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Emerging in the early 20th century from African and Cuban roots, Salsa music and dancing get their syncopated rhythms from a variety of percussion instruments, including a pair of cylindrical wooden sticks called claves.

Similar in step-style to the Mambo, Salsa dancers start with the first beat of music with a 1-2-3-stop, 1-2-3-stop rhythm. Left foot forward, weight-shift right, left foot close, stop. Right foot back, weight-shift-left, right foot close, stop.

As with other Latin dance styles like the Rumba, a toe-down stepping style is key to the art of transferring weight to the straightening leg, allowing for a naturally sexy movement to the hips, with minimal motion above the waist.

Salsa variations include many moves common to other dance styles, including the open break and underarm turn, the cross-body lead, cross-body lead with inside and outside turns, the chasse turn, suzie-q step and more.

There are plenty of turns and fancy foot steps for the guys as well as the ladies, but out on the club dance floors, you’ll see some guys with a more understated approach, with minimal moves on their own, but with excellent leads and timing.

This keeps the spotlight where it seems to belong in much of Latin dancing, on the beauty expressed by the ladies.

You can dance Salsa to many songs, including

Ayer by Gloria Estefan
Cali Aji by Grupo Niche
Cara De Nino by Jerry Rivera
La Dicha Mia by Celia Cruz
Melao De Cana by Celia Cruz
Mi Media Mitad by Rey Ruiz
Mi Tierra by Gloria Estefan
Montuno by Gloria Estefan
Quiero Estar A Solas by Ana Belen
Si Senor! By Gloria Estefan
Si Tu No Te Fueras by Marc Anthony
Tu Eres Mejor by Willy Chirino
Tus Ojos by Gloria Estefan
Yiri Yiri Bon by Ricardo Lemvo

Listen to a music sample

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