Not an exhaustive list, but here's seven things that can make your dancing SO much more pleasurable!
1. Mechanics - The one thing most people put all of their attention on, but really only one part of the whole dance experience. It's essential that you learn moves if you want to be a good salsa dancer, but you want to think of this as just a small piece of a much bigger picture. Attending a regular weekly salsa class or learning moves from a DVD or the internet can teach you the mechanics of how to salsa, but if this is all you ever do, it will not only take you a long time to learn to dance well, but you may never have the experience of a REALLY great dance.
2. Practice - How many hours a week do you practice? A lot of people think that you can learn to salsa by attending a lesson or two each week. Although that's true, if you put in just a little bit of extra practice during the week, you can increase your results hugely! You may not think you have time to practice, but if you can invest just 5 minutes of your time on a regular daily basis, the results can be massive.
3. Connection - There should be a feeling of connectedness between a couple when they're dancing. This can only be achieved when BOTH halves of the couple know about connection. Ladies need to learn all about arm tension (when to have it and when to not have it) and about how to follow a man's lead in a fraction of a second. Men need to learn how to lead at EXACTLY the right time, how to lead with just the right amount of pressure and how to make their leads flow.
4. Timing - Equally important for men and ladies to work on. Although a lot of people think that the man sets the pace and so the timing of the dance is all up to him, if a lady doesn't hear the rhythm properly and is dancing slightly off-beat, it can make the whole dance feel awkward and very ungraceful.
5. Confidence - Very important to develop initially so you don't feel too self-conscious to get up and practice. After you have a few basic moves down, the more confident you feel on the dance-floor, the more graceful you will look. If you feel nervous about your dancing this will show through. As you start to add styling to your dancing, confidence becomes even more important still.
6. Focus - Focus applies to a lot of different areas of dancing. You need to focus during classes when you are initially learning the moves to make sure that you're learning them correctly. You also need to focus on timing, confidence and connection if these don't come "naturally" to you. Most of all, you need to focus on your dance partner when dancing, to ensure that you have a dance that will make them want to come back for more.
7. Attitude - A positive attitude is really important. Firstly about your own dancing. Telling yourself and others that you're not good at salsa will just hold you back. If you tell yourself instead that you're going to be great at salsa (if you're not very good yet or are just starting) it will help to keep you focussed and make you want to keep practicing. A lot of people think that because they're struggling with the moves after a few weeks or months of classes, that they're just no good and will never learn. It's my belief that ANYONE can learn to be a good salsa dancer within 6 months, IF they're willing to stick to a training plan! Attitude also applies when you're at a class or party. If you have a good, happy, positive attitude you will attract other happy and positive people, make lots of friends and always have LOADS of people queuing up to dance with you, so you can have a great night out whenever and wherever you want one!