Passionata Dance Studios – Salsa, Tango and Bridal Dance

Salsa Dictionary

Here is a rough beginners introduction to the essentials for salsa dancing. This Salsa dictionary is intended for use to compliment the lessons and not be a replacement for live instructions. This can be used as a guide to developing dance skills and understanding the language of the dance.

1. Basic Step – Mambo (Forward and Back)

Basic step is a foundation of learning salsa, LA style basic is the forward and back with push and pull motion. The Cuban style is Guapea whereby the man modifies his step to taking the left back 1-3 while bringing the lead left hand down and the right forward on 5-7 while pushing leader right hand against followers left,

Mens Steps
1. Left foot forward.
2. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
3. Left foot back together with right foot.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot back.
6. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
7. Right foot back together with left foot.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot back.
2. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
3. Right foot back together with left foot.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Left foot forward.
6. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
7. Left foot back together with right foot.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

Variations: Crossed basic, Mambo with tap 4-8, V-basic, Guapea, Heel steps

2. Side to Side

Side steps teach core weight shifting principles of the (LRLS-RLRS-)

Mens Steps
1. Left foot side left.
2. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
3. Left foot back together with right foot.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot side right.
6. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
7. Right foot back together with left foot.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot side right.
2. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
3. Right foot back together with left foot.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Left foot side left.
6. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
7. Left foot back together with right foot.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

Variations: Cross steps on 3-7, Side with tap 4-8, Drop on 1-5.

3. Back to Back

Mens Steps
1. Left foot back.
2. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
3. Left foot back together with right foot.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot back.
6. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
7. Right foot back together with left foot.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot back.
2. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
3. Right foot back together with left foot.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Left foot back.
6. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
7. Left foot back together with right foot.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

4. Open Salsa Step

Mens Steps
1. Left foot back turning body to left side.
2. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
3. Left foot back together with right foot facing partner.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot back turning body to right side.
6. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
7. Right foot back together with left foot facing partner.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot back turning to right side.
2. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
3. Right foot back together with left foot facing partner.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Left foot back turning to left side.
6. Right foot lift and replace on the spot.
7. Left foot back together with right foot facing partner.
8. Pause on 8, ready to repeat cycle on 1.

Variations: Normal open out, Arm on back variation, Ladies open out arm styling.

5. Cross Body Lead

Mens Steps
1. Left foot Forward.
2. Right foot lift and replace on the spot, prepare to pivot.
3. Left foot opening 90 degrees to side, transfer weight.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot directly back.
6. Left foot, Lifting and follow lady 90 degrees Counter clockwise.
7. Right foot back together with left.
8. Pause on 8, back to basic steps.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot Back.
2. Left foot lifting and replace on the spot.
3. Right foot back together with left foot.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Left foot travel across leader.
6. Right foot half turn (180 degrees) counter clockwise.
7. Left foot step back together with left.
8. Pause on 8, returning to right foot back on 1.

Variations: Men Side step on 1, Back cross on 1, Ladies syncopation on -1

6. Right Turn – Outside Turn

Mens Right Turn
1. Left forward on 1 placing foot slightly offset right.
2. Right foot pointing away from partner, pivoting on left foot to T.
3. Left foot kick off ball to feet together position.
4. Pause and transfer weight.
5. Right foot Back.
6. Left foot Lift and replace.
7. Right Foot back together.
8. Pause and transfer weight, return to left foot forward on 1.

Ladies Right Turn
1. Right foot Back.
2. Left foot Lift and replace.
3. Right foot together on 3.
4 Pause on 4.
5. Left forward on 1 placing foot slightly offset right.
6. Right foot pointing away from partner, pivoting on left foot to T.
7. Left foot kick off ball to feet together position.
8. Pause and transfer weight, return to Right foot back on 1.

7. Basic Turn – Inside turn

Mens Steps
1. Left foot Break back.
2. Right foot lift and replace offset left behind lady turning clockwise 90.
3. Left foot side feet together.
4. Pause on 4
5. Hook right foot back away from partner.
6. Left foot Lift and replace towards partner.
7. Right foot back together towards partner.
8. Weight shift to right ready to move left foot forward on 1.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot Back.
2. Left foot prep rock to side 90 degrees
3. Right foot side together, body directly in front of leader.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Hook Left back away from partner.
6. Right foot Lift and replace towards partner.
7. Left Foot back together towards partner.
8. Weight shift to left ready to move right on 1.

