Salsa Notes

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About Timing & Count

There are different ways to count:

    • 1 2 3 (4) 5 6 7 (8) - Count in parenthesis does not have a step associated with them

    • Q Q S Q Q S - S is 2 count (2 Q's).

Four count style

Variation of: Basic: Bronze 1

I think there is sometimes some confusion, as I seem to perceive some steps differently depending on whether Pearl or Liz teaches them. The way Pearl taught it, the flick of the foot comes before the step back to the fifth position. In other words, the flick comes on 1. instead of 4.

From side basic to right

Q. Point left foot to left

Q. LF fifth position

Q. Ball change

Q. LF side

Q. RF cross in front of LF

Q. LF side

Q. point RF right

Q. RF side

Q. LF fifth position

Q. Ball change

S. LF feet together

Open Break and Under Arm Turn

Variation of: Open Break and Under Arm Turn: Bronze 1

Q. lf rock step back while releasing right hand, left hand goes down and keeps her from following me

Q. rock forward

S. lf feet together, raise left hand for turn

Q. rf rock back

Q. rock forward

S. rf feet together

Waist Catch

Variation of: Open Break and Under Arm Turn: Bronze 1

Q. Push break. LF back, push back w/ LH

Q. Ball change, pull her right hand to my right waist, and release

S. LF forward, catch her waist w/ RH, keeping RH close to me so that I just catch the right side of her waist

Q. Keeping her close to me with hand on waist, step around her w/ RF

Q. Continuing to step around her w/ LF, left RH slide around her back

S. Continue stepping around w/ RF, by now I should have gone completely around her, and be facing same direction.

Surprise Break

Variation of: Open Break and Under Arm Turn: Bronze 1

After Waist Catch, do forward basic

Q. RF Cucaracha break, while using RH to lead her to step to my left with her LF. This is the surprise

Q. Ball change

S. RF feet together, she steps back to facing me

Arm Check

Variation of: Open Break and Under Arm Turn: Bronze 1

Q. backward basic, bringing partners right hand to my right hand

Q. rocking forward on rf, w/ rh, lead partners hand for a turn to her left

S. feet together

Q. lf forward

Q. pivot to face the other way (half turn)

S. feet together, catch her right hand, back into forward basic

Left Side by Side Basic

Variation of: Open Break and Under Arm Turn: Bronze 1

QQS. first measure like Cross-body Lead

Q. RF rock step back, bring her around so that we are facing same direction, releasing closed hold, and holding her RH with my LH so that forearms are touching and parallel to ground, as if we were doing a cross-over break. 7/3/00: Vivian changed the picture. Hold her right hand low to keep her close to me

Q. LF Ball change

S. RF feet together

Q. Bring her RH down to lead her into step back, her on RF and me on LF, swing that arm

Q. Ball change

S. LF Back, turn left so that we face each other, lead her by raising her RH, while opening LH to palm facing out

Q. Push her RH lightly to lead her into clockwise turn. RF left for half turn.

Q. Pivot on LF

S. RF forward, turn to face her, returned to closed position, back into basic.

Variation: Patty Cake, from point that we are side by side, feet together

Q. LF back, swing LH down and back


S. LF feet together, swing LH up

Q. RF forward, quarter left, stop with RH to her LH


S. RF to LF, quarter right

repeat once, then go into walk around turn as above

Cross body lead into cross-over break and UAT

Variation of: Cross Body Lead: Bronze 1

Q. L forward

Q. rock right

S. left behind right, pivoting body to left, leading her around. Don't cross legs.

Q. left foot forward, into cross-over break

Q. rock on right

S. feet together

two more x-over breaks, then UAT

Cross body lead into inside turn

Variation of: Cross Body Lead: Bronze 1

same first half for cross body lead

Q. rf in place, lead her by lifting my lh high and swirl it into widdershins turn

Q. rock onto lf

S. feet together

Face Loop to Hand Pass

Variation of: Cross Body Lead: Bronze 1

Cross body lead, with left hand turned over, release right hand as in inside turn

Q. lf forward step, move hand straight toward her, so I don't make her think I want her to turn, start to duck under her hand.

