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Dancing On-2 as an On-1 Follower


  • Dancing On-2 as an On-1 Follower

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    By Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
    "Dear Edie,
    Well I just wanted to tell you guys that last year I went to the Salsa congress in [city] for the first time. And really it was my first time at a Salsa congress period! Man I was all excited to go and dance with new people from all over the world, but when it came down to it, I didn't dance one song. I mean I loved the shows they were awesome, but everyone that I asked to dance asked me if I danced one the one or on the 2. That was fine but I didn't dance on the 2 then, so I ended up walking around watching other people dance. I am not saying that it was a bad experience but I would have loved to have danced! But I am very excited to go this year ! I now can dance on the 2 and I know that I'll dance this year! Thanks - A Newbee"


    I was at a nightclub one night, and it was FANTASTIC. EVERYONE was there, incredible world class dancers whom had won many competitions and performed on dance teams. The partner picks were intense, and I was having an AMAZING time dancing with EVERYONE!!

    I glanced over and saw a former student of mine sitting alone at a table. I knew she was learning On-2, and started getting the "World Famous Atti-TWO'd" (attitude) about it. She looked sad, and very alone. I went over, sat next to her and asked, "[Friend], why aren't you dancing??? It's AWESOME tonight!! Her response made my heart sink. "Edie, there's no one here to dance with ..."


    It is awesome learning different styles of Salsa. There is the One, the Two Cuban Style, Puerto Rican Style, LA Style, Cali Style, etc. It is very much like learning two different languages, such as Spanish and English. Will you forget the other and refuse to speak to your former friends because you learned the new language? Is that wise?

    Learning the Two as an On-1 Follow...

    I'll never forget the "Cafe CON Pan" cadence taught to my partner and I by Ismael Otero of New Jersey. I remember how he taught us to say the following in a rhythmic fashion over and and over again... "Cafe CON Pan", "Cafe CON Pan", "Cafe CON Pan", "Cafe CON Pan", "Cafe CON Pan"... (see YouTube videoclip - coming soon) The emphasis is on the "Con" for On-2 dancing, and the emphasis is on the "fe" for On-1 dancing.

    Steps as an On-1 follower, who is going out for the first night to an On-2 nightclub:
    • In your car on the way to the club, (and everywhere you go for that matter) repeat the above cadence to the music.
    • Highlight in your mind the "fe" and the "CON" within the cadence above.
    • In your mind, focus where the "CON" is as opposed to the "fe". Remembering always that the "fe" is the first or third beat of the music, and the "CON" is the second or sixth beat of the music. The individual sentences of the paragraphs that make up the chapters of the story of the music will help you determine where the first beat is.
    • When you are dancing with your On-2 Lead, don't listen to the music at all the first few songs, just follow his every move.
    • You will start to hear the beat through his body within "HIS" steps and heart-felt movement after a few songs.
    • Hold yourself back from stepping back on "One" - let him lead you when HE wants you to step back.
    • Count to yourself verbally (very quietly) and/or in your mind the entire eight counts the entire song using a mix between the numbers and the cadence. Verbally and quietly repeat "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8" and then quietly verbalize the "Cafe Con Pan" cadence above during the dance.
    • You will WANT to start dancing On-2 on your own after a while. Just remember to always step back with your right foot on count "six" or better - yet step "in place" with your right foot on count SIX - always (unless he using the Power 2 (Razz M Tazz NY Style), or ballroom 2 - which is back on count "2", not "6") .
    • After a while, you will not be able to hear the One nor the Two, nor any beat of the music. This will shock you. You will feel lost. You will feel like you're in a Vortex Mind Melt. It is a confusing, horrible feeling. This will last about a day or two.
    • Soon after, you will ONLY be able to hear the TWO, and no longer the One. It's so weird!! It happened to both my dance partner and I when we moved to New York for a couple months to learn the "Two" from hard-core On-2 New Yorkers, and get it down solid.