Variations: Half Turn, Wrap, Various arm combinations. Basic Turn Dip

8. Left Turn

Mens Steps
1. Left foot forward prep to rock back.
2. Right foot lift and replace, prep to pivot.
3. Left foot Open counter clockwise 90 degrees to side.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot Cross over inline over left leg.
6. Left foot pivot half turn pointing towards partner.
7. Right foot back together.
8. Pause on 8.

Ladies Steps
A. Start half a basic steps 1,2,3 (Right Back and together).
5. Left foot forward prep to rock back.
6. Right foot lift and replace, prep to pivot.
7. Left foot Open counter clockwise 90 degrees to side.
8. Pause on 8.
1. Right foot Cross over inline over left leg.
2. Left foot pivot half turn pointing towards partner.
3. Right foot back together.
4. Pause on 4.
B. Complete half basic steps 5,6,7.

9. Inline Turn (Cross body Turn)

Mens Steps
1. Left foot Forward.
2. Right foot lift and replace on the spot, prepare to pivot.
3. Left foot opening 90 degrees to side, transfer weight.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot directly back Leading lady into a inside turn.
6. Left foot, Lifting and follow lady 90 degrees Counter clockwise.
7. Right foot back together with left.
8. Pause on 8, back to basic steps.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot Back.
2. Left foot Lifting and replace on the spot.
3. Right foot back together.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Left foot travel across perpendicular the man on 5 starting to pivot left.
6. Right foot continue turn counter clockwise (180 degrees).
7. Left foot push back continue turn counter clockwise.
8. Right foot kick off continuing past 8 to 1 as basic.

Variation: Reversal of ladies turn clockwise on 6-7.

10. Ladies Walk through

Mens Steps
1. Left foot Forward.
2. Right foot lift and replace on the spot, prepare to pivot.
3. Left foot opening 90 degrees to side, transfer weight.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Right foot directly back Lift leading hand allowing ladies to walk across.
6. Left foot, Lifting and follow lady 90 degrees Counter clockwise.
7. Right foot back together with left.
8. Pause on 8, back to basic steps.

Ladies Steps
1. Right foot Back.
2. Left foot Lifting and replace on the spot.
3. Right foot back together.
4. Pause on 4.
5. Left Travel across perpendicular the leader.
6. Right continue Forward.
7. Left foot step clockwise half turn closed to right
8. Pause on 8, continuing right foot back on next 1

Variation: Reversal of ladies turn counter clockwise and feet together on 6-7.

11. Half Turns

Half Turn left on 5-7
A. 1,2,3,- Same as basic step
1. Back with right on 5
2. Turn with left counter clockwise away from partner on 6
3. Right foot together on 7 facing away from partner

Half Turn left on 1-3
1. Left foot turn counter clockwise on one
2. Facing away with right feet together
3. Left step on the spot facing away from partner
A. Complete 5,6,7 Side step basic.

Half Turn right on 1-3
1. Left foot Forward step on 1
2. Facing away with right on 2
3. Left feet together spot facing away from partner
A. Complete 5,6,7 Side step basic.

Half Turn right on 5-7
A. 1,2,3,- Same as basic step
1. Right foot cross behind left leg
2. left foot turning clockwise placing on groung away from partner
3. Right foot together
B. 1,2,3 Side step basic.

Cross Turn left on 5-7
A. 1,2,3 – Same as basic step. 1. Right cross over left on 5
2. Left turning away from partner on 6
3. Right Foot together on 7 (facing away from partner)
B. Complete 1,2,3 Side step basic.

12. Hook Turn

Hook Turn Right
A. 1,2,3 same as basic
5. Hook right behind left leg
6. Pivot both feet around body moving clockwise
7. Continue until facing partner.

Hook Turn Left
1. Hook left foot behind right leg
2. Pivot both feet around body moving counter clockwise
3. Continue until facing partner.
B. Complete 5,6,7 basic step

13. Wrap

Ladies Basic Wrap
A. Parallel hands normal open hold, lead right hand hip level
1. Lead Lady into basic turn lead left hand shoulder level
2. Take Lead left hand infroont of ladies face
3. Drop to mid level wrapped position

Notes: Lady is executing half turn to left (half a basic turn)

Mens Self Wrap
A. Men executing half turn under own arm keeping connection with ladies
B. Leading self through ouside of right elbow.

