Course Description

Below you will find a description of all the courses we currently offer: Salsa on1 (Beginners, Improvers, Intermediate, Semi-Advanced and Advanced), Switch On2, Masterclass, Cha Cha Cha, Pachanga, Leading & Following Technique, Body Movement Isolations, Footwork Drills, Ladies Leading, Spinning Technique and Musicality & Music Interpretation.

Salsa On1

• Beginners
Have you always wanted to master those Latin dance moves? Were you at a salsa party last week and did those elegant and spicy movements enthrall you? Would you like to learn how to dance like that? Then this is the course you need in order to get going. In this class we will break down all the basic steps for you to get started with simple techniques of leading and following, and we will give you a basic understanding of how Latin music works. After taking this course you will have learned:

Footwork
– Mambo basics
– Rumba basic
– Suzy Q
– Tap & cross
– Crossover
– Right turn
– Left turn

Partnering
– Cross-body lead
– Right turn
– Left turn
– Hammerlock
– Shoulder checks
– Butterfly
– Under the bridge
– Inside turn
– Outside turn

• Improvers
Alright!! Getting enthusiastic about this whole Latin thing!! It’s time to get this party started. Now that we have mastered the basics of salsa, we are going to reinforce all this information and start combining it in a playful way (combos). After taking this course you’ll be able to do the following:

Footwork
– Half step
– Flare
– Bounce
– Crossover hooks
– Walked swing
– Shifted swing
– Braid

Partnering
– Cross-body open break
– Copa opening
– 180 shift
– Lace wrap
– Right-turn combo
– Left-turn combo
– Hammerlock combo
– Shoulder checks combo

• Intermediate 1
Soooo! You have already come this far with salsa? Are you aware that you are all set to go to salsa parties now? Oh yes, we’re in business! We’re going to take all these combos you’ve already learned, blend them up and combine them in order to start enjoying the freedom of salsa dancing. After taking this course you will be able to do the following:

Partnering
– Preps for double turns (men/women)
– Cross-body lead inside turn 180 shift
– Open break 360 shift
– Arm flicks
– Simple scoops
– Double turns
– Hammerlock fakes
– Cross-body lead reverse
– Touch and go

• Semi-advanced

This is the moment when we make a transition from being good to being awesome! At this level your dancing should exhibit more freedom and creativity, while we still pay attention to our basic techniques, so as to avoid doubts once we come to the more elaborate stuff when we reach the advanced level.

Partnering
– Hook turns (men/women)
– Copa variations
– Flicks and throws
– In/out wraps
– Free spins
– Descarga shines in partnering
– Choreographed combos

• Advanced
Awesomeness has arrived! We are able to show off our skills (yet stay humble), putting to the test our journey of hard work. At this level, we pay close attention to our leading and following techniques. Ladies should respond more softly and accurately to the men’s leads and the men in their turn should learn to soften each command, understanding the strength and precision of their input. At this level, we also reinforce our body movement in response to the music. After taking this course you will be able to do the following:

Partnering

– Elaborate scoops
– Reverse patterns
– Musical interpretation elements
– Incorporation of body movement

Mambo On2

• Switch On2
This class is dedicated to the ‘really serious about salsa” students, those who wonder: What else is there for me to learn? Normally, advanced dancers ask this question, and making the transition between dancing On1 and dancing On2 may be the answer. This class covers topics such as dancing ‘contratiempo’ or on the second beat of the music. In this class you will learn:

• understanding of the tempo
• understanding of the claves
• transition exercises
• how to turn on2 gaining the flow of mambo
• adjusting your leading and following techniques to the right count

• Masterclass
This class is meant for the already advanced dancers, experienced in mambo on2, wanting to master the most difficult patterns, adding body movement, spinning techniques and elaborate music interpretation. Remember, there’s always room for improvement!