Q. half turn right, bring her hand across my face, place it on my right shoulder, and switch hands

S. rf feet together, leading her around me

Q. lf forward, as I bring her around switch her RH to my LH

Q. complete the basic.

Face Loop to Inside Turn

Variation of: Cross Body Lead: Bronze 1

Notes on Face loop--leader needs to go ahead and step in close to follower on half turn, so that he is close enough to pass his hand in front of his face, holding her hand, while remaining upright. I was too far away and bending over backwards, which doesn't look good, as well as making it very difficult to keep with the beat.

Cross body lead, with left hand turned over, release right hand as in inside turn

Q. lf forward step, move hand straight toward her, so I don't make her think I want her to turn

Q. half turn right, bring her hand across my face, place it on my right shoulder, and switch hands

S. rf feet together, leading her into inside turn, keeping RH low as I bring her around, to make room for her to pass

Q. lf forward, drape her hand on my left shoulder/neck, by combing my hair. That is, my RH goes behind my head to place her hand on my shoulder.

Q. complete the basic.

Cross Over Break

Variation of: Cross Over Break: Bronze 2

Q. RF rock step back

Q. Ball change, start to turn LH under followers hand. If I don't do this early enough, she can't tell I'm going to do a cross-over

S. RF feet together

Q. LF across RF, taking her forearm along line between us, forearm to forearm contact

Q. Ball change

S. Return to face to face position, release her RH and take her LH with my RH

Do this to left, to right, and then UAT

Cross Over Swivels

Variation of: Cross Over Breaks: Bronze 2

After cross over break to the right. S, LF side, catch her LH palm to palm, drop a little, and turn feet to face left a little. If I had time, I would bring RF to LF. Q, swivel right. Q, swivel left, S, swivel right. Cross over break, and repeat once.

Opposition Breaks

Variation of: Cross Over Breaks: Bronze 2

In closed hold, break back on both left and right side.

2nd Position Break

Variation of: Cross Over Breaks: Bronze 2

Just like in Rumba, also known as Cuban Breaks or Cucarachas

Loop and Half Moon

Variation of: Shine Basic: Bronze 2

After loop turn, RH to RH hold, cross body lead into half moons, keeping my hand close to my body, and bringing her all the way around, so we are going up and down a slot

Shoulder Check or Peek-a-boo

Same as peek-a-boo in Cha-Cha.

Promenade Scallop

Variation of: Promenade Scallop: Bronze 2

From Side basic, on right side basic.

Q. LF fifth position

Q. Ball change, while taking up promenade position.

S. LF side, Make sure to stop her with my LH

Q. RF left, (cross over left foot)

Q. LF side

S. RF feet together

Back Spot Turn

Variation of: Back Spot Turn: Bronze 3

Can follow with a Promenade Scallop

From an open break, like from an UAT or an arm check

Q. With low left hand, hold her out, rock back on left

Q. rock back forward

S. pull her right hand into my center line, step forward left, turn body right, bring her into closed hold

Q. right foot fifth position, keep turning

Q. left foot slightly to my left

S. feet together

go into another underarm turn

Half Moon

Variation of: Half Moon: Intermediate 2b

Cross body lead, switch to right to right hold, cross over break, cross body lead, cross over break, cross body lead, end with outside turn.

Half Moon Loop

RH to RH hold. Open break. Lady's outside turn keeping both hands, end combing her with my RH, me with my LH. Fifth position break right. Arm around her waist for fifth position break left. Fifth position break right, into promenade scallop.

Continuous Scallop

Right turning basic, forward and back. Fifth position break to open her up. I step in place while I lead her to do a couple of swivels around me. When I am stepping quick left, lead her to swivel in a line left. Then stepping quick on right, go into promenade scallop to end.

Peekaboo to Inside Turn

Open Break. Peek-a-boo. Hold. Inside Turn.


