Level 1 Part 4 Online Course

I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of man – the landscape of his soul. I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be.
— Martha Graham
online salsa classes

Welcome to Salsa Secrets Level 1 Part 4 Online Course. We are honored to have you with us for another round! Included in your class is 3  Video Lessons and 3 bonus Audio Tracks. Please feel free to contact us with any questions at: dance@salsasecrets-portsmouth.com


Level 1 Part 4 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 Alignment

Alignment is used most commonly to refer to the posture within the physical body. Our posture in dance is extremely important. We want to offer a solid foundation from which we dance, related to our connection with the floor and our weight shift. We want our ankles, knees and hips to have flexibility and strength, allowing us to move through the swing of the dance. We want our abdomen and spine, our core, to be engaged, the center of the dance exists at the abdomen. We want our upper body to be light, flowing and free to give and receive messages. We want our neck to be relaxed and our head to easily turn from side to side. Our postural alignment allows us to engage our body in the dance and present ourselves fully and vulnerably.

Your Alignment is Your Responsibility

Alignment isn’t just about the physical body. We must be in alignment intellectually. For the leaders, that means, we must be prepared and ready with our messages before we offer them. We must know what we desire and how to share this desire with the follower. For the followers, that means letting go of our expectations and anticipations. For both, the leader and the follower, it means we must be present in the moment, present in the dance.

We also want to be aware of our emotional alignment as well. As we mentioned in the last lesson, we can become more vulnerable as we learn more and more pivots and also become a little bit ungrounded. When we bring in the emotions of what happened before class or yesterday or last week or during our childhood, we are not in alignment with the dance that is happening right now. The key to emotional alignment is being aware of how you feel within this experience, this dance, this lesson. We can honor the emotions that come in, whether we perceive them positively or negatively. The emotions are simply a marker of how close we are to alignment. When we feel good, we are in alignment. When we feel bad, something isn’t in alignment. Most of the time, that “thing” that’s out of alignment is lack of presence or putting expectations onto ourselves.

Be easy with yourself

Dance for you

Let those good feeling emotions of the moment flood your dance!

Video Lessons

Video 1 - Development of the Outside Turn

The Basic Cable is what we refer to as the series of movements we can always count on. They include the basic step, right turn, hesitation left, cross body lead, inside turn and outside turn. We will add the outside turn to our repertoire to complete our learning of the basic cable.

Review Partnering Duets

  • Hesitation Left, CBL

  • Hesitation Left, Inside Turn

  • Right Turn, CBL

  • Right Turn, Inside Turn

Project Runway Exercise for the Outside Turn

Followers, Spotting Exercise

Outside Turn

  • Follower Outside Turn Footwork

  • Leader CBL Footwork & Lead

  • Sharing Outside Turn Together

Lead Alignment Exercise for CBL, IT, and OT

Neck Range of Motion and Head Flip Exercise

Important Concepts

  • Tempo - 105 bpm and 115 bpm

  • Leaders being ready with the subject before offering the lead

  • During the Outside Turn, we turn toward our right

  • Alignment of the messages for the leader - outside turn requires the left wrist to be higher than the elbow and the right hand of the top of the shoulder

  • Outside Turn lead between 3 and 5, just like CBL and Inside Turn

  • Followers, start turns only after creating a weight shift, a step forward

  • Lightness of the neck and head as we work with spotting within the comfortable range

We are completing the basic cable with learning the lead and follow for the Outside Turn! We have to commend you on achieving so much progress with the curriculum! The whole basic cable!!! Yay! At this point, we are truly dancing and we have a nice repertoire of movements to share with our partner and perhaps, even social dancing.

Learning the outside turn in salsa really completes a large portion of the curriculum and allows us to start to have more and more fun, playing with the dance as both leaders and followers. We understand that it can get confusing at times. Leaders, sometimes, we know what we want but can’t find the lead for it. Sometimes, we forget which way she turns. Sometimes, we can’t remember all the things we already know. Followers, sometimes, we can’t remember which way to turn. Sometimes, we get a little anxious and let the timing or the distance suffer. Sometimes, we are thinking about something else and miss the lead. All of these scenarios and more are possible.

