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  • Salsa Dance

    1 posts, 1 voices, 496 views, started Jan 18, 2009

    Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2009

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    • inactive
      Carnelian
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      Salsa refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba and North America). The dance originated through the mixture of Mambo, Danzón, Guaguancó, Cuban Son, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Salsa is danced to Salsa music. There is a strong African influence in the music as well as the dance.

      Salsa is a partner dance, although there are recognized solo steps and some forms are danced in groups of couples, with frequent exchanges of partner (Rueda de Casino). Improvisation and social dancing are important elements of Salsa but it appears as a performance dance too.

      The name “Salsa” is the Spanish word for sauce, connoting (in American Spanish) a spicy flavor[1]. The Salsa aesthetic is more flirtatious and sensuous than its ancestor, Cuban Son. Salsa also suggests a “mixture” of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term’s origin.

      The history of “Salsa” dance is peppered with hearsay and contradiction. Although few would disagree that the music and dance forms originate largely in Cuban Son, most agree that Salsa as we know it today is a North American interpretation of the older forms. New York’s Latino community had a vibrant musical and dancing scene throughout the ‘50s but found limited success with the ‘Anglo’ mainstream. In the 1970s, adoption of the term “Salsa” reduced the linguistic and cultural barriers to mainstream adoption of Latin music and dance[2].

      The modernization of the Mambo in the 1950s was influential in shaping what would become salsa. There is debate as to whether the dance we call Salsa today originated in Cuba or Puerto Rico. Cuba’s influence in North America was diminished after Castro’s revolution and the ensuing trade embargo. New York’s Latino community was largely Puerto-Rican. Salsa is one of the main dances in both Cuba and Puerto Rico and is known world-wide.

      Normally Salsa is a partner dance, danced in a handhold. However sometimes dancers include shines, which are basically “show-offs” and involve fancy footwork and body actions, danced in separation. They are supposed to be improvisational breaks, but there are a huge number of “standard” shines. Also, they fit best during the mambo sections of the tune, but they may be danced whenever the dancers feel appropriate. They are a good recovery trick when the connection or beat is lost during a complicated move, or simply to catch the breath. One possible origin of the name shine is attributed to the period when non-Latin tap-dancers would frequent Latin clubs in New York in the 1950s. In tap, when an individual dancer would perform a solo freestyle move, it was considered their “moment to shine“. On seeing Salsa dancers perform similar moves the name was transposed and eventually stuck, leading to these moves being called ‘shines‘.

      There is a Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico where salsa groups all around the world attend and perform. The first Salsa Congress in Puerto Rico was in 1997.



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