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Salsa, the name alone suggests to the Caribbean, the upbeat music, the beautiful beaches, the atmosphere of fun and merriment.  It's mixed emotions that interact in the pair.

Originally, this dance has always been related to the culture and collective identity. The term Salsa we wanted to indicate various popular rhythms, many of them in the Caribbean. No one knows for certain who gave this name to that kind of music, but refers to the mixture of the different rhythms and musicality.

The genesis of the sauce from the Son where African rhythms of slaves have preserved and developed its roots "by mixing them at European musical traditions, from the Andalusian Flamenco, the French romance. We must go back to the end of 700, when the island of Haiti slave rebellions pushed many landowners to settle in the Eastern Cuban region "[1]. The dances were reinterpreted and gave birth to Danzon Cubano.  The latter spread into living rooms, while in the countryside continued to dance on a rhythm based on percussion. One of the most popular dances and popular is the Son Montuno and became the rhythmic base of the sauce.

Even in this type of dance there is no lack of contamination of other dances, such as hip hop and funky.

How to dance Street Salsa is related to improvisation and, sometimes, the choreography is almost non-existent but the movements are in perfect harmony with your dancer and of course music. Otherwise, the show is more figurative sauce and emphasizes movement and at the time of rhythm. Here you can see many choreographies and step sequences. It is a couple dance with movements and precise rules.

Important in Salsa is the pace. The instrument took as reference, usually, is the key and is the starting point for attacks. Difficult is to understand what is the first bar that coincides with the first beat of the quatrain. We must, therefore, find the music through a careful listening one solo voice and choir. The salsa is danced in two ways: "the tune" or "percussion".

It consists of predefined motion sequences that are called figures or choreography based on the fantasies of the various dancers.

There are many schools that teach salsa cubana, Venezuelan and Puerto Rican salsa sauce. However, there are also other categories such as NY Style and the Los Angeles Style.

There is a difference between Cuban salsa and bachata, that cubana is characterized by a movement called "Cuban Motion" while the puertorican Salsa is much more schematic and dance keeping the line and paying more attention to gestures, especially in the female. Key feature of this type of sauce are the pasitos, which are small solos that the dancers are inside the ball.

Venezuelan style, instead, comes from the suburbs of Caracas and is a very romantic. Is widespread in Europe and is danced everywhere. The New York style is very similar to the puertorican Salsa and some interpreters New Yorkers don't recognize the difference and New York style Mambo is thought to have originated the puertorican Salsa. Finally, there is the Los Angeles Style and dance on the "one", then on the rhythm of Cuban salsa, although maintains a certain line like in the puertorican Salsa. New products are in the placement of figures in other styles or even of rock and roll, such as acrobatic figures.

The interesting thing is to understand the differences between the Cuban and Puerto Rican music. Today we tend to easily identify the Cuban music as timba but doesn't take into account the root sonera or Rumba's movements.  In timba you have a real rhythm pattern dictated by using a battery and goes to meet with the son, creating a sound that comes close to rock music and funky; We think of the song of Los Van Van titled Esto te pone la cabeza mala as a classic of son cubano is the song Hay fuego en el 23. We must emphasise how the timba has revolutionized the texture of the sauce from the old "son montuno rhythm we reach a" montuno Infinity "that responds to the love of improvisation on the part of the dancers that Cuban musicians"[2].

The other interesting thing is that you present, while in Puerto Rico we are witnessing a true rebirth of Cuban salsa, timba divides its popularity by reggaetton. […] the reggaetton led to the emergence of two musical hybrids: salsaton (in Puerto Rico) and timbaton (in Cuba). [3]"

We must learn to listen more and to understand the various facets and nuances of Salsa music just to taste even better Caribbean soul. This is the only way to dance with passion and heart.

Some examples of Salsa music:

  1. La vida es un carnaval by Celia Cruz
  2. Esto te pone la cabeza de Juan Formell and Los Van Van
  3. Me dicen Alexander Abreu & Havana Cuba de Primera
  4. Despojate with Eleggua of Los Conquistadores de la Salsa
  5. Macchu Picchu 2014 by Alfredo Linares
  6. Cuando te Vea by Bobby Valentin
  7. Moña Pa Mi Conjunto Sabrosura Bongo
  8. La Bicicleta La sonora Libre
  9. El Perdόn of Niki Jam & Enrique Iglesias.

[1] Taken from this article at the following link retrieved on July 6, 2015

[2] NATHAN CHAN, what are the differences between Cuban and Puerto Rican music?, article can be contacted at the following link Puerto Rican-258721899335 January 21, 2010 and that the July 6, 2015/retrieved on.

[3] Ibid.

About Mariangela Bognolo

Artistic director Retetop95, curator, historian and art critic.

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