How to look natural dancing salsa

Salsa Dancing Tips for Women & Men by Dance Dojo

Learning to salsa dance can take years to master so we’d like to help you reduce that time frame as much as possible. Our series of tips for Salsa dancers are designed to help you understand the 80/20 of Salsa: the 20% of technique that will give you an 80% increase in results. That means learning quicker and dancing more efficiently. We’ll help you get your dancing feeling smoother and easier, so you can enjoy social dancing without thinking. Now does that sound good or what?!

We’ve got Salsa tips for beginners to pro’s – they truly are useful regardless of skill level. What’s most important is how fast you can break down your bad habits and pick up the good ones.

Browse the Salsa tip videos below. It’s time to start soaking up some knowledge!

(See full course outline below)

Finding the Beat (FTB) is a free youtube course that has helped thousands of beginner salsa dancers get past the #1 problem they face: how to find the beat in salsa music.

If it helps you, please pass it on to your friends!

Although designed for salsa dancers because salsa music is the most complex, these lessons will help you find the beat in ANY type of music.

I’ve broken down the process into 4 logical steps:

  1. Counting non-salsa music (easy music)
  2. Moving to non-salsa music
  3. Counting salsa music (more complex)
  4. Moving to salsa music

By the end of this course you’ll be able to…

  • Understand the structure of music
  • Count music
  • Hear the beat in salsa music
  • Find the 1 in salsa music
  • Stay on time while dancing salsa with much higher success

Here’s the Finding the Beat youtube playlist and you can find the entire course outline below.

Read more →

So, you’re a beginner dancing with another beginner or maybe you’re more of an intermediate to advanced level dancing with someone who’s newer than you, less experienced than you, or someone who has relatively little technique and who may or may not have ever taken classes before. How do you make sure you and your partner have fun and you keep your leads clear? Today we’re talking all about how to adjust your lead for beginners.
Read more →

The Magical Concept of Cause & Effect

Today we’re gonna help you become a smoother lead by talking about a magical concept called “cause and effect.” Now, why do I say it’s magical? Well, if you use cause and effect you can do less and get better results. It’s going to make your lead smoother and the follow’s job so much easier. It’s going to make you’re you’re dancing look better, feel better and the ladies (the follows) are going to love you for it. They’re going to appreciative it a ton.
Read more →

Hey everybody, Patrick here once again from the Dance Dojo.

Today, I’m going to be addressing a question we had from one of our online students and that is…

“What is the fastest way to progress my salsa dancing?”

Read more →

We frequently get the question, “When should I start social dancing?” Our answer is always the same. Do it immediately. Read more →

When learning how to salsa dance, we often worry too much about our partners and not enough about what we’re doing ourselves.

In this tip we’ll explain how, as a follow, worrying less about the lead and focusing on framing yourself can actually improve your ability to respond to his signals.

Read more →

When dancing Salsa, the rule of thumb is to keep your elbows in front of and outside of your hips at all times.

Regardless of which direction you choose to lead (or are being lead in), maintain that proper elbow-to-hip relationship and it’ll enhance the success of your dances. Why? Read more →

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Patrick was dancing with a male student who was using an excessive form of the “spider man grip.” It felt forced, seemed unnecessary and fuelled this tip. Read more →

Raise your hand if you can’t wait for your next mediocre dance!

*No hands move* – that’s what we thought.

As Salsa dancers we turn hundreds of times per night (some nut jobs probably hit the 4 digits), but despite this staggering amount of repetition, SO many of us are losing our balance and limiting ourselves from experiencing incredible dances. That’s insane!

Simply put, if you’re off balance, you’re missing out big time. It’s time to end this madness and unlock your ability to turn better. Sound good?

This quick tip on salsa turn technique is going to change the way you practice your turns and it’s the perfect test to find out if you’re slacking off! Read more →

If I asked you to complete this sentence: “Practice makes….”

What would you say?

Perfect. Right?

Read more →

10 Ways to Practice Salsa Without a Partner and Get Damn Good Doing It!

There is no reason you can’t practice salsa without a partner. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to get better at salsa dancing. Yes, salsa is a partner dance, but you absolutely must be able to hold your own if you want to have fun, free your mind and be in the moment.

