“Dancing is the poetry of the foot”Contents
In this article, we will maneuver you through the different types of Salsa dances. But before we dive right into it let us start from understanding the concept of ‘Dancing’
An art or performing art form, Dancing includes several movements flawlessly synchronized and beautifully portrayed. The fluidity of the movements is aesthetically pleasing.
Dance can vividly be categorized into different forms based on the nature of movements, choreography, place of origin, and other factors.
Evidence has been found of the most primitive dance forms in the 900-year-old paintings in Bhimbedka, India. Other archaeological findings include the paintings depicting figurines in beautiful postures in the Egyptian tombs, some as early as 3300 BC.
Among various dance styles, Salsa is an all-time popular favorite.
A Latin American dance form, Salsa is often associated with its namesake music genre.
It is an amalgamation of numerous forms of dance such as Pachanga, Mambo, and Rumba along with some American forms such as Tap and swing.
Salsa was initially created by Cubans and Puerto Ricans in the late 70s.
Numerous versions of this dance form can be encountered in different regions of Latin America and The States such as Cuban-style salsa, New York-style salsa, Colombian style Salsa and Puerto Rican style salsa, LA style salsa, and more.
The range of Tempo in Salsa is somewhere between 150 bpm ( beats per minute) and 250 bpm, which is unique as the usual dance music has around 160 to 220 bpm.
The rudimentary rhythm of the Salsa Dance incorporates three footsteps for every four musical beats.
Salsa is a form of partner dance in which the lead maneuvers the follow through a series of turns and spin sequence to the music.
“Shines” refers to dancers when they break off during a dance and perform solo.
There are 2 different forms of Salsa namely, circular dance and linear salsa.
In circular style, both the performers’ circle around each other. It is based off on East Coast Swing. This particular pattern is followed by both the Colombian salsa style and the Cuban salsa style.
The second variation is the linear salsa in which dancers stay in their ‘slot’. They often switch positions from one slot to the other which is identical to the West Coast Swing. Both LA-style Salsa and New York-style salsa are performed in this manner.
Types of Salsa dances
Over a very long period, a variety of Salsa dancing styles have evolved around the globe.
It has become quite common to incorporate different dancing techniques into the form of salsa dance.
Fusion dancing has come in vogue which adds elements from other forms and amalgamate them to make a different version.
1. New York Style
New York City is the place of origin of Salsa music and the dance form which came into being in the city bears its name.
New York takes from the linear form of Salsa. It is performed on the second musical beat. The follower instead of the leader takes the front step or the measure of the beat.
A greater emphasis is put on the “shines”, where performers distance themselves and go solo with intensive footwork and beauteous styling.
Eddie Torres (The Mambo King) is perhaps one of the greatest examples of the New York-style Salsa. He has been credited with the familiarization of the On2 Salsa timing and popularizing it by helping people learn the style in dance studios in York.
2. Los Angeles Style
Los Angeles Style of Salsa is performed “on 1” in which dancers get going on the very first beat of the tune, in comparison to New York-style in which dance is performed on 2.
A line or lot is maintained while performing LA style of Salsa, unlike Cuban style which is performed in a circular manner.
The most essential structures of this particular dance form are the cross-body lead and backward basic steps.
The early development of this dance form is credited with the ‘Vazquez Brothers’. Salsa Brava, the first Salsa Dance team in L.A was cofounded by Luiz Vazquez.
Other prominent leaders of the LA dance form include Alex Da Silva, Liz Lira, and especially Albert Torres, creator of the Salsa Congress in the States.
3. Casino/ Cuban Style
A popular dance style known as Casino was marketed in Cuba as the infamous Cuban style Salsa ( Salsa Cubana). The dance form, Casino is well known in many places, including Latin and North America, Europe, and some countries in the Middle East. The casino Dance form is considered to be the epitome of the social culture.
According to Historical background, Casino is derived from an amalgamation of Cha Cha Cha, Guaracha, and Danzon.
The Casino form has a rich Afro-Cuban diction. Similar to how a ‘Sonero’ would quote other artists and songs in their song, Casino dancers would emphasize references from other artists or performers in their own.
Miami style Casino
Cuban immigrants living in Florida and Miami have been credited with the development of the Miami style of Casino.
Miami style salsa is a motley of a variety of styles including elements from American dances and casinos.
Dancers are not required to shift or maneuver their mass greatly as to be found in other styles. The upper body of the dancers is kept still and poised while the foot is in charge of the intricacies.
Miami style of Salsa is done exclusively on downbeat (on1) and consists of shines elements coupled with some North American parts.
Rueda de Casino
Rueda de Casino or popularly known as Salsa Rueda came into being in Havana, Cuba. In Spanish, Rueda translates to ‘wheel’.
In Rueda de Casino, dancers in pairs move rhythmically in a circle, often swapping partners.
The form of ‘Rueda de Miami’ found its origin in the late 1980s in Miami. It is a manner of dancing whose rules were based on an amalgamation of North American styles and Rueda de Cuba.
Some of its dance routines mimic American culture (Adios, Coca Cola Dedo ), not to be found in traditional styles of Cuba.
4. Colombian or Cali Style
Colombian Style Salsa or more famously renowned as the Cali Style or Salsa Caleña emerges from the City of Cali in Colombia.
Cali is popularly known as Salsa’s Capital or “Capital de la Salsa” as a result of Salsa music being the main genre being played in nightclubs, festivals, and parties.
The Style finds its roots in Columbia and is performed on a salsa rhythm consisting of a longer pause between the 1st and last 3 beats.
Cali style is influenced strongly by Caribbean elements which came before Salsa, like Boogaloo and Pachanga.
Among competitors, Cali boasts the maximum number of teams and schools of Salsa in the entire world. Colombia homes many such competitions.
Colombian or Cali style does not express “Dile Que No” or cross-body lead, prominent in other forms.
Cali is the host of many world class Salsa festivals like the Encuentro de Melomanos y Coleccionistas and the World Salsa Cali Festival.
The main feature of this style is the intricate and rapid footsteps and skipping motion.
Benefits of Dancing
There are several reasons why dancing is great for you. It is a good way to enjoy yourself and let go of all your inhibitions.
A recent study has shown that besides being an unparalleled form of exercise, dancing also impacts our minds and helps strengthen our memory.
1. Relaxation: ‘a little swing and swirl helps calm down the soul.’
Dancing leaves an impact on the body and especially the mind. The ambiance and music enchant us and for a while, we are teleported to a place where none of our miseries and worries can bother us as our muscles loosen up and we are at peace.
2. Self–Expression: Dance expresses art and appeals to our instincts and emotions.
Dancing is a great way to boost your self-worth and self-confidence and to connect with the audience emotionally.
3. Better health: Dancing promotes better health by strengthening muscles, improving cardiovascular activities, increasing blood circulation, reducing stress, and many more benefits.
4. Greater coordination: Dance is an effective means to improve bodily coordination. Grace and poise are the desired results that one can achieve with practice and determination.
5. Burning Calories: 250 to 400 Calories can be burnt while dancing. Depending on the intensity of your session, dance is great for losing the extra pounds we have accumulated over the years.
Almost all of us are infected by the dull drudgery of the mundane. No matter how difficult it feels to keep the fire in us burning in this world of competition, we should always nurture our hobbies and feed our passion.
For, when going gets tough, the only things that keep us sane are our hobbies.
There are times when we start questioning our self-worth which in turn affects our confidence.
In all of those moments of despair, our hobbies, be it dancing or singing or painting can help us express and understand ourselves better.
And hence, when your mind feels heavy with distress and sorrow,
Salsa like there’s no tomorrow!