Bounding Unicorns

Salsa

On1 vs On2

Good explanation here.

According to that, On1 is a "L.A. style" and On2 is a "New York style". However Arthur Murray, as well as Jersey City Ballroom, teach On1 in New York. Maybe On2 is a more of a New York street/social style with On1 being more of a ballroom/competition style.

From going to multiple On1 and On2 classes in New York City area:

  • In On1, leader's steps are taught first and followers second. In On2, follower's steps are taught first and leaders are then told to reverse. When a class deals with what is called "open work", which is dancing without a partner, often times only the follower's steps are taught and leaders are left to their own devices to figure out how to make the steps work when they are leading.
  • On1 seems to go with feet together style of dancing while On2 seems to go with passing feet style, at least on beginner levels.
  • On2 has pairs of steps in the same direction, On1 with feet together style does not. Getting used to two sequential steps being in the same direction can be a challenge for On1 dancers attempting to dance On2.
  • As a result of On1 favoring feet together and On2 favoring passing feet, On1 feels more of an in place dance while on2 feels like a traveling dance.
  • A number of of figures in On1 and On2 go in different directions. For example, just like the basic for the leader starts forward in On1 and back in On2, the side step for the leader in On1 starts with LF left, rock RF while in On2 it starts with LF in place, RF right.

Passing Feet

One can pass feet in the middle of the basic, or not. The feet together version of On1 for the leader is as follows:

LF forward
rock R
LF together

RF back
rock L
RF together

The passing feet version of On1 for the leader is as follows:

LF forward
rock R
LF slightly back passing R

RF back
rock L
RF slightly forward passing L

Apparently the passing feet version is the only correct one.

It seems that ballrooms teach the feet together On1 to beginners (though Arthur Murray said that Salsa is meant to be danced with passing feet and Mambo not) and the "street style" is On2 with passing feet.

Technique - Turn/Spin

Orient feet correctly. For the right turn; - RF forward - RF should face forward, not angled left. - LF forward facing R - LF should face 90° right, not forward. This helps twist the body into the turn. - RF in place facing 180° from original direction - RF should face backwards from original direction, not more and ideally not less.

Spotting: look at a reference point for the final direction (partner's head is a good choice, or a fixed reference point if practicing solo). In a turn the head is the last body part to start moving (the sequence is feet -> torso -> head) and the first one to face the final direction. This means turning one's head while in the turn/spin.

Technique - Leading Turns

UAT/standard right turn: LH straight up.

Left turn: prepare by rotating the follower 1/8 of a turn on the preceding count.