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Salsa (dance)

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This article is about salsa as a dance; for other uses see Salsa.

This article uses Weasel Words. Please help by finding sources for any of the material here!

Salsa dancing.

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. 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 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. (See Salsa music for more information)

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. This is not to say that the steps are always on beats 1, 2 and 3 of the measure. (See Styles below.) 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 120 beats per minute to its fastest at around 180 beats per minute. (See salsa music).

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.



1 History 2 Foundations 2.1 Basic step 2.2 Break step 3 Basic Step On One
1 History
2 Foundations
2.1 Basic step
2.2 Break step
3 Basic Step On One
4 Basic Step On Two
5 Common turns
6 Salsa styles
Cuban style
6.6 On Clave 6.7 6.8 Puerto Rican style La Rueda 7 Salsa styling 7.1 Shines
On Clave
Puerto Rican style
La Rueda
7 Salsa styling
7.1 Shines
8 See also
9 External links

[edit] History

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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 [1] .

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.

The late Celia Cruz, hailed by many as the queen of salsa, said that salsa does not exist as a rhythm, but that it is rather an exclamation for music such as guaracha, bolero, cha cha cha, danzon, son, rumba, etc [citation needed] . The famous Latin composer and band leader Tito Puente also argued that there is no such thing as salsa but only mambo, rumba, danzon and cha cha cha, etc. [2]

According to the late David Melendez [3] , one of the first organizers of the East Coast Salsa Congress and a salsa dancer in New York since the 1970s, the word 'Salsa' first referred to the music. The term was coined in the 1970s by young musicians like Hector Lavoe, Larry Harlow, Ray Baretto, Willie Colon, who wanted a different name for the kind of music they were playing. The term 'salsa' was then popularized by Izzy Sanabria, owner of the Latin New York magazine, and Jerry Massuci, owner of Fania Records. Today, the term 'salsa' as we know it, has become synonymous with the dance, yet the dance suffers a "crisis of authenticity" whereby dancers are perpetually disagreeing over what qualifies and does not qualify as "salsa".

The dance steps currently being danced to salsa music come from the Cuban son, but were influenced by many other Cuban dances such as Mambo, Cha cha cha, Guaracha, Changuí, Palo Monte, Rumba, Abakuá, 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.

[edit] Foundations

funk, reggae, hip- hop and samba. [ edit ] Foundations A neck drop is a flashy,

A neck drop is a flashy,

performance-oriented Salsa


[edit] Basic step

The basic movement common across most salsa styles is to step quick-quick-slow over the 4 beat measure. Typically the quick steps are on beats one and two, and the slow step is on three. Beat four may be used to transfer weight slowly, or in some styles a tap or kick is used. Notable exceptions to this timing are New York Mambo and Colombian styles, which begin the three step sequence on beat 2; and Cuban styles, which may start the sequence on any count.

[edit] Break step

The Break Step is important in most styles of salsa. It serves two functions. First, the break step occurs on the same beat each measure and allows the partners to establish a connection and a common ground regarding the timing and size of steps. Secondly the break step is used in an open break to build arm tension and allow certain steps to be led. On which beat the break step occurs is what distinguishes different Salsa styles, generally "On One" from "On Two."

[edit] Basic Step On One

On counts 1, 2, and 3, the leader steps forward, replaces, and steps backward. On count 5, 6, and 7, they step backwards, replace, and step forward again. The follower does the same, but with forward and backward reversed, so that the couple goes back and forth as a unit. This basic step is part of many other patterns. For example, the leader may dance the basic step while leading the follower to do an underarm turn.

The following variants of the Basic step may be used, often called breaks.

Forward break: Starting from either foot, step Forward, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7 : Starting from either foot, step Forward, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7

Back break: Starting from either foot, step Backward, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7 : Starting from either foot, step Backward, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7

Side break: Starting from either foot, step Sideways, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7 : Starting from either foot, step Sideways, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7

[edit] Basic Step On Two

If the break steps occurs on count 2 and 6, it is called "On Two".