Cha Cha Cha

(Wikipedia extract) The cha-cha-cha, or simply cha-cha, is the name of a dance of Cuban origin.
It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín in 1953. This rhythm was developed from the danzón by a syncopation of the fourth beat. The name is onomatopoeic, derived from the rhythm of the güiro (scraper) and the shuffling of the dancers’ feet.
In this class we will cover the following:

Footwork
– Understanding the syncopation
– Basic step
– Right/left turn
– 15 min. routine of combined steps

Partnering
– Cross-body lead applied to the syncopation in couples
– Right/left turn applied to the syncopation in couples
– Combos applying different elements such as hammerlocks, flicks, arm scoops, etcetera.

Pachanga
(Wikipedia extract) As a dance, Pachanga has been described as a ‘happy-go-lucky dance’ of Cuban origin with a Charleston flavor due to the double bending and straightening of the knees. It is danced to the downbeat of four-four time to the usual mambo offbeat music characterized by the charanga instrumentation of flutes, violins, and drums. Charanga is the genre of music or music style which Pachanga is danced to.

• Pachanga Fundamentals

– Singles
– Cucha
– Singles & doubles
– Pace
– Turns ‘cucha‘
– Double back
– Double walk
– Loco
– Suzy Q
– Rotations
– Pa’ Arriba
– Pa’ atras
– Pa’ atras variation
– Twirl (funky jump)
– Back rope

• Pachanga Advanced (choreography)

Review of all fundamentals combined in an advanced-level choreography.

Leading & Following Technique
The key to success when dancing in couples is communication, although in a nonverbal way, simply by touch. This class aims at improving the way you keep the tension and frame in the arms, the correct grip of the hands, the correct height of the arms, the proper response of the lady’s upper body when the arm is being pulled forward or the correct amount of pressure required by the man to push the lady backwards. How to understand what I should be looking for and correcting my posture for a better execution. All crucial aspects that will catapult your level even higher than it already may be.

Body Movement Isolations
We will briefly go through where it all came from: Afro Cuban, the essence of body movement.
Body rolls, shoulder isolations, chest contractions and expansions, arm flows, etcetera, all in order to enrich your dancing. Because now you’ve reached an advanced level in your basic dancing, the way you interpret the music with your body has to be raised to the same level. Body movement isolations are the key component to reach that body awareness you’ve always been looking for.

Footwork Drills
Specially directed to improve agility, musical affinity, coordination, balance, spinning technique, body movement and awareness, all in one. A major component of dancing salsa is the fact that we need to have great control over our body, thus having the certainty that we’ll be able to lead and follow another person while maintaining full balance and stepping to the music. This class will help you gain great confidence when it comes to freestyling during a song and then quickly reincorporating yourself into the partnering section looking relaxed, smooth and effortlessly in tune with the music.
Ladies Leading
For all the ladies and gentlemen out there who are curious about switching roles and learning the opposite of what the standard says. After all, there’s no better way to understand certain things than by putting yourself in the shoes of the other person. Yes, we’ll teach ladies how to lead like a man, and men how to follow like a lady. It’s fun but at the same time educative, as you’ll experience firsthand what is needed to improve your own technique.

Spinning Technique
It’s all about the balance of your body, yes, but how do you master that? Spinning is something you need to teach your body: the correct posture of your back and shoulders, the proper amount of pressure you need to apply to get the right speed and not be launched to the next room while attempting to hit that beat. How should I position my arms? How many different ways of spinning are there? What’s a preparation? All questions to be answered in this class. We’ll go from A to Z until we get that full body balance control you’ve always wished for.

Musicality and Music Interpretation
A class commonly known as ‘musicality’, but what is musicality, really? At SalsAmsterdam we make a distinction between music recognition and the ability to follow music. When we speak of musicality we should really center our attention on the understanding of music and the variety of instruments. How can I follow a cowbell, conga, guiro, bongos, etcetera, if I don’t actually know how they are used or consciously hear them? First we need to know their basic patterns and respective counts, and then find them within a song, then get accustomed to their sound. That’s musicality! Once that’s achieved we can go on to the second part of this process, which is called ‘music interpretation’. We believe that following a person in front of you showing you how to do a choreographed routine that hits the accents of the music you don’t quite understand is not the right answer. SalsAmsterdam stands for covering all those aspects you are missing in order to become a proficient dancer, and this class is oriented to fully understanding how music works and how to free your mind and body to follow that music afterwards.