Understanding the beat of the music is the challenge of many beginners, and often times, intermediate and even advanced Salsa dancers. This isn't surprising at all, since Salsa music is composed of so many complex rhythms with underlying musical beats occurring simultaneously. Salsa music often has approximately 180 beats per minute!
Ladies: When dancing with a partner whose "off rhythm", challenge yourself to follow HIM instead of the music. Unless you lead the dance, it will be nearly impossible to keep him on beat without him feeling like he's not "in control" of the dance, which can lead to frustration and loss of enjoyment.
Gentlemen: You may have found yourself dancing with a partner who's anticipating your leads, perhaps because she's anxious that she will be an inadequate follower. Most commonly, when ladies are off rhythm they will be dancing too fast. To help her establish the rhythm of the song, it helps to start in closed position with a firm yet gentle frame that will allow you to guide her through her basic steps. Make sure to be aware of her footing; leading her into a turn or step at the wrong time may affect her balance!
If you feel like you too have trouble staying on rhythm, check out our article titled "Salsa Rhythm and Timing".