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Learning Salsa

We hope you will not only enjoy learning to dance Salsa, but will also find the Salsa classes stimulating and rewarding.


Check out BBC1, January Wednesday 31,  8-9pm, when RedHatSalsa Teachers Jennifer Benavidez and Nicolai Vigneswaren will be helping TV Dr Michael Mosely get fit with Salsa!

Here is some more information about learning Salsa Dancing.

First Salsa Class

Red Hat Salsa want to make your introduction to Salsa dancing as enjoyable as possible, so we run a class especially for you - the Absolute Beginners' Salsa Class in which we gently ease you into the basics of Salsa dancing.

* ENJOY yourself - rather than worrying about how quickly you are learning
* It's not a race - Don't try too hard! Relax as much as possible

* Feel free to ask questions from the teacher and other students
* Guys, don't worry, we get lots of men dancing nowadays - you won't be the only one!


Wear shoes that won't hinder your movement if possible.
Avoid very high or narrow heels (which make balance harder and could hurt your partner if you tread on their toes!)
Avoid flip-flops as these tend to fall off as you move.
Trainers are a little difficult to move in, as they grip the ground - so wear ordinary shoes instead if you can.
Boots - especially ankle boots, are fine.

If you find yourself dancing regularly, do consider buying some dance shoes.
As you progress to higher levels (and start spinning) they become much more important - especially for women.
We have an Information Sheet on 'What to look for When Buying Dance Shoes'. Please request one and we will email it to you - or you can download it (PDF format) here.

Practising Salsa Dancing

* Go over and over the very basic steps until you can do them without thinking.
* AIM TO PRACTISE FOR 30 SECONDS EVERY DAY - little and often works best - and is easier to fit in to a busy schedule.
* Keep it simple - - only practise things you can remember well from the class.
* Avoid moving classes too soon. This is especially important for men, as they are leading.

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Salsa Music

There is a world of salsa music to listen to, bands to see and salsa clubs to dance in out there. It is our pleasure to help to introduce you to this new culture. If you want a list of suggested albums to buy to dance to, please do contact us. We also have an information sheet giving tips on dancing to the rhythm in Salsa music. Please request one and we will email it to you.

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Salsa as Exercise

Salsa dancing not only feels good, but it also improves your physical strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination. You can get a real high from dancing, and in the stressful world we live in this natural high is a GOOD THING. Salsa also provides good aerobic exercise with less strain on the joints than higher impact activities - e.g. jogging. You exercise aerobically when you feel a mild level of exertion - i.e. feel warm, start sweating, feel your heart and pulse rates up - but not such that you can't carry on a conversation. Most averagely fit people achieve this when dancing salsa. Aerobic exercise should be indulged in for at least 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week.

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Warm-up Properly for Salsa Dancing

As Salsa dancing is a form of exercise (as well as fun) it pays to think about warming up and preventing injury.

Warming up prepares the body for increased exertion by: increasing circulation, sending more blood to the muscles; "pumping-up" the shock-absorbing fluid in the joints (preventing wear); and raising body temperature (improving the way muscle tendons and nerves work). Helping you to relax also allows your body to "work" more effectively. We always have a dance at the beginning of the class, to increase the heart rate. The class itself contributes to warming you up before further dancing afterwards.

If you come only to the salsa dancing after the class it is a good idea to warm-up on your own beforehand.

Warming down is also important, especially if you have been working the body hard or over a long period, and it will help to prevent muscle soreness 1 or 2 days later. By finishing off with gentle stretches you can help the body deal with lactic acid which may have built up. Warming down allows the heart rate and temperature to return to normal slowly which is also preferable. Although best done immediately after exercising benefit can even be gained from a warm-down later, when you get home.

Hold stretches when warming up for only 2-3 seconds and up to 10 seconds when warming down. Never bounce or strain when holding stretches, as in order to avoid injury movements should be as smooth as possible, rather than jerky and uncontrolled.

You are more likely to damage yourself if tired, ill, unfit or new to Salsa dancing. At these times warming-up is particularly important.

Replenish the body fluids you're sweating out whilst enjoying yourself dancing. Drink (but we're talking water rather than alcohol!) - about a glass every half hour of salsa dancing.

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Salsa Dancing and Your Health

Dancing is generally very good for your body - and Salsa dancing in particular can greatly improve your flexibility in the hips and lower back. However, if you have any health considerations it may be useful to discuss them with your doctor before you start salsa dancing. You may also wish to mention them to your salsa teachers.

Always take care when starting to do a new movement, that your body is not yet used to. Take things easy to start with. It is especially important to listen to your body and not to ignore any pain. This is our body's way of letting us know something is wrong. Use it as a guide to avoid injury or exacerbation of an existing problem.

May your Salsa dancing be enjoyable...and good for you!

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Salsa - the Development of Different Styles

Salsa originated in Cuba and is now very popular in Cuba as well as spreading to Pueto Rico, Colombia, New York, Miami, Los Angeles and virtually everywhere else in the world!

As it spreads, different places developed differences in the way they danced - a local accent, if you think of dancing like a language. The main styles popular at present in the UK are Cuban, Cuban/Colombian and Cross-body Style (also known as 'New York ' or 'LA' Style). We teach both Cuban/Colombian and Cross-body styles in our classes.