Salsa Dancing In Seven Different Styles…
Posted by Deepak Shetty on August 31, 2009
Salsa dancing is done on eight-beat music, with dancers moving on three beats, pausing for one beat, dancing for three beats, and pausing for one beat. The movement style is left-right-left-pause, then right-left-right-pause. During the pause in most salsa dancing some sort of flourish is utilized, be it a stomp of the foot, casting out the hand or kicking the lower leg. Salsa dancing is mostly a stationary dance, with little movement around the dance floor. Instead, dancers rely on the subtle movement of their legs and upper bodies to convey the energy of the dance. There are seven different styles of Salsa dancing.
Cuban Style :
Cuban salsa style is most similar to the original form of salsa rooted in Cuba. It is characterized by Afro Cuban style body movement which includes body isolation and hip movement. Cuban style salsa does not have many fast spins. Instead the movement is very circular as opposed to linear and partners tend to travel around each other. The hip movement is more noticeable in this style and stems from the pumping of the knees. The footwork is quite simple – the complexity lies in the arm work which requires the follower to have limber, flexible arms. Cuban style salsa is considered “male dominated” in the sense that the leader tends to be more showy and will create a greater push/pull feel for the follower then many other styles. Most Cuban style dancers tap on the pauses which are on the 4th and 8th beats if the dancers dance on 1. However, Cuban style salsa dancers do not always stay on the 1 beat and tend to stray depending on where the music takes them.
L.A. Style :
L.A. Salsa style is very linear. It uses dips and arm styling. L.A. style is very flashy incorporating many flips and dips. L.A. style dancing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to dance New York / Mambo Style. New York style is more like Mambo. It makes use of body waves, free style footwork, shines, rib cage movements and shimmying.
Puerto Rican style :
Puerto Rican Salsa Style dancing can be danced on the “One” or the “Two” beat of the music, but it involves a tremendous amount of very technical footwork. There is more an emphasis on footwork, than in New York style.
Miami Style :
Although the Miami Salsa style has its roots in Cuba. This “tap & step” is a characteristic of Miami style salsa and you’ll know it when you see it. Miami style salsa makes use of “ganchos” or arm-hooks, which is when one elbow is hooked over the partners elbow to create a kind of arm lock giving the leader leverage to move his partner via the arm.
Casino Style :
This is a cuban circular style and turn patterns involve a lot more double hand holds. The complex but spectacular turn patterns resemble a game of ‘twister’ from which the leader will emerge, without allowing the viewer to see how he’s done the ‘Houdini’ act. It’s very clever, and it’s the role of the follower to ‘hang on’ keep rhythm and not allow the leader to ‘trick’ her. Cuban style salsa also has a lot of solo work which involves rhythmic middle body movements derived from the old Cuban rumba. These movements have an afro –Cuban heritage and are also popular in Mambo.
This is a Group Dance originating in Cuba. It is danced to lively, up-beat salsa music. The couples dance in a circle executing moves called out by a leader. There is a constant changing of partners, which makes it a vivid and joyful spectacle. There are three groups of participants in every Rueda. The caller, who calls out the names of the moves that are to be danced, (He may also use hand signals in a loud club setting together with the call.) The leaders, usually the men, initiate the execution of the moves. The followers, usually the ladies, perform the moves as guided by the leaders.
Colombion Salsa Style is danced differently all throughout Colombia. In Cali, it is more “showy”, in other, more rural parts of the country, it is danced more closely and tightly, with heads touching in some cases. However, the underlying commonality is that there is no forward and backward motions of the feet. It is simply what we call “Cumbia” style, which is feet alternating to the back or to the side.
No style is definitively better than the other. It’s all really a matter of taste. They are all fun to watch and exciting to dance. Many salseros take the time to learn all the different styles and even incorporate their own personal inventions to create their own style. Salsa has no boundaries so many of the styles’ combinations overlap, blurring the line between one style and another. The style taught at Dance Connection is predominantly, but not limited to, Miami/Casino style.