A symphony of all afro-Caribbean rhythms: jazz, mambo, son, tropical cha-cha and rumba. SALSA MEANS SAUCE, Gravy, and its ingredients are many, depending upon where it’s made. But one thing is certain it’s got plenty of spice. Like much of the greatest popular music, the creative fire was lit when Africa met the cultural cauldron of the New World. For salsa it began in Cuba in the 1940s. One part Yoruba drumming, another part call response vocals, it was diced with the music of local, indigenous people. Then, with heaping measures of musical Spain, France and the country-dances of England, the son was formed. And it was very tasty indeed.

YES, CUBA SET MODERN Latin dance music in motion. But with the varied ingredients in place, a transformation took place not in the Caribbean but on the street of New York (and increasingly in Miami). It was there than Puerto Ricans and Cubans had come to settle as a result of the joint upheavals of poverty in the former and isolation due to the revolution in the latter. The son turned ready to serve salsa when North American jazz stirred up this sauce.

In the 1960s & 1970s: salsa resumed a more basic Cuban style, as performers blended conjunto and charanga instrumentation, and replaced trumpets by trombones in conjuntos. Puerto Rican and later South American elements were also introduced. Salsa rhythms are based on Afro-Cuban dances such as the bolero, cha cha cha, guaguanco, guaracha, mambo and son montuno. Each piece of music has three sections: a head (melodic) section; a montuno in which the lead singer improvises against a repeated vocal refrain; and a mambo section of contrasting riffs.

SALSA CALIENTE: As it is called, the faster and fantastic Colombian salsa music, where the greatest salsomanos meet every December for the international Salsa Festival in the city of Cali. Colombian bands as Grupo Niche and Joe Arroyo are very popular around the world.

SALSA DANCE TIP: Make sure you have strong basics in any dance you are learning before moving up a level or learning new patterns. It will make the next level a lot more frustrating if you don’t know your basics well enough. We all started at the beginning and repeated the first level a few times before moving up and sometimes as intermediate and advanced dancers its a good idea to refresh our memories by taking a basic class again as a reminder of a few things we have forgotten about.

BEGINNERS TIP: Try never to refuse a dance with someone who is asking you. It doesn’t feel very good to be rejected. This tip is for the ladies and the gentlemen, and a reminder to the advanced dancers as well. This is how we learn to be better dancers by dancing with lots of different partners and dancers of all levels.

Rueda de Casino (Casino Wheel)


Style of salsa dancing that was created in Cuba around the 60’s. It is a dance for two or more couples, with one leader who calls out different movements or steps. When there are more than two couples the dance is done in Rueda (circle shape). The steps that are considered the “core” steps are danced in a similar fashion around the world and are the basic ones. Some of them are: Cross Body Lead, Enchufla, Dame, Al Medio, Abajo, Dile que No, Adios, La Prima, etc. Some moves are invented locally and reflect cultural reality.

The name, Rueda de Casino has its own history. After 1959, Gambling Casinos were closed and some of them reopened as dancing halls. At the beginning, people kept calling the dancing halls casinos and, as a result the type of dance done there was called Casino. Some people say that the name of Rueda came from other stories. Regardless of where the name originated, the style of dance came to be part of the Cuban identity.



Merengue is a rhythmic dance (hot and ???) which exudes passion, love and friendship. This style of dance originates in the Dominican Republic in 1854. In its traditional form merengue is played on accordion, saxophone, box bass with metal plucked keys, a guayano or guira (a metal scraper transformed from a kitchen implement), and a two ended tambora drum.



This dance originated in Dominican Republic in 1916. Before the development of a Dominican recording industry and the spread of the mass media, guitar-based trios and quartets were almost indispensable for a variety of informal recreational events such as Sunday afternoon parties known as pasadías and spontaneous gatherings that took place in back yards, living rooms, or in the street that were known as bachatas. Dictionaries of Latin American Spanish define the term bachata as juerga, jolgorio, or parranda, all of which denote fun, merriment, a good time, or a spree, but in the Dominican Republic, in addition to the emotional quality of fun and enjoyment suggested by the dictionary definition, it referred specifically to get-togethers that included music, drink, and food.



Colombia is part of the Andes Cordillera and has many of the same music traditions of its mountain neighbors, but it is also a part of the Caribbean where African influences are predominant. The most well known music of Colombia is the music of the coast called cumbia. The Cumbia Collection documents this music from the ’50s through the ’80s.

Cumbia has its origin in San Basilio, a little town off the Atlantic coast of Colombia. It was danced and created by the slaves to feel happiness and forget the heavy work and hard life. It was danced at night in the Palenque de San Basilio behind the ocean walls, the place where the slaves used to hire from the Spanish.

A singer by the name of Carlos Vives has popularized the wonderful accordion-based music of the valleys of eastern Colombia called vallenato. His “rock/vallenato” style is fantastic and is keeping the vallenato tradition alive with young Colombians.



Reggaeton is a type of Spanish language dance music developed in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s. It has now become popular in other Latin American countries. Reggaeton – also spelled Reggaeton and Hispanicize as Reguetón – blends dancehall and hip-hop genres, with additional influences from electronic, bomba, plena, and other styles. This gives Reggaeton its distinct Latin touch. Reggaeton songs cover topics ranging from the realities of street life to personal misunderstandings, gangs, love, and dancing. It is a very popular choice of music in parties and is usually danced by members of the opposite sex grinding “doggie style”. Reggaeton can also be danced with the partners facing each other, or in large groups of single dancers (usually females), where one of the group will then be asked to dance and will then leave the group. Daddy Yankee is a famous Reggaeton artist. (quoted from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia.)



Come and enjoy a variety of different tropical rhythms in the form of exercise. This class will not only allow you to understand rhythm but you will learn the techniques to Latin dancing while getting in great shape for the summer! Meringue is a rhythmic dance that originated in the Dominican Republic in 1854. In its traditional form, Merengue is played on accordion, saxophone, box bass with metal plucked keys and a two-ended tambora drum. Have fun exercising to the beat of Merengue music!


Samba is the most famous of the various forms of music arising from African roots in Brazil. Men and women dance samba differently and together yet without touching. The dance for the women can be characterized as quick symmetrical feet movement with each foot twisting on the heel. This foot movement is accompanied by hip and shoulder gyrations creating a dance that agitates the entire body.

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