Quarter turn to the left

He moves out of her
path but she stays
perpendicular.

Her left foot is more
towards him than her
body at this point

DT: Kana and Helmut, welcome back for Salsa 2. Helmut, it appears we are starting here with something fundamental?

Helmut: You mean easy? Somewhat. The basic rhythm of the feet is the same as in Salsa 1 - step step step hold.

DT: But?

Helmut: But there is a trick here. It isn't difficult but it is necessary to look good. The leader turns his body to the left in the first half of the basic step (1-2-3-4), inviting the lady to meet him. For 3-4, his body and her body will be positioned perpendicular. The lady does not turn towards him on 3-4. Not until 5-6-7-8.

Kana: The ladies stay facing exactly the same direction while he is making a way for you. Point your left foot toward him when you take left foot forward on 5. By the end of the second half (after 5-6-7-8), a gentleman and lady will be facing each other, having their shoulders in parallel position. Whenever we use the word “turn”, we tend to start thinking of circular motion, and that’s a trap. Instead, keep visual image of straight track.

DT: Does failing to turn toward the leader go against the general rule that the follower should always stay directly in front of the leader, at least as much as possible.

Kana: Yes, unless the leader leads her with his arms to do otherwise, the lady stays in front of the leader. Here the leader creates space with his arms for lady to stay back on 3-4.

DT: Why are we counting to 8, Kana?

Kana: Because the sequence which repeats over and over is 8 counts long?

DT: Why not count 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4?

Kana:Again, because the sequence of "left and rights" are different in 5-6-7-8 from 1-2-3-4 because there are only 3 steps [on counts 1-2-3-4], right-left-right-hold for ladies. Then the ladies do left-right-left-hold on 5-6-7-8. So entire sequence for ladies is

right-left-right-hold, left-right-left-hold

and for the gentlemen, same is true but it starts with opposite foot:

left-right-left-hold, right-left-right-hold

DT: Helmut, if 1 and 5 started on the same foot, you would only count to 4?

Helmut: Well, if each measure started on the same foot, you only need one measure to describe the repeating pattern. But if the measures start with different feet, like here, it takes 2 measures to describe the repeating portion. And it is useful to do that because different things happen from different feet, different sides.

Man's feet - Close-up                Lady's feet - Close-up

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