While Salsa dancing originated in Cuba, the rise of Salsa dancing in the US began in New York City in the 1970s and remains a popular form of dance today. Salsa clubs are in every major city and lessons are available almost everywhere. Salsa dancing is a combination of several forms of Latin dance including the mambo and cha cha cha.
Salsa dance moves are based on an eight count beat, with music that has a faster pace than many other types of dance music. There are two types of dancing styles: Open and closed. In an “open” stance, the two dancers remain holding at least one hand while dancing together. In a “closed” style, the lead dancer holds their hands on their partner’s waist and their partner’s hands are on their shoulders. In either stance, the partners dance in sync with and around one another.
Salsa dancing focuses on hip movement with basic steps. The steps are easy to learn and don’t vary a whole lot from one style of Salsa to another. The biggest difference between the styles of dance are the beat counts. The most popular beat count taught in the US is “on 1” which is considered Los Angeles Style. This style starts the move on the first beat of an eight count measure. “On 2” style is referred to New York Style and begins the move on the second beat of the eight count measure. The two styles are mechanically similar, but the rhythm varies.
The LA and New York styles of salsa dancing are very linear while the more traditional Cuban styles involve a lot more spinning and turning. The New York style is most popular in the United States, but both styles are widely taught and practiced in the United States.
Latin dancing is more about fun than anything else. The steps are not complicated to master and are focused more on the rhythm and movement than technical dance moves. Many couples experiencing Salsa together find the social aspect rewarding as well as quality time with their partner. A fun form of exercise and social activity guarantee a space in popular culture for years to come.