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Dance ChristchurchWhat is Salsa Dancing?
What is Salsa? Salsa is a dance for Salsa music created by Spanish-speaking people from the Caribbean. Salsa dancing mixes African and European dance influences through the music and dance fusions that are the roots of Salsa: Son, Guaguancó, Rumba, Boogaloo, Pachanga, Guaracha, Plena, Bomba. Salsa is normally a lead & follow (freestyle) partner dance, although there are other recognized forms. Today Salsa is a very modern dance that is infulenced by other up to date styles of dancing.
 

Video: What is Salsa Dancing?

History of Salsa Part 1

 
History of Salsa Part 2

 
History of Salsa Part 3

The Origin of the salsa dance steps currently being danced to salsa music come from the son, but were influenced by many other Cuban dances such as Mambo, Cha cha cha, Guaracha, Changüí, Palo Monte, Rumba, Abakuá, Comparsa and sometimes even Mozambique. Salsa can be a heavily improvised dance.

Salsa resulted from centuries of dance evolution, brought about by economic, social and political changes. It originated in the ports of Cuba during the colonisation of the Spaniards, who imported slaves from Africa. Bringing with them their culture, the Africans introduced their rhythmic dance styles to the Caribbean, giving birth to Afro-Latin dance hybrids like Son, Cha Cha, Danza, Mambo and Rumba.

Salsa has risen to the status of a world dance. People from all cultures are relating to it, there are in fact more Salsa clubs in major cities like Los Angeles, New York or London than in its historical homes like Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Today Salsa is a very modern dance that is infulenced by other up to date styles of dancing.

Salsa has an addictive quality inherent in this rhythm which fuels the desire to become part of it and express it physically, this varied music enveloped by the umbrella term "salsa," and its fundamental, most visible instrument... DANCE... Dance gives life to the music in many visible forms. Simply hot - Its seduction lies in its simplicity. Salsa is all about having fun and a good time.

Salsa appeals to many people because you are not constrained by too many parameters, you are free to vary the basic steps and improvise your own moves.
Salsa is something for you to enjoy, It allows you to do almost anything - you just need to know the basic steps, which are relatively easy, and follow the music.
Step into a Salsa club and you will notice that it usually does not take complicated moves to wow the crowd. A stylish head turn, a sensual hip wave or a flirty wink usually does the trick.

Another advantage of doing Salsa is that you are not confined to one dance partner. You require a fixed partner for most ballroom dances because the steps are choreographed. But for Salsa, you can dance with anybody because the leader is an on the fly choreographer when he relates to the music!

To get the most out of Salsa, the key is to 'let go'. While newbies usually begin with feelings of inadequacy when they step onto the dance floor, many have come to enjoy the dance by overcoming their inhibitions.

You become less self-conscious once you are familiar with the steps, many students are in fact surprised that they are able to loosen up and dance in front of a large group!The shedding of inhibition extends to their fashion sense as well. Its not uncommon to see students - mostly professionals - have become "more daring" in their choice of outfits since taking up Salsa. When the men first start, they normally come in strait-laced pants and shirt, but after a while, you notice them dressing up and wearing more colourful and flashy clothes."As for the ladies, they start wearing less and less!"

Hot Connection
If you are bored with the predictable movie-then-dinner routine, you may want to consider adding some sizzle to your relationship by taking up Salsa together with your partner. Salsa is a 'partner-dance', and it is about making your partner look good, so you learn how to please your partner.

Salsa provides a means to connect with others. So if you want to widen your social circle or expand your business network, Salsa might just be for you.
Swinging hips and an eclectic mix of happy people dominate the extremely social and convivial atmosphere in Salsa clubs. Everyone is having an enjoyable time and contacts are naturally made faster than anywhere else.

"Visit any Salsa club in the world, and you are likely to be received with open arms, people who do Salsa share very strong bonds, probably because the dance brings out the warmth and passion in you.Doing Salsa is very conducive for making friends. The Salsa community is a very congenial one, Everyone knows everyone after a while!

So take the first step and spice up your life with Salsa now!

Basic movements
The basic step of all styles of salsa involves 3 weight changes (or steps) in each 4 beat measure. The beat on which one does not step might contain a tap or kick, or weight transfer may simply continue with the actual step not occurring until the next beat, some individuals may insert an actual pause. The option chosen depends upon individual choice and upon the specific style being danced. One of the steps is a "break step" a little bit longer than the other two. Different styles of Salsa are often differentiated by the direction and timing of the break step ("on 1" or "on 2" for example). After 6 weight changes in 8 beats, the basic step cycle is complete. While dancing, the basic step can be modified significantly as part of the improvisation and stylings of the dancers.
As a salsa dancer changes weight the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Caught in the middle are the hips which end up moving quite a bit--the famous "Cuban hip movement."
The arms are used to communicate the lead in either open or closed position. In open position the two dancers hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, or putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other. In 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 some styles, the dancers remain in a slot (switching places), while in others the dancers circle around each other.

Rhythm
Music suitable for dancing ranges from slow at about 100 beats per minute (bpm) to its fastest at around 140 beats per minute (bpm), although most dancing is done to music somewhere between 80-120 bpm. Every Salsa composition involves complex African percussion based around the Clave Rhythm (which has 4 types), though there can be moments when the clave is hidden for a while, often when quoting Changüí or Bomba. The key instrument that provides the core groove of a salsa song is the conga drum. The conga drummer slaps (high pitch) on the 2nd beat of each measure and strikes twice with an open tone (often on a 2nd lower pitched conga) on the 4th beat (see salsa music). 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).

Salsa styling
Incorporating styling techniques into Salsa has become very common. For both men and women shines, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies and rolls, and even hand styling have become a huge trend in the modern Salsa scene. Hip hop, jazz, flamenco, belly dancing, ballroom, bboy, popping and locking, Afro Cuban folkloric dances (orisha for example), and Bhangra are all possible in the art of styling. In Cuba, footwork is called "pasillero."

 


Video: What is Salsa Music? "Fania All Stars"  




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