The History of Salsa Dancing

In Blog by prodance.oc

Born in New York City around the 1970s, Salsa pulls much influence from the Latin American countries of Puerto Rico and Cuba. It is a social dance inspired by Cuban Son, Cha Cha Cha, and Mambo, among other Latin style dances. The word salsa means “mixture”, which is very fitting considering the blend of influence from different parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latino communities of New York in the 1940s. Over time, salsa dancing has also varied or “mixed” its choice of steps and music styles as well. It is unknown exactly how the dance got its name, for multiple stories circulate the industry pertaining to the origin. Some say “salsa” was a word that musicians used to shout out while performing. Others insist record labels named salsa after the sauce because because it was a hot and spicy dance. But it could simply be named for its mix of elements similar to the sauce’s mix of ingredients as mentioned before. Much of the movement in salsa is initiated in the hips while he upper body stays still. Because the dance pulls influence from so many places, there are several different types of salsa dancing. The Colombian/Cali style is very quick and shard, whereas the Cuban/Casino style is more syncopated and improvised. Dance positions can vary from style to style as well. For example, the LA style is danced specifically in a slot, while the NY style moves in a figure eight pattern. All these variations and influences truly make salsa one of the most interesting ballroom dances.