The key is that we must focus upon the experience of LEARNING, not the experience of presenting a perfect dance! Learning can be sooooo much fun. It is hard work, no doubt, but when we let it, we can get so much closer to our goals. Let’s let dancing awaken the joy within by having as much fun as possible!

Let’s break down the similarities and differences with CBL, Inside Turn and Outside Turn for the leaders and followers.

Leaders, take note of the similarities and differences between Cross Body Lead, Inside Turn and Outside Turn Lead:

Cross Body Lead

  • Cross Body Lead Footwork

  • Right to Left Invitation between 3 and 5

  • Left to Right at waist height

Inside Turn

  • Cross Body Lead Footwork

  • Right to Left Invitation between 3 and 5

  • Left to Right halo above her head

Outside Turn

  • Cross Body Lead Footwork

  • Right Hand on the top of her Left Shoulder

  • Left to Right wrist higher than elbow


  • Leaders, we cannot turn for the follower, no matter how much we want to! We can only guide!

  • Be aware of where the follower’s footwork is aligned. The lead must be congruent with her footwork.

  • Dance within the cup (hook) of her hand with your hand.

  • Halo with left to right is there to support her.

  • Advance your footwork with her throughout the turn. Travel, Travel, Travel!

  • Do NOT send mixed signals to the follower. Mixed messages are the easiest way to confuse the follower. They also can lead to injury if our connection is not soft on either end. Know what you want before sending the message.

Followers, take note of the similarities and differences between Cross Body Lead, Inside Turn and Outside Turn:

Cross Body Lead

  • Half of the Basic Step (1,2,3)

  • Shift weight onto the Left foot on 5

  • Just after 5 half a turn pivot on the left

  • On 6, step back

  • On 7, step back

  • Into 1 (step back) with the right

Inside Turn

  • Half of the Basic Step (1,2,3)

  • Shift weight onto the Left foot on 5

  • Just after 5 half a turn pivot on the left

  • On 6, half turn on the right

  • On 7 half turn on the left

  • Into 1 (step back) with the right

Outside Turn

  • Half of the Basic Step (1,2,3)

  • Shift weight onto the Left foot on 5

  • Just after 5 half a turn pivot on the right

  • On 6, half turn on the right

  • On 7 half turn on the left

  • Into 1 (step back) with the right


  • Outside Turn occurs within the box , stay in a straight line as you pivot.

  • Do not rush through the pivots - the outside turn seems faster than the Inside Turn, but this is a bit of an illusion due to the way we swing back and forth in salsa.

  • Keep the hook on your fingertips in order to maintain the connection throughout the dance.

  • Keep the elbow at 90* during the pivots.

  • Spotting your partner throughout your pivots helps you to relate, maintain balance, and focus on the current task. Remember, the spotting point is behind you!

As we put together the movement for the leaders and the followers, make sure to each focus upon your responsibility. The movement is just a movement. The way you experience the movement is what is the most important. Have fun, play with the movements. Go after the experience, the technique will develop!

Video 2 - Dancing the Basic Cable

We expand upon the Outside Turn and include it into dancing the Basic Cable in Salsa!

Partnering Duets

  • Outside Turn, CBL

  • CBL, Outside Turn

  • Right Turn, Outside Turn

  • Hesitation Left, Outside Turn

  • Outside Turn, Hesitation Left

  • Inside Turn, Outside Turn

Partnering Trios

  • Outside Turn, Hesitation Left, Inside Turn

  • Inside Turn, Outside Turn, CBL

  • Right Turn, Inside Turn, Outside Turn

  • Outside Turn, Hesitation Left, Cross Body Lead

  • Hesitation Left, Outside Turn, Inside Turn

Important Concepts

  • Tempo at 105 & 115 bpm

  • Transitions between movements

  • Leaders, send clear messages

  • Concept of Driver and Passenger on the Scooter

  • Followers, be patient as the leader puts the movements together

  • Leaders, find awareness to changing the connection between movements

  • Followers, receive the dance

  • Apply the connections when the leader offers them

  • Share the dance as co-creators

  • Masculine & Feminine (Yang & Yin)

  • Be aware of each other’s alignment

We are having so much fun sharing all of the duets and trios with you. The most important thing to consider is the messages we share as leaders and receive as followers. It is extremely important, leaders, to share clear and distinct messages. Followers, it is equally as important to be relaxed enough in the upper body to receive the messages rather than anticipating the messages. When both the leader and follower adhere to these guidelines, we have a far greater change of being successful with the dance.

