In short, it is the world’s most popular Latin street dance. With origins in Cuba and ties in Puerto Rico, it has spread like wildfire around the world and is danced by Salseros/Salseras in cities as diverse as Paris, London, Hong Kong, New York, Rio de Janeiro and, of course, in Toronto. In fact, any evening of the week you will find hundreds of Torontonians attending Salsa lessons or at one of the many great Salsa clubs in Toronto. Go traveling and you’ll likely find a similar picture in every major city in the world! When you start Salsa dancing, you join a huge family of Salsa dance-loving folks spread throughout the world.
Cuban Salsa, or simply Casino as it's known in Cuba, is a style of Salsa dancing gaining ever more popularity outside of Cuba, hugely popular in many places in Europe, Peru, Brazil, and now stablishing a strong fan base in Toronto. Its circular motion, afro-cuban flavour and very rhythmic and playful nature make it a favourite among many.
DIFFERENT STYLES OF SALSA
Having evolved for decades since its start, salsa dance nowadays exists in several different styles, some more popular than other depending on the geographical location. Here are some of the existing styles:
Cuban Style Salsa
A form of salsa dancing developed in Cuba since the 1950's, Cuban style salsa (Salsa Cubana), also known as Casino dancing, features a circular motion where the dancers executing their turn figures are not restricted to a line or slot, but rather use the whole 360 degrees around the couple to move. It is also known for its emphasys on body movement and frequent use of the rich Afro-Cuban dance vocabulary, as well as referrences to other Cuban dances such as Rumba, Son, Cha Cha Cha, and more. Cuban style salsa can be danced both on Rumba timing ("On 1"), on contratiempo (similar to "On 2"), as well as a tiempo ("On 3").
LA Style Salsa
Los Angeles style salsa is danced "On 1" and in a lot or line, where the dancers are restricted to be facing each other and executing the basic steps forward and backwards following a line. It is strongly influenced by Latin Hustle, Swing, Latin ballroom styles.
NY Style Salsa
New York style salsa is another style of linear salsa, where the dancers face each other while executing their basic steps and emphasize the second beat of the music ("On 2"). This style is strict on not travelling much, and it has as major features spinning as well as "shines", where dancers disconnect from each other and perform solo footwork and styling for a moment.
Colombian Style Salsa (Cali)
Colombian style salsa, in particular Cali style, is strongly influenced by other Caribbean dances such as Boogaloo and Pachanga. It is best known for its footwork which has quick steps and skipping motions. The footwork is quick, intricate and energetic.