I'm in this discussion and one lady says, "I don't think you can teach musicality. It's an individual thing based on your personality, your partner, the music, the moment and more. There are too many factors involved and there are no rules, so I don't think so."
From her perspective, you either have it or you don't, and if you have it, you can't teach it to others. I disagree, although I share her observation that it's not a trivial task to teach, and I'll add that for some people, it's more effort than they want to invest in their dancing.
Assuming you want to be musical in your salsa dancing, what does it take? Awareness is the first step, and that includes learning some core concepts about the music.
Anybody can learn the core concepts, even if they don't fully master all of the details. You need to know the music, have reasonable control/dance experience, and be able to reflect the music in real time, including your partner in the process. Most people will take a while to mature into it because it requires a set of skills to come together.
Most people will NOT become world class just because they learn a few musical concepts. However, those that decide they want it can become dramatically better at it, especially as they become more and more aware of the different elements. Beginners rarely have all the skills, but that doesn't mean they can't be building awareness and putting a set of foundational pieces into play. Intermediate/advanced dancers will have a much shorter path since they have many of the body control pieces already in place.
Teaching dance musicality is similar to teaching someone to play jazz music, where improvisation is the cornerstone of the art. On one hand jazz appears to be somewhat random, but there are significant structures and foundations behind the scenes. You learn the overall structures, work through a set of exercises and concepts, learn from the masters before you, and with some effort and practice, you can dramatically improve. Over time you develop your own "voice", even though the foundation is similar for most people.
Many people won't put in the effort to learn all the components, and that's fine. Salsa dancing works for a wide set of people at many different levels and that's part of the beauty of the dance. Nobody has to do any of this for social dancing because it's not required to have a good time with your circle of friends/partners. A few people will pick up the musicality with little formal training, just like a few learn all social dancing without ever taking a class.
Most people grow faster with some assistance from those already down the road. The few people that decide they want to get to a different level will take the musicality seriously and will learn as much as possible from those who are already strong in that area. None of that negates your personality or the interplay, you simply have more tools to use as you grow your dancing.
Musicality awareness is a logical extension from the current state of the scene. Ignore it, embrace it--your choice. I suspect you'll see more people embracing it as it gains additional visibility over time. Dance continues to grow, mature and morph. Musicality is one more branch for people to explore, and it does set you apart when you become above average at it.
Check out the "Music4Dancers" series on YouTube if you want some foundational concept.
And be sure to leave your comments and feedback. I always enjoy hearing from you.
I wanted to make it really special on Valentine's Day, so I tied my boyfriend up. And for three solid hours I watched whatever I wanted to on TV.