Salsa dancing has been popular for the longest of times and is still loved by everyone across the world.
However, even after being so popular, we bet only a few of you truly know about this dance form. So, considering that, you are exactly where you should be as we take you on a groovy ride into the world of salsa dancing.
Although first popularized in the United States, salsa dancing is actually a Cuban dance form that was initially created by a group of Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Mostly common in events at nightclubs, bars, ballrooms, restaurants, salsa is a graceful dance that requires a partner and a lot of lower body movement. The salsa rhythm, in its most basic form, is comprised of three steps that are taken for every four beats of the salsa music.
With that, let's get to know some fascinating salsa dance history and learn more about its origin!
History And Origin Of Salsa Dance
With a combination of different Latin dance styles, salsa dance history can be traced back to the '60s.
Salsa was first created during the late '60s and early '70s by a group of people from Puerto Rico and Cuba to dance to the groovy salsa music genre. Although salsa dancing was first popularized in the '60s, it was created way back during the early 20th century in East Cuba. This dance form is a product of the mixture of different Latin dances including Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Pachanga, among others, which is also a reason for its different styles that were region-specific, including Puerto Rican, New York, Colombian, and Cuban style salsa.
Following its success in Cuba and Puerto Rico, salsa became widely popular across Latin America and the United States. Salsa dance began its journey as a street dance, which was later formalized with dance schools offering salsa courses in their curriculum. One of the most important people behind the formalization was Eddie Torres, who was one of the most famous instructors in salsa dance history.
The meaning of the term 'salsa' and its origins remain a mystery. However, it is believed that since salsa dance is a concoction of various Latin dances, it might possibly signify the sauce that goes with the same name, which is also a mixture of different spices.
Throughout salsa history, this dance form has developed into various salsa styles including Colombian salsa, Casino styles, and Rueda de Casino, along with other North American styles that comprise of Miami style, New York-style, and Los Angeles style.
Famous Salsa Bands
Salsa music is a famous music genre that originated in Latin America. Latin music is mostly believed to have been based on Son Montuno, mixed along with features of mambo, jazz from Latin America, bomba, guaracha, and plena.
One of the most famous salsa bands is the El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico (or El Gran Combo) hailing from Puerto Rico that you must check out while learning this Cuban dance form. This salsa band has been active since 1962 and has earned themselves the Latin Grammy Award for Best Salsa Award.
Another famous and oldest Puerto Rican salsa band is the La Sonora Ponceña, which has been active since 1954. With albums like 'Into The 90s', and 'Back To Work', this band has sure won many salsa fans and has also received nominations like the Billboard Latin Music Award for Tropical Album of the Year.
The Buena Vista Social Club is a band, made up of Cuban musicians, that was created in the year 1996 and has been active until 2015. The Buena Vista Social Club has recorded albums including 'The Buena Vista Social Club', 'Realidad en Vivo' and 'Lost and Found', and has earned the Echo Award for Best International Rock/Pop Group in 2000.
Other salsa bands also include the group of Latin musicians, Dark Latin Groove (DLG), which was formed in the year 1996. This salsa band has released many albums like 'Dark Latin Groove', 'Swing On', and 'Gotcha', and has also received the 42nd Annual GRAMMY Awards (1999) Best Salsa Performance for its song 'Gotcha!'
Last but not least is the Puerto Rican band named Son by Four. Starting in 1997, this band has recorded various albums including 'Purest o Pain', and 'Abbanuestro'. The band, Son of Four, has won the Billboard Music Award for Top Latin Song in 2000.
Salsa Vs. Other Forms Of Dance
Sure this dance form is a mixture of different dance styles. But what makes it set apart? Read on to find out.
Salsa is a form of dance wherein the dancers partner up and lead the dance through a pattern of different spins and turns that are synchronized with the music. Salsa dancers can also choose to split up for a solo performance. The salsa dance is also lower body specific, meaning salsa dancers are required to focus mostly on their lower body movement without any upper body movement.
The salsa dance form can be described in two main styles; namely linear and circular. The linear style lets the dancers maintain their fixed position whilst switching with their partners from one end of the slot to the other. Examples of a linear salsa dance form can be seen in the New York and LA salsa styles. On the other hand, a circular salsa allows the dancers to go around each other in circles, as the name suggests. Examples of circular salsa can be seen in the Cuban and Colombian styles. Salsa dance is also versatile in the sense that it can be easily blended with other dance steps such as leg work, arm work, shimmies, spins, splits, lifts, body isolations, and lifts.
The kinds of music that are suitable for salsa dancing have about 150 bpm to around 250 bpm. Most dances, however, are performed within the range of 160 bpm to 220 bpm.
Significance Of Salsa Dance
One of the most famous dance styles in Cuba, salsa is an important part of Cuban music and culture.
Salsa plays a huge role in Cuban culture and is often a dance that can leisurely be performed during free times. Salsa is a hybrid baby that was born through the integration of various cultures that signify a union in diversity and how dance can bring us all together.
Latin dances are believed to be a way of making new friends and helping interact with society. In a class setting, when the same group of students is always present, familiarity among these students can easily develop in a short period. This same ideology was associated with dancing in Latin America, where people started discovering a great way of self-expression through dancing and thus building new relationships, making salsa dancing not only a fun dance style but also a great way of meeting new people and interacting with society.
Apart from societal and cultural significance, salsa dance comes with a lot of benefits too. It can be a great workout, helping you burn more than 400 kcal per hour. Salsa also helps dancers in building endurance and gaining immense stamina along with an improved heart rate. Salsa can also help you relieve stress and allows your body to release hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins, which have been scientifically proven to be responsible for well-being.
Salsa can also act as a therapy helping you release all the happy hormones along with helping you maintain good mental health.
Q: What are some fun facts about salsa dance?
A: Salsa was first developed in eastern Cuba during the early 20th century; the dance was only made popular once it arrived in the US during the '60s; salsa dance brings various dance forms from different cultures together into a beautiful fusion that will never get old.
Q: What does salsa dance represent?
A: Salsa dance, being an integration of different dance types, represents how an art form like dance can bring everyone together, regardless of race and ethnicity.
Q: What is the origin of salsa dancing?
A: Salsa dance originated in Cuba during the early 20th century and was popularized in the US during the '60s.
Q: Is salsa a Latin dance?
A: Yes salsa is a Latin dance that is performed along with Latin music.
Q: Why was the salsa dance created?
A: Salsa dance was originally created as a dance form that would pair perfectly with salsa music.
Q: Why is salsa so popular?
A: Salsa's rhythmic and lively music, has continued to make salsa popular amongst people.
Q: Is salsa popular in Spain?
A: Yes, salsa is extremely famous among the Spain population.
Q: How many steps in salsa?
A: The basic rhythm of salsa dance is comprised of three steps with every four beats of music.
Q: How did salsa dance get its name?
A: The origins of the name 'salsa' remain a mystery, but it is presumed that the name has something to do with the salsa sauce, which too, like the dance, is made up of various ingredients.
Q: What makes salsa unique?
A: What makes salsa instantly identifiable is the unique rhythm of the music that is based on the clave, a Latin beat. Salsa dance also stands apart with its graceful movements that allow communication through dancing.
Q: Who is the best salsa dancer in the world?
A: Maykel Fonts, Barbara Jimenez, Wilmer y Maria, and Yanet Fuentes are among the best and most famous salsa dancers in the world.
The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.