Salsa is a popular Latin American dance with a sharp character.
In some countries, salsa is called "music of the tropics", so vividly it feels the culture of the hot countries of the Caribbean. This is both a simple and relaxed dance, which is practically no one to master. But before proceeding to practice, we suggest learning more about this style and feel its beauty through popular melodies.
The history of salsa: first there was music
Could Christopher Columbus think what would be the main culprit for the appearance of a whole constellation of Latin American dances, and in particular salsa? Unlikely. At the beginning of the 15th century, this discoverer was concerned with a completely different goal - to open a shorter sea route to Asia. Together with his team, he went on a long journey to the west and ... reached the shores of Cuba. This event took place in 1492 - big changes awaited Cuban culture.
The newly discovered lands hurried to occupy the Spanish colonialists. In pursuit of the territory, they destroyed the indigenous Indians, without thinking that someone would have to process huge areas. This question was solved with the help of blacks: caravans of ships with slaves from Africa stayed near the shores of Cuba and other islands of the Caribbean for nearly three centuries.
It seemed that fate itself favored the unity of three cultures: European, Cuban and African. Especially significant for this merger was 1886 - the date of the abolition of slavery on Liberty Island. From this point on, the influence of African culture increases, reaching its apogee in 1895, when Cuba was recognized as an independent state. The island’s dance traditions began to develop in a world devoid of racial prejudice. The ritual rhythms of the former black slaves imperceptibly penetrated into the Cuban culture, where English contradanse already ruled with a ball. All this led to the appearance of Dunson, cha-cha-cha, Son, Rumba and other national Cuban dances, which were later “transported” to America.
What about salsa? Her appearance is associated with the decline of Latin American dance culture in the United States. In the 1960s, the interest in Cuban rhythms among the youths of the Spanish Harlem - a large diaspora of Latin Americans in Manhattan - began to fade. All the fault was rock and roll, on which American boys and girls went crazy. The Latin American community also required something new. So there was a genre called boogaloo.
The new direction was not destined to exist for a long time, despite the high popularity and modern rhythms. Three years after its appearance, and this happened in 1966, the bulgali gave way to salsa, which developed in parallel to it. The father of the style was Johnny Pacheco, who was inspired by the idea of creating a new Latin American brand.
In 1962, Johnny was quite a flutist in his circles. But unlike other musicians, he did not want to play other people's compositions all his life. Pacheco shared his ambitious ideas about the new brand with a lawyer friend Jerry Masucci. He became interested and took upon himself the financial question of the realization of the dream of Johnny. So, in 1964, the recording company Fania Records appeared in New York.
Pacheco made a bet on the musical traditions of Cuba: dream, guaracha, etc. By adding a modern color to Cuban culture that has already outlived itself in America, the talented musician attracted the attention of the Latin American community, which was already pretty tired of the bulgum, deprived of the piquant note of Liberty Island.
It turns out that salsa was born in America, but its roots go deep into the history of the Cuban people with its European and African interventions. By the way, playing and dancing salsa in Cuba began after its appearance in New York.
From music to dance
Johnny Pacheco created music in the style of salsa, and the people engaged in the embodiment of dance drawing. At the same time, there was no “standardized” set of movements characteristic of this trend in the 1970s – 1980s. Residents of each state that belonged to the Caribbean danced salsa in their own way, with their own national touch. Therefore, in Cuba, the style resembles a dream, and in Puerto Rico - a mambo.
A turning point in the development of salsa, as a generally accepted dance genre, was played again by America, more precisely New York, where the popular dance club "Palladium" was located. It is here that Latin Americans, including Cubans, demonstrated their dancing talent.
In the early 60s, 12-year-old Eddie Torres visited Palladium, who wanted to learn how to dance for the sake of one girl. The boy was delighted with Latin American dances and became a regular participant in discos, where they practiced this style. After 8 years, he received the title of one of the best salsa dancers in New York. Staging dance for the cinema, teaching was what Eddie expected.
In 1995, Torres records the training video course Salsa Nightclub Style, which diverges around the world. Technological progress played a significant role in the popularization of dance: at that time it was difficult to surprise someone with the presence of a domestic video recorder. In general, the conditions were such that Eddie Torres salsa became the very standard that is commonly called “New York salsa”.
Cuban salsa style was formed under the influence of socio-economic factors. Initially, the people of Freedom Island completely managed without any standards. They were not needed because salsa was danced on holidays with acquaintances and friends. But the flow of tourists forced the local population to create a certain benchmark of the genre in order to earn money from it.
Presenting a modern dance world without salsa is almost impossible. And although the style is not included in the obligatory program of Latin American ballroom dancing, interest in it does not fade. In many countries of the world, schools have been opened where salsa-lovers of the genre of all ages are taught. And all this we owe to the Cuban people.
Popular Salsa Rhythms
"La rebelion"This is one of the most famous compositions of Colombian musician Joe Arroyo. Despite the fact that the song contains words about eternal slavery and the unenviable fate of blacks, the melody is imbued with dance and incendiary rhythms. Under it you want to dance forever.
