In the sixties New York received a large influx of Caribbean immigrants, mainly Cubans and Puerto Ricans. Longing for their Caribbean roots, They continued to make Afro-Cuban music but somehow adapted it to the metropolitan Life-style. At first confined to the audience of the Latin American community, Salsa grew in stature gaining full acceptance after the release of Jerry Masucci's film Salsa (1973) which featured a Fania All-Stars concert in New York. Later it became a ballroom dance even thought the authentic salsa is a very spontaneous and intricate music; the dancing is too spicy and lively for monotonous formal routines. It can be quite slow, or very fast, and the rhythm can change within the same song. During the seventies, thanks to many outstanding performers, Salsa music spread his growth to the entire world, becoming extremely popular amongst every kind of people. Nowadays, there are clubs and musicians playing Salsa music all over the World in any major City.
Cuban Salsa is also known as "Casino Salsa" (from which came "Casino Rueda"). The dance moves are characterized by complicated arm movements.Cuban style footwork involves a lot of circular motion, where couples walk around each other while performing various turns. For some unknown genetic reasons, Cubans seems to be born with super flexible joints to do all these difficult maneuvers! Somehow many of their turns seem to defy body geometry! Just as you think that a particular move must be impossible, they'll come up with something that is even more complex! Not only will all the intertwining tunnels and twisting bodywork dazzle you, you'll also be impressed by their rhythmic body movements as well.
What is Casino Rueda?
Rueda de Casino (commonly known as Rueda) is a Cuban Street dance that was originally done in the 50's in Cuba but became increasingly popular in the 90's in the U.S. Some dance historians suggest that Rueda originated as a dance done primarily among poor, black Cubans who could not afford to belong to the social clubs (a.k.a. casinos) found in the cities. More affluent Cubans adopted the dance and moved the dance form into the social clubs where it became known as Rueda de Casino. Some suggest that the dance was seldom done outside of Cuba until the poorer Afro-Cubans (who continue to be the primary innovators of the dance) were able to migrate abroad. The emergence of Rueda outside of Cuba began in Miami but has now spread to many salsa communities all over the U.S. including New York, Chicago, Washington DC and San Francisco. Rueda is composed of the same footwork done in Salsa but couples dance in a round (Rueda is Spanish for wheel). Couples initially assemble in a circle and the Rueda leader or "caller" yells out patterns. One of the unique features of Rueda is that couples perform synchronized patterns and often change partners in response to the caller's instruction•much like what is done in square dancing. Two to nine or ten couples usually perform Rueda. In the beginning of the Rueda, the leaders, keeping a close eye on the caller, move their followers in counterclockwise direction around the circle. " Arriba" means that the couples is moving counterclockwise and "abajo" means that the couple is moving clockwise while maintaining the circle.
An offshoot of Cuban Salsa is Miami style Salsa. Geographically close to Cuba, Miami received thoudsands of Cuban exiles, together with their music and dance culture. After a few decades, a new style of Salsa known distinctly as "Miami style" has developed separately from Cuban style Salsa. Although Miami style shares many similar moves with its parental dance form, it has developed a unique flavour of its own. For those who have been to Miami Salsa scene, you will be impressed by their immaculate timing and technical precision and you will be dazzled by all the intertwining tunnels and twisting bodywork.
Rumba is a type of medium-to-fast polyrhythmic Afro-Cuban song and dance, with a three-part form of introduction, improvised verses, and repetitive call-and-response. It is typically accompanied by 2 to 3 conga drums and sticks. This structure has been adapted for Cuban popular music ensembles. Rhumba is an American term for various Cuban song and dance genres--for example, the son or BOLERO, which are not actually rumbas but were popular dance music styles in the United States during the 1930s and '40s.
More acculturated genres have become national folk/popular musics; generally combining European melodic/harmonic instruments with African percussion, they include the MERENGUE (variants in Dominican Republic and Haiti), plena of Puerto Rico, the cumbia of Colombia/Panama (popular in Central America, Mexico, and the U.S. Southwest), and guaracha and son of Cuba.
Puerto Rican styles
The Puerto Rican style can be danced on the "One" or the "Two" beat of the music, but it involves a tremendous amount of very technical footwork ("Solo" if you're from LA, or what they call "Shines" in New York.) There is more an emphasis on footwork, than in New York style, however, in recent years this can be argued by many a Mambo maniacs in Manhattan. In New York style, there is a strong Latin Hustle influence. My guess is that in the disco craze of the late 70's and early 80's, when Eddie Torres was one of the only instructors in New York, single-handedly holding the torch of "Mambo Dance" with Tito Puente, Salsa dancing almost completely grew extinct to the Hustle dance. Because of the great Hustle craze of that area, many Hustle dancers incorporated a lot of their moves into the Mambo style during that slow transitional period back to Salsa music in the late 80's and early 90's. Because Salsa is such a diverse dance, and there are no real "rules" of style, once you learn any style of dance, you tend to stick to that style when transitioning to Salsa.
