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All you need to know about Salsa

Salsa dancers
Salsa is back on everyone’s mind with the recent release of Cuban Fury, starring Nick Frost as a former dance prodigy trying to revive his career, but in fact the dance craze has infiltrated society in more ways than the latest film. At Arthur Murray, we want you to be comfortable with the Latin-lover’s hottest dance so we’re stripping back the layers on Salsa.

A little bit of history?

The term Salsa was originally coined in New York in the 1970s to describe a dance which was heavily influenced by styles from Cuba and Puerto Rico and had evolved from other Latin dances such as the Cha Cha and Mambo. The name is variously attributed to the fact that it’s a mix of moves, like the sauce it’s named for is a mix of ingredients – the Salsa dance is hot and spicy; or is it simply the word shouted by musicians caught up in the rhythm – whatever its origin, the meaning is the same: fun.

Salsa style

In Salsa six steps are performed to an eight-count beat, so essentially there is no movement on counts 4 and 8, giving the movement its quick-quick-slow feel. Choreography is flexible and you can either ‘Salsa’ on the spot, while in motion, or in turn with your partner. Although you can Salsa solo, it is usually a partnered dance performed in a relaxed version of the formal hold where the arms are allowed to follow the movement of the body. Steps are taken in each direction with the toe first on a bent leg; the contrast to the straight leg you step off from creates a natural figure-of-eight hip action, giving the Salsa its sexy ‘sauce’.

Salsa clubs

Many clubs now advertise Salsa nights, so once you’ve learnt a few moves it’s easy to get practice in a social setting. The key to a good Salsa session is to let your hair down and have fun. If you keep your eyes up and a smile on your face you’re half way there, so be brave and try dancing with several partners to see how different people interpret the moves.

Salsa benefits

The benefits of dancing are well-known – it’s a full-body workout and stress-reliever and by getting your brain around the fancy footwork, you’ll also improve your mental agility, not to mention your co-ordination and balance. But Salsa is more than that, it’s a highly sociable dance which cannot help but make you smile, lift your mood and spice up your life.

Salsa sightings

Cuban Fury is just the latest in a long-line of Salsa references in popular culture, with other notable appearances in Dance With Me, Along Came Polly, Salsa, Dirty Dancing, Havana Nights, and Shall We Dance … the list goes on. But other than at the movies, you watch out for the flavour of Latin dancing on stage in the hit musical Forever Tango or on any of the hit TV shows such as Dancing With The Stars or Strictly Come Dancing. You will also find Salsa influences in fashion: short ra-ra skirts and strappy high-heeled sandals for the ladies, bandanas and see-through or sleeveless tops for men.

Both my wife and I are extremely happy learning ballroom dancing at Crows Nest Arthur Murray Studio. We have found the dancing instructors to be professional, knowledgeable, friendly and supportive. We are more than happy to continue enjoying our dancing experience and social activities with all the other students. We feel like part of a large joyous dancing family.John & Marilynread more
John Chung
John Chung
11:16 14 Feb 17
We were interested in learning Tango for our daughter's wedding last year, but here we are in our second year at AM, Crows Nest - dancing has now become our passion, due in large part, to the excellence of teaching and supportive atmosphere of this studio! The journey is long and I so envy the folks who have started years ago to achieve the beauty and grace of ballroom and the seduction of Latin dancing. We are determined to continue !!!read more
Ayshe Talay-Ongan
Ayshe Talay-Ongan
23:35 06 Feb 17
We started dancing in 2009 for our wedding - and had so much fun learning that we kept it up. They have incredible flexibility to do as much as you want, on your schedule, and consist of staff that appreciate busy working (and family!) lives --- while encouraging you to always improve yourselves! As a couple learning they have accommodated both our learning styles very more
Heidi Kuglin Justin Beck
Heidi Kuglin Justin Beck
08:48 04 Feb 17
I walked through the doors at Arthur Murray Crows Nest over 10 years ago having never danced a day in my life… I was looking for something fun to do outside of work and I’ve been there ever since!! There are local and overseas competitions, social nights and lots of glamorous events throughout the year to keep you busy. It’s fun, challenging, incredibly rewarding and you have an absolute blast along the way!!read more
Amy Hendry
Amy Hendry
02:29 31 Jan 17
I have loved dance all of my life but the Arthur Murray Crows Nest experience has taken my love and learning to another level. I have been dancing here for 14 years and will continue until my body gives up. My lessons are so much fun, challenging in a good way and a great form of exercise. Add to that the social side, great people, parties, outings, local and overseas competitions and you have the ultimate more
Janet Black
Janet Black
02:19 27 Jan 17