Salsa dancing is perhaps one of the most alluring forms of dance to beginners and experienced dancers alike, since it is set to the tune of complex Clave rhythms with Afro-Cuban percussion that simply make the body want to move. Salsa tends to have a quick tempo and incorporates movements from a wide range of Latin and western dances, which appeal to a wide range of different dancers. By learning to salsa dance with the fun and easy system of Arthur Murray Dance Centers in the South Bay Area, you can become a part of a widespread dancing tradition, which is showcased in nightclubs, international festivals, and restaurants all over the world. Even if you don’t regularly show off the skills you learn at our studios, you will still enjoy rigorous exercise and great fun that comes with this intricate social dance style.
Though Salsa has roots that go back hundreds of years, the dance as we know it today originated in 1970s New York. The city's Cuban and Puerto Rican communities developed Salsa music as a way of feeling connected with their home cultures, and the dance quickly evolved from the music. Many say that Salsa was partially inspired by hustle and swing dancing, as well as several Afro-Caribbean dance styles.
There are many different variations of salsa dancing, which vary primarily due to the regions where they emerged. In general, salsa dancing involves quick and intricate footwork with lots of movement in the hips, contributing to the almost acrobatic movements seen in more challenging salsa styles. Formally, salsa is said to have originated in the 1970s in New York as a way for Latin immigrants to celebrate their cultural roots, though elements of salsa have existed for centuries in dance styles indigenous to Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Cuba among other Latin American and Caribbean nations.
Like other art forms, Salsa has evolved into many different styles. These styles are named after the geographical locations where they were developed.
Cali: This style doesn't come from California, but Cali, Colombia, which claims to be the world Salsa capital. Cali-Style Salsa is characterized by complex, quick, and precise footwork. Many consider Cali to be showier than other forms of Salsa.
LA: In Los Angeles, Salsa dancers engage in dramatic, acrobatic, and challenging moves. This isn't too surprising, considering how LA tends to have a penchant for all things flashy.
New York: New York Style Salsa is an elegant dance that's very similar to Mambo. Unlike other forms of Salsa, which involve break steps on the 1 and 5 counts of music, New York Style Salsa has break steps on 2 and 6 counts.
Miami: Considering how Miami is only about 100 miles from Cuba, it stands to reason that Miami-Style and Cuban-Style Salsa are very similar. Miami Style is a little more refined than Cuban Style, and includes a tap between measures.
Puerto Rican: Puerto Rican Style Salsa can be danced on either the first or second beat of music, and is known for its highly technical footwork. Puerto Rican Style and New York Style Salsa are closely linked.
The skilled instructors of Arthur Murray will walk you through the key steps of salsa, but there are some things you can do on your own to further hone your skills and get more out of each class or private lesson. Below you’ll get a look at the key elements of success in salsa dancing for anyone learning this style.
Strengthen your core – With the intricate movements involved in salsa, balance is fundamental for smooth and seamless performances on the dance floor. Strengthening your abdominal muscles with sit ups or similar exercises will be great conditioning for salsa dancing, since core strength is essential for better balance.
Watch other dancers – Seeing the finished product that you are trying to achieve will help you isolate movements and break down the complexities of salsa dancing. Whether you attend live performances or watch videos, observing what other salsa dancers do will allow you to build your own skills and get inspiration for advancing your move set.
Watch yourself in the mirror – Because dancing is so visual, you will not want to hesitate to watch yourself as you learn and practice different moves. Once you have full routines down, you might video tape yourself so that you can further critique and improve your movement. Arthur Murray Dance Centers provide dance instruction that makes salsa, swing, mambo, and tango accessible to dancers at all levels. We have two locations in the San Jose area to help you hone your skills, so give us a call at (877) 515-9006 and schedule your first lesson.
Salsa is an extraordinarily popular dance with a significant presence in every major North American city. Learn how to Salsa dance at Arthur Murray Dance Centers. With two locations in the South Bay you can't go wrong. Arthur Murray San Jose and Los Gatos are here to take care of all your dance needs. Our dance studios offer private lessons, group lessons, and practice parties for beginners who are eager to learn the ins and outs of dance.