Salsa dancing developed in Nuyorican nightclubs in the late ’60s and early ’70s alongside salsa music. Early salsa dancers based their moves on dances from previous Latin genres, like son, danzon and Afro-Cuban dancing, much like salsa musicians drew on the past to make their own distinct music. They most directly drew on the steps of the mambo, which had been popular in New York in the ’50s. While mambo dancers usually count their steps in measures of four, counting the first beat silently, then moving their feet quickly on the second and third beats and more slowly on the fourth–
(one) TWO THREE, FOURRRR, (one) TWO THREE, FOURRRR, or (pause) QUICK QUICK SLOWWWWW, (pause) QUICK QUICK SLOWWWW–
salsa dancers conceive a count of eight, and dance onONE TWO THREEEE (four), FIVE SIX SEVENNNN (eight), or QUICK QUICK SLOWWWWW (pause), QUICK QUICK SLOWWWW (pause)
This is absolutely confusing when written, but if you look at videos like “Learn to Dance Salsa: Basic Steps for Beginners” you’ll get it. A trick while you’re trying the salsa portion is to speak the words “sal-sa dance” while you move your feet: Sal-sa dance (pause), sal-sa dance (pause)….”
In class we’re going to spin some great salsa music, get out on the dance floor and salsa just like they do in CROATIA!