To prove anyone can benefit from some good old fashioned solo practice, I present you with…

10 Things You Should Practice Without a Salsa Partner

  1. Developing Your Timing & Awareness of Music
  2. Your Basic Steps
  3. Shines
  4. Body Movement
  5. Turn Technique
  6. Layering Your Skills Together
  7. Film Yourself Regularly
  8. Practice Partner Shadowing
  9. Memorize Your Steps
  10. Watch Great Dancers Do Their Thing




#1 Developing Timing & Awareness of Music

At a basic level, this is your ability to dance on beat so you can communicate with your partner and execute movements on time. As you improve your ability to recognize rhythms, instruments, and song structure you’ll find yourself able to start reflecting that expression in your dancing and be more playful. In essence, timing is a foundational element of being able dance with a partner and musicality is what brings that dance to life. If you struggle with finding the beat and dancing on time, I’ve created a really helpful resource just for you. Check out this mini YouTube video course on “Finding the Beat”. it’s a four-part series and it will radically help you improve your ability to find and dance on beat within 30 days, so go check it out.


#2 Mastering Your Basic Steps

This is like learning to walk. These are the foundational steps to everything in salsa. You can never practice your basics enough. So get crackin’ and make sure you evaluate yourself along the way. make sure you can…

  • Do your salsa basics on time
  • Do you basics in all directions (front/back, side to side, diagnolly, crossing over to the front and the back)
  • Switch between each basic step without hesitation
  • Stylize your basics with taps and touches


#3 Shines

Shines are the footwork that you use beyond just your basic steps. And practicing footwork will help you refine your timing, stepping, and pivoting techniques. Since there are only so many ways you can move your feet, the same steps you learn solo will often appear in your partner work. That means the more shines you know and get comfortable with, the more you’ll start feeling better both dancing solo and with a partner. Through working on shines, you’ll also learn how to step to different rhythms beyond the basic timing. This helps expand your awareness and understanding of the dance and your skills overall


#4 Body Movement

This is really where the magic happens. Let’s take a look at some basics. (Refering to 2:58 in the above video) So here’s a basic with no body movement. Now here’s a basic with some body movement and now here’s a basic with serious body movement. There’s not much else to say. Body movement is that wow factor, that secret sauce, that flavor that makes dance so amazing to watch. When I started to improve my body movement, I really started having so much more fun. I felt way more connected to the music because I was able to express myself to it. Now, body movement is still one of my greatest weaknesses but it’s definitely my focus right now because I realized it doesn’t only make you look better, it feels so much better. It’s what brings everything to life. It makes you look good, it makes you feel good, and not just to you but to your partner as well. That’s because body movement is actually technique. And when you move correctly, you’re leading and following will feel much more smooth, connected, and impressive.


#5 Turn Technique

Turn technique is what holds most beginner follows back from being able to execute smooth and controlled turns. And it’s what holds most leads back from being able to lead the turns smoothly because they’re leading them on the incorrect timing. Dial your turns in because it’s the fastest way to improve both as a experienced beginner lead and follow. It’s going to make your dances so much more enjoyable too


#6 Layering Your Skills Together

So you’re going to want to practice all the individual concepts I’ve already mentioned on their own before getting into layering. But once you have your timing, your basics, some simple shines, some body movement, and some turn technique, you want to start layering them on top of each other to bring the package together and make your dancing more complete.

To start layering these techniques and skills together, begin with your basics. Once you have your basics down, start trying to add your body movements in. Once you can do that, take some simple shines and then try and add body movement into those shines. Now, the important thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t do complex footwork at this point because it’s going to complicate things too much. As you’re trying to add this layer of body movement on top it’s going to be much harder to even do the simplest of shines.

Next up, once you’re comfortable adding body movement to some simple shines, add a turn or two in there and then see if you can add body movement on top of that. Once your execution improves, you can focus on doing each of these things and connect deeper to music. Try playing a song. As it plays, think about and feel how the energy of the song changes from the intro through the verse and into the next section. How does it make you feel, and how are you going to express those changes in the song with your movement? Now remember: Layering these skills on top of each other is a very step by step progressive process. Some days you might feel like you’re a few steps ahead and otherdays you might feel like you’re taking a few steps back. But if you focus on all these individual elements and then layer them on top of each other one by one being very compassionate with yourself and starting very simple, you’re going to see results over time





What’s Next?

