The art of dance has been a part of many cultures around the world. Some have grown in popularity, like break dancing, the waltz, tap dance, belly dancing and the salsa. Dance is an expression of self – it allows individuals and even couples to feel in control and free at the same time. People take up dance classes for varying reasons. Some are looking to get active, while others are looking to impress a new lover. Some even master their dance of choice and end up entering into competitions.
Salsa is an intimate dance that is still very popular today. It stems from Latin American styles of dance, but people in all backgrounds have enjoyed learning it.
Where Did Salsa Originate?
You’ll find residents of Puerto Rico and Cuba engaging in this social dance, but it’s origination (including Salsa music) comes from none other than New York. The style of dance was created from a mix of other daces, like Cuban Son, Mambo and Cha-cha-cha.
The term Salsa was first coined in the mid-1970s. It evolved from various popular Caribbean Latin American dances that were practiced since the 1940s in Latino communities throughout New York. It was common for Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dances to be incorporated into new dances over the years.
You can now find different types of Salsa dances in different Caribbean and Latin American countries. You have the Puerto Rican, New York, Cuban and Colombian styles of Salsa.
Why Salsa is Considered a Challenging Dance?
There are a lot of different components to Salsa that can make it difficult for any level of dancer to learn. As with any dance style, it’s about coordination and timing. But it’s also about moving your body to the rhythm in a tasteful manner. The following are the most common issues people witness when learning Salsa:
- Difficulty leading their partner. The male is normally the lead and should be able to control how far he is from his partner. Being too far away can make it tough to lead on the next move. Some followers also move too far away, also making it hard for the leader to lead.
- Not stepping forward at the right time. Timing is everything, this is why you have to pay attention to “the one”, which is the beat that is strongest (out of eight).
- Completing double spins.
- Difficulty keeping up with the pace of the music.
- Issues moving their hips.
Each person has their own challenges to overcome when learning Salsa, but with practice and proper guidance, it can become easier.
Mastering Salsa is Very Satisfying
Those who take up Salsa lessons are normally intimidated by the complexity. However, once you achieve the basics, it will become more exciting and fun. But rather than stopping there, you should continue on to master the more difficult moves. The satisfaction that comes from mastering Salsa is great, especially as you overcome your struggles with the moves as a beginner.
Learning Syncopated Beats
This is where Salsa can get a bit tricky. Rather than learning your typical full count timing, you have what’s known as syncopated beats. These can be described as rhythmic stresses or accents in parts of the music that are unusual. Aside from differentiations in timing, syncopated beats are also counted in half counts, which occur in the gaps of a song’s regular rhythm.
So rather than counting 1-2-3-4-5…, you would count 1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&-5…
If you’ve ever danced Merengue, you know the rhythm is quick. So it would be 1-2-3-4: quick, quick, quick, quick. While Salsa is 1-2-3, 5-6-7: quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow.
Adding Your Own Unique Flair
The beauty of most Latin dance styles is that you can add your own personal flair to them. If you take other dance lessons, you can incorporate them into your Salsa moves. For instance, you can add va va voom, tap or even jazz dance to Salsa. So once you’ve mastered Salsa, you can continue perfecting and enhancing your dance skills in many different ways.
Learning Salsa is easier when you have a good partner and the right instructor. Make sure you find Salsa lessons from a reputable workshop. You can request either group or private lessons, both of which can be beneficial, depending on your learning style.