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Salsa

Street Latin is designed for nightclubs, bars and anywhere where there is music.

 


It uses dips, spins and great movements so you and your partner can have lots of fun together and enjoy the music.

With Latin America to thank for its origins, Street Latin also has influences from the Caribbean islands. Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, Bachata, Lambada are all danced to vibrant, exciting and sexy Latino music.

One of the most popular styles of Street Latin dance is Salsa, there are many different styles of salsa that are taught across the world and it is an ever changing style.

What is Salsa?

Salsa refers to a style of music and dance which has its origins in the Caribbean and South America, but which has developed all over the world, into variations that have created a number of recognized styles. It is the most popular of a variety of Latin dances and has developed into an international phenomenon which is taking the world by storm! It has become more than a casual pass time for many; it is a passionate lifestyle for thousands of people all over the world, and with yearly Sydney events such as Bacardi Festival, Darling Harbour Fiesta, Sydney Salsa Congress, and Sydney Latin Fiesta the rate at which it is growing is amazing.

Salsa (the dance)

Salsa refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba and Puerto Rico), Latin and North America. The dance originated through the mixture of Mambo, Danzn, Guaguanc, Cuban Son, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Salsa is danced to Salsa music. There is a strong African influence in the music as well as the dance.

Salsa is usually a partner dance, although there are recognized solo steps and some forms are danced in groups of couples, with frequent exchanges of partner (Rueda de Casino). Improvisation and social dancing are important elements of Salsa but it appears as a performance dance too.

The name "Salsa" is the Spanish word for sauce, connoting (in American Spanish) a spicy flavor. The Salsa aesthetic is more flirtatious and sensuous than its ancestor, Cuban Son. Salsa also suggests a "mixture" of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term's origin.

Rhythm and steps

Salsa is danced on a core rhythm that lasts for two measures of four beats each. The basic step typically uses three steps each measure. This pattern might be quick-quick-slow, taking two beats to gradually transfer the weight, or quick-quick-quick allowing a tap or other embellishment on the vacant beat. It is conventional in salsa for the two musical measures to be considered as one, so the count goes from 1 to 8 over two musical bars.

Typically the music involves complex African percussion rhythms based around the Son clave or Rumba clave. Music suitable for dancing ranges from slow at about 70 beats per minute to its fastest at around 140 beats per minute though most dancing is done to music somewhere between 80-120 beats per minute.

Use of space

Salsa is a slot or spot dance, i.e. the partners do not need to travel over the dance floor but usually occupy a fixed area of the dance floor, rotating around one another and exchanging places. Traveling is not ruled out but is more used in a staged salsa performance. In a social setting it is bad etiquette to occupy too much floor by traveling.

History

The history of "Salsa" dance is peppered with hearsay and contradiction. Although few would disagree that the music and dance forms originate largely in Cuban Son, most agree that Salsa as we know it today is a North American interpretation of the older forms. New York's Latino community had a vibrant musical and dancing scene throughout the '50s but found limited success with the 'Anglo' mainstream. In the 1970s, adoption of the term "Salsa" reduced the linguistic and cultural barriers to mainstream adoption of Latin music and dance.

The modernization of the Mambo in the 1950s was influential in shaping what would become salsa. There is debate as to whether the dance we call Salsa today originated in Cuba or Puerto Rico. Cuba's influence in North America was diminished after Castro's revolution and the ensuing trade embargo. New York's Latino community was largely Puerto-Rican. Salsa is one of the main dances in both Cuba and Puerto Rico and is known world-wide.

Origin of the salsa steps

The dance steps currently being danced to salsa music come from the son, but were influenced by many other Cuban dances such as Mambo, Cha cha cha, Guaracha, Changu, Palo Monte, Rumba, Abaku, Comparsa and some times even Mozambique. Solo salsa steps are called "Shines", a term taken from Tap dancing. It also integrates swing dances. Salsa can be a heavily improvised dance, taking any form the interpreter wishes. Modern Salsa has elements of Jazz, funk reggae, hip-hop and samba.

Salsa styles

There are many characteristics that may identify a style. There may be different step patterns, different timing of steps, particular movement on the dance floor (ex: slot, circular), dancer preference of turns and moves, attitude, dress code, and others. The presence of one or more of particular elements does not necessarily define a particular style. For example, many styles can be danced "On One" or one style may be danced "On One" or "On Two". The following are the major "recognizable" styles.

  • Cuban Style
  • Los Angeles Style
  • New York Style
  • Venezolana (Dominicana) Style
  • Colombian Style
  • Mambo
  • Puerto Rican Style
  • La Rueda
  • Salsa Disco

Health benefits of Salsa

Salsa dancing blends physical, mental and social aspects into a stress lowering exercise

Dancing alone or with a partner is one of the most satisfying and empowering ways to exercise. It is a way to let lose and have fun while moving to the beat of the music, and it provides tremendous health benefits. The Mayo Clinic reported that dancing increases energy, improves strength and balance, and increases muscle tone and coordination. It is a real stress buster.

Salsa dancing helps keep the body trim and slim. It increases muscle mass, boosts endurance, and expands range of motion. Salsa dancing can burn up to 420 calories an hour, without the harmful side effects that may be caused by high impact exercises such as running. Dancing the night away can burn more calories per hour than riding a bike or swimming.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, salsa dancing can lower the risk of coronary heart disease, decrease blood pressure, and strengthen the bones of the legs and hips. It provides the heart-healthy benefits of an aerobic exercise while allowing for engagement in a social activity. Vigorous salsa dancing produces sweat that cleanses toxins from the body. Blood pressure and heart rate can be reduced by frequent dancing.

Because salsa dancing is a physical as well as a social activity, it is stimulating to the mind. A 21 year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found dancing can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in the elderly.

Dancing provides a triple benefit for the brain. Not only does the physical aspect of dancing increase blood flow to the brain, but the social aspects help keep away loneliness and depression. Memorizing the steps involves a cognitive challenge. And maybe best of all, it provides an opportunity to laugh and have fun, making salsa dancing good for the body, mind and soul.

Courtesy of Naturalnews.com editor Barbara Minton.

What is New York Style Salsa 'On2'?
Some music lends itself more to this style, but essentially it's still done to Salsa music and still comes under the general heading of "Salsa". New York Style Salsa 'On2' can be just as fast and flashy as L.A style, but can be identified by its smooth, elegant, elastic style.