Archive for the ‘Dance Theory’ Topic

Salsa Spins beyond its Roots – NY Times

Posted on August 7th, 2007 by by Dany J

Last Sunday, July 29th, the New York Times printed a story about Salsa dancing and its development through the last four decades. It is very entertaining to read because it discusses issues that, both, beginner and veteran Salsa dancers can appreciate.

It is apparent that the writer did her homework because this article contains quotes from seasoned Salsa gurus in diverse professions in the Salsa industry. But, as many other aficionados and newcomers to the Salsa dance scene, she makes the mistake of confusing Salsa The Music with Salsa The Dance. In my next post (very soon), I will politely disagree with a few assertions that she makes in her article. My disagreements are mainly rooted on the fact that the author groups Salsa participans (DJ’s, musicians, promoters, instructors, casual listeners, casual dancers, and veteran dancers) as one block entity of people, when in reality there are many players with conflicting business interests. More on this soon.

Ok. I am done debating and getting technical… for now.

So, enjoy the article because it DOES tell a colorful story with good quotes from important Salsa figures.

Salsa Spins beyond its Roots – NY Times


El Cantante

(Salsa, which once ruled nightclubs across New York City, has trouble finding havens there today. The Taj Lounge, in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, offers salsa dancing to live music once a week.)

SOON after Héctor Lavoe, the great salsa singer, arrives in New York in the new biopic, “El Cantante,” he finds himself immersed in a vibrant scene in the Bronx: a nightclub crammed with bodies drenched in sweat moving to the pounding beat of congas. As the film, which is to open nationwide Aug. 3 and stars Marc Anthony as Mr. Lavoe, shows, it could have been any night in New York in the late 1960s, when dancing was a genuine physical manifestation of the energy of the streets. Read the rest of the story…

Read the rest of this entry »

Musicality of Salsa. Why an 8-beat measure?

Posted on May 21st, 2007 by by Dany J

This is a response to an email that I received commenting on a previous post (On 2 SalsaBeat – How to dance On2).
I will answer a couple of questions presented on this comment: “Why an 8-beat measure? I hear salsa in 4/4 time.”

Steve, Thanks for your email. I appreciate the invitation to discuss the starting step for men in mambo (Salsa On2). But first I think I need to address the music, then the different styles of dancing.


Your assertion that salsa is written in 4/4 timing is correct. For a musician (piano, bass, trumpet player, etc.), the music is best organized with a 4-beat measure. Wearing my guitar player hat, I like to feel salsa music in 4/4 time (count 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4…) because I’m interested in the harmorny (chord) changes and basslines of the songs. I come from a rock/blues background and I like to hear the chord changes on the 1st beat of every measure. So, Yes I agree with you that I can feel 4/4 timing in salsa. In salsa, it is very common to hear chord changes in the 1st beat of the 4/4 measure (or the 1st and 5th beat of the dance measure).

Rhythm and Dance

Things change, however, when I listen to melody and rhythm. Let me differentiate by defining the following:

Musical measure is 4 beats. Following is two (2) musical measures

|1 2 3 4 |1 2 3 4|

Rhythmic and Dance Measure is 8 beats

|1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | Read the rest of this entry »

On 2 Salsa Beat – How to Dance On 2

Posted on March 29th, 2007 by by Dany J

How To Dance Salsa On2

There is no right or wrong way of dancing salsa. The most important thing is to be able to enjoy dancing Salsa with your dance partner. Listen to the salsa beat, pick a style, and throw down!

But given the fact that some people dance On 1 and other people dance On 2, it’s important to dance well in both styles. In Salsa congresses, I have noticed how certain dancers only dance with a specific few dancers of the same style. Let’s not limit ourselves to dancing on only one style.

So how do you dance On 2?

Short Answer:

In musical terms, assuming an 8 beat measure (or 2 repeating 4-beat measures), the simple answer is trivial: On 1 you break on the first salsa beat, On 2 you break on the second salsa beat. This is the I-don’t-feel-like-explaining-it or I-really-don’t-know-the-answer answer. But the real answer has various layers in depth.

Succinct and Complete Answer:

If we expand a bit more, the answer can be contained in the following diagrams. Read the rest of this entry »

Fixes and Solutions to Bad Dancing Floors

Posted on March 28th, 2007 by by Camila

OK, so we have all experienced dancing on floors that are either too slippery or too slow and rough. You’re trying to do some crazy shine or styling move and your feet either get stuck to the floor or you can’t stop yourself. Ahhh!! It’s a dancer’s biggest nightmare, especially for the ladies!

So what can you do to solve the problem? I found a great article that outlines all of the quick fixes and permanent solutions to many of the problems that dancers face. Everything from do-it-yourself suede soles to purchasing a different shoe for every type of floor out there (too expensive though). This article also addresses all of the things a dancer should NEVER, and I mean NEVER EVER do to alter the surface of a dance floor.

Fast floors (Slippery floors)

  1. Try wearing shoes with more of a grip.
  2. Scuff the bottom of your shoes. Alternatively, go to the bathroom and wipe clean the bottom of your shoes with wet toilet paper. Then dry the soles of the shoes with dry toilet paper.
  3. Takes smaller steps, bend your knees more than usual.

Slow floors (Sticky floors)

  1. Try wearing shoes with non-rubber soles or actual dance shoes.
  2. Stick a name tag Read the rest of this entry »

Key Ingredients to Smooth Salsa Spins

Posted on December 27th, 2006 by by Dany J

Lately, we have been discussing multiple turns during class. I found a little article with a few pointers.

  1. Make sure to prep (be warned to spin a whole lot)
  2. Keep your legs closed, and slightly bend your knees
  3. Make sure your arm looks like this–} L facing your partner
  4. Keep your stomach tight and butt tight (You can squeeze a penny if you do it right)
  5. Never take your eyes off him: SPOT!!!!

The whole article was written by Erika Briones and can found in (Thanks for the tip, Randy)

What makes salsa dancing so great for the ladies? Is it the beautiful styling which includes beautiful arms, isolations, and body rolls? Yes, styling is fun to do but Read the rest of this entry »