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February 28th, 2012

Learning Salsa Dance from Technical Primitives - Structured approach to learning.

By Derek Vuong on 28/02/2012

Everything starts with Basics

The first classes you take in salsa you should learn four basic steps. These are the foundations of all other movements. 1. The Forward and Back Mambo Basic, 2. The Side to Side Basic, 3. The back to Back, 4. The Open out Salsa Basic.
By practicing these moves it allows you to perform basic movements within the footwork. the more you become accustomed to these steps the easier your progress in the more advanced steps will come. Dancing these steps in time with music and rhythm will develop with the more practice you get. To the advanced levels which require an understanding of the lower levels.

Basic Transitions
Transistions are going from one move to another. When you are improvising a dance, it would benefit greatly to know how to transition the steps. I would recomend thiese transitions.
1. Forward and Back Transition to side step and vice versa.
2. Side step Transisition to Back to Back.
3. Back to Back transistion to Open Salsa Step.
4. Open Salsa step transition to Forward and Back.
5. Forward and Back to back to back and vice versa,
6. Forward and Back to Open Salsa step and vice versa.
7. Side step to Open step and vice versa.

Your first turn pattern movements
Once you have a basic command of stepping to the timing and transitions, You will need to learn some basic turn primitives. In order of difficulty from lowest to highest I suggest this order in learning.
1. Cross Body Lead, 2. Right Turn 3. Basic turn, 4. Left turn,
5. Inline turn. 6. Half turn. 7. Hook turn. 8. Right turn with Hook turn. 9. Walkthru

Advanced moves
10. Reversal Inline, 11. Reverse Cross body leads, 12. Copas, 13. 2-6 Reversals, 14. 360 2-6 Adjustment turns. 15. Hybrid turns. eg. Cross body hook turn. 1-3, 5-7 Bar Breaking.
Hold positions, Arm Leading combinations
Now that feet are in order, The turn patterns must be strung together with validated arm movements. Here are the leading combinations:

1. Open hold - Hands to hands Left to Right Parallel mirrored.
2. Dance hold - Closed position, mens left to ladies right, mens right on ladies shoulder blade.
3. Full embrace position, Arms wrapped around
4. Shadow posistion hold. Man behind woman.

Hand combinations:
1. Double hand Open position Parallel Hold
2. Single hand Mens Left to Ladies Right
3. Single hand Mens Left to Ladies Left
4. Single hand Mens Right to Ladies Left
5. Single hand Mens Right to Ladies Right
6. Double hand crossover left ontop
7. Double hand crossover right ontop
8. Double Crossed diamond hold.

Head/Shoulder positions
1. Lead above head complete lead
2. Shoulder resting and leading,
3. Waist resting and leading
4. Lead to Hammerlock positions.
5. Advanced hand catch and resumes.
6. Free turns and free leading.

Turn patterning
Turn patterns are combinations of moves lead together in time. By using permutations of the former primitives one can string together many combinations of improvisation. By developing the transitional lead, you will be able to move from one move to the next. by developing forks of possibilities. From this point on it is hard to explain these concepts in writing and must be shown practically. Bars in music can be conected to form a routine for performance. However a bar can also be broken down into singular steps 8x1, 2x4, 4x2, 1x8, these are the timing primitives.

Turn Transistioning Basics.
1. Repeating a turn pattern (AAA)
2. Transistioning a turn pattern (ABA)
3. Turn Combinations (ABB, ABC)
4. Trick Turn reversal using 2-6 Timing and +1 Step Counting.

1. Basic Turn dip.
2. Cross Body Half Dip.
3. Inline turn dip.
4. T Stance Knee dip.
5. Neck Drop.
6. Show moves, Lifts and Advanced.

1. Footwork shines
2. Hand shines
3. Body rolls, Break timing.
4. Hair combs, Purrcats, Tstance Shines. Lunge Position Shines.

1. Break timing,
2. Slow to Fast.
3. Fast to slow.
4. Mambo Section, Percussive breaking, Rhythmic movement, melodic phrased movement, Syncopations, Combinations.

Leading/ Following and Connection:
This is one of the higher level of dance mastery. Philsophical implications of movement. Each master has different techniques of refinement. Requires teacher guidance. You may connect with the natural movement or refine a technique to the point of ownership.

Esoteric Principles
Category 1. Floor craft and Social craft, Improvisation and Performance Craft.
Category 2. Spritiual development of Connection to self expression.
Category 3. Practice and pedagogy. Teaching others your skill.
Category 4. Pure Musicality, Pure Social and Pure Dance.

Derek, Passionata Dance

Contact Details: Carmen - 0405 336 307    Derek - 0412 550 855
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Contact Details: Carmen - 0405 336 307    Derek - 0412 550 855

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