14. Hammerlock

Hammerlock from right turn
A. Parallel hands normal open hold, lead right hand hip level
B. On 1,2,3 Leading a right turn signal
C. On 5,6,7 Ladies right turn
D. Arm extended to the side to complete hammerlock hold

Mens Self Hammerlock
A. Men executing full right turn turn under own right arm keeping connection with ladies
B. Left lead hand behind body in hammer lock position.

Reversal Variations
A. Reversals are possible into hammerlocking reversed arms

15. Dips

Basic Turn dip
A. Leading lady into basic turn
B. Modification of 5,6,7 to align hips side on to partners body
C. Drop knees keeping back straight, dipping follower
D. Push back into a one for normal execution

Half Dip
A. Men leading cross body step
B. On 2-3 Men pulling lady towards closed body position side on
C. Both couples bend knees and twist upper body counter clockwise leaving spine straight.

Dip after Right Turn or Inline
A. Leading right turn pattern
B. Man approaches right side of lady toward his left into side on position.
C. Bends knees and dips lady back.

Wrap Dips
A. Lead into Wrap
B. Man takes step to the side for stability as he takes her for dip on a perpendicular plane
C. Lady bends supporting knee and planks body

Knee lock Dip
A. Breaks away and brings right knee into ladies legs
B. Knees lock
C. Man provides hand support from open hand hold while leaning back to counter balance her dip. Lady supports her own weight for safety

16. T-Stance and L-Stance

T-Stance (Titantic or Crucifix position)
A. Position with open hand holds allowing women to express their footwork shines.
– T-Stance Face to Face
– T-Stance Leader in shadow position man behind lady facing away

L-Stance (Lunge Stance)
A. Position with lady 90 degrees to the right hand side of man.
– L-Stance cross body lead position

17. Walk Around

Walk Around – (Also Paso espanol)
A. Three forward steps as a rumba walk with rhythm quick quick slow
B. Slight curvature in steps revolving around partner.

18. Shines

Mambo with Taps
A. Basic forward and Back
B. Adding taps on 4,8

Cross Steps
A. BasicSide Steps
B. Adding crossover steps on the 3 and 7 counts
c. Adjustment of 2,6 back or forward for floorcraft
C. Cross over can be converted to cross back

Suzi Cue
1. Cross over on left 1
2,3-. small shuffle steps to the side on 2,3
5. Cross over on right 5
6,7-. small shuffle steps to the side on 6,7
A. Can be “Suzi cue extended” to shuffle across repeating as up to 7 with adjustment tap

Tap Slide
1. 1,2,3 same as basic
2. tap on 4
3. Diagonal step back on 5 with right
A. Diagonal forward with left and sliding right foot to close with left

Diamond
1. Tap forward with left on 1
2. Tap side left with left on 2
3. Cross back with left behind right leg on 3
4. Pause on 4
5. Tap side on right with right on 5
6. Cross back right behind left leg drop weight on 6
7. Tap side left
8. Hold 8
1. Back into Basic

Diamond 2
1. Forward side left
2. Right close tap
3. Right step away
4. Left close tap
5. Step side left
6. Tap close right
7. Forward right turned facing
8. Tap side left
1. Left Back into Basic

Flare
1. One step on spot
2. Tap out right flare
3. One step on spot
4. Tap out flare left

Body Roll
1. Chin up, left foot forward
2. Shoulders roll back
3. bend knees and sit
4. Tailbone up

Variations: Purr Cat styling variations, Shimmy, hip and rib oscillation.

Heels and Taps
A. La cucaracha
B. Cuban Rock
C. Tap Tap Cross
D. Toe Heel Cross
E. Crossings

19. Styling

Hand and Arm Shines and Body Styling
A. Ladies arm Styling Upward, to Side or Back
B. Double armed swept out.
C. Butterfly, Twinkle, Jellyfish, Fish
D. Hair combs, Single, Double, over partner
E. Shoulder Shimmy
F. Standard Body Rolls, Body Roll Reverse
G. Self Accentuation.
H.Isolation and oscillation.

20. Copas

Copa
1. Men break back and then to side behind lady stopping on shoulder
2. Lead inline turn from shadow position

Variation: Reversal possible on additional count.