The Origins of Salsa Dance

Salsa resulted from the long musical evolution of Latin rhythms. It is also a diverse dance style that combines many different cultural varieties. Salsa is one of the most popular and well-loved dance styles in the world but where it all started is hard to say. It has multiple roots, stems from cultures, and has resulted from the passion and creativity of many different people. Having said that, the exact origin of Salsa is yet to be pinpointed and is laced with assumptions, hearsays, and debates. Many enthusiasts and experts, however, believe that it originated from Cuba.

No one country can claim that it is the birthplace of the sexy Salsa. It is more than just Cuban or American. It was believed that the French from Haiti brought the Danzón Dance to Cuba. It quickly picked up and mixed with the African dances such as the Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dances, Guaguanco and Pachanga. Mix it with the Cuban dance, Són, add in some music from Spanish troubadours and a little bit of African drumbeats and the result is a whole new delectable style of dance that is still continuing to evolve and adapt in whatever country it finds itself in.

During the political unrest in the 1920s up to the 1930s, many Cubans and Puerto Ricans immigrated to the United States, many of them settling in New York to seek political asylum. These Latin American immigrants brought with them their distinct and incredibly rhythmic music and the new unique dance that is a mishmash of many different styles and blended it with the new and different styles they learned in their new homes such as the Cha Cha, Mambo, Swing, and Hustle.

The result is a fusion of informal dance styles which was named Salsa. The origin of the term Salsa, just like the origin of the dance, is hard to determine for sure. The only thing definite is that it was coined in New York during the 1970s. It was when musicians boldly fused jazz, soul, Caribbean, and African music all together. Some people say that Salsa came from the musicians yelling out “Salsa!” while playing. Others say that music labels coined the term as a marketing stunt because of the spicy and hot meaning and it’s the perfect complement to the sultry dance. Experts and Salsa enthusiast, on the other hand, believe that the name Salsa was derived from the Spanish word salsa or sauce. The sauce is a mixture of many different ingredients, just as the dance is a mixture of many different styles so it’s the perfect name.

Although the exact origin of Salsa cannot be pinned down, its vagueness and uncertainty are what gives it a mystery. This mystery is what makes the dance more vibrant, more alive, and makes people even more drawn to it. After all, there is something incredibly sexy about the unknown. You fear it, yet you cannot stop moving towards it.

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