This research paper looks into the literature on the Salsa Dance. It examines the history associated with the emergence of this popular art. According to the literature, the Salsa started a long time ago in Cuba as a pastime activity but has since grown into a globally reknown type of dance. In order to preserve this precious culture, the literature suggests that society must act a part. Educators, parents and opinion leaders must be at the forefront promoting the salsa dance as one type of dance that continues to exemplify the moral values that the inventors intended to display in the dance. Furthermore, institutions dealing with the youth must model and promote among the youth the salsa culture so that the young people can grow into romantically mature spouses. Finally, the literature recommends that dance as a whole should be redefined to make to eliminate the rampant idea of incorporating nudity and erotic scenes into the dance hall. The Salsa Dance and its different Styles
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The Salsa Dance cannot be assigned to any particular country as the country of origin as it certainly has a varied ancestry. Nevertheless, much credit has been given to Cuba for the ancestry of this art because it is where the contributing cultural dances engaged it interactions that formed the roots of the salsa dance. Indeed, it is in Cuba that the Country dance of England that was brought by the French who were fleeing from Haiti got mixed up with African Rhumba to give birth to the Salsa dance. Prior to this event there had been a considerable mix between the Spanish troubadour of Cuba and the African drumbeats to the extent that they were already perfectly danceable while holding a partner. This kind of synchronization was not limited to England, Spain and Africa. As a matter of fact, it later on involved other cultures like that of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Columbia. This clearly gives this type of dance a unique variety that is certainly uncommon in any other musical dances in the world. (Robert John Storm, 1979).
The contribution of these countries was quite considerable. This resulted from the fact that these countries had taken their music to the Mexico City during the famous era of Perez Prado for exhibition. It is from here that similar exhibitions occurred to the New York City. Subsequently, a lot more of promotion activities and musical synchronizations occurred in the two cities leading to a general improvement in the commercial music. As a result the term "Salsa" was created in the New York City. Yet still, at this moment the dance itself had not adopted the name Salsa as it still retained various name depending on the country of origin of the dancers. The term “Salsa” from therein became a popular reference to a various kinds of music originating from several countries that had considerable degree of Hispanic influence in their cultures. These included but were not limited to the Rhumba, the Guaracha, the Cha cha cha, the Guajira, the Bomba, the Charanga, the Plena, the Festejo, the Mambo and the Merengue. Although originating from vast backgrounds, most of the music was subsequently incorporated in what became of "Salsa". For instance, new instrumentation was added into certain Colombian songs in New York so that New Yorkers could be comfortable dancing to the beat of the new song. This kind of modification occurred elsewhere leading to the various versions of the Salsa dance styles when they finally got a definition. Essentially, the emergence of the salsa dance had a lot of bearing to the historical interaction of various countries and the economic exchanges that resulted from these interactions. (Cesar Miguel Rondon, 2008).
From these historical times, the Salsa dance has since developed several distinct styles that are associated with it. For instance, there is the New York and Puerto Rican Style of dancing to Salsa. The Puerto Rico style of dancing Salsa often involves the "One" or the "Two" rhythm of the salsa music. This style has a tremendous amount skilled footwork in it as compared to many other styles of the salsa dance. For instance, it puts more emphasis on footwork than does the New York style. On the other hand, the New York style is generally said to have a strong influence of the Latin Hustle making it appear rather slow, clumsy and rather boring. Recently, however, much of footwork is finding its way into the New York style to the extent that it has become hard to determine whether they do more shines in the New York style than the Puerto Rican style or otherwise. (Stephen Joseph Loza, 1999).
There is the Los Angeles style of Salsa dance. This draws majorly from the historical primary influence that the West Coast Swing as well as the Latin Ballroom have had on Los Angeles. This style has been credited with a great deal of footwork and tricky moves that make it one of the most interesting. As a matter of fact, many of the tricky moves in Los Angeles style are drawn from Swing and Latin Ballroom. This influence has greatly spread not only to Los Angeles, but to other several regions of the mid and west coasts. However, unlike other regions like Miami there is limited number of Cuban immigrants in Los Angeles. This has had to the effect that this style of salsa dance is predominantly a combination of Ballroom, Swing and a bit of soft Puerto Rican style. Besides, Los Angeles being close to South America, the Los Angeles style of Salsa was majorly drawn from the Colombian Style hence the incorporation of the jazzy hip hop to the style. (Boggs Vernon, 1992).
There is also the Cuban style that has no doubt determined the style of dancing. The Cuban style is the only one that till today promotes the solo dance perhaps due to the faster rhythms of the popular salsa bands like Los Van Van. This style does not allow enough movements during the dance. In fact, it is always impossible to include a great amount of percussion into this style of dance. If the dancers manage to incorporate even a bit of it, the female partner in the dance may be able to shine to a great extent with her incredible body movements. However, it a generally acknowledged fact that dancing the Cuban style as partners is quite restricting to the female such that they often find it hard to wait till they can have the chance to dance solo for a while. Typically, the manner in which the Cuban salsa dancers get hold of the women’s wrists as the dance progresses largely restricts her from extending her fingers and arms in display of her sexy style. The Cuban style is just too male dominated a style of dance. (Cesar Miguel Rondon, 2008).
The Miami and the Colombian styles have also become very popular. Particularly, the Rueda de Casino style of the Miami salsa dance is perhaps one of the most popular salsa dance styles in the world. This style is quite swift, elegant and more often than not furious as described in most night clubs. The dancers often feel an impulse to have their hands raised high in the air, perhaps due to the loudness that marks the night clubs. The Colombia style is however very diverse. For instance, in Cali it is generally quite showy in nature and in most parts of the countryside it takes place more closely and tightly between the partners. The common feature of the dance has however been said to be the fact that there is no backward and forward motions of the feet. The Colombia style is marked with several fancy tricks or spins. Last, there are the Cali and the Ballroom styles of salsa. The Cali style is composed of fast triple steps that almost make a "cha cha cha" pattern which is often very tiresome. The ballroom style generally has no fancy tricks or fast spins that have marked several other styles. The movements are usually made on the "two", "three", "four" musical beats with the two feet coming together at a stand-still as the music plays on the "four" and the "eight" beats. (Robert John Storm, 1979)
The salsa dance no doubt has its roots far and wide. However, it has had the effect of having uniting the world even to this day. This is particularly significant because the salsa is very popular and widely played in the Hispanic world. Classically, the salsa is a perfect manifest of the flexibility and evolution of the human that has given rise to the contemporary world we have today. There is no single place in the world that can take credit for the origin and the development of the salsa dance. In light of this, it can be rightly claimed that it is one of the few kinds of music that evokes global patriotism. And the variety of its styles makes it a superb dance as it allows the shy to pick a style where they would dance solo and equally gives the outgoing comrades the perfect opportunity to relate with members of the opposite sex at a close range. (Boggs Vernon, 1992).