|Salsa On1 and On2|
| Salsa danced according to the description under the heading "The Steps" is called Salsa on One , or shortened, "On One", because it starts on the first count of the 8-beat rhythm. If first step (with the left foot) occurs on count 2 or 6, it is called "On Two". The pause can also occur on different counts relative to the first step with the left foot. The most notable "On Two" style is the New York style (see below). Another "On Two" style is the Mambo style.
Some consider dancing "on two" to work more closely to the clave rhythm, the most basic rhythm of salsa music, as the steps start on the first tick of a 2-3 son clave. However, dancing "on one" hits just as many beats in the clave and hits the first tick if the music is using a 3-2 style son clave. In short it's a matter of personal preference which counting to use, and most people prefer the counting of the style they were taught first when they began dancing salsa.
The On2 Basic Step - In our basic step, the man's left foot goes back and the woman's right foot goes forward on the 1st beat of this so-called 8 beat measure or bar. We step with our feet on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, 6th, and 7th beats of the measure. We do not step on the 4th and 8th beats. We actually "break" our movement, in other words we change body direction, on the 2nd and 6th beats of the measure. We call it "breaking on 2", or "dancing on 2", or "bailando en dos". This is mambo, danced forward and back, in a line or slot, not side to side or in a circle or square.
|Shines ( pasitos )|
|Normally Salsa is a partner dance, danced in a handhold. However advanced dancers always include shines , which are basically "show-offs" and involve fancy footwork and body actions, danced in separation. They are supposed to be improvisational breaks, but there are a huge number of "standard" shines. Also, they fit best during the mambo sections of the tune, but they may be danced whenever the dancers feel appropriate. They are a good recovery trick when the connection or beat is lost during a complicated move, or simply to catch the breath.|
|The basic movement occurring in the dance patterns of the various salsa styles is the stepping on the beat of the music. Salsa is best grouped in pairs of 4-beat patterns counted "1-2-3-...-5-6-7-...". The leader (male) starts on count 1 by stepping with the left foot. On count 2 and 3, he steps with right and left, respectively. On count 4, he pauses or makes an optional tap with the right foot. On counts 5, 6, and 7, he steps with right, left, and right, respectively, again followed by a pause on count 8. As a standard, every step must be taken with full weight transfer. The follower (female) part is identical, but with left and right reversed. In all patterns and styles, the leader starts with the left foot and the follower starts with the right foot.|