Alright, so you’ve mastered a few of the basics and started layering some of these skills on top of each other. What’s the next progression in your journey, you ask?

More Ways to Progress Your Solo Salsa Practice


#7 Film Yourself Regularly

When practicing alone, the camera is your best friend and you are your biggest critic. Before getting started, try and have at least one video clip of yourself dancing with a partner so you can analyze what you need to work on.

How to approach critiquing your dancing:

  1. Watch the video all the way through without thinking. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
  2. Watch the video a second time and identify the parts of the dance that don’t quite look right. Maybe you fumbled your steps, your partner didn’t respond well to your lead, or you had an otherwise awkward moment. Figure out what caused that awkwardness and write it down.
  3. Keep a list of your “mess ups” and find out what your biggest weakness is. Some examples could be stumbling in your footwork, unclear lead/follow technique, poor timing etc.
  4. Choose one of the skills from your list of ‘mess ups’ and focus on it during your upcoming practice sessions. Every now and then, re-film yourself and see how you’re improving on your skill of choice.
  5. Repeat the process of weakness identification, analysis and practice until you are happy with the progress you’ve made.
  6. Celebrate when you see improvement!


#8 Practice Partner Shadowing

Shadowing is basically running through a move or pattern from start to finish while pretending to dance with a partner. It might feel a little lonely, but it’s a great way to drill your technique without the distraction of a partner. Quite often, when you’re learning something new, you’ll pay too much attention to what your partner is doing and forget what you should be concentrating on. When shadowing, you can make sure your posture, movement, lead/follow technique, and footwork are all dialed in before moving on to a partner.

Shadowing is more of an intermediate technique and will get easier and easier the more Salsa experience you have. If you’re a beginner, feel free to give it a try, but don’t get discouraged if you can’t quite visualize the hand holds and (your ghost partner’s) body positioning while starting out.


#9 Memorize Your Steps

Dancing is a language. You have to learn your vocabulary before writing a sentence and perfect your sentence writing before crafting a letter.

In the same way, you have to master Salsa steps before combining them into a pattern and master patterns before social dancing. Everything in dance is modular. Without the vocabulary, you have no building blocks to build your masterpiece.

So what can you do to make this masterpiece more masterful? Memorize your moves! Increase your potential by having as many building blocks as you can. If you forget your moves, your social dance will crumble.

If you’re really keen to try this, create a list of all the steps you know (perhaps categorizing them by skill level or technique will help you remember them). Every once in a while, re-visit the list and see how many of the moves you can perform from memory. If you find yourself forgetting some, then that’s a good time to start jogging your memory.

The moves you have locked in your memory are your home base – your safe place. From there, you can slowly add steps to your arsenal and expand your vocabulary.


#10 Watch Great Dancers Do Their Thing

Watching others dance is a great strategy to tie into your camera critique. You already know what skill you want to improve on, so now you need to find someone who’s great at it and study them.

Go out for a night of social dancing and take a break in between dances. Glue your eyes to the dance floor and identify someone who looks like they really know what they’re doing. How does their movement compare to yours? Try to ignore their personal style and focus on the technical movement. Pay close attention to how they connect with their partner, move their body, flow between steps and respond to the music. While watching, focus on the movement that’s related to the skill you are trying to improve. Watching everything they do is fine, but ‘everything’ can be overwhelming to think about. Having a focus will help you find the key takeaways to fast track your improvement.

After your secret spy session, remember one or two takeaways that you can try next time you practice. Rinse and repeat this process for each skill you want to improve. Remember to use your camera to keep tabs on your progress.



Salsa through the eyes of a woman - Cubanoboom. Salsa

Salsa is so romantic, passionate and attractive... It is this delightful dance that will help any girl to show her individuality, it allows each of us

to be different from everyone else. Salsa - become special!

