12 Apr Salida
Salida is a Spanish word for departure, and it meant the departure of a couple into the line of dance. Imagine a line of dance as a stream which flows counter-clockwise on the floor, and for a couple who are outside of the floor to enter it and dance, they have to join the stream. Salida is their joining this stream of line of dance.
When a couple are about to enter the floor, the man of the couple looks at a man on the floor to get his permission to enter, which is usually a small nod or an eye gesture. The man who permits will slow down the advance so that an opening is created in the line of dance. The man enters the opening first, standing near the edge of the floor facing it. Then, the woman enters and stands in front of him. He protects the three sides around her with his two arms and his back. The last side, which is her back, is protected by the edge of the floor.
Then, the couple take a back step to enter the stream, with the man’s right foot and the woman’s left foot. Then, they take a side step in the stream along the line of dance, with the man’s left foot and the woman’s right foot. By now, they have entered the line of dance and progressed along the line of dance by one step. In 1940s, the couple then would often pivot to align themselves with the line of dance (man facing the couple ahead, woman facing the couple behind). This was a popular way of doing salida that time.
If the couple have already positioned themselves in the line of dance before starting to dance instead of starting at the edge of the floor, the back step is not necessary. If there is no space for taking a side step along the line of dance, then it will not be taken, either.