Although the exact meaning of the name is unclear, some say that ‘Salsa’ comes from a mixture of cultures and music styles similar to the mix that is the Spanish dish! From the 1900s in Cuba to now, Salsa has boomed in popularity. The roots of the dance remain however the common dance style is now used a lot for partner work in classes today.
The original audience Salsa was aimed at were Cuban communities, as it was used as a communal street dance that brought together cultures as part of a lively attempt at health promotion. Social dancing styles like these were common however the musical concept of combining two pre-existing musical styles into one dance allowed it to stand out from the crowd at the time.
Once America had caught onto the style, it immediately became westernised and various different types of Salsa developed, for example, New York Salsa which was originally performed in the city’s biggest nightclubs. This popularised version of Salsa was then integrated as a genre at dance schools and what was originally a group social dance, slowly developed into a more focus on a partnered activity.
Although other dances such as the tango are now more intimate in terms of partnered dances, the aspect of salsa relating to gender roles has been criticised in the past. However modern-day Salsa has seen a huge increase in highlighting these issues and ensuring consent is always given with a focus on equality during such close dances. It is now much more aimed at positive movement and celebration of culture and is often used as a great introduction to dance for couples such as Salsa Classes London where you can go and give it a try at rvdance.co.uk/
The physical side of salsa is not to be dismissed, with the movements being all in your lower body. The aim is to always keep your upper body rigid, which exercises your core, glutes and hips as well as being an excellent source of cardio.
Within this high-energy exercise is also a lot of communication and structure. A lot of the communication is non-verbal, which is why Salsa can be an excellent relationship-bonding experience as it tackles communication problems head-on. Because it is structured, you have no choice but to communicate, whether that’s through eye contact or simply physically guiding your partner. So if you love learning about culture and music whilst getting some exercise, it is definitely worth a try!