Although the name Salsa was first coined in New York City, the dance has its roots in Cuba. A blending of the Haitian “danzón”, the African “rhumbas”, the Cuban “són”, and the Spanish “troubadour”, Salsa is more a compilation and blending of many other Latin and Afro-Caribbean dance styles.

Centuries ago, Caribbean dancers began to dance the Salsa as a blending of their cultures. In the 1930s, when large numbers of Caribbean people immigrated to New York, they brought their dance with them. By the 1950s, the Salsa was vastly popular throughout New York City.

Salsa is generally danced with a single partner, although it is sometimes danced in large groups where frequent partner exchanges can occur during a single song. The improvisational and social elements to the dance have made it very popular in recent years for those looking for a fun night out at a dance club.

The music of the Salsa is typically complex African-influenced percussion rhythms ranging from 70 to 140 beats per minute. Various instruments are used to produce the beat of the music, including claves, cowbells, timbales, and conga drums. Other core instruments used in the Salsa are trumpets, trombones, and bass guitars for rhythm effect.

The music follows a 4/4 time signature, but usually follows a repetition of 8 beats, or two measures, of music. Certain melodic phrases will extend to a total of 16 beats, and entire stanzas can last a full eight measures of music, or 32 beats. These repetitious phrases provide the necessary rhythm for the Salsa dancers to explore their improvisational dance style.

The Salsa has long been compared to the Mambo, as well. In the Mambo most movements are forward and backwards, but in the Salsa the movements are more often side to side motions, as well as turns. The interesting part of the Salsa is in the three variations in style. The original Cuban style is performed with the leader and follower circling around each other while performing their movements. In the Los Angeles style, Swing and Mambo dance styles are combined with the Salsa to create an aerobic, sensual, and musical experience. In contrast, the New York style focuses on elegance, body isolation motions, and efficient movements with a focus on timing, control, and precession.

Although the popularity of Salsa reached its peak in the 1970s, Salsa has retained a large audience into the 21st century through its portrayal in movies and television. Shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” have again been raising the popularity of dances such as the Salsa.

[youtube src="aVtWSZOttC0"/]

Region of origin: 

Popularized by: 
Caribbean immigrants to NYC

Post a Comment


Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Theme images by graphixel. Powered by Blogger.