A popular style of dancing "On Two" is known as "New York Style" or "Eddie Torres Style":

The basic step starts on beat 1 with the lead stepping back on the left foot followed immediately with step further back on beat 2 with the right foot. On beat 3 the "replace step" occurs by fully shifting weight - returning it - to the left foot which is still in the same place it was from beat 1. Beat 4 consists of a pause, weight being maintained on the left foot while the lead prepares for beat 5 on which a step forward with the right foot takes place. On beat 6, the lead take the next break step going further forward on the left foot, replacing back on 7, and pausing on 8, and so on the pattern repeats.

Eddie Torres Style is so called because it was widely formalized and popularized by Eddie Torres whose clear teaching style and production of instructional videos opened up access to Salsa for many New Yorkers. It is not claimed that he invented the style. In those videos, Eddie Torres himself calls this "Night Club Style" [4] .

Dancing on 2 means that the break step synchronises with the accented slap of the tumbao pattern played on the conga drum. For this reason it is said to be more punchy and rhythmically oriented, whereas on 1 is more melodically oriented.

Note that commonly On 2 starts the basic pattern with the lead moving back and the follow moving forward, while On 1 the lead starts the basic step forward and follow steps back.

[edit] Common turns

The following turns are used in almost all salsa dancing regardless of the basic used or style employed.

Outside Turn (Underarm Turn) – similar to the "arch turn" in swing and many other dances, follower turns clockwisedancing regardless of the basic used or style employed. Inside Turn – follower turns counterclockwise (to

Inside Turn – follower turns counterclockwise (to her left)in swing and many other dances, follower turns clockwise Spot Turn – either, or often both,

Spot Turn – either, or often both, partners turn 360° remaining in the same spotTurn – follower turns counterclockwise (to her left) Extension – partners break in opposing directions to

Extension – partners break in opposing directions to build arm tension between them. Often leads into a spot turn or an in-and-out.often both, partners turn 360° remaining in the same spot In-and-Out (Copa) - From a cross-hand

In-and-Out (Copa) - From a cross-hand hold (left over right), leader creates an extension, then pulls the woman in with the right hand while leading the left hand over her head to the other side of her, causing her to turn 180° to her left. The follower is then pushed back out, and will do at least another half left turn to return her to facing the lead.between them. Often leads into a spot turn or an in-and-out. Cross Body Lead – follower

Cross Body Lead – follower is led to opposite side of lead, causing them to swap positions in a counter-clockwise fashion. Exists in other Latin dances such as Cha-cha-cha . Cha-cha-cha.

Reverse Cross Body Lead – same as Cross Body Lead, but couple exchanges positions in a clockwise fashion.Exists in other Latin dances such as Cha-cha-cha . Basket – A type of extension where

Basket – A type of extension where the leader is behind the follower and holds the follower's arms wrapped around her shoulders while she breaks forward and the leader breaks backward.Lead, but couple exchanges positions in a clockwise fashion. Windmill – A type of lead for

Windmill – A type of lead for a turn where rather than leading the turn from above the follower's head, the leader loops the arm widely down and up, so that the lead is more vertical than horizontal.while she breaks forward and the leader breaks backward. [ edit ] Salsa styles There are

[edit] 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 brief descriptions of major "recognizable" styles.

[edit] Cuban style

A salsa instructor trains youngsters in Camagüey , Cuba . Cuban-style salsa can be danced

A salsa instructor trains youngsters in Camagüey, Cuba.

Cuban-style salsa can be danced either "on one" or "a contratiempo" – the latter is often referred to as "on two". An essential element is the "Cuba step" (also known as Guapea), where the leader does a backward basic on 1-2-3 and a forward basic on 5-6-7. The follower does the same, thereby mirroring the leader's movement. Another characteristic of this style is that in many patterns the leader and follower circle around each other.

