Origin of Salsa Dance

in Ballroom Dance - Salsa

The origin of Salsa dance is a little tough to be traced. Perhaps the main reason is that this is also a dance which has mixed origin.  Some say it came from Cuba and some say it came from Puerto Rico. So it is safe to assume that Salsa is a combination of a dances performed by Africans, the Latins,  the Caribbean dancers  as well as dances of Puerto Rico and Cuba. Or at least each geographical area has played a role in the evolution of the salsa dance.

Similar to the Tango, Mambo and other dances the Salsa too took wings and flew to the US in the early 1940s. Here in the city of New York the origin of Salsa dance got a face lift by the Latin, Cuban and Puerto Rican community and what we dance today as the Salsa is this modified version. Besides the modification the Salsa also borrowed some steps from Rumba and Mambo. Trumpets, Cowbells and Congas are some of the instruments which give accompanying music for the Salsa dance besides the Claves and the Timbales.

Since Salsa has borrowed steps from Mambo it is natural that there is similarity in dancing styles. Both have six dance steps for a count of eight and the moves are also distinctly similar at times. The difference is that the mambo is danced with maximum backward and forward movements and the Salsa has included a lot of turns and it has a number of side stepping moves like the chases.

Even though the origin of Salsa dance did not take place in New York, this great city is responsible for its name “Salsa”. This name was given to represent its mixed dance and music origin from different Hispanic countries and its music like Guarcha, Merengue, Cha-Cha-Cha-, Charanga, Rumba and mambo to name just a few.

The Salsa is a lively dance performed with passionate energy and with a lot of sensuous movements. Salsa  is usually danced with a partner because of its sensuous and passionate character but can also be performed singly and appreciated for its footwork and dance moves. The origin of Salsa dance says that the name Salsa was aptly derived from the Spanish word “Sauce” referring to its spicy flavor.

The Salsa is a fast dance with some slow movement in between performed in two bars of four beats each with three dance steps for each of the four beats. The dancers shift their body weight during the skipped beat and raise heels and drop hips getting ready for the next step. The steps go left forward, right replace , both together, skip and then right backward, left replace and both together, skip.  The Salsa can be performed in a range of 120-180 beats per minutes. Now that you know the origin of Salsa dance, I am sure you feel like learning it, right?

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