Salsa Dance is a renowned dance form considered to be similar to “Cha Cha Cha and Mambo”. This “Latin American” dance style originated in Cuba. This style of dance is basically “social” in nature, and is usually performed in nightclubs, bars, ballrooms, and restaurants. Furthermore, this dance style has evolved over the years and comprises various styles such as Colombian/Cali, Cuban/Casino, Los Angeles style, and New York style. In addition, international festivals (known as Salsa Congress) to celebrate this dance form are organized in various cities around the world annually.

a. History and origin of Salsa dance:

Salsa dance style was first developed in Cuba from other dance styles such as Son, Son Montuno, Cha Cha Cha, and Mambo. In addition, over the years the Cuban dance form has undergone a lot of changes and has incorporated elements from Afro-Caribbean dances such as Guaguanco and Pachanga.

Salsa dancing has evolved from a street dance to a global phenomenon that is adored by amateur and professional dancers alike. Although one of the “newer” dance genres is salsa, it has been around for a while. On the island of Cuba, it has a  history that dates back almost a century!

The history of salsa is a complex subject; some claim it came from the Caribbean, while others claim it originated in New York City. However, the majority of experts concur that the earliest salsa originated in Cuba in the 19th century. Before Salsa became a dance craze in its native Eastern Cuba, there is evidence that it was already well-liked in a number of regions of the nation.

 Flamenco, Tango, and Mambo were all popular Latin dances in Cuba long before the Salsa dance made its debut. Salsa dancing first appeared in Eastern Cuba in the 1900s, according to historians. The traditional Cuban salsa was made by fusing the dances of the African slaves’ Rumba, the Danzón of French and Haitian immigrants, and the Són of native Cubans.

In Cuba in the 1920s, danzón was the dominant dance form. Danzón eventually absorbed a variety of dance influences, such as Són, a Cuban dance style, and the British contra dance. Salsa is a remarkable rhythm that was created from the fusion of various Són and Rumba musical instruments. It took some time for Cuba to catch on to the rhythm of salsa. But when it did, salsa quickly rose to fame in the area and was frequently performed at events. Salsa music and dance spread quickly throughout Cuba, where they are now well-known and adored. 

Americans began to arrive in Cuba during the 1898 Cuban War, and it should come as no surprise that many of them were soldiers on vacation who fell in love with the local dance scene and this contagious new dance style. After the 1898 Cuban War, visiting American jazz musicians eventually brought this exotic island dance style to the United States. Salsa remained a local phenomenon for many years, and the majority of experts concur that its popularity outside of Cuba began in the 1950s when Cuban immigrants brought their music to the US, particularly to New York and Miami. El Barrio, also referred to as Spanish Harlem, is where modern salsa first gained popularity.

Furthermore, this dance has also evolved as a result of which, it currently comprises a number of styles that include Colombian/Cali, Cuban/Casino, Los Angeles, and New York styles.

b.Traditional Salsa dance costumes:

Since this dance style involves both male and female the costumes used will vary accordingly and they are as follows:

1. Salsa outfits for women:

The attire worn for Salsa dance includes a short multi-layered ruffle that at times also exposes the midriff of the performer to add to the sensuality that this dance style possesses.

2. Salsa costume for men:

The Salsa dance attire for men includes colourful deep V-neck shirts and pants to go along with it.

c. Music involved in the Salsa dance:

Afro-Cuban percussion musical instruments are generally used to produce music for this dance style, and they include

1. Clave: Clave Is the major percussion instrument used in this dance. Basically this instrument includes two wooden sticks that are used to generate the music for this dance style.

2. Other instruments used: congas, timbales, bongos, tres guitars, and piano.

 d. Training availability and the technique involved in Salsa:  Cuban Salsa dance steps

In terms of basic technique, Salsa dance steps essentially involves the performer transferring weight from one foot to the other along with significant movement in the hips.  In addition, the arms are used by the performers (i.e. leader and follower) either in the “closed or open” position”.  In the closed position, the lead performer places the right hand on the back of the follower while, the follower places the left hand on the shoulder of the leader. In case of the open position, both the leader and the follower hold either one or both hands especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms around the back, or moving around one another. Furthermore, there are many schools available around the world that provide training for all those interested in learning this  extremely “sensual” dance style.

e. How to dance the Salsa (Salsa dancing beginner basic tutorial video):

The following 3 videos show the basic steps of salsa dance explaining how to do the salsa dance. All these 3 YouTube channels provide extensive tutorials covering the basics of salsa dancing for beginners.

  1. Bachata Dance Academy
  2. MihranTV
  3. Passion4dancing

Check out some “SALSA DANCE IMAGES”

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