Learning on1 and on2

Question by User Inmyfeelings123


I started learning salsa on1 (as a follow) 3 months ago and have been enjoying it immensely! After watching a lot of dance videos, i decided I would also love to learn how to dance (follow) on2. Salsa on2 so beautiful to watch, but it’s hard to dance at socials with the limited experience I have.

If I wanted to learn both, how should I go about it? Should I continue with taking classes on1 for a while then take classes on2? I know a lot of the moves are interchangeable, but the styling/timing is different.. and I don’t want to get confused moving from on1 to on2.

Any advice would be helpful! Thanks in advance


User MarkPil  

Disclaimer: I’m a lead. As a novice I recommend focusing on whichever you prefer. You’ll want to internalize as much salsa as you can. Once you’re feeling really comfortable with your “main” step, try migrating your most common or favorite moves to the other rhythm.

When I started trying the other rhythm, I focused on the “1” beat, and making sure I was stepping with the correct foot on that 1. If you’re missing that, the rest will definitely fall apart.


I am a follower. I danced and learned on 1 first back to community college which was like couple years ago. Once I got comfortable with on 1, I started to learn on 2. At first, I was a little bit confused about the on 2 timing but the more I dance on 2, the more comfortable I am. I really like dancing on 2 tbh, I can do more style and have more time to extend the move ( I think) , it’s a personal preference. If I really need to give a suggestion, I highly recommend to learn one of them first then go for either one of them later so we will not get super confused.

User salil91   

Since you probably can’t dance with partners much right now, you can start learning the basics of on2 regarding the timing. You can learn the fundamentals, the movements, and some shines/styling.

Everything you have learned about following On1 will translate to On2 pretty easily once you have the timing down. The most important thing is to train your brain and body to the different timing and your ear to identify the 2. Practice is the only way since, right now, you have the muscle memory to fall into On1 steps.

User tocahawk   

styling/timing is different.

how different is the styling between the two?

any video I found about the differences only stops at the timing difference 🙁

User double-you   

Nothing is really different except the timing.

And timing you learn by doing. But you will forever have a timing that you are used to and which is habitual, and the other will need some reminding during the dance. Which one it is pretty much depends on which one you dance more.

Mainly you need to remember where to go for beat 1. Back (1) or forward (2)? And whatever strategies you can come up with that help with that are useful.

Do shines and get back to basic. Check if your timing is right. Do right/left turns, do spins, get back to basic. Go through basic partnerwork bits solo, like crossbody leads, insides, outsides, copas and get back to basic checking that you are on the right timing.

User live1053 

go for it!

you’ll find that on2 affords you more time (beats). that is because, in most cases, you’ll start the turns on the 2& (one of the breaking beat on on2). that means once you complete the turn (on the 5th beat) you’ll have 3 beats left until the end of the (salsa) measure.

with on1 the turns start on 5& (breaking beat on on1) and ends on the 8th beat. but most turns are rushed or executed earlier than 5& in order to finish the turn either before or on the end of the (salsa) measure.

best advise i can give is break the basic down to front side basic and back side basic. then learn and understand the nuances of the front side versus the back side basics. one will feel more natural than the other. but in either timing the front side is like a mirror image of back side and vice versa. also, understanding each side means understanding the break (change in direction) on each side as well.

this probably sounds like a foreign language. just think as you do and put your understanding in your own language or terms. the important thing is to think about what you are doing and internalizing that.

also, to get the fundamentals please watch and study eddie torres’ instructional video available on youtube. think about what he’s instructing on how to dance on2. it’s pretty straight forward. the instructions seem deceptively simple but it is but you have to flush out all the components of the dance to help you. eddie was the one who documented how to dance on on2. he wasn’t the first to dance on2. to me that’s the theory, the bible, the fundamentals of on2. anyone saying anything else about how to dance on2 is making stuff up, haven’t watched eddie torres instructional video, or didn’t comprehend eddie’s instructions. it is amazingly powerful too. just think about it.

lastly, have fun and many years of pure bliss.

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