The “Two Left Feet” Salsa Dancing Exercise Routine

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Salsa Dancing Exercise

source: Maria

I am not a professional Salsa dancer. In fact, I only took lessons for a couple of months. What I found, though, was that Salsa dancing makes for a great, low impact aerobic routine.

Salsa Dancing is a fun way to use up calories, raise your heartbeat and enjoy some funky, upbeat Latin music. Salsa is usually done as a couples dance, but I’ve adapted it so you can dance solo.

To get you started, I’ve charted nine very easy beginner steps.  Use these steps to design your own exercise routine.

Disclaimer: These steps are just for fun and exercise, not to teach professional level dancing.

General Information

1. To locate music, do a search on YouTube.com for “salsa music.” Salsa is done to a four count beat and tends to be rather fast. If you need to start with something slower, just change the search to “slow salsa music.”  You’ll find plenty of options for each.

Beginners frequently find it hard to “catch” the beat. If it doesn’t come easily to you, start anywhere and don’t worry about it.

2. Arm motions in salsa are similar to those in hula or belly dancing. View a salsa dancing video if you are interested in doing authentic arm motions. Otherwise, just clap to the music, like I do.

3. I find that I generally don’t need a separate warm up when doing salsa. I usually just go through the entire routine several times at a medium pace. That tends to be enough to get my heart rate up slightly and my muscles limber.

4. Watch out for the Forward Back Step. It’s confusing because you actually take the back step first, and then the forward step, instead of vice versa.

5. While using the charts, keep in mind that the red foot is always the one in motion.

6. Salsa dancing is generally more fun if you make up your own routines, but here is a simple one to get you started. Start with IN PLACE (x4) and alternate it with each step.

So that would be: IN PLACE (x4), BACK STEP (x4), IN PLACE (x4), FORWARD STEP (x4), IN PLACE (x4), FORWARD BACK (x4), etc.

Basic Steps

in place

In Place (pdf)

Beat 1: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 2: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 3: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 6: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 7: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 8: Pause.

back step

Back Step (pdf)

Beat 1: Step backward with right foot.

Beat 2: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 3: Return right foot to starting position.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Step backward with left foot.

Beat 6: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 7: Return left foot to starting position.

Beat 8: Pause.

forward step

Forward Step  (pdf)

Beat 1: Step forward with right foot.

Beat 2: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 3: Return right foot to starting position.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Step forward with left foot.

Beat 6: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 7: Return left foot to starting position.

Beat 8: Pause.

forward back step

Forward Back  (pdf)

Beat 1: Step backward with right foot.

Beat 2: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 3: Return right foot to starting position.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Step forward with left foot.

Beat 6: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 7: Return left foot to starting position.

Beat 8: Pause.

side step

Side Step  (pdf)

Beat 1: Step right foot several inches to right side.

Beat 2: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 3: Return right foot to starting position.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Step left foot several inches to right side.

Beat 6: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 7: Return left foot to starting position.

Beat 8: Pause.

full side step

Full Side Step  (pdf)

Beat 1: Make a quarter turn right with right foot.

Beat 2: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 3: Return right foot to starting position.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Make a quarter turn left with left foot.

Beat 6: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 7: Return left foot to starting position.

Beat 8: Pause.

back, across, together

Back Across Together  (pdf)

Beat 1: Step backward with right foot.

Beat 2: Left foot crosses front slightly towards right side.

Beat 3: Right foot steps forward to join left foot.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Step backward with left foot.

Beat 6: Right foot crosses front slightly towards left side.

Beat 7: Left foot steps forward to join right foot.

Beat 8: Pause.

cross, tap, together

Cross Tap Together  (pdf)

Beat 1: Right foot crosses front slightly towards left side.

Beat 2: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 3: Right foot steps backward to join left foot.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Left foot crosses front slightly towards right side.

Beat 6: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 7: Left foot steps backward to joint right foot.

Beat 8: Pause.

cross, travel, together

Cross Travel Together  (pdf)

Beat 1: Right foot crosses front slightly toward left side.

Beat 2: Left foot steps forward and to the left.

Beat 3: Right foot steps next to left foot.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Left foot crosses front slightly toward right side.

Beat 6: Right foot steps forward and to the right.

Beat 7: Left foot steps next to right foot.

Beat 8: Pause.

side, together, tap

Side Together Tap  (pdf)

Beat 1: Step right foot several inches to right side.

Beat 2: Left foot steps several inches to the right to join right foot.

Beat 3: Lift the right foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 4: Pause.

Beat 5: Step left foot several inches to left side.

Beat 6: Right foot steps several inches to the left to join left foot.

Beat 7: Lift the left foot several inches and lower it in place.

Beat 8: Pause.

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