Salsa Timing – Can I get some help please, Salsa Timing for the Salsa Timing Challenged …

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Salsa Timing – I can't believe after all this time, I still can't find a product to help my gazillion students. A simple, free, video that explains it for actual, real, on1 salsa dancers. A product for everyone, not geared towards those with a masters in on2 salsa wizardry, nor geared towards mathematics PHDs. All I want is a video. Something simple, yet complete, and most of all, helpful. I want something I can share that breaks it down, explains it, practices it, offers tips … Oh, and all in under 15 to 20 minutes (ideally)!

A video that provides both instruction and practice. It's amazing this doesn't exist yet! Don't get me wrong, I love Youtube as much as the next guy, but you just can't beat quality, and quality is hard to find on big video sharing sites. There's no doubt that the people who learn from Youtube are going to be in a heap of trouble, unless they find a well put together beginner's course. But on Youtube, people aren't that focused on beginners, or they simply don't know how, or care (with the exception of Addicted2Salsa, Anthony and partner (sorry, forgot your name), whom the world knows kicks ass, are good people, and dominate the free video space).

That being said – where the hell are the separate timing videos for on1, and on2. Not in ONE video, separate! Does anyone question why I actually need separate videos, as a salsa teacher (or student)? I think it should be obvious, but if I need to explain my reasoning, I believe students need to be taken along a progressive track in learning. They don't need to know it "all", right "now", they need to know what's important for them, at that moment in their learning progression.

What I found when searching for salsa timing products was advertisement after advertisement, a few cool tests and demos, and a variety of explanation ripped from people's DVDs, but for the life of me, I could NOT find a SIMPLE and well put together explanation of On1 salsa dancing. Can you believe that? I can't find it, after 10 years! You might argue that I should have made it by now, and you are undoubtedly correct. You are are unquestionably correct. I should make it and give it away … and I will if I have to.

It's so funny, because everyone talks to death about On2, and most timing videos I found, always had to bring On2 into it (usually because the teacher feels this validates their skill), but none just simply focused on the structure of the music, and how to dance and understand on1 salsa timing. That's amazing! After all these years, it still doesn't exist … really?

Why do I want this? I want to help my students! It's as easy as that. No other reason. For many of them, and students around the world, this is their greatest trial to overcome. This product should exist for them. I'm amazed that after so many people have followed and copied everything we do, that this, of all things, is still a massive stone left unturned.

The crazy thing is, people actually wonder why SalsaCrazy is the biggest salsa company in the world, and the answer is so freakin' simple, I'd like to share it with you. We want to actually help people learn to salsa dance. We're not doing anything out of ego, nor out of greed, nor out of vanity, nor out of any weird amalgamation of the three. We see a problem, and we figure out a solution, and then give it away for free, and/or sell it. What makes us different? We break it down as much as we can, and make it easy to understand.

Is there a greater problem in the salsa (or dance) world than timing? Is there? I'm not so sure that a greater problem exists for most people. In my day and age (when dinosaurs walked the earth), I was always a solid On3 dancer for many years, and still enjoyed my On5 moments (as does everyone else, don't lie), and yes, eventually got On1, and years later, On2. Yes, this was way before I actually really knew the difference (nor did anyone else, save New York students), and timing was a far second to sabor and a smile.

Even back then timing was important, but most people simply didn't know about it. The dance was taught as 123,456 (not even mimicking the 8 beat dancer's measure), but in the last decade and more the world has changed, and now timing is paramount. Rhythm was always important, but salsa timing … well, not so much (it was always important, just not THAT important).

So, how do I help these students? How do I help them dance On1 (like most of the freaking casual salsa dancing world)? Sorry, this turned into a bit of a rant, after 3 hours on Youtube and other sites, and finding such great stuff (sometimes), but not a single usable beginner's timing video concentrating on1 that I could share with my students. My apologies for venting. ARGH! Anyone?

In my next post, I'll try to post the few salsa timing videos that I did find, however were un-shareable with my students, either because they were too complex, mixed different styles or timings of dance (a total no-no for the beginner), or simply mis-spoke a critical element. Most of the time, they are just plain "not simple enough".

Filed under General Salsa News, salsa timing by  #

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  • SalsaCrazy

    Comments are Welcomed!

  • Cold Salsero

    I understand that you're looking for a video, but I think another good tool is the Salsa Beat Machine (, in case you haven't seen it already. It's free online.

    I agree that timing is the single biggest hurdle for beginners. Is a video really necessary for on1 though? Is it not enough to give examples of the accents in the piano, and the timing of the lyrics and cowbell?

  • Alex Wilson

    It's not a video, however I co-wrote a book with Lee Knights "Find the Rhythm" ( that addresses some of the issues you talk about. Our intention was to bring my musician's insight of salsa music to the dancer … let me know if this helps!



  • salsacrazy

    Wow, these are great tips! Look at these great comments. Alex Wilson (of course, I have all your albums, and timing stuff), and the maker of the Beat Machine (another stellar product).

    These are the top products on the net, and I've used and recommended them both. They don't actually target exactly what I'm talking about, but perhaps we can work together to come up wtih something that does.

  • Mike

    That would be sweet if someone would produce a complete Salsa timing video! But alas, I have yet to find one too. Come on, where are the videos!!!?

  • Jenna Anderson

    You're right, its really difficult to find good Salsa timing videos. Timing is essential to any dance and I had wished to get a video so I can practice at home but alas, there aren't any good videos out!

  • Haydee Atlas

    I have a hard time getting the right timing too when I dance. An instructional video would have been great but its sad that there aren't anything good right now. Uhm, can you make one for us? Pretty please.

  • Salsa Timing


  • Salsa Timing

    I agree, I remember when I first started learning about salsa and just finding the rhythm was difficult much less trying to recognize the different counts in salsa. I tried to listen to a salsa cd my girlfriend gave me and after couple of months after countless of hours I finally was able to get the rhythm. It was frustrating, but I had no resources back then it was all I have. To save others the trouble and frustration I am dedicating my new blog to helping others to not only master salsa timing, but to help become more musical salsa dancers:! Come check it out Evan ;) !

  • Salsa Timing For Beginners

    While I was teaching Salsa, that was the number one problem my students had. Learning patterns is not that difficult. However, learning how to do them on the BEAT, well that's a different story. Learning Salsa timing is a bit like learning how to ride a bike. Once you learn it, you never forget it. So I developed a SYSTEM that will enable beginning Salsa students to find the beat, but without the bruises and the frustration that comes with learning something new. It's a computer program that teaches you how to find the ONE. You can check it out at:! A lot of people have liked and benefited from it.

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