I found this to be true in California. The primary influence in Los Angeles is West Coast Swing and Latin Ballroom. Many of the showy tricks and Caberet moves are taken from Swing and Latin Ballroom, which is very prevalent and highly competitive and influential throughout the Mid and West Coasts. Unlike Miami, there are not many Cuban immigrants in Los Angeles, hence the Salsa dance style is predominantly a hybrid of Swing, Ballroom, and a soft Puerto Rican style. In New York, however, because of the high concentration of Puerto Rican immigrants, the Puerto Rican style is much like that of what is now New York style, Latin Hustle, or what we call "Mambo On-Two".
New York Style
New York gave birth to a unique style of Salsa dancing. Along with LA style, it is one of the most popular styles that can be seen around the world, from London to Japan, Italy to San Francisco. In clubs, classes and stage shows, the influence of New York style Salsa is everywhere. Just ask anyone who has been to some of the biggest Salsa events like the Bacardi Festival in Puerto Rico, or the West Coast Salsa Congress in L.A. They will tell you that many of the shows are strongly influenced by New York style Salsa.
Specifically, it makes the woman look good. Many New York style moves display the woman beautifully. The moves are stylish and the woman is always showcased as the centerpiece of the dance. Girls love it for the attention they get, and guys love it because making their partner look good makes them look good too! Any style of dancing that makes the dancers look good will inevitably be popular.The moves, or turn patterns as they are called in New York, are very simple and effective. Rather than having complicated entwining turns like the LA style, the patterns are straightforward and the steps are simple. It is this simple elegance that makes it also easy to learn. It is often said that the best dance moves are the simplest moves that make you look great!
Where did New York style Salsa come from?
In New York, Salsa is also known as "Mambo". This reflects on the origins of Salsa dancing in New York City. New York style Salsa dancing started as Mambo. Eddie Torres, "the king of Mambo dancing", used to perform on the same stage as Tito Puente, the "Mambo King" himself. Today, Eddie is the most famous Salsa teacher in New York City, passing on the traditions of Mambo to modern Salsa dancing.
As the name implies, Los Angeles, USA has spawned it's own characteristic style of Salsa, popularised by well known dancers like Josie Neglia, the Vasque brothers and the Salsa Brava dance troupe. LA style is exciting, elegant and sensual incorporating suave "shine" footwork. It's one of the most popular Salsa styles around the world today, with regular appearances of high profile LA style performers at huge Salsa events like the annual World Salsa Congress & Bacardi Festivals.
What is LA style Salsa?
It is a style that has borrowed extensively from other dance styles. It has been influenced by Cuban & New York style Salsa, Jazz, Swing and even Ballroom dancing. From these influences, the modern dancers of this style have further refined it to produce a distinctive range of turn patterns. Most LA style moves are based on the "cross-body lead", where the man leads the woman across his body in a linear motion. This basic dance component is shared by other dance styles like Cuban and New York styles. All three dance styles share many other common turn patterns as well. For example, the Cuban style "Setenta" is also known as "Hammer-lock" in LA & New York style.
How does LA style differ from other styles?
To start with, it does not focus on the complicated arm movements normally associated with the basic Cuban style. Additionally, the LA style turn patterns are normally "in-line", as opposed to "circular" in the Cuban style. LA style differs from the New York style in that the timing is more relaxed. New York style requires distinctly precise timing to execute all the checks and catches. Most importantly, however, is that many of the LA style moves are sexy and flamboyant, with lots of dips, spins, drops...enough to dazzle any spectator.
Is LA style Salsa the authentic form of Salsa?
We don't believe that there is such a thing as an "authentic" style of Salsa. People from the streets of Cali, Colombia dance differently from those in the clubs of Havana, Cuba. Cubans who live in Miami dance differently to those from Cuba. People from all around the world make their own interpretation of Salsa music and create many styles of their own. There is a huge amount of creativity in the evolution that has made Salsa the diverse and rich dance form we know today.
"Shines" simply refers to footwork, or the intricate footwork pattern dancers display when they break away from their partner in the middle of their dance. "Shines" gets its name from the fact that the dancers will polish their shoes to make them shine in order to show off their footwork! Shines are very popular in New York and L.A. In New York, it is also known as "Mambo Shines". There are hundreds of shine variations, some are well known and others are challenging & done by only a few dancers. The number of shines available is endless, limited only by the imagination and creativity of dancers.