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Different ways to dance Salsa

While many can agree that Salsa dancing is fun, what most are divided on is how exactly to dance it. From LA Style, Cuban Style, Rueda and New York ‘on2,’ there are a variety of options. Thankfully, there are so many passionate people who dance Salsa in it’s various forms that every style is represented well. As a newcomer, you might be wondering which way to learn considering your different options. The following can help you navigate through the wonderful world of Salsa dancing and get you moving!

LA Style Salsa

The LA has a distinct and flashy look about it and is know around the world for it’s flashiness. Many legendary LA Salsa dancers made a name at congresses around the world by their sheer sass and flamboyance. Due to the advent of the Salsa Congresses around the world, LA style grew to become more technical. Certain movements were adopted and adapted from the exposure to the New York ‘on2’ style while maintaining the LA flashiness. IN Los Angeles, the traditional way to dance is on the ‘1.’ What this means is the basic steps accentuate the first measure of the 8 count of the music and is traditionally easier to dance than other Salsa timings.

Cuban Style Salsa

In the Cuban Style of dancing, there is a similar counting method to that of the LA style. Although not as refined and less technical. You’ll often see Cuban Style dancers dancing on the ‘downbeats’ of the music which usually mean the odd beats (1,3,5,7). Also, a distinct difference from the slot based nature of the US styles is that Cuban style is mostly danced in a circle. Furthermore, you’ll note some distinct nods to the Afro-Cuban history of Salsa with more authentic Cuban dancers.

Rueda Style Salsa

The Rueda, or Casino style, is celebrated for it uniqueness. Whereas the other styles are still focused on the partnership between a lead and a follow, The Rueda is different. The Casino style of dance is more of a community type feeling with a circle of leads and follows dancing in unison. There is one leader who shouts out calls or gives general hand signals. These cues tell the participating dancers what to do next as well as what to expect. While it may get a little repetitious, there is fun to be had in a large group moving in unison. Furthermore, a well practice Rueda group can make their Salsa dancing look highly impressive.

New York Style Salsa

The New York style of Salsa is also affectionately known as ‘Salsa on2.’ Whereas there is a Ballroom/Palladium style of dancing on2, it is not actively danced in a social setting. The NY Style is defined by a combination of intricate handwork and spins. There is also a smoother and relaxed feel to the style due to the way the basic step is structured. Dancing  Salsa ‘on2’ has been gaining popularity and is now commonly danced across the world by social dancers, teachers and performers.

The combination of of the New York and LA style of Salsa are the most prominent styles socially danced in North America. They differ in the way the basic steps are designed as well as the way the dancers accent the music. An ability to dance both of these different timings will allow you to dance with almost anyone in the US and abroad. Furthermore, an exploration of other social methods of dancing Salsa can round out your experience and give you a fully fleshed-out understanding as you learn to dance Salsa.