Salsa basic Info - Salsa Concepts for beginners
All the information on this page is based on my personal
experience in dancing Salsa in different cities in the world.
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- The main Salsa styles
- Which Style should I learn, the Cuban style or the L.A style ?
- The Basic Salsa Set
- A Rueda
- Shines steps (also referred as footwork)
- The Salsa New York style
- The Colombian Salsa style
- Other popular dances in the Salsa
- Bachata Dance
- Merengue Dance
- Cha cha cha Dance
- Types of Salsa clubs
- How much time does it take to learn to dance Salsa ?
- Where can I learn to dance Salsa and how can I find clubs of Salsa ?
- Why learn to dance Salsa ?
- Some fears and excuses people have for not dancing Salsa
- The Cuban style (also known as Casino) - The couple is gearing around each other, there is not a fixed line. There are a lot of "knots" with the hands.
- The Los Angeles (L.A) style
style) - The couple is staying on an imaginary straight line (very
convenient for shows).
Here is an example of a couple dancing Cuban Style:
And here is an example of Los Angeles Style (In line style):
Many girls are able to dance both salsa styles and that is because they are frecuently invited to dance by boys from the two styles and so they get the experience of both of them (girls don't need to lead...).
For boys it is more difficult to manage both salsa styles but some can do it. It makes sense to be good in one of them.
The style you will choose to learn will depend a lot on what is being offered in the Salsa school in your town. If both styles are offered, you can begin with one and switch later to the other if it attracts you more.
The Cuban style is more casual and relaxed, the L.A style is more structured and mechanical in the movements. Both styles are beautiful.
For girls, the L.A style is more demanding, because they need to do "Lady Style" and there are also fast spins.
The basic Salsa set (which repeats itself and is coordinated with the music) is composed of 8 bits. The first 3 bits we do steps, the 4 is a pause without stepping, the 5,6,7 we do steps, the 8 is a pause. That's it, now you know Salsa.
Rueda, (which means a wheel in Spanish) is when several couples form a circle and dance Salsa while there is a "leader" telling which preset combination to perform.
At the Rueda, the style is the Cuban one.
Shines" steps in which the couple separates for a while and each perform individual moves. You can practice Shines steps alone, at your home in front of the mirror.
Video with shines steps:
The "New York style ", is danced with the first step on the second bit of the rhythm instead of on the first bit. To the inexperienced dancer it looks exactly like the L.A style.
It is characterized with (very) fast movements of the foot, including cha-cha-cha steps.
Video with Salsa Colombian Style:
Bachata is a very beautiful and sensual dance, the rhythm is different from Salsa. It is easier than salsa in some way but it requires practice. Look at this video.
In some salsa clubs, the evening begins with salsa music and it turns later to reggaetons and general Latin music as the night progress.
From time to time, at the clubs, there are nice salsa songs which can be hardly danced.
Salsa clubs also differ in the way they charge you : Some of them charge you a fee entrance, others don't charge you anything but they make sure you will consume drinks, other clubs include a free lesson at the beginning of the party.
Note: In south America (Cuba, Colombia and others), there is a lot of Salsa spirit but not a lot of dedicated big salsa clubs with lessons like in Europe or the U.S.
The time it will take you to learn Salsa will depend on the frequency of your classes and training and also on personal capabilities but don't worry, anyone can learn and improve the dancing even the ones who are sure that they have absolutely "no coordination". I may say that on average, it is only after one to two years that you will feel really good about your dancing.
Also, be aware that there is no limit to the improvement you can do in your dancing, this is not a matter of yes or no, there are many levels of dancing, you can learn endless combinations and even invent ones, you can learn different Salsa styles and also other dances that are played in the Salsa clubs like Bachata. Yes, there is a lot to learn.
Salsa power, it lists salsa clubs and schools around the world but it is not always updated. Salsa places are often opening and closing. What you should do is search in google for salsa clubs in the specific city you are interested in, go to one of them and ask information from people who are frequent dancers, not all the information is on the web.
If you want to look at videos with Cuban style salsa variations, look at this excellent youtube source : salsa medianoche.
Continue to page 2 - Why learn Salsa ?