Salsa Dance (New York)

The high concentration of Puerto Ricans and NuYoricans in New York, means that the New York salsa dance style is strongly Puerto Rican influenced, with an emphasis on fast flash footwork.

But, there‚is also a strong Latin Hustle influence in New York salsa dancing. It looks like this is a byproduct of the disco craze, which was HUGE in The Big Apple in the late 70‚s and early 80‚s. Take another look at Saturday Night Fever when you get the chance.Tony Manero (John Travolta) is King of the Latin Hustle in the local Brooklyn discos.

When salsa started to move into the Manhatten based clubs in the late 80‚s, many ex-Hustle dancers brought their disco moves into their salsa.

The current New York salsa style is called Mambo or Salsa On 2. It‚s a blend of Puerto Rican salsa and Latin Hustle with the break on the second beat of the clave. New Yorkers are quite fanatical about Salsa On 2 – there‚s stacks of internet sites which debate the finer points of ‚Salsa On 1″ and ‚Salsa On 2″.Explore them if you dare.

 

Salsa Dance (L.A.)

LA style salsa moves are designed to dazzle the spectator – exciting, sexy and flamboyant with lots of dips, spins and drops.

The dominant influences are from Puerto Rican salsa, Latin Ballroom and probably Lindy Hop (an American dance that evolved in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s and 1930s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time.)

The LA style “shines” have their roots in Latin Ballroom. Couples break away from each other in the middle of a dance to start “shining”. Women will extend their arms to strike a pose, then play with stylised hip and hair movements.

Men’s shines tend to focus on tricky footwork based on Puerto Rican style salsa.

LA style salsa dancers often develop highly choreographed cartwheel and flip routines into their movements.

 

Salsa Dance (Cuba)

Cubans call their salsa dance style ‘casino’.

In the decadent days of Old Havana, all the action in town was going down at the Casinos. The gambling haunts had the money to bring in the big name bands, so that’s where people would go to dance.

Come the revolution, the casinos were closed, and the people started to dance ‘casino’ style in the local community halls. The name stuck, so don’t be confused when a Cuban invites you to go out dancing ‘casino’ you’re off to the salsa club!!

Cuban style salsa differs from the north american salsa styles in that it is ‘circular’ rather than linear. The man constantly moves around the woman in a circular dynamic, checking her out and showing her off. Exhibala!

 

Salsa Rueda de Casino (Salsa Rueda) Dance

Rueda de Casino is the correct name in Spanish. “Casino Rueda” or “Salsa Rueda” are English versions of the correct name, due to the fact that the grammatical structure of English is a bit backwards from Spanish!

Rueda is a synchronised cuban group dance with constantly exchanging dance partners.

It started out in the 1950’s at the Casino Deportivo in Havana. The people invented a new casino dance, using popular dance steps of the time, danced as a group in a circle or wheel.

In Cuba, the people used to get together in large halls, called ‘Casinos’ hence the name. Some say it started in Santiago de Cuba, others say it started in the famed Casino Deportivo in Havana, or the Casino de la Playa, I don’‚t know for sure, I wasn’t there! When the casinos were closed, people still referred to the dance style by using the name of the places where people used to gather to do it: “casino” and the name stuck. Nowadays people refer to the music as “salsa” and the dance as “casino”.

Casino itself has its roots in the ‘Danz’n, as well as its derivative, the Son Afro-Cuban dances such as Guaguane the Mambo, a rhythm invented by Cachao in the world-famous Tropicana Club in Havana, in 1943, and popularized by Perez Prado in Mexico, and “Cha-cha-cha” invented by Enrique Jorre.

Rueda (as it is commonly called in Cuba) is a form of Casino danced in a round with 2 or more couples exchanging partners when one person calls out the turn names (“Rueda” is Spanish for ‘Wheel’ and ‘Casino’ is known outside of Cuba as ‘Salsa’).