Body tilt problem

When I do certain moves, for example cross body lead with inside turn, at the end, on count 1, I extend my foot forward to break, tilting my body back. This is a problem.

I am not sure why is this happening, but I suspect it might have to do something with my shoes. I wonder if my shoes are too slippery.

I have, I think, ballroom shoes, with fuzzy material on the sole (suede?). Now it's all shiny from use (and dirt?).

1. Can this tilt be indeed caused by slippery shoes?
2. Is there something I should do to make my shoes less slippery?
3. Is this a know problem, or am I making stuff up?


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I can't quite picture the problem you are describing. But if you have shoes with suede on the bottom, and they have become too slippery, you can use a shoe brush to try to refresh the suede. Find someone with a shoe brush and some experience in using it to show you in person how to brush the soles of your shoes properly.

The sort of shoe brush I am used to looks like this:
They are available from a variety of different places, including, quite likely, wherever you bought your dance shoes from. They are usually around $10 or so.

If you don't want your shoes to get overly slippery from dirt and dust, etc, you can brush your shoes regularly once you know how. Some people prefer their dances shoes to be more slippery, others like them less so. I'm not sure what is customary for Salsa, it may depend a bit on the local crowd and the condition of the local floors.


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It's likely not your shoes, but yes, there's something you can do to make them less slippery - it's called a shoe brush. It is a wire brush designed to rough up the suede and remove (some of) the dirt.

Based on your description of what's happening, and bearing in mind that salsa is not my main thing, it sounds like you are not sending your weight to be over your foot. You may just not be aware that you need to, may not have sufficient core strength, may not know how to use your core to make it happen... there are a number of reasons. It's worth asking an instructor as they can see you dance, then diagnose and apply the correct fix.
it sounds like you are not sending your weight to be over your foot.
That's exactly right. I just can't figure out why is that happening. It is my instructor who pointed it out, but we couldn't figure out as to why. I'm seeing another instructor next week, I expect her to figure it out instantly.
Hi ticolora,

I know very little about latin. Back when I did try it, and had a similar problem, my teacher told me to think more about pushing forward from my standing leg than extending my forward-stepping leg in front of my body in a break. When I used my standing leg to push my body forward, carrying the moving leg under me, it did make me arrive nose-over-toe and fixed the back-tilt problem. It also fixed the slipping shoes problem.

I'm laughing to think that I'd dare offer advice about latin. So do not take me seriously!


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Two possibilities that I can think of:

1. You are trying to "reach" for the step with that foot and pull your weight to it. What you need to be doing is pushing off of your standing foot.

2. You've led your partner to a position where she is square in front of you, which is causing you to shy off of the step because you are afraid you will step on her (which you very well might). Make sure you lead her to a position where your offset is maintained. (And make sure you don't turn yourself to square to her!)


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Imagine stepping forward with your butt instead of your foot. Like there's a gust of wind at your back.

If that's hard to visualize, try this exercise without a partner: literally try to fall forward. Your foot will instinctively move forward to catch you. Wha-la, you're on your foot. Do the CBL footwork, again by yourself, trying to fall when you take that step. When you have the feeling, dial it back so your body is still driving the step, but you're more in control. Then try with your partner.

Mr 4 styles

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When you walk as you send one foot forward without weight you don't just fall onto it. You push off the back foot to allow the forward foot to land. Think of running. That's what all this "use the supporting leg" thing boils down too. In a more sophisticated manner of course


Active Member
It's probably because you only transfer part of the weight to each foot when stepping, like many people dancing salsa (in case of my venue, most). Make sure you transfer the whole weight on the beat - only that way you will really feel the rhythm. That means, you can lift the other foot off the floor on each step (don't however pronounce that). Many social dancers don't do that just because they lack the balance due to weak core muscles etc ...

When technique isn't good, then everything is problem - shoes, floor, music, other people etc ...

Don't do large steps in salsa. Concentrate on stepping and not on moving

However, have in mind that pure forward breaks are actually rarely used by more advanced dancers. Most leaders terminate the cross body lead with back break (or continue to some other move) and even when they do fwd break, it's in most cases while turning etc. However, most of them are not even aware of that, so if they are instructors, they still include a lot of forward breaks that they never use in their dancing in the classes

In casino / cuban salsa there are no forward and back breaks anyway. All steps and turns are "walked"

If you expect salsa teachers diagnosing your technique problems, good luck with it. 98 % of them only sell moves
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It's probably because you only transfer part of the weight to each foot when stepping
I move feet on every step, which rules out this issue, right?

If you expect salsa teachers diagnosing your technique problems, good luck with it. 98 % of them only sell moves
Unless you follow this observation with a suggestion - this is just a depressing statement :) At $75/hr I'd expect more than just moves :(
With things y'all've said, I think the issue is not stepping forward on 1, but rather stepping back on 2, if that makes sense. As I finish a move, I reach forward on 1, so that I can easily push off and start moving back on 2. Which is the most _efficient_ way to change direction, let the gravity do most of the work. Without the tilt it takes quite more work in legs and core. So, 1) I push forward with my back foot as I step on 1, to make sure body stays over the foot, and 2) push the landed-on (left, forward step, man's footwork, dancing on1) foot forward, from under the body, without moving body back. Does that sound right?

Also, I want to stretch 2 ropes one sheen high, and one chest high, and practice forward step making sure that I touch both ropes on1. Does this sound like a good idea? If so should there be any offset horizontally, or should one rope be exactly over the other? Or should I adjust ropes so that if I stand straight - I will barely touch both ropes?


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I move feet on every step, which rules out this issue, right?
Let's adjust the thinking a bit here. When you think only about the feet, you'll move the feet but the body won't go where it needs to go. Your follower is trying to match your movement, but the only part of your body she can detect is your upper body -- she doesn't know where your feet are.

Instead, think about moving your whole body to the position it needs to be so as to be balanced over the foot position for the next step. For example, if the movement is "left foot forward", start with your body weight balanced on your right foot then use your right foot to push your whole body forward. Your left foot initially hangs under your body as the right foot pressure accelerates your body forward. Then the left foot is placed on the floor to acquire the body weight balanced over it.

If you think only about moving your feet, then you won't move your body weight fully over it and your follower will have a hard time reading you.

Edited to add: Yes, use your core more to keep your body erect, and foot pressure to move the body. Moving your feet only takes less physical effort on your part, but more effort by your follower to figure out what you're doing. Or maybe you make up the deficit by leading with your arms instead of your body.


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One of the local teachers uses a shopping cart analogy.

If you're in the grocery store and want to move the cart, do you shove it out of the way with your arms and then move your foot to where it was? No, you probably just grab the cart handle and walk, no arm movements required. Think of your follower as sort of like a shopping cart, frame up properly instead of grabbing the handle, then just move yourself.

Assuming your follower responds like a shopping cart. A few are like the shopping cart that's pushed off to the side at the cart corral, if you take it you discover why it was set aside, maybe a sticky or broken wheel. But most women even fresh off the street are good-enough shopping carts.


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Assumption from the distance: Perhaps you are a victim of your own energetic lead. Leading should be informational, not physical. Slow down early, let the girl run ahead, don't break your centre, collect excess energy by twisting your feet.

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