What Your Salsa Friends Never Told You

Dancing salsa can be super romantic, but also somewhat of an unwanted dating circus. Dancing salsa does wonders for your body, but it can also get rather smelly. Read on to find out more about the good, the bad and the ugly salsa. 

Last edited: December 16, 2015

Converse sneakers and salsa shoes in the sand

Couple of years ago, I couldn’t have imagined that I would go to Havana to learn salsa.  Even though I have many friends who did (and do) dance salsa, my image of salsa wasn’t that great.

Looking back, I realise that I didn’t bother to look into dancing salsa, because, partially, my salsa friends never shared much about this part of their life–neither the good nor the bad. For example, my friends never told me that salsa is .. 

1. freaking romantic

Spinning your woman around, letting yourself be led by your man and looking into each other’s eyes while you dance the night away in a hypnotic sweet embrace: dancing salsa with the one you love is absolutely romantic. It’s also a great way to have fun together and to reconnect after a working day.

Side note: If you start learning salsa as a couple, make sure you don’t take it too seriously. Be patient and understand that each of us progresses at a different pace. Never blame the other for making a mistake.

If anything, laugh together when you step on each other’s toes or when you nearly fall over during a spin. Relax and enjoy: that’s all you need to achieve.

2. awesome for the body

After a good night of clubbing, don’t you always wake up looking like you lost 2kg? Well, going to a salsa class or party does exactly the same for your body. The best part is that you don’t even notice the physical effort while you’re “exercising”.

3. forever

As we get older, we’ll have to give up on some sports and passions that we liked doing when we were younger. No matter how much I would like to, I just don’t see myself longboarding downhill when I am 60–or 35. Dancing salsa, on the other hand, is forever.

Perhaps you won’t doing double spins and you’ll have to adapt to your physical abilities, but who cares? You’ll still be able to get plenty of exercise and to hit the dance floor with your sweet goldie–and I already told you how terribly romantic that is.

4. better for your brain than Sudoku

Forget about Sudoku and put on your dancing shoes. Dancing salsa requires you to be concentrated at all times.

You need to be able to tap into your memorised source of steps and combinations, make sure your footwork and hand moves are coordinated, dance in rhythm, and of course, you have to smile–all at the same time.

For men, it even gets more complicated. Not only do they have to do all the above, but they also have to lead the woman safely and properly, make sure she doesn’t get bored and constantly think about what the next pattern will be.

5. revolutionary

In a world where gender roles are becoming blurry and chivalry is about to disappear from the dictionary, at least we still have salsa.

In salsa dancing, the man leads and the woman follows. There’s no competing. Moreover, the man constantly makes space for the woman to shine–safely. Masculinity and femininity are both celebrated in full glory.

Side note: It’s more difficult for men to learn and dance salsa than it is for women. So, let’s cut the boys some slack, shall we? Don’t complain and don’t make sour faces. It’s not nice, and frankly, it also makes you look fat.

6. smelly

Deodorant is yet to be discovered by many. This is an unfortunate fact in all situations, but especially so when dancing salsa.

7. a circus

There’s plenty of show-off and acrobatics at random salsa parties. You’ll see moves and behaviour that belong in the circus and dance competitions.

Side note: When you watch people dance salsa who grew up with it, you’ll notice that no matter how complicated the moves get, it never looks like an act. Salsa is second nature to them. This is not the case for most of us. 

The more you try to push complicated combinations into one dance, the bigger the chances you’ll look like a clown. Better slow down, keep it simple and within your level. Let the body take over the mind. Less is more.

8. possibly grumpy

Look across the dance floor and you’ll find crankiness, indifference and averse looks. Dancing salsa is intimate. It’s not made to be done with strangers and this clearly shows.

Side note: Most of the time, you’ll be dancing salsa with someone you don’t want to be close to.Perhaps you don’t like their dancing style or the level their on. Maybe you don’t like how they look or smell. 

Whatever it may be, when you do accept a dance, make an effort to look the other person in the eyes and to smile. In the end, this will make the dance more enjoyable for yourself, your dance partner and everyone around who’s looking at you. 

9. not for drunkards

You can’t drink and salsa. It’s not possible. If you’re a woman, you’ll be spinning all over the place. If you’re a man, you can forget about your newly attained combinations and choreographies.

10. synonym to wearing ugly shoes

Oh, the salsa shoes for women. They are just so, so ugly. Don’t take my word for it, do a Google image search.

Side note: Prior to taking salsa classes, I was advised by many to buy salsa shoes. However, for learning Cuban-style salsa, it proved to be distracting and unnecessary.

After my first salsa class my instructor told me that I was not required to wear heels and that I could come to class in flats. Closer to the floor I was actually able to move my hips and body more naturally and to concentrate better on the instructions.

I also never had any problems with spinning whatsoever and though I understand that as a beginner you are doing less complicated combinations and less spins, many advanced dancers used flat shoes too without any problems.

11. about getting laid

Social salsa parties function more as dating platforms than as opportunities to practice your moves. It’s pretty much like any other night out. You dress up, meet some people, chat, dance and before you know it you wake up thinking “How did I get here (and where did I leave those ugly shoes)?” Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.


Tell me what you think. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links match discussion pages for this post) and let me know: What do you like the most about dancing salsa? And what do you like less?


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