Salsa Footwork. It's all in the feet!
A post to introduce the first four videos in my...
Salsa Rapido Concepts playlist. (please subscribe)
“Footwork, footwork, footwork” the beginner salsa dancer's bete noire. The very concept that defines salsa and so many dances, hence the Salsa Rapido rule number one:
No Footwork Sequence, No Salsa!
The mastery of the Footwork Sequence FWS becomes the conceptual barrier between beginners and Improvers levels. Which means any time spent on it is well worth it.
For most people who learn salsa, the footwork is the first thing they learn. As Lao Tzu father of Taoism said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" Sadly he did not go on to say “Then another, and another and then a pause”, personally I prefer his sister's work: Tirrama...(Boom tish!)
How footwork is presented and what it’s wrapped up with has profound influence on the student’s progression.
In the first clip Footwork Sequence I define the footwork sequence (FWS). This is a major break from traditional teaching as it separates two concepts: The rhythmic sequence of steps and pauses known as the FWS from Direction, which allows us to add the concept of Direction in two different ways : Moves and Patterns.
see Add Direction to the Footwork Sequence
I find that a significant proportion of absolute beginners struggle with footwork patterns. They fall into the trap of overthinking a specific detail, usually the position of the step. Position seems to consume all of their attention so they fail to transfer their weight and so the pattern fails. This then has a domino effect where fears of falling behind or holding the class back undermine their confidence making more mistakes likely.
Stripping away Direction from the footwork keeps thing as simple as possible and allows for a universal FWS that can have repeating patterns added to form Footwork Patterns later on, or shapes added to form moves.
Getting hung up on footwork patterns is doubly unhelpful as no matter how good the patterns they offer little to improve leading or following skills.
Keeping the FWS going is easy when that's all we're doing but adding Direction, events, shapes and the music and we've got a multitasking nightmare.
The idea that FWS is the glue that holds salsa together and concentrating on it holds everything in place leads to the tool of ‘Vocalising’, which keeps the attention on the FWS.
Finally we get to The Basic Step of Salsa What is meant by the term 'The Basic Step' in salsa? Well actually it easier to answer the question ‘What isn’t called a basic step!” The answer will vary depending on who you ask. Default step? Any pattern? Moves? It a multi use term meaning many things. I’ve tried to simplify things and explain why different regions have different default footwork patterns.
I also touch on the mindset of Consideration and the skill of adapting to other peoples salsa style through a mindset of adaptability and playfulness which helps us learn salsa faster.
There’s always so much more to say but that’s enough for now.
Please like share and comment on the videos and above all keep dancing :-)
link to the Salsa Rapido Concepts playlist.