The cross body lead is an essential step in this style too and is referred to as Salida Cubana or as Dile que no in Rueda de Casino Dancing. This move becomes essential in the more complex derivative of Cuban Casino leading to the many moves of Rueda, or wheel dance. Here multiple couples exchange partners and carry out moves synchronized by a caller.

[edit] Los Angeles style

L.A. style is danced on 1, in a slot. It is highly influenced by Hollywood and by the swing & mambo dances. L.A. style emphasizes sensuousness, theatricality, and acrobatics.

The two essential elements of this dance are the forward/backward basic as described above, 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.

Francisco Vazquez, along with his two brothers, Luis and Johnny, are often credited with developing the LA style of salsa. Francisco taught both of his brothers how to dance and all of them went on to become famous worldwide through their unique style of dancing. Francisco Vazquez, along with his brother Johnny, founded "Los Rumberos" Dance Company at the start of their career, which is still the leading dance company in Los Angeles. Luis Vazquez, along with then Joby Vazquez (now Joby Martinez) founded Salsa Brava Dance Company, which was another leading

dance company in Los Angeles for many years.

Other people who also helped create L.A. Style as we know it are, Rogelio Moreno, Alex Da Silva, Joby Martinez, Josie Neglia, Cristian Oviedo, Luis 'Zonik' Aguilar and many others. Tony Cordero and Robert Menache helped spread the influence of the LA style to Long Beach and Orange County.

The reasons why L.A. Style of salsa is so well-known around the world are widely disputed. One major factor has been the broadcast of competition video clips from the Mayan World Salsa Championships on the Club Mayan website. Every year, competitors from many parts of the United States and the world come together to challenge each other in this competition. Before moving to Europe, Johnny Vazquez was the reigning king of the Mayan competitions; he was practically unbeatable as he surpassed all other competitors with his skilled dancing and precise spins. Since then, however, the results of the competition have not been endorsed by many and the competition has lost validity, but it remains, nonetheless, one of the biggest competitions in the world.

[edit] New York style

New York style emphasises efficiency of movement, elegance, and body isolations. By focusing on control, timing, and precision of technique, dancers aim for smooth execution of tightly woven complex patterns. In New York City this style is danced strictly On 2, although dancers around the world often integrate elements and repertoire from New York into their dancing On 1.

On 2 timing emphasises the conga drum's tumbao pattern, and encourages the dancer to listen to percussive elements of the music. Advocate of New York Style consider this to more accurately reflect the Afro-Caribbean ancestry of the music.

Many also refer to this style as "Mambo" since it breaks on beat 2 of the measure, though there are other dance forms with a more legitimate claim to that name. (See Mambo.)

In a social setting, New York style is danced more compactly than LA style. The etiquette of New York style is strict about remaining in the "slot" and avoiding travelling.

New York style tends to place a greater emphasis on performing "shines" where dancers separate and dance solo for a time.

New York style dancers are typically very serious about the musicality and timing of their dancing. To satisfy their tastes, "socials" are often held that cater to almost exclusively playing "salsa dura" (lit. "Hard Salsa". This is mid-to-up-tempo salsa with an emphasis on percussion and band orchestration rather than the vocals.

The longest-running social in New York is the Jimmy Anton social, which is held every first, third and fifth (if there is a fifth) Sunday of the month.

New York Style's first and most famous champion is popularly held to be Eddie Torres. Eddie Torres has been dancing since 1962 and has been teaching since 1970. Countless figures in the salsa scene have performed with the Eddie Torres dancers, such as Seaon Bristol (a.k.a. Seaon Stylist), Amanda Estilo, Eric Baez, April Genovese de la Rosa and many more.

Other important figures in the On2 style are Frankie Martinez, Ismael Otero, Tomas Guererro, Osmar Perrones, Griselle Ponce, Ana and Joel Masacote, and many others.

While the New York style is the predominant style found in the eastern United States, the style finds favor with professional salsa dancers and salsa teachers the world over. Thus, it can be seen at salsa congresses all around the world.

