Salsa dance is a Latin American dance that emerges from combining other dances such as rumba, mambo, pachanga, swing, and tap. Salsa is also a music genre with influences from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and many other Latin American countries.

Salsa dancing is typically practiced between two people, a leader and a follower. The lead will take the follow through a series of coordinated steps and spins as they follow the musical patterns of the genre.

At times, salsa dancers break the duo modality and do a solo dance following the beat and the rhythm on their own. The solo dance is known as a "shine".

There are two types of salsa dancing, circular and linear. The circular style is when the dancers circle each other, similar to East Coast swing. The circular style is recognized in salsa dancing in Cuba and Colombia.

In linear salsa, dancers remain in their "slot", switching places from one side of the slot to the other, similar to West Coast swing. New York-style salsa and LA-style salsa are both the linear type.

Salsa dancing has evolved through the years and different steps and dance moves have been incorporated into the dancing styles. Today, salsa dancing has different techniques and moves like spins, shimmies, arm work, rolls, lifts, and even hand styling.

Continue reading and find out why salsa dancing is popular in the United States, the cities where it is most popular, and much more.

If salsa dancing is not very popular in your hometown you can always search for Cuban or Puerto Rican online salsa instructors right here on Superprof. You can learn how to dance from the comfort of your own home and regardless of your location in America.

You can even have classes with someone in Miami, Cali, or Havana, and the classes can be in English or Spanish, depending on what you want and need.

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As you probably already imagined, salsa dancing is common in America but it is most common in cities with large Hispanic populations.

Salsa dancing studio
If you are looking for something different to do at night, you can take some salsa dancing classes for you and your partner and find a tutor on Superprof. Foto de Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

Here is a list of the 10 cities with the largest Hispanic population in the United States:

City Total Population Hispanic Population Hispanic percentage
1 New York City 8.3 million 2.27 million 27.40%
2 Los Angeles 3.8 million 1.8 million 48.50%
3 Houston 2.19 million 908,000 41.40%
4 San Antonio 1.32 million 807,000 61.20%
5 Chicago 2.8 million 774,000 27.40%
6 Phoenix 1.54 million 643,000 41.90%
7 Dallas 1.27 million 537,000 42.30%
8 El Paso 602,000 482,000 80%
9 San Diego 1.3 million 354,000 27.30%
10 San Jose 934,400 294,000 31.50%

The cities above are probably the ones with a higher amount of salsa dancing clubs, academies, teachers, and students who are eager to learn.

So, if you are left wondering if salsa has a level of popularity in the States, this list is your answer.

You can find the best salsa teachers right here on Superprof. If you live in any of the cities listed above, you can easily find tutors there who can give in-person lessons. However, if you don't live in any of these cities, then you can opt for the online modality.

With today's technology, it doesn't matter where you live, all that matters is that you have a good internet connection and the willingness and discipline to adventure yourself into learning something new.

Learning to dance salsa can be exciting and fun, but it can also be challenging and hard. If you are up for the challenge, you should start searching for a tutor right away!

Keep in mind that you won't learn to salsa dance after one or two lessons and that you need to be persistent if you want to truly dominate every dance move.

Learning to follow the beat
Learning to dance salsa has a lot to do with learning to follow the beat, even if it feels like there are a bunch of different beats, it's just a matter of learning to keep up. Foto de Rainier Ridao on Unsplash

Salsa dancing is more common in some cities than in others because of what we mentioned above, it correlates with the Hispanic population of the city.

However, this is not the only factor. Finding a cool club with good dancers is not as easy as finding a casino in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. There are many salsa clubs across America but finding the good ones with good music and dancers can be a little tricky.

For instance, there will be more clubs in New York or Miami than there are in San Jose or El Paso. And even in New York or Miami, it can be hard to find a specific club that only plays salsa music.

With that in mind, to understand why salsa is common in some places and not in other places, you need to pay attention to Latin American history and the migratory processes that these countries have faced.

The reason why a Colombian citizen migrated is different from the Cuban or Puerto Rican citizens. Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and many other countries have different troublesome backgrounds that forced many of their people to flee.

And when people leave their countries they take with them their cultures, traditions, and musical backgrounds. Over time, all these dances that collided in one place started merging, and sooner or later we ended up with a wide range of different musical genres.

This is why today we have different but similar genres and dances like mambo, salsa, cha, jazz, and much more. The music might have a similar rhythm but musicians change some beats and keys and create different genres.

There are different styles ranging from the Cuba, Colombian, LA, and New York styles. Each of these dances originated in different places but with similar influences. And surely after a while, Salsa become popular in the US.

Cities to go salsa dancing

Finding a salsa dancing club can be hard if you don't look in the right places.

If you live in New York you can go to the places your friends recommend or you can do a quick search online and find a nice Latin club where you can find the best music and musicians.

The best cities in the United States are New York, LA, Chicago, Houston, Miami, San Francisco, and more. However, other cities in the region (Latin America) include Cali in Colombia, Havana in Cuba, San Jose in Puerto Rico, Caracas in Venezuela, en more.

Salsa dancing with friends
If your family danced salsa at every party or any random night, then you should already be an expert. Foto de Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Keep in mind that if you danced salsa a while back, the same club you used to go to might not be open. If you don't even remember what the club was called, then we recommend you find a new place to show off your dance moves and style.

Remember that not because some genres sound similar it means they are the same. Latin America has a wide range of different musical genres and learning the different dances can be tricky but not impossible. There are differences between salsa, cumbia, mambo, swing, jazz, cha, and more.

You can learn how to dance each of these different genres, and if you want you can start by hiring a private tutor from Superprof. Tutors on our platform commonly offer the first lesson for free to allow students to see if they like the lessons before they commit to a long-term thing.

A brief history of salsa

Dancing salsa in a couple
The vast majority of salsa music is in Spanish, but there are a few songs in other languages too. Foto de Preillumination SeTh on Unsplash

Salsa dancing first originated in Cuba and its style is rooted in the Afro-Cuban music genre. It slowly adapted to other influences from other cities and countries. Soon enough it made its way to the US and spread across the country.

The genre was developed by different musicians, songwriters, and performers from the time like Héctor Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Cuban-born Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, Frank Grillo, and many more.

Throughout the 1960s Pacheco's Fania Records released many of the top salsa recordings. The record label became a precedent for the history of salsa. The style reached its peak in the 1970s when salsa spread from New York to the Caribbean and Latin America.

As the genre developed, many different instruments were incorporated into the style. Today it is known as a genre that ensembles a large group of percussionists and many other instruments like piano, guitar, trombone, trumpet, saxophone, bongos, double bass, clave, cowbell, congas, maracas, guiro, clave, and vocals (singers).

Today salsa is enjoyed across the world and many people strive to learn how to keep up with a couple of moves. Keep in mind that there are different styles across the US and that you can always work with a teacher to learn all the different styles at once.

You can search for a tutor right here on Superprof and compare some of the rates, modalities, and experiences of all the tutors offering their lessons on our platform.

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