Salsa is Spanish for a mix of different rhythms from Latin American culture with the clave as the main instrument. It’s the music that tells us how we best ”match” and move to the music. Whether we should dance Salsa, Casino, Son, Mambo, Rumba, Cali style, Pachanga, Boogaloo etc.
Salsa has its roots in Cuba and Puerto Rico. The name Salsa was created in New York City in the late 1960’s and was seen as the modern form of the Cuban Son and the American Mambo (originated from latin jazz). Both the Salsa dance and the music spread fast to countries in Central America, the northern part of South America and to Miami.
Salsa has for many turned into a lifestyle and not only a hobby because of the positive and outgoing perspective on life: Through optimism, smiles, joy of life, healthy way of living, sensuality, body awareness and a social active life.
Salsa has found it’s way to many peoples hearts around the globe – and maybe yours will be the next?
SALSA – Crossbody or Cuban:
When you talk about Salsa the two primary dance styles are Crossbody or Cuban.
Crossbody is a common name in Denmark for both L.A. Style (also called On1) and N.Y. Style (also called On2). The expression On1 or On2 refers more precisly to which counting in the music the beat is accentured (on the 1 or the 2 beat). Today the Crossbody style is the most danced Salsa style around the world – it variates though from club to club and country to country which style dominates.
Cuban Salsa is also called Casino in Cuba and was the first Salsa style to arrive to Denmark.
One more Salsa style exists and it’s the Colombian Salsa (Cali Style) – but it is not danced in Denmark.
Below is explained the difference between Crossbody and Cuban Salsa with visual examples.
L.A. Style/On1 (Crossbody):
The dancer accentuates the “1” (and ”5”) beat, thereby the name On1.
Meaning 1, 2, 3(&4), 5, 6, 7(&8) and is danced “quick-quick-slow, quick-quick-slow”.
You dance primarily on a line and the most important step is the “cross-body-lead” (equivalent to the Cuban step “di-le-que-no”).
The “crossbody” style is danced “face-to-face”. All combination parts has English expressions and can be put together as you like. It means that the whole variation doesn’t have a specific name as it is the case in Cuban Salsa. The combinations in L.A.Style are the same as in N.Y. Style. More space is given to the lady in L.A. and N.Y. Style for styling and freestyle than in the Cuban Salsa.
World famous On1/L.A. Style dancers are Johnny Vazquez and Adrian & Anita.
Example of L.A.Style/On1:
N.Y. Style/On2 (Crossbody):
N.Y. Style is danced primarily on a line and with the same Crossbody steps, combinations and expressions as L.A. Style. But the basic step is displaced a little compared to the music and you therefor accenture the ”2” and ”6” beat (hereby the name ”On2”), so you dance to the conga drums. Meaning ”1, 2, 3 (4&) 5, 6, 7 (8&).
The style is also called Mambo.
The deep Conga sound feels like a heartbeat and makes the pause more fluent and calm. The dancer gets the feeling of having more time, and a more ”flow” and better feeling for the music than crossbody On1 and the Cuban Salsa. The feeling of dancing ”On2” is like the feeling Cuban dancers get when dancing the Cuban Son (the forerunner for Salsa) – which the native Cubans still love to dance today.
World famous On2 dancers are Eddie Torres (the living legend and creator of the N.Y. Style), Griselle Ponce, Karel Flores, Juan Matos, Adolfo Indacochea & Tania Cannarsa, and Oliver Pineda.
Examples of N.Y.Style/Mambo On2:
(also called Casino) is danced on the “1” beat (1-2-3, 5-6-7, sometimes with an extra tap on the 4 and 8 beat) or on the “3” beat (3,4,5 and 7,8,1). In Denmark it’s mostly dance on the ”1” beat.
In Cuban Salsa you dance in circles around each other and the most important step is the “di-le-que-no”. You dance angled to each other. All combinations has Spanish expressions.
Opposite the Crossbody style, the Cuban Style has names for the whole combination – but the more complex combinations it can be called different names with the different dance schools.
The dance seems more hard but constant in the rhythm (“walk-walk-stop, walk-walk-stop) and the man is the center of the dance. Rarely the lady is let go in the dance.
In most classes of Cuban Salsa in Denmark you also dance the Rueda de Casino (a common dance in a big group, danced around in a circle. A leader of the group takes the lead and shouts commands where all executes the combination at the same time and change partner after each variation. All commands are in Spanish.
Example of Cuban Salsa: