History of Salsa
Is difficult determine who invented Salsa - Cubans or Puerto Ricans. Salsa took birth with the mixture of Cuban and Puerto Rican music at Big Band Jazz in Latin Barrios of New York. The literal significance of word "salsa" is "sauce". In the mid-1970's, it was first used when some Latin musicians restored the classic Cuban band to demonstrate a style of music. They worked to make something better and appropriate for their modern, multicultural lifestyles.
Salsa refers to a combination of informal dance styles having origins the Caribbean (particularly in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the United States), Latin and North America; the term "Salsa" was created by New York but not the dance. The term Salsa became popular to refer to a variety of diverse music, from many countries of Hispanic influence: Rhumba, Son Montuno, Guaracha, Mambo, Cha cha cha, Danzon, Son, Guguanco, Guajira, Charanga, Cumbia, Plena, Bomba, Festejo, Merengue, and other typical Cuban dance forms. Each played a large aspect important in its evolution. Many of these have preserved their individuality and many were mixed creating "Salsa". In the music and in the dance there is a strong Afro-Caribbean influence. Today, the "Salsa" is a North American interpretation of the older styles. New York's Latino community had an energetic musical and dancing scene during the '50s but found limited success with the "Anglo" mainstream.
Mambo/Salsa is the Latin equivalent of Swing. In 1943, in Havana, Perez Prado introduced it at "La Tropicana" nightclub.
The dance was first dancing in New York's Park Ballroom, a favorite hangout of dance fans from Harlem. In 1950's, the Mambo gained popularity and was taught in dance studios, resorts, and nightclubs in New York and Miami. Salsa is a street adaptation of Mambo, Mambo has evolved into Salsa. Musically the most important difference is that Mambo music holds on the one beat and Salsa music hits on one beat. Mambo tends to be sharper in the footwork more time is spent in closed hold and the man breaks on 2. Salsa tends to be sexier, normally it has little kick like decorations, more time is spent in a two handed or distant position and the man breaks on 1. In that both have a model of six steps danced over eight counts of music--and came about when dancers started incorporation up Mambo with Hustle steps. The dances share several of the similar moves. In Salsa, turns have become an important characteristic, so the overall look and feels are quite different form those of Mambo. Mambo moves usually forward and backward, whereas, Salsa has more of a side to side feel.
Salsa dance can be strongly improvised; the dance can take any form the interpreter wishes. Salsa steps are called "Shines", an expression taken from Tap dancing. Modern Salsa has influences of Jazz, funk, reggae, hip-hop and samba.
In the 1970s, acceptance of the expression "Salsa" reduced the linguistic and cultural obstacles to mainstream adoption of Latin music and dance.
A brief history of some styles of dance: