Today we want to dedicate our article to the history of Salsa. We are many who enjoy dancing Salsa, rumba, son… and it is possible that some do not know what is the origin of these dances and their music.
The origin of Salsa as a musical style has never been clear and can not be attributed to a single place. What we do know is that Cuba has had a lot to do with the creation of Salsa and its constant evolution.
Although the theory that takes more force is the one that defends that in century XVII, in Cuba, it is begun to mix the music of the African slaves with which they brought the Spanish and French colones, giving rise with this fusion to styles like the chachachá , the Cuban son, the mambo, the guaracha or the guaguancó. These styles eventually spread throughout much of Central and South America, especially in countries such as Colombia and Puerto Rico.
After the Second World War, there was a large emigration to New York, Latin Americans from different countries, who settled in a marginal area of upper Manhattan known as the “El Barrio”. It was in this cultural environment that the musical current that is now known as Salsa began. In the decade of the 70, the Salsa reached a great popularity in “El Barrio”.
In 1967, Fania All Stars was created by the Fania Records label, the businessman Jerry Masucci and the Dominican musician Johnny Pacheco. Fanial All Stars was the group of Latin music and Salsa that was in charge of making known to the world this musical genre, giving concerts on five continents with the greatest artists of the moment. For the group they passed artists like Rubén Blades, Bobby Valentín, Yomo Toro and Celia Cruz, among many others.
During the 80s and 90s, new instruments and musical forms became part of the Salsa and new styles were born like the Salsa romántica that became popular in New York. And artists like Frankie Ruiz, Marc Anthony, Eddie Santiago and Dan Den contributed to this style with their songs.
Salsa became and continues to be an important part of the music and culture of countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, the Dominican Republic and distant countries such as Japan.
In Spain, the Salsa was prohibited during the Franco era due to the lyrics of the songs that went against the dictatorships, although in the Canary Islands this prohibition did not come.
After the arrival of Latin American emigrants to Spain, the Salsa was getting stronger and nowadays it is a very widespread dance in the country, with schools that teach it and Salsa where the music does not stop so that we can all dance!
As you can imagine, this is a brief summary for you to have an idea of the history of Salsa, but like all the stories, the characters and anecdotes are many and we could not mention everything.
Dance and styles of Salsa today
Salsa is the Latin rhythm par excellence of the last decades. The Salsa is danced in pairs and its steps are composed of 8 times, it is stepped on in all except the 4 and 8 that are pauses, in most styles. Who does not know 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7?
As for the styles, nowadays there are several styles that come from the places where they have developed over the years. Each style has its own way of dancing and doing the steps. The best known:
created by Puerto Ricans in the 70s in New York and with strong mambo influences. It differs because the step starts at time 2 and was popularized by the Eddie Torres Salsa masters. The couple moves online. Also known as Salsa on 2.
it is danced in the western zone of the United States and is emphasized in the first time. At the end of the 8 times, the couple ends up exchanging their position.
It is the most popular in Spain and in the countries of Latin America. It is danced in the first time and the couple moves in a circle.
Puerto Rico style:
in this style both the first and the second time are emphasized, with elaborate turns.
Cali style (Colombia):
with strong influences of Colombian rhythms, like cumbia. It is danced in a diagonal line.
We are passionate about salsa and that is why we love to travel to Cuba, Puerto Rico and New York to take advantage of our classes with great local masters. Do not hesitate and join one of our trips to share this passion with us and other people passionate about salsa! 🙂