Closed Connection Duets

  • Right Turn, Inside Turn

  • Inside Turn, CBL

  • CBL, Inside Turn

  • CBL, Right Turn


  • Slide Out Leader

  • Slide Out Follower

  • Slide In Leader

  • Slide In Follower

Important Concepts

  • Tempo at 105 & 115 bpm

  • Timing remains the same

  • Leader creates the transitions

  • Follower stride length stays the same

  • Spend time with each of the transitions

  • Leaders, think about moments you want to create

  • Consciously lead the movements and create the dance

  • Be present

There’s so much that’s possible within the dance now that we have the Closed Connection. We are going to continue breaking down what’s possible in the Closed Connection and also explore the transitions from Open to Closed and Closed to Open.

The Duets in the Closed Connection require both the leader and the follower to be aware of the space that is shared between them. Working on the details we talked about in video 1 and practicing precise timing and awareness will help both parties to experience more from the relationship.

Transitions Closed to Open and Open to Closed

  • Trace connections

  • Leader manipulate hands from closed position to open

  • Leader makes the decision to transition CC to OP, OP to CC

  • Leader alters his movement to make the transition

  • Follower continues with the SAME STRIDE LENGTH

  • The timing of the transitions stays exactly the same as with the basic step (1,2,3 and 5,6,7)

Closed to Open

Slide Out Leader

  • Leader, when traveling backwards, stride length becomes longer

  • Starting on count of 1,2

  • Leader creates momentum in lower body to move himself backwards with a longer stride

  • Follower maintains stride

Slide Out Follower

  • Leader, when traveling forwards, stride length becomes shorter

  • Starting on count of 5,6

  • Gentle push by leader to engage the follower into travel

  • Follower maintains stride

Open to Closed

Slide In Leader

  • Leader, when traveling forwards, stride length becomes longer

  • Starting on count of 5,6

  • Leader creates momentum in lower body to move himself forward with a longer stride

  • Follower maintains stride

Slide In Follower

  • Leader, when traveling backwards, stride length becomes shorter

  • Starting on count of 1,2

  • Gentle transition on R to L connection from open to closed engages the follower

  • Follower maintains stride

*Take note, during practice, even though Piotrek is calling the movements, the movements remain the leader’s responsibility to lead, even when we say “ladies slide in” or “ladies slide out”.

Video 3 - Duets with the Closed Connection

We continue to expand our transitions by using movements of the Open Connection basic cable and transitioning those movements into Closed Connection

Fundamental Transitions

  • OC Hesitation Left into CC

  • OC Right Turn into CC

Connection Exercises

Progressive Transitions

  • OC Inside Turn into CC

  • OC Outside Turn into CC


  • OC Right Turn into CC, CBL

  • OC Hesitation Left into CC, CBL

  • OC Inside Turn into CC, CBL

  • OC Outside Turn into CC, CBL

Important Concepts

  • 105 & 115 bpm

  • Elbow to Elbow Connection

  • Search for Left Shoulder Blade

  • Present Frame

  • Follower’s Frame

  • Expansion - Closed to Open

  • Contraction - Open to Closed

  • Details of the Transitions

  • Staying in the flow of the relationship

  • Pay attention to the fundamentals from all the previous lessons

It’s very easy for our brains to get confused with all of the data and details of the Closed Connection and the Transitions. We want you to spend as much time as you need with each of the movements until you intellectually understand it as a leader. Once you understand, you will have a much better chance to channel what you know into a movement that the follower can follow. Followers, be patient and enjoy the process.

As we’ve mentioned before, the last thing we want to do as a leader is to offer mixed messages. Leaders, keep studying and keep practicing until the movements become clear. When you need a break, take a break!

Leaders, its important to be aware of your responsibilities within the transitions.

Search for L Shoulder Blade

  • Hesitation Left

  • Inside Turn

Present Frame

  • Right Turn

  • Outside Turn

Preparing the duets from open to closed connection requires the leaders attention to detail and the follower completing her responsibilities well and providing these responsibilities based on his flow. This is the co-creation that occurs between the leader and the follower. This can look and feel a little bit like bumper cars when you first get started, however, they more you are both comfortable with your responsibilities and exist within the relationship, the more success you will have when dancing together.


  • With Yourself

  • With the Floor

  • With Your Abdomen

  • With Your Partner

  • With the Music

  • With the Community

Video 4 - Salsa Footwork, Duets, & Trios

Footwork Patterns

  • Basic Step

  • Side Step

  • Quarter Beat Steps

  • Triplets

  • Right Turn

  • Hesitation Left

  • Crossed Side Step

  • Double Cross

  • Grapevine

  • Half of the Grapevine

  • Back Step

  • Cuban Side Step

New Footwork

  • Flair

  • Flair Complete

Duet Patterns (105 & 115 bpm)

  • Hesitation Left, Flair

  • Hesitation Left, Flair Complete

This video series was packed with content! We’ve got lots and lots of footwork patterns to work with! Continue to play with any duets and trios of footwork you like. One of my favorite things to do is to write down all of the footwork patterns on index cards and pick two or three and then practice them in the order I chose. It’s a fun way to continue to learn new patterns and develop the way your mind thinks about the movements.

The more we practice movements in different orders, the more we are actually integrating the movements into our body rather than memorizing them. What this means is that we have greater access to the movements when we need them. This is true in partnering and shines.

Bonus Practice Tracks

Crystal Mind (105 bpm)

Black and White (105 bpm)

Be My Guest - Beats Track (105 bmp)

The One (115 bpm)

All Composition & Arrangement by: Piotr Kowalczyk 

Note: As a courtesy to Salsa Secrets, please use these videos tracks for personal use only. They are available exclusively to attendees of our Level 1 Part 5 Students. Thank you for your compliance.

Want to really challenge yourself?

Salsa Training Camp - Coming Winter 2019!

New Partnering: The Concept of Resistance & Using Various Hand Connections
New Footwork, Patterns, & Choreography

Online Level 2 - Coming Winter 2019!

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