When you attend women's style classes, you will notice that graceful posture, the ability to keep the rhythm and, of course, dance, do not come to us from birth. Even if we don’t dance in ballet, we don’t imitate anyone, we light up on dance floors and discos, trying to keep ourselves “on top”, though not too hoping for success. But more often than not, we realize that our dance is far from perfect, no matter how much we would like it to be. After all, as soon as we look at a professional dancer moving through the hall, or admire her graceful movements in various television shows, we see the shortcomings of our own dance. I want to pay attention to the girls who dance Salsa: their clothes, demeanor, gestures, charm and charisma speak for themselves. Everything that they achieve is given to them with gigantic work - only a great desire and long training, measured by a single day, month or year, are the right path to magnificence. Their every gesture, movement in the dance leads to a real sensation! No artist can depict all the fireworks of emotions they convey.

Unfortunately, it is very rare to find professional dancers in salsa clubs. The vast majority of them begin to perform, at the same time they take pride of place in prestigious competitions and, of course, become master class instructors, teaching in special studios. But as soon as they get into any "party", they instantly begin to feel like queens, stars of the dance floor. Still, we also need to learn how to emphasize our sexuality so that our way of dancing becomes even more interesting.

In salsa, women can express themselves, show their graceful body, excellent state of mind, ardent look and bewitching smile. This is a dance that combines passion and love, it is a flow of energy that sweeps away everything in its path, awakening an inexplicable desire to show hidden emotions.

For a dancer, the right choice of outfit is an essential attribute, by the way, it is with the help of clothes that you can show your attractiveness and sexuality. According to the numerous stories of girls, it is easy to say with confidence that when dancing salsa in clubs, they are trying to look perfect, they cannot be disarmed and taken by surprise. It's just wonderful that the art of dance and music, like nothing else, can simply transform us. Women always strive to be at their best, to emphasize their individuality, and this is done mainly not only for others, but also for themselves, however, only a true man can appreciate all the magnificence. There is no doubt that all salseras strive to look perfect during the dance. And here we can face a huge problem. Even in the event that you effectively appear in the club, flaunting luxury, glitter attire and all your sexuality, all this will disappear under the flickering spotlights, you just have to go to the dance floor. And why so much effort, because the same result could be achieved by wearing a paper bag ... But when we look at a real Latin dancer or a native Latin American on the same dance floor, we will notice that the most ordinary paper bag suddenly turns into an exclusive outfit of the latest collection Gucci .

Before making any objections to this article, I would like to add that we cannot claim that Latin lessons are the only way to become seductive and sexy. The point is that, without owning this same sex appeal from birth, it is quite possible to find it by doing salsa - this direction is a unique expression of sensuality.

Looking at the beautiful salsa dancers who, improvising, completely surrender to the dance, you feel that their every movement is special. The secret is that they can do whatever they want, all the elements they have are organic and relaxed. The movements are so comfortable for the body - nothing artificial, there is always a distance, remoteness, magnificence! Partners have learned to perfectly control their bodies, they do not need words, they do not need looks. They have a special sexuality, it is natural for them.

Salsa allows them to be themselves, the music controls the movements and allows them to move freely. While dancing salsa, they can do almost any sexual element. The melody captures, for some time the partners become one whole, one mind.

Our problem is global: alas, women have long begun to imitate male manners. We even try to lead our partners in the dance! Let's say stop, start a revolution, and bring back all the sexuality of women's bodies, which is now in the past. Many women want to express their emancipation, forgetting their main advantage, that they are actually superior to men.

Today's task is to show our individuality on the dance floor, overcoming all complexes and fears regarding our sexual attractiveness. As soon as all doubts disappear, our body begins to rebuild and immediately leaves the state of isolation.

Demonstrating salsa, we expose our feelings. Every movement of the dance is breathtaking. It is impossible to imagine anything more sensual. Just imagine: the girl gently runs her hands over her thighs, as if caressing, and then in an instant, holding her breath, shakes her shoulders and, smiling, makes a daring snap of her fingers. A confident step, a turn of the hips, a movement of the head, a passionate look into the eyes of a partner and a charming smile of each of them - there is no more bewitching sight.

Summarizing the words of our Latin teachers, you should not learn all this in fits and starts, there are no special techniques that you can easily and quickly master. To become truly sexy, you need a lot of practice, it takes a lot of time. Start breathing deeply, and it's safe to say that you won't be able to stop. The main thing is to surrender to the dance with every cell of your body, not by 80%, but by all 200%, and only in this case you will become extraordinarily beautiful, charming and attractive. Then you will be called not an ordinary girl, but one that is worthy of contemplation. You are unique and deserve it. Bravo!

