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Salsa Dancing: A Melting Pot of Cuban Rhythms
Learn a bit about where this spicy dance style comes from with Groupon’s brief introduction to salsa.
Brought into the mainstream by Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants in 1960s New York, salsa continues to rattle dance floors around the world. Though styles differ from country to country—the United States alone can claim distinctive styles for New York, LA, and Miami—spectators can easily recognize the dance by its sultry hip movements and up-tempo pace. Like its accompanying music, which echoes beats from Puerto Rican plena and American jazz, salsa dance incorporates a diverse range of influences, including the lively steps of the Cuban-style són, the jutting hip movements of African rumba, and the partner-based formations of French-born country dance. As Celia Cruz—internationally hailed as the queen of the genre—astutely observed, salsa is essentially “all the Cuban rhythms under one name.”
In recent years, the dance form has spread beyond clubs and into gyms, rising as a popular form of aerobic exercise designed to build cardiovascular endurance, tone legs, and improve coordination. Salsa influences can be spotted within the Zumba fitness program, which infuses salsa steps with other lively styles in dynamic and social group settings.