    This is "The Process" and how you transform your mind from One beat to another.

    Unfortunately this is where a lot of people will stay. The immature mind will start to dislike the "One" because it is now too difficult (or they are simply too lazy) to go back and find it. This is their biggest mistake. They don't realize that they slowly start abandoning all their former "On-1" friends and will only seek to dance with "On-2" dancers from now on, or the majority of the time. This limits their minds and dance choices throughout the evening, and throughout the world. Their On-2 vibration emits a negative energy when dancing On-1 with the On-1 dancer. The On-1 dancer can now feel their energy drain. It's the most peculiar thing.

    "When in Rome, do as the Romans..." famous saying, yes, and it "is" wise to do so. If you are in a town that is "On-2", dance "On-2". If you are in a town that is "On-1", dance "On-1"!. It is that simple. Learn both. Master Both. When On-2 dancers attempt to dance On-1, they don't like it. At all. They attempt their moves, and end up reverting to the Two again. The exact same is true for On-1 dancers - their complicated turn patterns always revert to the One...

    I have found however, that 99% of On-2 dancers will never make an effort to learn to dance On-1. I have also found as well that most On-1 dancers who learn On-2, enjoy the ability to do both, have a more open mind, and therefore have more dance partner options. Why are On-1 dancers more open-minded? What is the inherent quality of the On-1 dancer that On-2 dancers do not have? What has the "Atti-TWO'd" done to create this type of person?

    I've witnessed amazing former On-1 dancers become a Proud and Arrogant Representative of that horrible "Atti-TWO'd" once they have mastered On-2. They no longer want to dance with their friends who still dance On-1. They have now given birth to the World Famous On-2 Attitude that is indicative of On-2 dancers who don't know any different. Maybe they worked so hard at getting "On-2", that they feel they deserve a prize of some sort, and want to show off their new-found abilities to the world. This On-2 "Atti-TWO'd" spreads like a virus and creates immature "holier than thou..." On-2 dancers and instructors without them even realizing it.

    Keep in mind however, that lately there are more and more On-2 dancers and instructors WITHOU this Atti-TWO'd. It is AWESOME to meet them, and an absolute pleasure dancing with them. Their characters are solid and secure, and when you get to know them, they have fantastic and very humble personalities.

    Fortunately there are more and more people who have matured in their dancing, and have decided this On-2 "Atti-TWO'd" is for the birds. They have instead decided to just DANCE on whatever beat their partner is most comfortable with! Musicality is starting to break the "holier than thou, Atti-TWO'd" trend. Thank GOD!! (Musicality is where both you and your partner both hit the breaks and hits of the music while falling back into the One or the Two or whatever beat you started on, and/or are most comfortable with).

    When you learn another style of Salsa and remain humble in ALL YOUR WAYS about it, you will never develop that attitude. Stay humble, stay likeable, and never put down ANYONE who dances a different style than you. We are all different, and have different tastes. One is not any better than the other.

    It's AWESOME learning different styles of Salsa,
    and very WISE to never forget where you came from.

    Up next: Dancing On-2 as an On-1 "Leader" _____________________________________________________________________________

    by Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
    Edie, The Salsa FREAK!! is one of the most recognized and respected Salsa Writers/Instructor/Performers in the world. In the past twenty years, she has traveled to 63 countries teaching the world to dance, and has been the first American to teach in 18 of those countries. She now lives in the high mountains of beautiful Colorado with her wonderful husband, Nick. You may contact her at

    • staffster
      staffster commented
      Editing a comment
      I will never forget my "one counting routes" lol I have met a couple of the "2 snobs" visiting florida from NY. I remember one saying to me, "you are a really good dancer, why you stick to this low level of salsa is beyond me, It is not dancing" LOL Sharon RaffonyACE Certified Personal Trainer for over 10 years.Group Fitness Instructor Yoga, Zumba, Strength Training(941) 284 3588
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