Latin American dancing is like a first breath. The first step is a breath, the next step is the liberation of one's actions and thoughts. One has only to master the original technique, and you will become an individual. Achieve and strive for it!!!

The article is protected by copyright and related rights. When using and reprinting the material, an active link to the site is required.

What is "salsa" and what is it eaten with?

Home / Articles / Dance History / What is salsa and how is it eaten?
New Tab
Author Victor Radzyun, creator and regular observer of the site www., winner (together with Natalia Mikhalchuk) of the salsa competition at the 1st International Salsa Congress in St. Petersburg.

It is quite difficult to define salsa in one word: try to describe the music and dance in a nutshell. Although the Latin Americans themselves tried to do this already in the name itself: the fact is that “salsa” [salsa] in Spanish is “sauce”, a thing that embodies every mixture for the Latins (it’s good that the name was not invented here: in Russia salsa would certainly be called a vinaigrette).

It all started in the late 60's in New York's Harlem, an area that we associate in our minds with Negro music and jazz. However, it was this area of ​​New York and the Hispanics who inhabited it (mainly Cubans and Puerto Ricans) played a huge role in the development and spread of modern Latin music, in particular, the phenomenon that is now known as salsa. Latin Americans, who had just moved to the States, preferred their native music. However, their children, who were already born in New York, were “cramped” within the framework of traditional Latin American culture: they grew up listening to both Latin American music and North American jazz. One of the results of this mixture was mambo, which quickly became fashionable in the 50s. Salsa was born a little later, as a single style, it developed in the 80s. But if the fashion for mambo has passed, then salsa continues to be popular all over the world to this day.

First experience

So, back to my first salsa experience. Imagine: Petersburg, mid-October, rain, slush, dark and gray. We go to the Mom's Club, which is known to me as the "nest" of ravers. Behind the iron door of the club there is a dark corridor of brown bricks and a staircase upstairs, the ceiling is painted black. The impression, to put it mildly, is gloomy…

We go upstairs: loud music is playing, surprisingly joyful and bright, there are a lot of people, and they don't look like ravers at all. Young people, whose average age is 25, dance in pairs, and not “for the public”, as in ballroom dancing - somewhat pretentious and theatrical, but on the contrary - naturally, as if playing, clearly enjoying it all. At the same time, the girls, as expected, look feminine, and the guys look courageous. Everyone is surprisingly friendly, immediately there are people who are ready - here and now - to teach me how to dance. And yet the main thing is naturalness: both in clothes (forget about ballroom costumes), and in relationships between people.

... Many years have passed since then, I studied salsa and danced it in my native St. Petersburg, then moved to Moscow for work, traveled to Belarus and Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Latvia - and met people everywhere, just like me "sick" salsa, always ready to support and help in difficult times.

The secret of its success

So, what is the secret of salsa's popularity? In thinking about this topic, I found several explanations for this.

