Its name deriving from the Spanish word for “sauce” due to its spice and sensations, Salsa is a dance that is bursting with pizazz and energy. Its irresistible rhythms and simple movements have made it a popular dance in dancing institutions all over the world and once you’ve got the basic steps down, you’re laughing!
Salsa’s history is modest and colourful: musically, Salsa evolved and dispersed from Afro-Cuban communities who fused many musical styles together such as African rumbas and Latin sambas as well as many motifs of American Black tradition like jazz, blues and soul. Afro-Cuban immigrants living in New York popularised this fusion of music and created a new voice and life to dance music. This accommodated many other styles such as the Haitian Danzón and many Caribbean influences too.
With the music followed the dancing. The mixture of many rhythms in these diverse musical styles gave rise to the 4-beat Salsa we are familiar with today. This complex and funky music structured itself over a simple framework of easy steps that are easy to pick up and dance along to. Salsa gave a certain exotic freedom to dancing, flamboyant and unafraid. It became the dance of youthful exuberance and romantic liberty. Classes became more and more popular throughout the 70s and 80s as Salsa charmed the world over in its seductive rhythms.
Salsa today is no longer confined to the streets of Harlem and in Latino communities – it is enjoyed by many different cultures around the world. Its influences extend into many other types of dance and is celebrated in mainstream culture like in films such as “Dirty Dancing” and television programmes like “Dancing With the Stars”. Salsa has strutted its way into our hearts and the future looks bright for it too!