If you’d ever met me, you would have soon discovered that I have many hobbies, one of which is dancing, in particular Latin dances, such as salsa.

What do you know about Salsa? (and I am not referring to the tomato based dip that we eat with tortilla chips.) Anything? There is a lot that many people don’t know about the dance. For example, did you know there were several different kinds of salsa? The three most common types of salsa are Cuban style, L.A. Style and New York style and each style is quite distinct.

Most current forms of Salsa originate from the old, local Cuban dance called “Son” which was danced to a variety of instruments, most notably the “claves” (A type of wooden sticks that set the beat and tempo of the dance). “Son” was then brought to the U.S. by Cuban immigrants where it underwent a significant transformation. Depending on the different locations and influences the different forms of salsa emerged.

Cuban style salsa is generally considered more casual and easier to dance, and is less “flashy” than other varieties. It is also more circular in motion, where the couple dances in a circle formation. It is also common to dance the “rueda” (the wheel) where multiple couples dance together and switch partners throughout the dance.

L.A. Style and N.Y. style are both danced in a kind of line formation, where the partners do the steps and switch positions back and forth along the (invisible) “line”. Both styles also have more intricate steps and more arm and body movements which make them more “flashy” than Cuban style.

The main difference between the two is that L.A. style is mostly danced “on 1” (which means on the first beat of the music) where as N.Y. is most often danced “on 2” (the second beat of the music).

Keep in mind, that performances or competitions will look very different from the casual dancer. These platforms often have lifts, throws and other more complex steps that are not found in your typical salsa club. Not to mention the flashy costumes!!
If you have never tried salsa before, I recommend getting out and giving it a try, even if you have two left feet! It’s a great way to get some exercise, meet new people and just have a good time!