Salsa is a popular form of social dance that originated in New York City with strong influences from Latin America, particularly Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Colombia. The movements of salsa have origins in Cuban Son, Cha-cha-cha, Mambo and other dance forms, and the dance, along with the salsa music,originated in the mid-1970s in New York.
In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer shifts their weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. The Cuban Casino style of salsa dancing involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage.
The arms are used by the “lead” dancer to communicate or signal the “follower,” either in “open” or “closed” position. The open position requires the two dancers to hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other, to name a few examples. In the closed position, the leader puts the right hand on the follower’s back, while the follower puts the left hand on the leader’s shoulder.
Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common, for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolation, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts.
Salsa dance socials are commonly held in night clubs, bars, ballrooms, restaurants, and outside, especially if part of an outdoor festival. Salsa dancing is an international dance that can be found in most metropolitan cities in the world.Festivals are held annually, often called a Salsa Congress, in various host cities aimed to attract variety of salsa dancers from other cities and countries. The events bring dancers together to share their passion for the dance, build community, and to share moves and tips with each other. These events usually include salsa dance performers, live salsa music, workshops, open dancing, and contests.
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