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David has a bachelor's degree in architecture, has done research in architecture, arts and design and has worked in the field for several years.
Salsa is a dance and a musical style with deep Caribbean and African roots. It is very popular in almost all Latin America, and among Latino communities in the United States. In recent years, this dance has also been gaining popularity in Europe and in Asia. Have you tried it yet?
The salsa rhythm is widely recognized for being catchy, sensual, and easy to learn, yet very difficult to master. There are several academies throughout the world dedicated to teaching this dance at different levels of difficulty. There are even worldwide competitions dedicated to salsa, such as the World Salsa Championship and the World Salsa Open.
The origins of salsa date back to the 1900s in Eastern Cuba, where musical elements and rhythms from various styles were combined. Cuban Son and Afro-Cuban rumba, the two main styles, used diverse musical instruments to create the basis of a rhythm that would later become known as salsa.
Almost 50 years went by before this new rhythm reached Havana. There, salsa absorbed influences from other local Cuban music and from American jazz, and continued to evolve. Due to the Revolution in Cuba, many musicians relocated to the United States, especially to New York City. Among the Hispanic community, these musicians found an ideal environment to develop their rhythm into what we know as salsa today; this was especially true in ''El Barrio'', also known as Spanish Harlem.
The definite rise and jump to fame of salsa happened thanks to Fania Records, a record label established in 1964 by musician Johnny Pacheco and Italian-American lawyer Jerry Masucci. This label became extremely famous, producing one huge hit after another. Many of the artists who signed with this label are now regarded as legends of salsa, particularly the team of ''Fania All-Stars''. This group included celebrities such as Celia Cruz, Héctor Lavoe, Cheo Feliciano, and Rubén Blades, among others.
Fania Records edited the rhythms which originated in Cuba, and gave them a sound that was catchier and more easily accepted by the New York Latin market. To better merchandise their music, Fania called this new sound salsa.
Salsa music is a mix of different Caribbean rhythms and instruments; that diversity provides its unique sound. Salsa dance has similarly evolved and adapted over the years to better suit the tastes of different localities, leading to the creation of different regional styles of salsa. Some of the most popular regional styles are:
Considering such a variety of cultures in Latin America contribute to the vast diversity of styles in salsa, it is only natural that the musical instruments used also change a bit from style to style. A mix of instruments is used in each regional style. The most common percussion instruments are bongos, congas, timbales, maracas, and cowbells. Among the string instruments, we see the bass guitar, guitar, piano, violin, and electric guitar. The trumpet, trombone, flute, and saxophone are brass instruments commonly used.
The influence of salsa grew rapidly to become popular all over Latin America and within Hispanic communities worldwide.
Salsa is danced shifting the weight of the body from foot to foot by stepping in harmony with the music. This continuous shifting causes the hips to move in a specific pattern. Most of the movement in salsa occurs below the waist. However, many styles and fast-paced songs also tend to include steps in which the arms, torso, and even the head are moved in rapid succession. This is especially evident while doing spins in coordination with a dance partner. As a general rule, steps are divided into eight movements going along with the music. Movement number 4 is usually a shift in direction, and movement 8 is the finishing movement of the step.
There are many steps and dance moves used in salsa; four basic steps of the salsa dance are considered to be:
For this step, both feet are placed side by side, then one foot moves forward, usually, the right one, succeeded by the other foot. This leads to a movement similar to walking but instead of going forward all the time, the dancer goes back and forth.
This step is used mostly when doing solo moves. The side step is similar to the front-back but instead, the feet move to the left and then to right in rapid succession; this is usually accompanied with movement of the arms.
The spin is a couples-only movement. The lead dancer, usually the male, indicates when to do it. The dancers separate from each other, normally at arm's length, and immediately grab each other with just one arm. Both dancers then start a movement in which the lead dancer moves in a circular pattern and the second dancer spins and passes under the arm of the leader. It can be consecutively repeated a number of times.
This is another couples-only movement, very similar to a movement in American styles called the Tap. The dancers face each other, then proceed to separate and grab each other by the arm or the waist. They move so they both face in the same direction, being side by side. Then they face each other again, and proceed to do the same but in the opposite direction. This can also be repeated a number of times or used as the base step to perform more complex moves.
Salsa is a dance with Caribbean and African roots. It's very popular in almost all Latin America, and among Latino communities worldwide. Salsa originated in the 1900s in Cuba, where rhythms from styles like Cuban Son and Afro-Cuban rumba were combined to create a new dance. This new rhythm was combined with American jazz and taken to New York by Cuban musicians. The definite rise and jump to fame of salsa happened in the sixties and seventies thanks to Fania Records. This famous record label produced many hits, and made salsa popular all over Latin America. Salsa music evolved to better suit the tastes of different localities, leading to different regional styles of salsa such as Salsa Casino, Afro-Latino style, and Rueda de Casino. A mix of instruments is used, including percussion, string and brass instruments.
Salsa is danced shifting the weight of the body from foot to foot by stepping in harmony with the music. Some basic steps are:
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Back To CoursePerforming Arts Lesson Plans
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