Hip action in Salsa

Shan

New Member
#1
Hi,

I've been learning salsa for about 3 months now. I've finished an introductory class in salsa and the instructor told me to repeat the introductory class but also take an advanced beginner class simultaneously.

earlier i had a lot of problems grasping the salsa timing. but with the help of a few suggestions from this forum and spending a lot of time listening to salsa music and various instruments in salsa, I have achieved a much better graph of the salsa timing.

today in class our instructor made us do the basic step and showed us what we are doing wrong and what needs to be fixed. As with most of the new students, I apparently don't really have the right hip action. He stressed that when you do salsa, your hips must move forward with each step you do and your weight should be more towards the ball of your feet and you must try step with the balls of your feet.

My real challenge is getting the hips to move forward with each step. It especially become and issue when i step back. the instructor gave me a small hip movement exercise to do at home. It basically involves shifting balance from one leg to another by bending your knees and moving your hips forward. My issue is when i do this my knees seem to bend but my hips don't seem to move forward.

are there any tips you guys can give me on this and any exercise i can do to get the right hip action
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#2
This is Latin action or Cuban motion. It take a long time to master. You will hear figure eight and a bunch of other descriptions. Pick what works for you. I've been dancing 13 years and am still trying to master it
 

MaggieMoves

Well-Known Member
#5
wo

wow! any pro tips?
Don't start with a "figure 8." I've always seen some newbies kind of struggle with it at first leading to just some shortcuts over time, or a very dominant hip on one side.

Note: I'm not an instructor, but I have been dancing ballroom consistently now for 14 years. The following is a very BASIC explanation.

Stand in front of a mirror so you can isolate just your hips moving. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and legs straight. Shift your body weight to one side, and move your hip forward. From that position, move it back. From there, bring your body weight to the other side, transferring it diagonally through your center to the front. bring your hip back again and transfer it through the center diagonally to where you started.

At first this will be jerky, but it will give you the needed "stretch points" to make a smooth Latin motion look good and not cut off in any one point. Over time, you can smooth out these movements so you're not just hitting the 4 points... and that's really all there is to it.

It's extremely simple, but it takes a long time to master properly in Latin (or Rhythm) dances.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#8
Note: I'm not an instructor, but I have been dancing ballroom consistently now for 14 years. The following is a very BASIC explanation.

Stand in front of a mirror so you can isolate just your hips moving. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and legs straight. Shift your body weight to one side, and move your hip forward. From that position, move it back. From there, bring your body weight to the other side, transferring it diagonally through your center to the front. bring your hip back again and transfer it through the center diagonally to where you started.
First.. CM in salsa, is totally different from what you have described ( Lateral motion ) and even then, not applicable to HOW its danced in salsa, Son, and Casino.

In addition, the mans CM in salsa, is subdued compared to ladies action.

The major difference from a technical standpoint is this ; BR dances to straight leg, Salsa, etc. is danced to a very flexed knee/leg, becoming straight only as the weight has been transferred , and, NO foot turnout .
Inside edge of ball/flat, is the technical application .
 

MaggieMoves

Well-Known Member
#9
First.. CM in salsa, is totally different from what you have described ( Lateral motion ) and even then, not applicable to HOW its danced in salsa, Son, and Casino.

In addition, the mans CM in salsa, is subdued compared to ladies action.

The major difference from a technical standpoint is this ; BR dances to straight leg, Salsa, etc. is danced to a very flexed knee/leg, becoming straight only as the weight has been transferred , and, NO foot turnout .
Inside edge of ball/flat, is the technical application .
Yep, but this will allow him to get used to body isolation more quickly. That was the whole point.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#10
Yep, but this will allow him to get used to body isolation more quickly. That was the whole point.
But, it will be detrimental to what really should be taught.. , as a teacher, one needs to know the differences between HOW the 2 disciplines differ, and teach them accordingly .

BR teachers, seldom vary from their entrenched methods when applying technique.

The indigenous technical methods of "latin " , have very different approaches. to much of what we teach in B.R. latin. They are supposed to look different ( because they are ) .
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#13
ok, so what should i be doing?
Try to find a teacher who specialises in street style ,as in Cuban, Casino or Son.. that. is NOT a guarantee the info will be correct or good .. congresses are not much better, "teachers " are generally booked on "performance " . Are you US based ?
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#14
While tangotime is certainly correct, there's no harm in learning the body isolation and control of ballroom Cuban motion. If you haven't yet, check out the site I posted--great illustration of how the different body parts move. Just don't take it as any kind of gospel.
 
#15
Try to find a teacher who specialises in street style ,as in Cuban, Casino or Son.. that. is NOT a guarantee the info will be correct or good .. congresses are not much better, "teachers " are generally booked on "performance " . Are you US based ?
there are no such teachers where i come from. the teacher i hv a quite good in the sense that he spends a lot of time with beginner students and he genuinely interested in helping students learn the right technique. the alternatives are ppl who just teach steps and combinations
 

Jag75

Active Member
#16
Don't start with a "figure 8." I've always seen some newbies kind of struggle with it at first leading to just some shortcuts over time, or a very dominant hip on one side.

Note: I'm not an instructor, but I have been dancing ballroom consistently now for 14 years. The following is a very BASIC explanation.

Stand in front of a mirror so you can isolate just your hips moving. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and legs straight. Shift your body weight to one side, and move your hip forward. From that position, move it back. From there, bring your body weight to the other side, transferring it diagonally through your center to the front. bring your hip back again and transfer it through the center diagonally to where you started.

At first this will be jerky, but it will give you the needed "stretch points" to make a smooth Latin motion look good and not cut off in any one point. Over time, you can smooth out these movements so you're not just hitting the 4 points... and that's really all there is to it.

It's extremely simple, but it takes a long time to master properly in Latin (or Rhythm) dances.
This applies to ballroom Latin - note it doesn't really apply to salsa.
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#17
The generally greater speed of salsa music will preclude Latin and even good Rhythm technique. If you try for Latin technique you will get rhythm technique due to the speed of the music anyway
 
#18
A simple exercise is stand in place and bend one knee while the other knee is straight then reverse knees. Do this to the timing of Salsa so your body will get used to the correct hip action.
 
#19
I shall throw in my 2 cents to see if it helps, to build on IsaacAltman's post.

Hip movement starts at the balls of your feet and goes up to your hips, not vice versa - it is not a forced movement. Watch a good Salsa dancer or Zumba instructor and you'll notice their heels hardly touch the floor, almost all their weight is on the balls of their feet. The rise and fall of your heel moves your hips - it is exactly the same reason woman wear high heels. You can practice this by standing in place, alternating your step to the music, and trying to push the ball of each foot through the floor as you shift your weight.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#20
I shall throw in my 2 cents to see if it helps, to build on IsaacAltman's post.

Hip movement starts at the balls of your feet and goes up to your hips, not vice versa - it is not a forced movement. Watch a good Salsa dancer or Zumba instructor and you'll notice their heels hardly touch the floor, almost all their weight is on the balls of their feet. The rise and fall of your heel moves your hips - it is exactly the same reason woman wear high heels. You can practice this by standing in place, alternating your step to the music, and trying to push the ball of each foot through the floor as you shift your weight.
 

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