The Origins of Salsa Dancing

September 11, 2015

Salsa is a popular style of Hispanic dance that has gained popularity due to its sensual style and upbeat music. The salsa draws inspiration from numerous countries and cultures, including Cuba, Africa, and Latin America. Although primarily a partnered dance, the salsa also gives each individual the opportunity to “shine” during solo breaks, making it a versatile and appealing dance for many couples.  

Salsa Origins

The exact origin of the salsa remains unknown; historians believe it originated either in Cuba or Puerto Rico. Salsa is danced to a combination of Cuban and African music; this melding is believed to have occurred during Spanish colonization of the Caribbean in the 1400s, which brought African slaves and their culture to the region. However, salsa also draws inspiration from much more modern dances, including swing, cha-cha, and mambo. The salsa gained popularity in America between the 1940s and 1970s, when Caribbean immigrants first brought the dance to New York, where it was combined with jazz to develop the salsa’s most current accepted form.

Salsa Music

Salsa music features upbeat and complicated rhythms, which often highlight percussive instruments. Modern salsa music draws heavily from jazz influences, with instrumental breaks allowing dancers to feature their individual moves. The salsa is danced to a recurring eight-beat pattern; dancers take steps on each beat during the dance.

Salsa Dress

Salsa dress has evolved to show off the dancers’ bodies and movements. Women wear high heels and dark-colored sequined dresses. Men wear well-fitted black pants and shined shoes, coupled with deep V-necked shirts to show off the male dancer’s body as well. However, salsa dress has evolved to ensure that the men never outshine the women in terms of dress, as women are the traditional stars of this dance.

Are you ready to experience the appeal of salsa dance for yourself? Fred Astaire Dance Studio is pleased to offer a wide variety of dance classes in Tucson, including salsa, ballroom, swing, and waltz. You can find out more about our classes and schedule on the web, or by calling (520) 300-5490.

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