The basic step of salsa dancing probably derives
from the Rumba, often called the grandfather of the Latin dances.
The Rumba originates from Cuba and it was first seen in the United
States around 1920. Salsa dancing as we know it today was mainly
developed by Puerto Rican musicians in the Latin Quarter in New
York City. Casino Rueda from Cuba has also had a big influence
on the Miami style of salsa.
Salsa is danced by stepping on 3 consecutive
beats of music and then pausing for 1 beat, then repeating. The
step timing can be thought of as step, step, step, pause; step,
step, step, pause. Dance teachers count the step timing as quick,
quick, slow; quick, quick, slow. Each quick consumes one beat
of music, each slow consumes two beats of music. Depending on
how you hear and feel the music, you may start the dance on any
beat of the measure you wish. Most beginners start the dance
on the first beat of the measure.
Though salsa is danced at approximately twice
the tempo of the Rumba, the two dances share much in common.
Salsa and Rumba music are both written in 4/4 time, with four
beats to each measure. Two measures of music are required to
complete one full basic step. In the music, the heavy beat is
the one beat, the first beat of the measure. While the music
tempo of rumba is typically 104 beats per minute, the music tempo
of salsa is typically 180 to 210 beats per minute.
In both dances three steps are taken during each
measure of music. In other words, three steps are taken to four
beats of music. Recall that the step timing is counted quick,
quick, slow; quick, quick, slow. Learning to count the music
correctly is the first big hurdle for beginners. Students are
seldom able to understand the dance fully until they are able
to count the music and the step timing correctly. Notice that
the cow bell sounds on the first and third beats of each measure.
Learn more about Salsa Lessons at the Atrium
Salsa/Latin Dance Parties at the Atrium
ATRIUM DANCE STUDIO
4721 N. Crescent Blvd. (Route 130)
Pennsauken, NJ 08110