A Step By Step Guide To Cuban Salsa

A Step By Step Guide To Cuban Salsa

Dance has been an​ important part of​ rituals, celebrations and entertainment since before the birth of​ human civilization. in​ the beginning, before we had written language to​ record things, the purpose of​ dance was often to​ tell stories and to​ pass them down to​ future generations.

The story of​ dancing in​ Cuba

In Cuba, as​ in​ ancient times, dance tells its own story. The passion and energy of​ Cuban dance reveals the strength and conviction of​ the Cuban people, determined to​ enjoy life despite ‘la lucha’ (the struggle) of​ living in​ a​ strictly regulated country where the average monthly wage comes in​ at​ around 400 pesos – less than £10.

The richness of​ Cuban music and dancing also tells the story of​ Cuba’s melting pot of​ cultures. From the high-stepping flamenco brought by the Spanish settlers in​ the 15th century to​ the frenzied tribal dances of​ the West African slaves, dancing is​ in​ the blood of​ the Cuban people.

From the teenage girl in​ denim shorts to​ the cigar-seller on the street corner, Cubans are given to​ break into spontaneous dance steps. Furthermore, the people dancing on the streets of​ Havana are likely to​ be just as​ good as​ the professionals, because in​ Cuba dancing is​ simply a​ way of​ life.

The variety of​ Cuban dances

Cuba boasts a​ huge range of​ dances including classical ballet, contemporary, flamenco and folk dancing. But it​ is​ the partnered routines that appeared in​ Havana dancehalls between the 1920s and the 1950s - Salsa, rumba, mambo and cha-cha-cha - that can be seen in​ every Cuban bar, club and street. of​ these, Salsa is​ the most popular dance internationally.

Since the name ‘Salsa’ (it’s Spanish for ‘sauce’) was coined, Salsa dancing has exploded in​ popularity in​ Latin America and across the world. Salsa dancing classes are now hugely popular but to​ really get into the swing of​ it​ a​ Salsa holiday in​ Cuba itself is​ a​ must.

Tips for Cuban Salsa dancing

If you do take yourself on a​ Cuban holiday, you’ll have the unique experience of​ watching Cubans Salsa dancing. it​ sometimes appears that by some genetic aberration they have been born with super flexible joints, defying physics to​ carry out all the complex manoeuvres they have integrated into the dancing. Their remarkable twisting body movements and natural sense of​ rhythm will dazzle you.

If you have the right technique, Cuban Salsa is​ easier to​ learn than many other forms of​ dance. The basic footwork is​ a​ fairly simple walking motion, pausing every fourth beat, and there are some six basic steps you can follow to​ make sure you’re on the right tracks.

1 Relax

To dance Cuban Salsa well it​ is​ important not to​ rush, but to​ relax into the steps. Movements should be precise and deliberate in​ addition to​ being flowing and smooth.

2 Walk with purpose

Salsa dancing involves a​ continual circular motion. Couples walk around each other with an​ imaginary axis between them. This makes turns look smooth and effortless. Walking gives time to​ untangle your arms after each turn.

3 Have confidence in​ your lead

The leader (usually the man) should have constant tension in​ his arms, while his hands guide his Salsa dancing partner around the floor. There is​ no need to​ clamp onto each other’s hands, only to​ use the right amount of​ tension to​ provide a​ leading signal.

4 Be flexible when following

In order to​ follow well, ladies should try to​ match the tension of​ their partner. The exception to​ this is​ when arms need to​ be relaxed and flexible to​ complete arm-twisting Salsa moves without injury!

5 Keep balanced when you spin

The key to​ all the spectacular spins in​ Salsa is​ not to​ lose your balance. One way to​ do it​ is​ by spotting while you spin – focusing on one spot at​ each turn – an​ age-old dance technique.

6 Use your body

In Salsa dancing, ladies should make use of​ their body and be sensual, playful and creative. This can involve some creative arm movements, going with what feels right and basically showing off a​ bit. Enjoy!

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