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Salsa

Salsa Dancing is by far the most popular Latin dance. Its hot and sexy style, fast and loud music, make for a great evening dancing out. There are a few basic steps that can be learned easily online, just grab a partner and try dancing in your own house (with the music provided of course). From there you can practice in clubs around the country. Salsa is highly recommended for everybody from couples to singles wanting to meet new people.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Salsa resources. We have a Salsa forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Salsa how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Salsa books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Intro


The word ‘Salsa’ makes most people want to get up and dance! It is such fun to move to the beat of this music. The great thing about salsa is that just about anyone, regardless of age, can learn it and the atmosphere is totally friendly. That salsa is a major sensation is proved by the fact that there are so many salsa clubs drawing people with their infectious beat. You will see people of all nationalities dancing together, attracted by this wonderfully happy ambience.




So it is not very surprising that you would like to take it up as a hobby, too. Learning salsa is a great way to meet a lot of new people and it is quite easy to learn. If you visit clubs, you’ll find that quite a few of them begin the evening with lessons for beginners and those who already know to salsa. Salsa involves rhythmic body movements and you will find that once you get started, it can be very difficult to stop!




Let’s Take A Look At A Bit Of Salsa History


Salsa is considered the national dance in Puerto Rico and is similar to Mambo. Salsa in Spanish actually means spicy flavor. Back in the year 1933, Piniero, the Cuban songwriter penned some lyrics after eating food that was not spicy enough. Much later, in 1962 Jimmy Sabater composed the Salsa y Beme, encouraging dancers to add spice to their dance movements. The music can resemble Afro-Latin rhythms. So as far as the dance goes, it can be performed to various rhythms.




You will find that there are various styles of salsa – Cuban, Puerto Rican, Columbian, Brazilian, New York Miami, Los Angeles style and so on. All of them are great to learn as they are simply a result of different teaching styles with the dance form evolving through the times.


 




How Is Salsa Performed?


Salsa is performed to four basic beats with three steps, with each step to a beat. The fourth beat is special – and called a tag to the earlier step or becomes a tap or kick, as a highlight. You can either salsa in a single spot or just move around dancing. The steps can be from side to side or forward-backward and in circles. Salsa can be similar to mambo, swing and hustle.




Famous Salsa artists are Albita, Marc Anthony, West End Mambo, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, the Latin Explosion etc.




Apart from being a great way to meet new people, salsa dancing is a wonderful social activity and can develop good poise and self-confidence. It is also great as a keep-fit workout. Through dance, you can burn the same number of calories as with swimming and walking and cycling! It is also a great stress-reliever and helps you relax.




Learning Salsa


To learn salsa, you could sign up for private dance lessons where you can receive personalized attention from trained teachers. Group classes are also offered by many dance schools where they teach you the basic steps you need to get started. You will also come across ‘drop-in’ classes where you can go and learn occasionally after which you get to practice your steps with a partner if you wish. One great thing about salsa is that you can dance with or without a partner, and most teachers encourage you to try different partners. Some teachers hold series classes where you need to register for about four weeks and you can build your skills gradually.




Obviously private lessons are considered better since you can choose the speed at which you want to learn and you will also get the benefit of your teacher telling you exactly where you need to improve. Most schools will let you experience a free introductory session before you make up your mind. These could be more expensive than group classes, so you can decide what suits you best. Don’t forget to attend the workshops held to give students a better understanding of the techniques.




Salsa teachers will teach you both lead and follow. This is generally ‘lead’ for men and ‘follow’ for women. Remember that women and men learn differently with men invariably finding it tougher to learn. Also, each individual has his or her own learning rate.




Salsa Attire And Shoes


Salsa is fun and salsa is informal – so go ahead and dress casually and comfortably unless you are off to a party! It is best to wear something that is smart, casual, cool and easy to move in. As for shoes, preferably go in for leather soles that are comfortable. Avoid rubber soles as they can be tough to dance in. Women can wear closed toe shoes as sandals or open ones could be painful if a learner happens to step on their toes! Try shopping for dancing shoes that are light and flexible with non-slip soles.


You must master your basic salsa steps so that you subconsciously perform them perfectly – only then can you truly enjoy this hobby, as most of the dancing comes from within you. You can, however, hone your skills by practicing this exciting dance form. There are links to lessons, so that you can develop your salsa skills. There are plenty of instructional videos and useful books that will tell you all that you need to know about salsa. So, move to the groove!