  1. The first reason is surprisingly banal: people have nothing to do with themselves in their free time. Anticipating objections, I will explain my thought. Someone after work goes to the gym, someone - to the theater, someone - just meets with friends. Salsa, to some extent, combines all these things together: it is both a physical development and a spiritual one; after all, salsa is just great company. Going to a Latin disco, you can be sure that, unlike a regular disco, you won't get screwed by dancing with someone else's girl; the girls, in turn, are guaranteed from annoying harassment of excessively ardent admirers. Here, in passing, it is worth mentioning that dancing salsa on a drunken head is very difficult: this dance requires good coordination of movements and a clear head. Therefore, there are usually no drunks at salsa discos.
  2. The second reason is the availability of salsa. This is its fundamental difference from ballroom dancing. We all love to watch these performances, while realizing that we will never dance like that ourselves. Therefore, it is better not to try. Salsa, on the other hand, is a dance for everyone, and everyone can master it (although, of course, if you want to dance well, you will have to sweat, especially at first).
  3. The third reason I would call people's inclination to dance. As you know, folk dances occupy a large place in the culture of every nation. However, at some stage in the development of society, these dances die out as outdated, unable to meet the needs of people. The phenomenon of Latin American culture is that it is quite young, but its development takes place in modern conditions. It organically absorbs both archaic songs and dances of Indians, Africans, old Spanish music, as well as jazz, rock, reggae and even rap. Salsa is often called a "social" dance, but I would define it as a modern folk dance, which I think captures the essence more accurately.
  4. From the nationality of salsa, a direct path to its naturalness. Salsa is very organic, its movements do not tolerate pretentiousness and excessive sensuality, characteristic of stage dances. At a disco, such a dance would look just ridiculous.
  5. Despite the seeming simplicity of salsa, it is primarily a pair dance. Salsa "alone" does not exist (although there are solo elements in this dance). The “roles” in the couple are clearly established: the partner always leads, determining the movement of the couple; partner - "led", following him. In salsa, the main features inherent in each of the sexes are especially clearly manifested: a man must be decisive, strong, smart; a woman - insightful, graceful and feminine, sometimes wayward.
  6. Salsa is beautiful and varied. This applies equally to the dance itself and to the music. Salsa music can be recklessly cheerful, or it can be melancholy, almost sad. Salsa is constantly evolving, absorbing new musical and dance trends. To date, it has developed three main dance styles: Cuban (we often call it "casino"), New York and Los Angeles.
  7. And finally, the last one. People involved in salsa are very friendly and tolerant, always happy to help others and, because of this, successful in everyday life. Why is it so? Firstly, thanks to the pairing of salsa, we begin to feel each other better, learn to interact. In addition, in salsa there is no “binding” to a couple, as in sports ballroom dancing. Everyone dances with everyone, and this makes you constantly adapt to different people, find a common language with them, be self-confident, without, however, humiliating others. Secondly, and this has long been noted, people who are interested in a foreign culture (in this case, Latin American) have a great outlook and receptivity to everything new.

After all that has been said, is it any wonder that salsa is so popular all over the world?

Salsa on Russian soil

Of course, Latin American students (primarily Cubans) brought salsa to Russia, who studied at many institutes and universities of the Soviet Union. It all started with dances in hostels that Hispanics arranged for themselves. It took time for salsa to “take root” in foreign soil, and it was time for the students to return home. Some of them still remained in the USSR, while striving to settle in the capital cities. Therefore, it is not surprising that Moscow became the first center of salsa in our country, and Cuban became the main dance style.

By the mid-1990s, several permanent Latin American discos already existed in Moscow, where they danced not only salsa, but also merengue and cumbia. Around the same time, the famous club "Fiesta Latina" was opened in St. Petersburg, which became a milestone in terms of "marketing" of salsa. The fact is that in the "Fiesta" there were two dance halls, the larger of which was given to ordinary dances, and the smaller one to Latin American. Thus, the club operated at a profit, while attracting new people to Latin American dances. Further, the process developed like an avalanche: both in Moscow and in the northern capital, Latin American discos and salsa schools began to grow like mushrooms: "latina" became fashionable. If earlier the visitors of such discos were mainly Latin Americans and their girlfriends, now most of the dancers are Russian guys and girls, and they dance at a very high level. This change was also reflected in the rules of salsa competitions: earlier they were held separately for non- and Latin Americans, but the last competition according to this scheme was held in 2000, at subsequent competitions Russian dancers competed with Latin American dancers on an equal footing.

Having achieved popularity in the capitals, salsa moved on. In 2001, the dance club "Bugalu" was opened in Rostov-on-Don, which became a real "third front" of salsa in Russia. Its creators, the Vanyushins, managed to prove that salsa is not only the lot of the capitals, having created one of the most successful and respected salsa schools in Russia and the CIS. Around the same time, the Irkutsk dance club "La Palma" introduced salsa lessons into its program. In the summer of the same year, the first International Salsa Congress (which has become annual) was held in St. Petersburg, organized by the St. Petersburg studios "Salsa Viva" and "Sierra Maestra", in which the most famous Moscow salsa schools took part: "Arriba Dos", "Own School", as well as teachers and guests from Sweden, Finland, Poland, Ukraine and other countries.

In 2002, the famous annual festivals "Third Front" were launched in Rostov-on-Don, and in the summer of 2004 the school "Salsa Cubana" was opened in Krasnodar, the name of which, by the way, can be translated from Spanish as "Cuban Salsa" , and as "Kuban salsa". What is this, no matter how evidence that salsa came to Russia “for a long time and seriously” and successfully took root on Russian soil?

