How to salsa, by Nelson Batista

There are four steps that form the basic pattern of the salsa. These are performed by a couple, not holding each other too closely, using the same dance steps mirrored between them. Your upper body shouldn't move that much,instead the movement is centred on the legs and the hips, which should sway as you make the steps back. The first step is a strong tap with the ball of the left foot for the man, and the same with the right foot for the lady. Second step: after tapping on the spot both dancers will take a small step back with the same foot they tapped with.At the same time as the dancers move back into the second step they will raise the heel of the opposite foot by slightly bending their knee. The third step consists of bringing the heel back down on to the floor. The fourth step is to bring the first foot (which was the one the dancer tapped with) back into the starting position. The continuity of these steps done at a steady pace will invariably keep both dancers in rhythm. Because of the strong rhythm of salsa and its definitive beat, the basic steps are easy to master, and with the correct tuition the style follows naturally. People love to dance it because with its blend of African rhythms and Spanish melodies it is both fiery and passionate, an addictive combination! Also, the social aspect of salsa is energetic and fun. It's the perfect way to keep fit and socialise at the same time. Fiona McClymont

Nelson Batista is credited with bringing salsa to the UK and holds dance lessons for all levels at various venues in London and around the country. Call 0181-350 6612 or 0958 313381.

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