All Levels Salsa
Join us for our all new, all levels, Salsa group class! This fun and energetic dance style is sure to get your heart pumping. All levels means anyone is able to join this class. Our program runs for 4 weeks and is $70 per person. Scroll down to pre register online and read more about Salsa from wikipedia below!
Salsa is a popular form of social dance that originated in the Caribbean. The movements of salsa have origins in Puerto Rican bomba and plena, Cuban Son, cha-cha-cha, mambo and other dance forms. The dance, along with the salsa music, originated in the mid-1970s in New York.
Students from Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City perform at Culture Week
The name Salsa has been described as a dance since the mid-1800s. It evolved from earlier Cuban dance forms such as Son, Son Montuno, cha cha cha, Mambo and Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena which were popular in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Latino communities in New York since the 1940s. Salsa, like most music genres, has gone through a lot of variation through the years and incorporated elements of Afro-Caribbean dances such as Guaguancó and Pachanga. Different countries of the Caribbean and Latin America have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Cali Colombia, L.A. and New York styles.
There is some controversy surrounding the origins of the word "salsa". Some claim that it was based on a cry shouted by musicians while they were playing their music. Others believe that the term was created by record labels to better market their music, who chose the word "salsa" because of its spicy and hot connotations. Still, others believe the term came about because salsa dancing and music is a mixture of different styles, just like salsa or "sauce" in Latin American countries is a mixture of different ingredients.
Salsa is different everywhere. For example, Celia Cruz says she makes a Cuban style of salsa. It is aimed heavily towards the Afro-Latino communities. Her songs represent traditional Cuban sounds and customs. Most countries add a different twist to their salsa dance and music and that's what makes it so unique. In the US there are multiple styles in different areas that represent those communities.
In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer shifts their weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. The Cuban Casino style of salsa dancing involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage.
The arms are used by the "lead" dancer to communicate or signal the "follower," either in "open" or "closed" position. The open position requires the two dancers to hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other, to name a few examples. In the closed position, the leader puts the right hand on the follower's back, while the follower puts the left hand on the leader's shoulder.
In the original Latin American form, the forward/backward motion of salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact.
In some styles of salsa, such as the New York style, the dancers remain mostly in front of one another (switching places), while in Latin American styles, such as Cuban style, the dancers circle around each other, sometimes in 3 points. This circular style is inspired by Cuban Son, specifically to the beat of son montuno in the 1920s. However, as it is a popular music, it is open to improvisation and thus it is continuously evolving. Modern salsa styles are associated and named to the original geographic areas that developed them. There are often devotees of each of these styles outside their home territory. Characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, basic steps, foot patterns, body movement, turns and figures, attitude, dance influences and the way that partners hold each other. The point in a musical bar music where a slightly larger step is taken (the break step) and the direction the step moves can often be used to identify a style.
Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common, for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts.
Latin American styles originate from Puerto Rico, Cuba and surrounding Caribbean islands.
Salsa dance socials are commonly held in night clubs, bars, ballrooms, restaurants, and outside, especially if part of an outdoor festival. Salsa dancing is an international dance that can be found in most metropolitan cities in the world. Festivals are held annually, often called a Salsa Congress, in various host cities aimed to attract variety of salsa dancers from other cities and countries. The events bring dancers together to share their passion for the dance, build community, and to share moves and tips with each other. These events usually include salsa dance performers, live salsa music, workshops, open dancing, and contests.
It generally uses music suitable for dancing ranges from about 150 bpm (beats per minute) to around 250 bpm, although most dancing is done to music somewhere between 160–220 bpm. Every salsa composition involves complex Afro-Cuban percussion based around the Clave Rhythm (which has four types), though there can be moments when the clave is hidden for a while, often when quoting Charanga, Changüí and Bomba. The key instrument that provides the core groove of a salsa song is the clave. It is often played with two wooden sticks (called clave) that are hit together. Every instrument in a salsa band is either playing with the clave (generally: congas, timbales, piano, tres guitar, bongos, claves (instrument), strings) or playing independent of the clave rhythm (generally: bass, maracas, güiro, cowbell). Melodic components of the music and dancers can choose to be in clave or out of clave at any point. However it is taboo to play or dance to the wrong type of clave rhythm (see salsa music). While dancers can mark the clave rhythm directly, it is more common to do so indirectly (with, for example, a shoulder movement). This allows the dancing itself to look very fluent as if the rest of the body is just moving untouched with the legs.
For salsa, there are four types of clave rhythms, the 3-2 and 2-3 Son claves being the most important, and the 3-2 and 2-3 Rumba claves. Most salsa music is played with one of the Son claves, though a Rumba clave is occasionally used, especially during Rumba sections of some songs. As an example of how a clave fits within the 8 beats of a salsa dance, the beats of the 2-3 Son clave are played on the counts of 2, 3, 5, the "and" of 6, and 8.
There are other aspects outside the Clave that help define salsa rhythm: the cowbell, the Montuno rhythm and the Tumbao rhythm.
The cowbell rhythm emphasizes the "on-beats" of salsa: 1, 3, 5 and 7 while the conga rhythm emphasizes the "off-beats" of the music: 2, 4, 6, and 8. Some dancers like to use the strong sound of the cowbell to stay on the Salsa rhythm. Alternatively, others like to use the conga rhythm to create a jazzier feel to their dance since strong "off-beats" are a jazz element.
Tumbao is the name of the rhythm that is played with the conga drums. It sounds like: "cu, cum.. pa... cu, cum... pa". Its most basic pattern is played on the beats 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8. Tumbao rhythm is helpful for learning to dance contra-tiempo ("On2"). The beats 2 and 6 are emphasized when dancing On2, and the Tumbao rhythm heavily emphasizes those beats as well.
The Montuno rhythm is a rhythm that is often played with a piano. The Montuno rhythm loops over the 8 counts and is useful for finding the direction of the music. By listening to the same rhythm, that loops back to the beginning after eight counts, one can recognize which count is the first beat of the music.
The basic Salsa dance rhythm consists of taking three steps for every four beats of music. The odd number of steps creates the inherent syncopation to the Salsa dancing and ensures that it takes 8 beats of music to loop back to a new sequence of steps. Different styles employ this syncopation differently. For "On1" dancers this rhythm is described as "quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow." For "On2" dancers this rhythm is "quick, quick, quick, pause, quick, quick, quick, pause." In all cases, only three steps are taken in each 4-beat measure (or 6 total over 8 beats).