Salsa dancing originated in Cuba; however, it is a modification of many Latin and Afro-Caribbean dances. Each of these has contributed to the evolution of Salsa dancing. Countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Columbia and Puerto Rico came together in Mexico City. This was also the case with New York City. Salsa dance lessons became popular because of the promotion of Salsa dancing in these two cities. In fact, New York came up with the term “Salsa”; however, it did not create the dance.
It is not only Cuban; nevertheless we must give credit to Cuba for the origin and ancestry of creation. It is here where Contra-Danze (Country Dance) of England/France, later called Danzón, which was brought by the French who fled from Haiti, begins to mix itself with Rhumbas of African origin (Guaguanco, Colombia, Yambú). Add Són of the Cuban people, which was a mixture of the Spanish troubadour (sonero) and the African drumbeats and flavora and a partner dance flowered to the beat of the clave
Second Tab ContentSalsa music has a very defined structure:
1. an introduction
2. a melodic phase
3. a rhythmic or percussion phase
4. another melodic phase
5. and the ending
Salsa is played in a common 4/4 time, which means four beats to each bar. The music is played in two bar phrases, thus forming a total of eight beats.
In the base rhythm, the eight beats are played on a tall drum called conga. Over this base rhythm, other layers of percussion are added and overlapped.
the most important and the one that marks the strongest criterion when defining a piece of music as Salsa is the clave.
The clave is a rhythm played by hitting one stick against another. The sticks themselves are also called clave. Both musicians and singers must obey the clave, playing notes or accentuating syllables that highlight most or all of the clave beats.
Salsa music is typically 140 beats per minute to 210 beats per minute.
There are three different counting systems.
#1 - This is generally called the basic Salsa dance counting system. The break step occurs on count one, the first beat of the measure. The replace step occurs on count 2 and the slow step occurs on counts 3 and 4.
#2 - This is generally called the Ballroom Mambo counting system. The break step occurs on count 2, which is the second beat of the measure. The replace step occurs on count 3 and the slow step occurs on counts 4 and 1.
Counting system #3 - This is generally called the New York Club Style Mambo. The break step occurs on count 2, the second beat of the measure. The replace step is also the slow step and happens on beats 3 and 4.
The most popular counting system Salsa dance classes teach is counting system number one. Most Salsa dance beginners will perform a tap step on the second half of the slow step, which means the tap step occurs on the fourth beat of the measure.
There are eight different salsa styles
• Los Angeles Style (LA Style)
• Rueda Style
• Cuban Style
• Columbian Style
• New York style or Eddie Torres style
• Power 2 / Palladium 2 / Ballroom Mambo
• On Clave
• Puerto Rican style
Cuban-style salsa, also known as Casino, is a form of salsa dance that originated in Cuba.
This style of salsa is relatively easy to learn and thus popular among beginners.
Casino has a strong basic step known as "Guapea" (lit. "Chill Out" by Afro-Cuban Community), in which the male lead put his left foot behind on the break, which is a contrast to the most common basic Salsa step in which the male lead places his left foot forward.
Casino styling includes men being "machisimo" and women being femininely sexy, with major body and muscle isolations. During the dance, dancers often break from each other during percussion solos and perform the "despelote," an advanced form of styling in which the male and female partner get physically close and tease each other without touching through the gyrating of hips and shoulders while performing muscle isolations.
Salsa LA style, also known as Salsa On One
There are two essential elements of this dance, the forward/backward basic, and the cross-body lead.
In this pattern, the leader steps forward on 1, steps to the right on 2-3 while turning 90 degrees counter-clockwise (facing to the left). The follower then steps forward on 5-6, and turns on 7-8, while the leader makes another 90 degrees counter-clockwise. After these 8 counts, the leader and follower have exchanged their positions
LA style is exciting, elegant and sensual incorporating suave "shine" footwork. It's one of the most popular Salsa styles around the world today
It is a style that has borrowed extensively from other dance styles. It has been influenced by Cuban & New York style Salsa, Jazz, Swing and even Ballroom dancing. From these influences, the modern dancers of this style have further refined it to produce a distinctive range of turn patterns. Most LA style moves are based on the "cross-body lead", where the man leads the woman across his body in a linear motion. This basic dance component is shared by other dance styles like Cuban and New York styles. All three dance styles share many other common turn patterns as well. For example, the Cuban style "Setenta" is also known as "Hammer-lock" in LA & New York style.
LA style has shines too! Shines are a spontaneous form of styling combining complicated footwork with intricate hand and body styling. Couples break away from each other in the middle of a dance to start their individual "shines". Effectively a short break from a dance routine, "shining" allows dancers to express their individuality while complementing the style of their dance partner. Shines are most often used where the music breaks into a fast, pulsating conga beat
it does not focus on the complicated arm movements normally associated with the basic Cuban style. Additionally, the LA style turn patterns are normally "in-line", as opposed to "circular" in the Cuban style. LA style differs from the New York style in that the timing is more relaxed. New York style requires distinctly precise timing to execute all the checks and catches. Most importantly, however, is that many of the LA style moves are sexy and flamboyant, with lots of dips, spins, drops…enough to dazzle any spectator.
Compared to LA Style, the salsa New York style is a more elegant interpretation that leverages the momentum of the dancers to create a flowing and intricate series of turns and spins where control, timing, precision and technique are emphasized over flash, acrobatics and showmanship.
The Salsa New York style is danced strictly "On 2". The clave and the tombao of the conga are the instruments on which this dance style is based on.
Many also refer to this style as "Mambo style", which similarly breaks on the second and sixth beats of every eight-beat phrase.
The New York style is typically danced more compactly than the LA style, as New York style dancers almost religiously stay in their "space" and generally take up less space on the dance floor.
ew York Style's first and most famous champion is unquestionably "The Mambo King" Eddie Torres. Eddie Torres has been dancing since 1962 and has been teaching since 1970.
Rueda de Casino (Rueda, Casino Rueda, Salsa Rueda) is a particular type of round dancing of Salsa.
In Cuba, the salsa dance goes by the name of Casino, which comes from the so called 'Rueda de Casino' (Casino Wheel), a formation made up of several couples which, guided by a "leader", make figures and exchange partners.
Pairs of dancers form a circle, with dance moves called out by one person, a caller (or "líder" or "cantante" in Spanish). Many moves have hand signs to complement the calls; these are useful in noisy venues, where spoken calls might not be easily heard. Many moves involve the swapping of partners.
The leader calls out different names such as enchufla or 70, which corresponds to a certain dance pattern. All other dancers immediately respond by performing that particular dance pattern.
Casino Salsa dance moves are characterized by complicated arm movements.