We are seeking a smooth swing in salsa. As we create duets and trios, we have more “to do” as leaders and followers, but the space between the movements is as important as the movement itself. This is where we can focus on our connection. It is also where the leaders are able to transition from one movement to another and change the connection, when necessary. We should continue to be aware of the quick, quick, slow tempo as we link more and more movements together.

We’ve challenged you in this lesson to play with a slightly faster tempo. The faster tempo gives us an opportunity to really look at our progress. There are great benefits to practicing the dance at faster and slower tempos. Slower tempos give us the opportunity to develop a stronger foundation. Fast tempos give us the opportunity to transmit and receive messages at a faster rate and challenge our brain and body with the dance. We encourage you to practice at multiple tempos no matter what level of dancer you are.

Now, we have both the inside and outside turns that we can feature within the dance. We can link the movements together in many different ways.

In addition to the trios we shared, we can also play with:

  • Right Right, Inside Turn, Outside Turn

  • Hesitation Left, Cross Body Lead, Outside Turn

  • Outside Turn, Inside Turn, Right Right

  • Inside Turn, Cross Body Lead, Outside Turn

  • And any others you can come up with!!

Again, we encourage you to find your own patterns, mix them up and play with all that is possible. This will help you to gain greater insight into each element as well as how they connect to each other which gives you access to the full spectrum of the dance.

Video 3 - 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

New Footwork

  • Back Step

  • Cuban Side Step

Duet Patterns (105 & 115 bpm)

  • Half of the Grapevine & Hesitation Left

  • Right Turn & Double Cross

  • Crossed Side Step & Quarter Beat Steps

  • Hesitation Left & Right Turn

  • Quarter Beat Steps & Double Cross

  • Hesitation Left & Half of the Grapevine

  • Right Turn & Grapevine

  • Triplets & Double Cross

  • Hesitation Left & Side Step

  • Right Turn & Back Step

  • Hesitation Left & Half of the Grapevine

  • Right Turn & Triplets

  • Hesitation Left & Back Step

  • Back Step & Cuban Side Step

Trio Patterns

  • Half of the Grapevine, Hesitation Left & Right Turn

  • Right Turn, Triplets, & Double Cross

  • Crossed Side Step, Quarter Beat Steps & Double Cross

  • Right Turn, Double Cross & Quarter Beat Steps

  • Right Turn, Grapevine, & Hesitation Left

  • Crossed Side Step, Triplets, & Right Turn

  • Back Step, Cuban Side Step, & Back Step

“The possibilities are endless!” Our awareness of putting movements together is becoming stronger and stronger. As we gain greater and greater awareness of footwork patterns, we can have more fun. There’s so much for us to play with. Enjoy creating duo and trio patterns on your own. We encourage you to feel the transitions between movements. The space between movements is altered by the way we connect movements together. There is something really special about the space, the pause. This is where the connection with ourself and our partner shines.

Good Habits to Emphasize for Level 1 Part 4:


  • Feel the guidance from the leader

  • Lighten up your connection and let go of the elbows

  • Learn from the experience

  • Think about how the dance makes you feel

  • Pay attention to the alignment of your spine and your foot placement


  • Be confident

  • Decide on the movement you want to share before sharing it

  • Differentiate your messages, your hands are how you communicate

  • Be aware of your alignment with each movement you share

  • Don’t work too hard, or use too much energy

Be Present, Be Fascinated by the dance!

Dance with the Heart, not the Ego!

Bonus Practice Tracks

Make Me Dance Too (105 bpm)

Cuba Jazz (105 bpm)

Voice of Cuba (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 4 Students. Thank you for your compliance.

The Close Connection!!

Find alignment with YOU through SALSA!

Online Level 1 Part 5 Salsa - Coming in the Fall 2018!

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