Siberian Salsa

Recently, a salsa school was opened in Novosibirsk, headed by Alex Dean. Alexander, an energetic Siberian, worked in Moscow for several years, and devoted all his free time to salsa, studying at the popular Moscow school "Arriba Dos" under the guidance of Olga Nosova, famous in Russian salsa circles.

From November 2003 to April 2004, while in Novosibirsk, Alexander managed to organize salsa classes for beginners in the Siberian capital in a relatively short time, which are very popular. Sasha is not only a great enthusiast of Latin American music and dances, but also, what is important, an experienced organizer. Having managed to create successful salsa courses in Novosibirsk literally from scratch, Alexander did not stop there and agreed to jointly hold permanent Latin American discos in one of the best clubs in the city - Rock City.

Sasha devoted his new trip to the capital to preparations for the opening of a full-fledged and serious salsa school in Novosibirsk. The search for materials, the creation of teaching methods, the development of the concept of the school required considerable effort and time, because Alexander wants to present salsa to his fellow countrymen in its full beauty and attractiveness. He perceives salsa not just as a dance, one of many, but as a way of thinking, a lifestyle, a social phenomenon that can make us all better and kinder.

Alex Dean's large-scale plans for the development of the salsa movement in Novosibirsk are captivating and captivating, but you should not consider them just some kind of “castles in the air”. In the future, Alex assumes, in addition to conducting dance classes, tours of groups playing Latin American music in Novosibirsk. He also does not rule out the possibility of holding a festival of Latin American music, culture and dance in Siberia. And, knowing Alexander, I'm ready to fly to Novosibirsk.

And, knowing Alexander, I'm ready to fly to Novosibirsk.


Salsa [salsa] is music that has its origins in the Afro-Cuban tradition.

In the early 1930s, Mario Bauza, a Cuban musician who came to New York with an orchestra led by Don Azpiazu, settled in Harlem (unlike the other orchestra members who returned to Cuba). He was later joined by Machito and Chano Pozo, with whom he began playing bebop (a jazz style very popular at the time) in New York. Influenced by the innovations brought to American jazz by Cuban musicians (this concerns, first of all, the complex rhythm of the clave [clave], a new "hybrid" style of bebop has developed called cubop [cubop].

Interestingly, around the same time, there was a large influx of Cuban musicians to Mexico (such as Beny More, Perez Prado, Humberto Cane and many others) due to opening there huge prospects brought about by the rise of the Mexican film industry. Mario Bause in New York and Perez Prado in Mexico City and is credited with creating the mambo style, which finally took shape in the late 1940s.

The fifties were the years of the mambo, cha-cha-cha and rumba rhythm craze. Latin American dance bands were extremely popular; Latin music was everywhere, including music for Hollywood films and American television programs. Latin American dance studios are ubiquitous, teaching Americans the sultry Latin rhythms.

However, due to the huge influence of the "British expansion" of the 60s (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc.), the popularity of Latin music has declined significantly. At this time, through the efforts of Pete Rodriguez [Pete Rodriguez], Joe Cuba [Joe Cuba] and others, a new popular style of Latin music was born, known as boogaloo [boogaloo].

In the seventies there was a new surge in the popularity of Latin American music. A huge role in the development of Latin music at this stage in the United States and Puerto Rico was played by the record company "Fanya" [The Fania Records] and the musicians "promoted" by it. New York and Puerto Rican ensembles at the time were playing Latin music in a hard style, with a heavy "drive", which the zealots of the purity of salsa consider as the only real salsa music (or at least the best part of it). This style of salsa is called "salsa caliente" [salsa caliente] or "salsa gorda" [salsa gorda].

The eighties brought to the world a new style - "salsa romantica" [salsa romantica], which replaced the style of "salsa caliente". This style can be characterized by a more moderate tempo and much less harshness of the music. In the lyrics, there is a departure from the previously usual display of difficult everyday reality in the direction of sentimental love lyrics. This style is still very popular, mostly among women, who buy significantly more records than men, and thus keep this, in general, a commercial style of salsa wither.

