Salsa is a very fast paced and up-beat dance. It could be danced alone, but it is mostly recognized as a partner dance. There is a leader role and a follower role. The dancers connect through their upper body and arms, but mostly through their hands. Salsa is a cause and effect dance. The leader memorizes certain moves or patterns that he performs moving his body, shifting directions and positioning in relationship to the follower, all the time maintaining a certain rhythm or ‘basic step.’ The follower then reacts accordingly to the arm movements, change of direction and positioning that the leader performs. Every action that the leader makes has a reaction from the follower and that is how the dance is created. In it’s social dancing form, salsa is a freestyle improvised dance where the leader with his set of patterns is able to arrange them in whatever order he choses to create the dance, it is not choreographed.
The leader has to recall the patterns (set of moves he knows) and lead them effectively and efficiently, all the while maintaining the timing with the music. The follower must be relaxed and completely receptive to the leaders actions in order to react accordingly effective and efficiently, also maintaining the timing with the music.