"La Rebelion" (listen)
"La vida es un carnaval“performed by Celia Cruz. Cuban in origin, Celia released 20 records and won two Grammy awards. In this song she sings about the love of life, which she compares with a carnival.
"La Vida Es Un Carnaval" (listen)
"El cantante". The composition was recorded in 1978 by Puerto Rican singer Ector Laveau. This song was his main hit and served as the title of the same film, shot in honor of him.
"El Cantante" (listen)
"Idilio"This composition belongs to the work of Willie Colon, born in New York, in the South Bronx. The harmony of Latin American and New York rhythms brought this singer fame and popularity.
"La cartera"performed by Larry Harlow, whose work is well known to every lover of salsa. It is an easy and relaxed composition, filled with Cuban motifs. Would you like to dance to it? Definitely!
"La Cartera" (listen)
What is salsa?
This is both a Cuban folk dance and a musical genre. At the same time, dance traditions developed along with the music. Girls and boys simply adjusted to the new rhythm, introducing new movements into the already familiar dance styles. Which ones? It depends on the variety of salsa.
Cuban or salsa casino. In the movements of the partners, the choreography of the sone is guessed - another Cuban dance, the progenitor of salsa. The picture is built on a circular reference. A man performs a lot of catchy movements with his hands, as if imitating smoothing hair. Woman tries to dance with relaxed hands.
Dominican salsa. The choreography is also based on circular competence. The music is fast, which allows you to fully enjoy the "impulse", rhythmic movements of partners. This is the main difference between Dominican salsa.
Salsa New York. Here the dance pattern is linear, fast and dynamic. At the same time, the movements are soft, smooth, somewhat reminiscent of "cat" habits. Fans of the genre believe that this variety is designed to show the grace and plasticity of the partner in all its glory. This is due to the fact that the first woman takes a step forward.
Salsa Los Angeles. This is a modern style where the precision of performance of all choreographic elements is appreciated. Movement at the same time simple and quickly replacing each other. Despite this, acrobatic steps are used in this direction, which gives the genre a special effect.
Salsa is necessarily a pair dance. After all, to tell a story filled with passion, romance and flirting requires two people - he and she. There are several versions of the origin of the name of the style. The first sends us to a small Miami club, from which Cuban melodies flow from the scene. The music of the Island of Freedom so publicly that she began to chant "Salsa! Salsa!". A salsa, spicy sauce, in this institution spiced up various dishes.
The second version takes us to the United States, at Madison Square Garden. Here in the 60s a large-scale concert was held, founded by the recording company Fania Records. The public was presented music in which the rhythms of boogaloo, son, cha-cha, mambo and other directions were heard. Hearing this mixture of sounds, Tito Puente, the king of the mambo, exclaimed: "Esto es una gran salsa!" Translated into Russian, this phrase means: "Great sauce!".
The third option is associated with the name Izzy Sanabria, who worked as a designer at Fania Records. In this studio, various styles of Cuban music interfered without giving the ultimate melody of a specific name. And then Izzy decided to correct this situation, calling the new rhythms salsa, which means sauce or cheeky.
It turns out, salsa is a spicy, savory dance, seasoned with looseness and a sense of freedom.
Being engaged in the popularization of salsa, Johnny Pacheco proved himself to be quite an astute manager. He understood that new music is unlikely to be in great demand in specialized stores because of high margins. Without thinking twice, Johnny and his partner, Jerry Masucci, loaded the boot of the car with records recorded in their own recording studio and went to the people in Spanish Harlem. In crowded places, they turned on their music and sold it cheaply to anyone interested.
Salsa takes the 4th place after hip-hop, jazz and tap for a beneficial effect on health. These are the results of a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Legend has it that salsa was born in cramped Latin American cuisines. During the big holidays, the housewives had to maneuver between the guests, making spectacular body movements. Attempts to maintain balance, without dropping from the hands of hot dishes, and became the basis for creating a dance. But this is just an interesting version.
In 2005, the first world salsa championship was held. The center of attraction for fans of the genre has become Las Vegas, which continues to annually embrace everyone who is not indifferent to the Cuban dance.
We owe the spread of salsa to Russia to Cuban students who began to come to our country in the 90s.
Colombians brought the dance to the UK in the 80s, when the prudent British changed their migration policy to eliminate the problem of labor shortages.
The list of the most famous salsa dancers includes the following names: Magna Gopal, Sean Bristol, Johnny Vasquez, Juan Matos, Leon Rose.
You can talk about salsa for hours, but it is better to enjoy it in the performance of various actors. In the film "The Singer" (2006), Mark Anthony has covered many songs by Hector Laveau, one of the most famous salsa singers. You can admire dancing in the films Born Romantic (2000), Salsa Queen (2001) and Dance With Me (1998).
This is a brief excursion into the world of salsa. In a world where in every movement one feels lightness and freedom, passion and ease, the desire to dance without regard to the surrounding reality.