Where Did Salsa Dancing Originate?

Jun 28th, 2017

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Category: Salsa Dancing

Where Did Salsa Dancing Originate?

Salsa dancing lessons in Fort Worth, TX are among the most energetic classes on offer at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, and if you’ve ever danced salsa before, you know it’s a rush! This style of dance is truly one-of-a-kind, which often makes people wonder: “Where did it originate?”

Island beginnings

Most people see the fiery passion of salsa and immediately think of traditional South American dancing. Rightfully so, since salsa dancing can trace its roots back to Latin America—specifically the Caribbean!

Early dance styles of the Caribbean islands involved shifting weight with each step of a dance, which created energetic, whole-body movements that were quickly integrated into other forms of traditional dance in places like Cuba and Venezuela.

Dances from the 1940s and ‘50s that were already exotic became even more lively and energetic, paving the way for modern forms of salsa dancing as we know it today. The evolution of the style borrowed heavily from the cha cha cha, the mambo and the Puerto Rican bomba.

Coming to America

Salsa hit the big time in the 1970s when it caught the eyes of people in the New York City dance scene. Visitors to Latin America were enthralled and captivated by the dance and quickly adapted it for the big city club scene, and immigrants played a key role in popularizing the form. Soon, nightclubs, bars, ballrooms and dance festivals were flooded with people literally dancing themselves into a sweat!

Some people say that the term “salsa” was derived from the way dancers fanned themselves and breathed heavily after a dance—akin to what someone might do if they ate a particularly spicy batch of salsa. It’s believe that record labels reinforced this idea, calling the music “spicy” and touting the sweat it worked up.

The more likely reason we know salsa dancing by that name is because of the blend of musical styles, dance moves and ethnicities that made it famous. Everything comes together in a perfect mixture, like a fine salsa or “sauce.” It’s similar to the melting pot ideology.

Salsa dancing today

Salsa continues to be one of the most evolutionary forms of dance that exists. Today, there are numerous styles and types of salsa dancing that are very distinct in the music and moves that accompany them. Some of the most famous include:

  • Afro-Latino salsa, which incorporates more twisting and reeling. Shimmies, spins, shoulder isolations and lifts are also popular in this version.
  • Cuban-style salsa is an exciting style of dance that utilizes planned improvisations to further spice things up on the dance floor.
  • Colombian or Cali-style salsa turns up the speed on traditional salsa, to incorporate fast footwork and precise steps.

No matter what type of salsa is being danced, it’s sure to be captivating at every level. The energy, precision, showmanship and musical eclectics of salsa make it a dance that anyone can identify with and appreciate. It’s why the style has been around for decades and continues to be one of the most popular styles in the Western hemisphere.

Ready to give salsa dancing lessons in Fort Worth, TX a try? Contact Arthur Murray Dance Studio today to enroll!

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