Unraveling the Secrets of Salsa: From Its Colorful History to Its Thrilling Dance Techniques

Unraveling the Secrets of Salsa: From Its Colorful History to Its Thrilling Dance Techniques

 What Is Salsa?

One of the most renowned Latin dance genres emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries from Caribbean nations. The elements of numerous Caribbean dances like mamba, pachanga, rumba, son montuno, and cha cha cha, have all had their role in shaping that genre into what it is today.

Puerto Rican dances like Bomba and Plena and American dances such as tap and swing have also influenced it. That led to the genre being popularized in New York and Miami in the U.S. by Latin Americans and around the entirety of Latin America.

That dance genre is salsa.

The dancers perform spins and tap in rhythm patterns to the salsa music with linear or circular movements. The dancers also add numerous dance movements like rolls, acrobatic stunts, lifts, hand styling, shimmies, and advanced techniques to make the dancing an entertaining, interactive, and creative experience.

Dancers in linear salsa, like those in West Coast Swing, stay in their "slot" and exchange positions from one side of the slot to the other. People execute this type of salsa in New York and Los Angeles. On the other hand, circular salsa, in which dancers circle each other, is more similar to East Coast Swing. You can see that pattern in both Cuban and Colombian salsa.


History Of Salsa

Salsa was put together by innumerable foreigners from many areas of Europe who migrated to Latin America and African slaves who were taken to Central America forcefully in the slave trade era.

Salsa was created by combining parts of Cuban Són, Spanish troubadour music, African slaves' Rumbas, French Danzón, and Haitian immigrants' Danzón, and even different instruments prevalent in Cuba.

Salsa began to captivate the Cuban people in the late nineteenth century in the early twentieth century, and other parts of Central America became aware of it.

Cubans and Puerto Ricans were hotspots of Latin dance music with dance genres like flamenco, salsa, and more. With this hotspot, these countries were able to innovate and spread salsa. That was before salsa spread through the Americas.

Salsa dancing began as a dance to complement the popular salsa music of the 1960s. Many of the moves of salsa dancing come from older types of Latin dance like mambo, cha cha cha, and pachanga, as well as other popular dances at the time like swing dance.

Salsa dancing techniques became increasingly structured once schools began setting up to teach pupils how to dance salsa according to a fixed curriculum. Eddie Torres, one of the first and most influential salsa instructors, worked to codify the time for New York-style salsa and promote the style worldwide.


Back to blog