QQS. Open Break, right to right hold

Q. RF forward and left, RH by shoulder, QT left

Q. LF feet together

S. RF side, pressure from my shoulder as I move starts her turning right

Q. LF side, I go under my RH, while leading her in an outside turn, QT left

Q. RF to her right (forward left, to leave room for next part, RH by shoulder again, half turn left (facing starting direction)

S. LF back, pressure of body on her hand starts her turning right again

Q. RF side break, RH leads her into another outside turn


S. RF feet together

Roll to Wrap

Start with Cross-body lead. Stop facing side, and let her roll all the way out, one hand hold. Q, J-lead for her to step forward past me, while starting to turn right. Q, hang on to her RH, so she wraps up, while I walk around her. S, if she has it around her waist, grab her left hand in a cuddle to keep her from going anywhere. QQS, she does a basic in place, I get around to in front of her.

Peekaboo to Man's Hook Turn and Lady's Outside Turn

Variation of: : Intermediate Variation

Open break to Peekaboo. Hook Turn under my LH. Lady's Outside Turn.

Cross body lead to cuddle, hammer lock, and arm check

Variation of: : Intermediate Variation

2 Hand Hold. Cross body lead with cuddle. Forward break. Use right hand to turn her into hammerlock. Q, Back Break. Q, use right hand to bring her across me toward my right, and release RH, bringing her right arm down to my RH. S, my RH goes on her upper arm. QQS, arm check.

Simple Wrap

Open Break. Raise RH in front of me (make window), and lead her to go around my right and back. Do a quarter turn, so I end up facing her at the end of the measure.

Checked Inside Turn, Hand Switch, Hammerlock Check to Shadow, Man's Right Turn, and Cross-Hand Cross Body Lead

Taught by Ron Montez. QQS, open break, on S, lead her into checked peekaboo. Q, step in front of her. Q, change weight. S, turn her back out in front of me. QQS, open break to inside turn. QQS, RF hook to begin turn, change her hand from my LH to my RH as I go around. End up facing her, or with her on my right at an angle, with my hand over hers. QQS, back break to inside turn by bringing her hand down, check her as she turns into one-hand hammerlock with my RH on her back, and pick up her LH with mine. QQS break back with my RF as I lead her to turn right and end up opposite me, in crossed hands position, LH over RH. Q, release LH, step to right to begin turning under my RH. QS, complete turn, and end up with her to my right at an angle, offer my LH again over my RH. QQS, as I do XBL, lead her into inside turn, keeping both hands. QQS, drape RH over my neck, and then LH, as I move her into position for XBL.

Lady's 2-Hand Turn to Man's 2-Hand Turn to Lady's Double Inside Turn to Walk Around to Lady's Inside Turn to Hammerlock to Lady's Outside Turn

Taught by Ron Montez

QQS, open break, two hand hold

QQ, side break, lady's outside turn, keeping both hands

S, man's full turn left, we end up in same position we started in, just that my RH is turned over

QQS, open break

QQS, basic, lead her to my right, and use RH up to lead her to turn to her right, keeping hands. We end up facing each other, my LH high, forming a window through which I can look at her, and my RH holding her LH over her right bicep, so we've formed kind of a pretzel.

QQS, walk in forward circle around her keeping the pretzel

Q, I step forward on my RF, she steps forward on her left release RH, and start leading her into inside turn

QS, CW LF, RF feet together as soon as she's through, bring LH down to over turn her, and bring into one-hand hammerlock facing me

QQS, forward break

QQS, XBL, use LH to lead her into outside turn

Turning Side Step Shines

QQS. 360 turn. Q, hook RF. Q, turn body right, LF side. S, RF feet together. Q, turning back to front, LF forward, and back into basic shines. Variation number 2: QQS, LF forward, half turn, swivel half turn. QQSa, hook RF, turn body right, LF side (towards partner). S, just hold it, or slide RF to left, then RF by LF, and LF forward on next Q. In other words, syncopate the step. Variation number 3, after LF side, bring RF to left and point RF for slow, again, syncopated. When this step is working well, I'm just continuing my rotation from the first spin into the hook and side steps.

Arm Check to Lady's Continuous Spin

QQS, open break. QQS, arm check, get RH to RH hold. QQ, open break. S, lead her to step past me, winding her to her left a little. Then lead her into three measures, four outside turns.

Advanced Twists

Don't remember how I get into it, but once I get started: QQ, hook turn. QQ, ladies outside turn. Repeat twice more, than go to basic.

Sweetheart Scallop

Lead her into sweetheart. QQS, walk around right. QQS, rock. Lead her into scallops around me.