[edit] Colombian style

Colombian Style Salsa is the style danced in South and Central America. In the Colombian style basic-step, partners dance side-to-side and mirror each other's movements. In Colombian style, the break is on the three and the "spare beat" is always used for a tap or other embellishment.

Colombian Style can be danced not only to Salsa music, but also to Cumbia music which is frequently played in Latin nightclubs.

In advanced Colombian style, danced for example in Cali, the upper body is kept still, poised, and relaxed while executing endless intricacies in the feet.

This style is especially appropriate on packed nightclub dance floors where space is limited. Most of the steps danced during the Merengue, another Latin dance which is popular in Salsa clubs, have been carried over from Colombian style Salsa.

It is said that Colombian salsa evolved during the big band swing era, when swing dance steps were danced to Cumbia music. Cumbia was traditionally danced in folkloric ensembles without holding one's partner.

[edit] Power 2 / Palladium 2 / Ballroom Mambo

This style is similar to Los-Angeles style, but it instead begins on the second beat of the measure, rather than the first. The basic step timing is 2-3-4,6-7-8 with the breaks on 2 and 6. This style is taught by Razz M'Tazz dance company of New York, whose director, Angel Rodriguez, coined the term "Power 2."

It is important to note that although this style is also known as dancing "En Clave",

the name is not implying that the step timing should follow the rhythm of the Clave as in 2-3 or 3-2. It only means that you take the first step (and break) on the second beat of the measure, where a clave beat in 2-3 starts.

[edit] On Clave

Cuban Pete, a pioneer of Mambo in New York, advocates dropping the formalism of the count, and instead dancing "on clave". This involves breaking on 2 on the 2- side of the clave and breaking on the second clave beat, i.e. on the and-of 2 on the 3-side of the clave. [5]

[edit] Puerto Rican style

This style can be danced as "On One" or "On Two". When danced "On Two", the leader steps forward with the left foot on count 2. The basic continues like the New York basic with the timing rotated 4 beats.

There is a Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico where salsa groups all around the world attend and perform.

[edit] La Rueda

Main article: Rueda de Casino. In the 1950s Salsa Rueda (Rueda de Casino) was developed in Havana, Cuba. Pairs of dancers form a circle (Rueda in Spanish), with dance moves called out by one person. Many of the moves involve rapidly swapping partners. In the Philippines 2005, a growing interest among young Filipinos led to a fusion of salsa and community dance, later called Ronda de Salsa, a dance similar to Rueda but with salsa dance moves that were choreographed locally and in Filipino names. Among the popular calls in Ronda were: Gising, Pule, Patria, Dolorosa, Lakambini and La Antonio.[1]

[edit] Salsa styling

Incorporating styling techniques into any style of salsa has become very common. For both men and women shines, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies and rolls, and even hand styling have become a huge trend in the salsa scene. There are lessons dedicated to the art of salsa styling. Hip hop, jazz, flamenco, belly dancing, ballroom, break-dancing/pop and rock, Afro Cuban styles, and Bhangra have all been infused into the art of styling.

[edit] Shines

Normally Salsa is a partner dance, danced in a handhold. However sometimes dancers include shines, which are basically "show-offs" and involve fancy footwork

and body actions, danced in separation. They are supposed to be improvisational breaks, but there are a huge number of "standard" shines. Also, they fit best during the mambo sections of the tune, but they may be danced whenever the dancers feel appropriate. They are a good recovery trick when the connection or beat is lost during a complicated move, or simply to catch the breath. One possible origin of the name shine is attributed to the period when non-Latin tap-dancers would frequent Latin clubs in New York in the 1950s. In tap, when an individual dancer would perform a solo freestyle move, it was considered their "moment to shine". On seeing Salsa dancers perform similar moves the name was transposed and eventually stuck, leading to these moves being called 'shines'.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

dance) World Salsa Championships [ edit ] External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: salsa

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