Learning to dance salsa is no easy task, especially since it has a variety of influences and origins. Salsa music is a Latin American music genre that developed in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and even in America —New York.
It originated in Cuba and it spread to the United States during the Cuban Revolution when many Cuban families moved to Miami, New York, and more.
Salsa music has many influences that allowed the creation of its unique rhythm. This music genre joins the large list of genres and styles of Latin American music like tango, mambo, bachata, cha, rumba, and many more.
However, salsa has a unique rhythm and beat, and even within itself, there are many different types. Continue reading and know the different styles like the Colombian, Cuban, New York, Los Angeles, Casino, and Salsa Choke styles.
And if by the end of this article you're left wanting to learn any or all of the styles you can start searching for dance tutors right here on Supeprof. All you need is to start searching depending on your location (or if you want online lessons), look at the profile of each tutor, and see who you are interested in.
The first type (not in order of appearance or importance) is the Colombian style which is also known as Salsa Caleña, which means salsa from the Colombian city Cali.
This is one of the most complicated forms of salsa to learn. If you have private lessons with a tutor you found on Superprof, you should know that they'll probably teach you this style last. This style is very common in Colombia but hardly danced anywhere else.
Colombians are very proud of their salsa knowledge and they even call Cali La Capital Mundial de Salsa which translated means "the world's capital of salsa".
Learning this style in Colombia is easy since there are over 200 dancing academies —a ballroom where people practice dance— only in Cali, which is more than any other city in the world. Every year the city hosts a massive festival called the Feria de Cali, with thousands of dancers, and the city is several number of massive salsa dance competitions.
This salsa style is similar to others because dancers must coordinate the moves starting from their footwork and the rest of their bodies. A dancer must coordinate their body with the other dancer's body. Moving one foot with the other and so on.
As you probably already figured out, Cuban Salsa is the salsa style that originated there and became popular across the region. This style might be the first style to have been created since it is said that salsa was born in Cuba.
Cuban salsa is characterized by its footwork and movements —as is every other style. If you live in New York or Miami it will be kind of easy to find a tutor on Superprof who will teach this style in your city.
Just make sure you find a tutor that knows the difference between Salsa and Cumbia. These two music genres can have similar beats but they aren't the same thing.
Cuba-style salsa, unlike New York or LA-style, is danced in a circular motion similar to East Coast Swing, rather than in a line. The turn patterns in Cuban salsa typically are in a constant circular motion, with lots of hand tricks and movements.
Salsa is a dance that uses every part of the body, similar to other dances. Every step and movement add up to this beautiful Latin American dance. People in Latin America are taught to dance at an early age and almost every social encounter involves some kind of dancing.
New York style
New York style is probably one of the most common styles of salsa dancing. People in Miami and Latin America are always dancing to this beat and moves.
This style is also known by dancers as the "linear salsa" or for its term in Spanish "linea" because it is danced in a line. This style is compared with the Hustle or West Coast Swing, from which it was influenced.
NY-style salsa is often referred to as “Salsa On 2” or “On2 Salsa” because the break step in New York style happens on the second beat of the music. On2 salsa was popularized by Eddie Torres, and on2 dancers argue that their style is more musical because it more closely aligns with the tumbao & clave, two common musical patterns found in salsa music.
This style is probably the most popular salsa style amongst Americans. Some people might believe that salsa dancing is only common in Latin America (Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, etc), or cities with high Hispanic populations like Miami, LA, NYC, and so on.
However, salsa dance, and many other Latino dances like bachata, tango, cha, mambo, rumba, and more, are popular across the United States.
Los Angeles style
The LA salsa style is probably the most "teachable" style since it es easier to catch on to than all the other types. Students show time and time again that this dance style is easy because they understand it the fastest.
If you want to start learning how to dance salsa, we recommend you start with the LA style. You can ask tutors right here on Superprof if they teach this style and ask to know how much experience they have taught it.
This type of salsa dancing originated in the city of Los Angeles, California. It got popularized due to the large Hispanic population living in the state and later became known across the region.
You will find more than one salsa ballroom in each district of the city of LA. To learn to dance this style you need to understand the rhythm and understand the basic moves to the different beats.
LA-style salsa is commonly known for having movements repeated in a line, similar to New York-style salsa, but dancers break on the first beat of the music (on 1) rather than on 2. Many newer dancers find this timing more intuitive.
Salsa Rueda (Rueda de Casino)
Salsa Rueda or most commonly known as Rueda de Casino is yet another type of salsa dance that was born in Cuba. People sometimes confuse it as a Puerto Rican dance, but this is a misconception.
To understand this dance you first need to know that in Spanish Rueda means wheel. In this type of salsa dance a large group of people who are all coupled up dance in a giant circle, rather than individually.
In salsa Rueda, there is not one leader who moves their left foot and the rest follows, here all the couples do each move and step simultaneously.
The moves are similar to those of Cuban-style salsa, and a salsa Rueda dance involves a coordinated dance of synchronized movement, partner switches, and intricate turn patterns.
If you want to continue learning more about this fascinating subject we recommend you read about the history of how Salsa became common in the US.
Or you can go to our homepage and start searching for salsa dancing tutors. On Superprof the profile of each tutor contains information about their teaching strategies, level of experience, previous jobs, fees, and more.
You can ask a tutor to send you a video of their work and see their dancing skills on this video. Or you can search for the tutors who offer the first lesson for free and take advantage of that class to see their skill level.
Salsa choke is one last salsa style that originated in Colombia. This style has one distinct characteristic that separates it from the rest of the styles, which is that it is practiced individually but in a group.
Other styles are practiced only in a couple or can be danced in a couple and individually. However, salsa choke is practiced in a group where there is one leader and the rest follow.
Salsa choke is danced specifically to salsa choke music, which is a type that sounds a little like a cross between salsa music and reggaeton.
Read more about this and other styles in our article about the places in the US where Salsa is popular.
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