How to Find the Beat to a Salsa Song

Learn how to find the beat to any salsa song in this Howcast dance video with expert Jorday Rivera.

Hi. My name is Jorday Rivera, and I’m an expert in Salsa. I own two dance studios in Queens, New York. We’re going to be learning a progression of Salsa moves so that we could actually go out, practice, take it to the clubs, take it to a party, and you could show off all the great moves you’ve learned.

Whenever you want to find the beat to any Salsa song, you want to look for the clave. It’s pretty much the downbeat, the two and the sixes: tu tum PAH, tu tum PAH. In any single Salsa song, that’s where you’re going to find your time, and you’re going to find that beat. You want to pretty much hit every accent, every clave point on every single beat of the song.

When you hit those beats, you’re pretty much going to be defining on your two and your six. Whenever I demonstrate in the videos, I’m going to tell you to define on certain steps. Your two is going to be pretty much your left leg, and your six pretty much is going to be back. Pretty much, you define those steps so your partner is going to be able to fall into those slots. So, pretty much you’re going to have a better and smoother rhythm that way.

You cannot dance Salsa to any single song. There’s different beats, different melodies, different tempos. Salsa is meant specifically to be danced to either Mambo a Mambo, or Salsa. So, you cannot dance Salsa to Meringue, to belly dancing, that doesn’t work. You have to dance to the percussion. There’s a certain piece or instruments that are in the song and in the rhythm in order for you to dance Salsa.