Despite the prejudice among connoisseurs towards romantic salsa, it cannot be denied that it did not let salsa die and deteriorate. This change in mainstream salsa is also reflected in the fact that most of today's salsa players are not hardened professionals who have gone through the harsh school of life: once started playing music in third-rate clubs and achieved worldwide popularity (like Willie Colon ] or Oscar de Leon [Oscar de Leon]). Today's young musicians are predominantly white performers, whose main quality is an attractive appearance (examples of this are Hiro [Giro] or "Salsa Kids" ["Salsa Kids"]).

The nineties were the time when salsa spread around the world with great speed. Perhaps, now it is already difficult to call salsa a phenomenon of only Latin American culture, since a huge number of people in all parts of the world are covered by "salsomania".
Strictly speaking, by the nineties, salsa had become a truly established musical style, within which the structure of musical works became quite homogeneous, and not sharply different from song to song, depending on the ensemble performing them. This phenomenon also has its downsides: many songs seem similar to each other; salsa connoisseurs believe that the musical themes have become somewhat weaker, "thinner". However, by the end of the decade, there was a trend of further development of salsa based on the classics of the genre. Music producers and disc jockeys deliberately give the new songs the sound of classic salsa, which is a great success with listeners. Remakes of old salsa, with a more modern form, arouse listeners' interest in original works.

So who is the creator of salsa? There is no simple answer to this question. The Cubans gave life to the musical phenomenon known today as salsa. On the other hand, more than other Latin American peoples, Puerto Ricans absorbed, developed and promoted this musical style. Colombians remain the custodians of the musical tradition of salsa, while other contemporary musicians continue their experiments within the style.

All this only means that salsa is still alive: having a rich history and traditions, it continues to develop, attracting more and more new fans.

RUEDA: What is rueda?

Today there are four recognized dance styles in salsa: Cuban salsa - casino (casino), Los Angeles style, New York style and the so-called "freestyle". Rueda stands apart - a way to dance casino "collectively". The word "rueda" in Spanish means "wheel, circle". Rueda is a dance that is danced by several couples, led by one person - the leader, while changing partners. Each dancer must know the movements (vueltas) and strictly follow the instructions of the leader.

That is, rueda has its own well-defined choreography, unlike other styles where variations are possible. It cannot be otherwise - after all, rueda is a collective dance, and the mistakes of one couple will lead to its premature and ugly end.

Interestingly, the origins of the rueda lie in the dances that were in vogue in French salons in the 18th century. Later, these dances were brought to Cuba and fell in love with the local "high society". From generation to generation, the dance has changed, as the dancers, having adopted the very principle of group dance, have changed the original movements to casino movements. Thus was born that "rueda de casino", which is now danced everywhere. In Cuba, in order to dance the rueda, the dancer must first master the figures and steps of the casino.

In the 60s and 70s of the 20th century, when the world was experiencing a "salsa boom", rueda also gained great popularity - no longer as a "salon dance", but, on the contrary, as a folk entertainment. Rueda was danced by "district teams", so to speak, barrio upon barrio. Competitions were regularly held, the winners of which were the rueds, who managed to hold out without mistakes for a longer time, while demonstrating the refinement and beauty of their movements. This tradition, of course, has survived to this day, and, of course, not only in Cuba.

Of course, each barrio invented its own movements. If a couple wanted to enter the rueda, they asked permission from the leader, and started dancing with everyone only after receiving his consent. At the same time, if the pair was from another barrio and the leader wanted to correctly "get rid" of it, he would announce some specific movement invented specifically in this rueda, and the "foreign pair", inevitably making mistakes, "dropped out of the game. "

The number of couples participating in the rueda is from two to 20-30. The role of leader is the most responsible in rueda. His task is to command (cantar) and to see that the couples do not get confused in the movements and the dance is not spoiled. However, sometimes, when there are many couples in rueda, the leader does exactly the opposite, and then a very funny and beautiful game turns out. The leader announces all sorts of complex figures, and the couples try their best to portray something similar to the desired movement. The pair that makes a mistake is out. The spirit of rivalry between couples gives rueda excitement, and its participants perform movements more clearly, which makes the dance beautiful.

To make a beautiful rueda, couples don't have to do a lot of movements or perform too long and intricate movements. A lot depends on the leader, his ability to clearly, easily pronounce commands, "decorating" them with short funny comments, for example, "dame" (otra que esta no me gusta) - "give me" (another partner, I don't like this one).

Learn more