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How to Dance the Puerto Rican Salsa
Salsa: Music of Dance CD
It's Party Time
When I asked my mother, who was born in Puerto Rico, how to Salsa, she told me, "The most important thing is to be in it." "Huh?", you may say. Salsa is all about a party! You have to feel the dance and bring out the party spirit.
There are a number of variations of the Salsa, but here we'll discuss how to dance the Puerto Rican Salsa. That's what I grew up with. I learned it as a little girl, probably from the time I could walk...because at a Puerto Rican party, every one is in it! When that salsa plays, no one is sitting down,especially, the old-timers. The younger ones in the group put on their little tricks and spins and lifts, while the older generation sticks to their smooth basic steps. If you're at a Puerto Rican party you can be sure there will be Salsa music playing over and over again. We love it! Salsa is practically the dance of Puerto Rico.
History of the Salsa
Salsa is Spanish for a spicy sauce; and that describes the dance well. What's most important to know about this dance is that it is SEXY and FAST! The rhythm has all the flavors of Spanish music, African drumbeats, and Afro-Carribean soul. The music is played throughout the Latin world; and, of course, it has migrated to other countries, like the United States in clubs and ballrooms.
Playlist for the Salsa Party
Get the music ready so you can start learning! Music by Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and Johnny Pacheco are classics and are a must have at any Puerto Rican party. Also add:
"No Me Hace Falta" - Victor Manuelle
"Caridad" by Gloria Estefan
"Como Tiembla El Alma" by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
Below I have added a link from YouTube so you can listen to some music by Tito Puente while you're learning this dance. Hope you enjoy it.
Tito Puente - El Rey de los Timbales
The Steps of the Salsa
The great thing about the salsa is that you can start on the "one" beat or the "two" beat. However, most Puerto Ricans start on the "two" beat.
- Start with the left foot and step forward, let the heel rise on the right.
- Bring the left foot back to standing position
- Step back with the right foot bring it back to the standing position
- Continue to the beat of the music
Once you get this basic step you can add movement of the arms, some turns, and for the ladies, there is always a little shimmy going on!
Here is a video that shows the basic steps to the dance, which is great if you are a beginner, or have not the Salsa. Learn how to the salsa and you'll be the life of the party.
Great Video to Show Basic Steps
Tips for a Great Salsa
- Dance with a partner
- Always have a big smile on your face
- "Feel the music"
- Use small steps so that you don't lose your balance or your rhythm
- Be in a party mood!
By Liza Lugo, J.D.
(c) 2012, Revised 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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