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The Enduring Allure of Salsa Dance

Salsa dancing seems synonymous with hot, sultry, summer days. There's something about the warm weather and the irresistible rhythms that lends itself to summer festivals and energetic dancing in the streets.

Salsa is a lively dance with complex rhythms that traces its roots back to Cuba. Afro Cuban influences and Son, the dance of the Cuban people, which is a mixture of the Spanish troubadour (sonero) and African drumbeats together with the dance influences of Mambo, Rumba and Guaguanco, among others combined to create this infectious, sensual dance that is now a worldwide phenomenon, thrilling dancers all over the world.

Salsa dancing really came into its own during the 1940's and 50's. Cuban musicians had a huge influence on the New York music scene. The mixing of the dance influences from several Hispanic countries including Puerto Rico, Columbia and other parts of the Caribbean gave rise to the nickname "Salsa" which means a spicy sauce mix!

Salsa is danced to a basic 1-2-3, 1-2 rhythm; however, basic it certainly is not. The tempo is fast and the musical energy is exuberant. Each region has its own style and flavour of the dance. No one is better than the other, just different.

Cuban musicians love to play with the changes in rhythm, often starting with a slow rumba structure breaking into a core salsa rhythm with a call and response vocal pattern and lots of improvisation. Similarly, Cuban dancers play a lot with these rhythms – pulling back from a close embrace and launching into rhythmic body isolations and movement solos before pairing up again.

L.A doesn’t have a distinctive salsa dance style. Rather is is a blend of all the influences from Puerto Rico, Latin Ballroom and even the disco/hustle. LA salsa is more showy and dancers often develop highly choreographed dips, tricks and flips into their routines. “Shines” are included which for women, include stylised arm, hip and hair movements and for men. tricky footwork based on Puerto Rican style salsa.

Colombian salsa has a fast rhythm and is beautiful, with incredibly tight spins and fast footwork. Colombia's third largest city, Santiago de Cali, or Cali for short, is known as the Salsa capital of the world, legendary for its tropical party vibe, beautiful women and sizzling nightlife. Here, salsa rules.

Learning to dance salsa can be intimidating unless you choose the right dance class and dance studio. Blueheel Dance Studio in Port Credit, Mississauga offers both Salsa Group lessons and private lessons. Beginner classes introduce the student to the highly engaging, exciting world of Salsa dancing. Advanced classes and choreography classes are also offered for the more intricate spins, dips and tricks. Combined with the Friday night practice parties, the group lessons and private coaching will get you Latin Club dance ready and rearing to burn the dance floor.

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