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Best Songs for Practicing Salsa Dancing



So, you’ve started taking Salsa lessons and have been told that practice makes perfect – but now you’re in the privacy of your own home, you don’t know where to start. At Arthur Murray, we not only teach you the steps, but also how to recognise the rhythms yourself so that you can practice as much as you like, wherever you are, without a teacher telling you what to do.

The Salsa beat is hard to identify, because it does not have one dominant drum pattern that stays constant throughout the song. Instead it puts a greater focus on rhythms. Salsa compositions involve Afro-Cuban percussion based around the Clave rhythm (which has no less than four types), and it is this rhythm that dancers tend to mark, either directly with the feet or indirectly, through shoulder movements.

It takes a while to get your ear tuned to recognising the beat as there can be multiple percussionists, a piano and bass, not to mention the vocalist – each with their own rhythm. A quick tip is to fast forward a track to the chorus, or ‘mambo section’, which is usually the best part of the song to hear the beat. Unfortunately you won’t be able to do this at a dance club, but at least it will help when you practice at home.

Here’s a selection of suitable tracks for practicing Salsa:

1. Yo No Se Mañana – Luis Enrique

This is a lovely song with a nice slow start and romantic mood to really capture the connection with your partner. As a modern number, it is particularly popular in Salsa clubs, so if you want to feel comfortable on the dance floor quickly, practice to this song to gain confidence with it in the social setting.

2. Lluvia (Rain) – Eddie Santiago

This is a favourite from one of the major romantic Salsa singers of the 1980s and ‘90s, and is a popular dance for Salsa classes because it is very slow and therefore ideal for perfecting your moves. If you haven’t heard this song in a class yet, try practicing your steps to this great number, which has gorgeous vocals.

3. El Tun Tun De Tu Corazon – Orquesta La Palabra

This is another slow Salsa song that effortlessly provides all the elements you need while learning – you can clearly hear the clave and the ‘pa-pa’ sound in the music, so you can easily hit the right marks. This song is perfect practice material.

4. Agúzate – Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz

This classic song, by the American duo who were famous in the 60s and 70s, has a beat that’s slow enough for practicing beginners, but boasts lots of instrumentation so you can play with the musicality as your confidence and skill improves.

5. Todo Tiene Su Final – Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe

Learn some steps to this medium-paced classic and you’ll find you can often have the last dance, as clubs tend to play it at the end of the night. This is because the title translates to ‘Everything Has An End’. Other great tracks by these legendary songwriters include ‘El Gran Varon’ by Colon, with a long intro to help you get into the faster rhythm and ‘El Cantante’, by Lavoe, which is a moderate-paced heart-wrencher.

Both my wife and I are extremely happy learning ballroom dancing at Crows Nest Arthur Murray Studio. We have found the dancing instructors to be professional, knowledgeable, friendly and supportive. We are more than happy to continue enjoying our dancing experience and social activities with all the other students. We feel like part of a large joyous dancing family.John & Marilynread more
John Chung
John Chung
11:16 14 Feb 17
We were interested in learning Tango for our daughter's wedding last year, but here we are in our second year at AM, Crows Nest - dancing has now become our passion, due in large part, to the excellence of teaching and supportive atmosphere of this studio! The journey is long and I so envy the folks who have started years ago to achieve the beauty and grace of ballroom and the seduction of Latin dancing. We are determined to continue !!!read more
Ayshe Talay-Ongan
Ayshe Talay-Ongan
23:35 06 Feb 17
We started dancing in 2009 for our wedding - and had so much fun learning that we kept it up. They have incredible flexibility to do as much as you want, on your schedule, and consist of staff that appreciate busy working (and family!) lives --- while encouraging you to always improve yourselves! As a couple learning they have accommodated both our learning styles very more
Heidi Kuglin Justin Beck
Heidi Kuglin Justin Beck
08:48 04 Feb 17
I walked through the doors at Arthur Murray Crows Nest over 10 years ago having never danced a day in my life… I was looking for something fun to do outside of work and I’ve been there ever since!! There are local and overseas competitions, social nights and lots of glamorous events throughout the year to keep you busy. It’s fun, challenging, incredibly rewarding and you have an absolute blast along the way!!read more
Amy Hendry
Amy Hendry
02:29 31 Jan 17
I have loved dance all of my life but the Arthur Murray Crows Nest experience has taken my love and learning to another level. I have been dancing here for 14 years and will continue until my body gives up. My lessons are so much fun, challenging in a good way and a great form of exercise. Add to that the social side, great people, parties, outings, local and overseas competitions and you have the ultimate more
Janet Black
Janet Black
02:19 27 Jan 17