Salsa and New York

Topics: Salsa, Salsa music, Dance Pages: 10 (2959 words) Published: January 6, 2009
Salsa refers to a fusion of informal dance styles having roots in the Caribbean (especially in Cuba and North America). The dance originated through the mixture of Mambo, Danzón, Guaguancó, Cuban Son, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Salsa is danced to Salsa music. There is a strong African influence in the music as well as the dance.

Salsa is a partner dance, although there are recognized solo steps and some forms are danced in groups of couples, with frequent exchanges of partner (Rueda de Casino). Improvisation and social dancing are important elements of Salsa but it appears as a performance dance too.

The name "Salsa" is the Spanish word for sauce, connoting (in American Spanish) a spicy flavor[1]. The Salsa aesthetic is more flirtatious and sensuous than its ancestor, Cuban Son. Salsa also suggests a "mixture" of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term's origin. Break step

The Break Step is important in most styles of salsa. It serves two functions. First, the break step occurs on the same beat each measure and allows the partners to establish a connection and a common ground regarding the timing and size of steps. Secondly the break step is used in an open break to build arm tension and allow certain steps to be led. On which beat the break step occurs is what distinguishes different Salsa styles. Many moves are quick and fast which include the girl spinning repetitiously.

[edit] Basic Step On OneOn counts 1, 2, and 3, the leader steps forward, replaces, and steps backward. On count 5, 6, and 7, they step backwards, replace, and step forward again. The follower does the same, but with forward and backward reversed, so that the couple goes back and forth as a unit. This basic step is part of many other patterns. For example, the leader may dance the basic step while leading the follower to do an underarm turn.

The following variants of the Basic step may be used, often called breaks.

* Forward break: Starting from either foot, step Forward, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7 * Back break: Starting from either foot, step Backward, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7 * Side break: Starting from either foot, step Sideways, Replace, In-place, counting 1,2,3 or 5,6,7

[edit] Basic Step On Two

Many ballroom chain schools' "mambo basic" has the leader commencing with a side left on 1 and a break backwards on 2, on the first bar.

If the break steps occurs on count 2 and 6, it is called "On Two". There are two main ways in North America of dancing On Two:

* Power-On2 breaks on 2 and 6, and holds on 1 and 5.
* Eddie-Torres-On2 breaks on beats 2 and 6, but holds on 4 and 8.

[edit] On2 steps analyzed

Also note that most "Torres" On 2 dancers slightly rush the one and the five count. This means that they are stepping a moment before the one and the five are played by the music. It can be clearly seen when they dance and heard when they count [1]. While this might seem strange at first it really makes sense if you analyze the steps. The counted "one" falls between the musical eight and the musical one, while the counted "five" falls between the musical four and the musical five. This means that the distance between the (early) one and the two is the same as the one between the three and the (early) five, and it is a dotted quarter note. Because of this the quick-quick-slow "On 1" pattern becomes a slow-quick-slow one for "On 2" dancers, and the reduced difference between the quicks (one quarter note) and the slows (one and half quarter note) gives the "On 2" dance its typical flowing quality.

If we turn our attention to the steps we see how, in the basic step pattern, every step that requires a foot movement will fall on a "slow" count, while a simple weight transfer will be on a "quick", making this "On 2" feeling more natural and comfortable.

[edit] Dancing On1 and On2 compared

While in closed frame, two partnered...
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