Salsa dancing originated in the Latin dance nightclubs the late nineteen seventies. Essentially, it evolved from the older dance genres of mambo and cha cha. In addition, the salsa music and dance style are smoother than the staccato style of mambo. Furthermore, some dancers execute the break step on count one while others like to break on count two. Breaking on count two is referred to as salsa on two. Currently, it is the most popular social partner dance genre in the world. However, the bachata is growing rapidly in popularity and may overtake salsa in the near future!

World Salsa Summit 2016, Pro Salsa Cabaret

World Champs, Ricardo Vega & Karen Forcano

History of Salsa Dancing

The salsa flourished with the evolution of contemporary Club Latin music’s rising popularity. Moreover, the salsa spread from Latin dance clubs on the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States. The next generation of Latin dancers quickly adopted it for themselves. Furthermore, club Latin music changed softening the sound and using less triple rhythms. Hence, this led to a decrease in the popularity of the cha cha with its triple rhythms and staccato styling.

The proliferation of Latin dance clubs across the country accelerated the growth of salsa dancing. For instance, some Latin clubs started offering nights dedicated to salsa dancing with either Latin deejays or live music. Also, dance studios offered more classes and dance parties like Latin & Salsa dance nights.  Furthermore, their Latin music mixes included lots of salsa, merengues, cha chas and in recent years, bachatas.


Learn To Salsa DVDs

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World Salsa Summit, Salsa On 2, 2016

Simone Sanfilippo & Serena Maso

Club Salsa Dancing Style

Best Sala Dancer in the World Club Style

Another dance craze sweeping the country is solo salsa. For example, many competitions offer salseros and salseras solo contests. In addition, this fad is spreading beyond the U.S. and is now being done in many countries in the world. Additionally, it is a great way to salsa dance with or without a partner and get a great workout too!

Many popular Latin clubs provide salsa dancers a salsa dance venue sevearl times weekly to every night of the week.

Salsa Dance Evolution

Salsa music has a strong distinctive beat on count one that is easy to find for most dancers. Generally, the two beat in salsa music is more subtle. Hence, the original salsa encouraged the break step on count one. This was great for newcomer dancers to salsa since it is easier to hear. Recently, there is a movement across the U.S. to break on the two beat. Breaking on count two is more difficult to hear but creates an interesting rhythm for the dancer. Alternatively, mambo dancers always did the rock step on count two.

World Salsa Summit 2016, Salsa On 1

Pro Salsa Champs, Deklan Guzman & Natalia Villanueva

Many new dancers flock to dance studios to learn the salsa. This is the best way to learn the salsa. However, some try to learn it at the free salsa dance lessons available at most salsa dance nightclubs. Nighclub salsa lessons are often more for entertainment than learning. For example, the newcomers find the comfort of a large hardwood floor, no alcohol, adequate lighting and an hour of instruction from a professional dance instructor much more attractive than most of the nightclub venues.

Salsa Characteristics

The salsa has been influenced by other dance styles but has been more heavily influenced by various swing and hustle dance genres. For example, many of the patterns and movements in salsa came from hustle dancing. However, salsa music has a faster tempo than West Coast or East Coast swing or hustle music. Also, the salsa uses a similar frame and body position as other night club dance genres like bachata, nightclub two step, hustle and merengue.

Salsa Dancing Couple Ricardo & Karen 2016

For instance, most of these dance styles encourage lift through the sternum and more relaxed arms.  In salsa, the Lead’s (person doing the lead part) left hand is cupped to receive the Follows hand while the Follow drapes their fingers over the Leads index finger. In addition the Lead’s other hand is either just below or on the back of the shoulder of the Follow. Also, the ribcage is free to move as are the hips, knees and ankles. Furthermore, the hip action is Cuban motion where one leg is straight and the other is bent. Moreover, the last part of the body to arrive over a weighted foot is the hip in preparation for the next movement. Generally, the feet use ball flat footwork throughout the salsa and there are no heel leads.

Different Types of Salsa Dance Styles

There are a few different styles of salsa depending on the region of the world. For instance, there is an L.A. style popular in Southern California that uses a more linear form.  Alternatively, Colombian style salsa is more circular and uses a different style of fast footwork. Also, there are distinctive styles of salsa in Miami and New York. Furthermore, because salsa congresses and conventions happen world wide, salsa has become more universal with some regional styling differences.

DanzAtlantica 2016

Smooth Salsa, Adrian & Anita, 6 World Championships

The salsa uses many similar movements to mambo, cha cha, nightclub two step and swing dancing. For example, there are cross body leads, underarm turns, spins in most of the different dance positions including promenade, closed, one-hand, two-hand, cross-hand and shadow positions. In addition, salsa dancers are evolving with the influence of other types of dancers like ballroom and West Coast swing dancers getting involvd in the Latin club dance styles. In fact, this is creating a tendency toward improved connection, lead/follow techniques and a huge improvement in recent years to the general architecture of the salsa dance.

Tropical Gem Dance Company

Salsa Team Performance, Switzerland Festival

Salsa Dancing Health Benefits

Salsa dancing has many health benefits for fitness, arm and leg strength, aerobic and cardio improvement. Moreover, it is a dance community of all races, nationalities, ages, socio-economic levels, dance levels and occupations, a melting pot like the U.S. The salsa is a great gateway dance into all the fabulous Latin dances. For example, salsa music is often heard in dance venues along with merengue, bachata, cha cha, rumba, bolero, mambo and samba. Lastly, salsa is the hottest dance in the U.S. and has been going strong for three decades with no sign of slowing down in popularity!

How to Look Natural Salsa Dancing

Addicted 2Salsa, Anthony Persaud

Salsa Dance Songs

(Mark Anthony & Jennifer Lopez, Latin music artists ft. salsa songs)

Salsa Dance Music – Top 15 Salsa Dance Songs

Additional Salsa Dance Information