If you’re new to the world of salsa, you may not realize that there are actually quite a few distinct types (six, to be exact). Cuban salsa is one of the salsa subtypes that is really gaining in popularity and it can look quite different from the salsa that you are used to. Check out this video of Luis Morenza and Kristin Bolbet showing just how intoxicating and fun Cuban salsa can be, and you will also be able to see how different it looks.
The most popular form of salsa is LA salsa (or “salsa on one”). This style of salsa was born in Los Angeles and has influences from tango and ballroom. It is danced in a line and dancers break or step to the first beat of the music. LA style isn’t the original form of salsa, however. The first salsa was New York salsa, also known as “salsa on two” because dancers step on the second beat. The reason why LA salsa has surpassed New York salsa in popularity is most likely because New York salsa is less intuitive to beginner dancers due to it being danced “off-beat”.
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Cuban salsa is an entirely different beast from LA and New York salsa. Rather than being danced in a line, it is danced on the spot in a circular motion. This makes Cuban salsa much easier to dance in a crowded club setting, which may be partly why it is gaining in popularity. It has fewer lifts and dips than LA salsa and has influences from Afro dance, including rumba, which adds a new element to the dance.
There are lots of opportunities for solo dancing with Cuban salsa, and the styling tends to be focused more on hand and arm movements than footwork. There are also more exaggerated hip movements compared to other salsa styles. Like LA style it is danced on the first beat, so it can be relatively easy to pick up.
If you’re on the fence about picking up Cuban salsa, whether you are a complete beginner or someone with a background in salsa dancing, you should definitely give it a try! This style of salsa is fun and energetic, and can easily be incorporated into club nights. It is becoming quite common to see people incorporating Cuban salsa moves into their other salsa dancing, so getting some knowledge of Cuban salsa will help you to keep up with all of the salsa trends!
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