While being out on the dance floor alone is perfectly acceptable, salsa is traditionally danced with a partner. The abilities and experience of both partners will be evident as they take the floor. If both have danced a lot, they will be comfortable in their steps. Partners who have practiced together are able to do much more with the basic steps than those who have just met on the floor for the first time. They will enhance their performance with spins or twirls as the music plays.
Salsa is a relatively fast dance, and different music can increase the beat. Those who are new to this dance will prefer to take it at its slowest pace, but experienced dancers will want the challenge of the fastest music available. When dancing with a partner, it is even more challenging as both must know what to expect from each other. This is one reason practicing together is important, and finding someone compatible can make all the difference on the floor.
Being comfortable with a partner will show in the steps, but the hip swaying action is the real giveaway in this dance. If the partners are not comfortable with each other, they will tend to be stiff. Looseness while dancing is what helps the hips move, and experienced dancers are able to accomplish this with any partner.
Turning during the dance is one of the ways to spot an experienced couple on the floor. They are comfortable with their moves, and the woman will generally do a turn during the third or eighth beat of the music. This is worked into the step pattern that her partner finishes, but she will stay in the same place and spin completely around during her steps. As she completes her turn, they will continue with the dance pattern as the music plays.