Salsa Dance Styles

Posted on: Thursday January 12th, 2012

Salsa Dancers

Cuban Style Salsa

Cuban salsa style is characterized by Afro Cuban style body movement which includes body isolation and hip movement. Cuban style salsa does not have many fast spins. Instead the movement is very circular as opposed to linear and partners tend to travel around each other.

Miami Style Salsa

Miami style salsa evolved from the Cuban style of salsa. Advanced Miami salsa moves tend to be intricate and pretzel-like and require a flexible follower to execute the moves. Many of the Miami moves are the same as Casino Rueda moves and the style is still more circular than linear.

Casino Rueda Style Salsa

Casino Rueda (meaning salsa wheel) is a group dance which originated in Havana , Cuba in the 1960s by a group called Guaracheros de Regla. In this dance, couples dance in a circle while one dancer, designated as “The Caller”, provides hand signals or calls out the moves which will be executed by every couple in the circle simultaneously. Many of the Casino moves involve swapping or switching partners which makes the dance tricky to execute and spectacular to watch. Rueda is very popular in Cuba and Miami and has gained popularity all over the world. Many callers will know anywhere from 150-300 moves so memory, speed and accuracy is a key to ensuring the circle is not broken.

L.A. Style Salsa (Dancing “On 1”)

L.A. style salsa, usually danced “On 1”, is a flashier version of New York style salsa moves. Advanced dancers use lots of dips, flips, drops and tricks which make for a great show to watch. The back and forth Mambo basic, again in a linear motion, is utilized with the leader breaking forward on 1. L.A. style salsa has incorporated many other types of dancing including jazz, hip hop, and ballroom which is challenging for the dancers and entertaining for the viewers.

Puerto Rican Style Salsa

Puerto Rican style salsa can be danced “On 1” or “On 2”. If you are dancing Puerto Rican style “On 2” dancing, it is opposite from New York style in the sense that the leader breaks forward on 2 instead of the follower (can be called “On 6”). Some say that shines originated in Puerto Rico as these dancers would break away from their partners and execute extremely fast and complicated solo footwork. The lines are very clean and there are a great deal of shoulder shimmies incorporated into the dancing.

Salsa Shines

Shines refer to solo work when the leader breaks away from the follower and each dancer has the opportunity to freestyle on their own to the rhythm and accents of the salsa music. Shines involve more complex footwork as well as body movement and arm work. Shines are common in the New York, L.A. and Puerto Rican styles of dancing. They are not as common in the Cuban, Miami and Columbia styles of dancing. The term “shines” originally referred to having the opportunity to “shine” independently.

Colombian Salsa Styles

Salsa is danced differently all throughout Colombia. In Cali, it is more “showy”. In more rural parts of the country it is danced more closely and tightly, with heads touching in some cases. However, the underlying commonality is that there is no forward and backward motion of the feet. It is simply what we call “Cumbia” style, which is feet alternating to the back or to the side.

Tagged: Casino Rueda, Colombian, Cuban, Cumbia, Dance, Dance Style, History, L.A. Style, Miami, On 1, On 2, Puerto Rican, Salsa.

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