salsa lessons

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08-06-2000, 10:15 PM
salsa lessons
Where can I find a dance studio in Somerset or Middlesex County (NJ) that teaches salsa dancing.
08-06-2000, 10:16 PM
Having recently attented a workshop on salsa, I was informed that there is no such thing as salsa. Salsa is mambo, with a few variations. This might make your search easier. Good luck.
08-06-2000, 10:17 PM
<S. Ruiz>
Salsa is actually a style of jazz originating in Central America. However, Latinos would be very angry to hear people equate ballroom mambo and salsa. Salsa is not mambo and ballroom mambo is not authentic. Many of the basic movements are similar, but having danced Salsa for ten years, ballroom mambo for four years, and being very much a part of latin dancing and culture I can safely say the two are not the same. Salsa is best learned in Puerto Rico or in the Carribean. If that isn't possible, ususally there are clubs and bars where mostly latino groups frequent and you can learn from them. Ballroom mambo you can learn from an instructor.
08-06-2000, 10:17 PM
But, ballroom mambo has been misunderstood. The teachers got too used to teaching instead of understanding. The early mambo's had a very distinctive beat on the "2" beat. That was the breaking beat. Most mambo components still contain the phrase "break" but the concept got lost. If the music breaks on the 1, then so do you, if it's the 2, so do you, etc., etc. Before there was this influx of "salsa", the only difference anyone could describe to me was that salsa started (broke) on the 1 and mambo started (broke) on the 2. The patterns were identical. But either do to the popularity (and hence less dance space) or the fact that it resembled the mambo, the salsa changed it's principle pattern. But the rhythm (often called qqs) is still present. Mambo is where it all started, it just evolved into rhumba, cha cha, salsa. Quite fascinating really when you see the evolution! Having been teaching both for 13 years, I have seen many changes. It's whatever the circumstances called for at the moment. I first learned salsa from a wonderful dancer from Puerto Rico, but it isn't the same as she taught me then, and it will probably change again, but that is the beauty of dancing! Good luck in the search!
08-06-2000, 10:18 PM
I just read a book recently called "Musica ! - the rhythm of latin america" by Sue Steward with forward by Willie Colon. In the introduction section of the book, it says: ""Salsa is what you eat; Mambo is what you dance" is Tito Puente's pained response to the word Salsa. Unfortunately for him, the term is here to stay. Like "Jazz" and "Blues", it is one of those catch-alls".

Also in the book, according to Eddie Torres, a well known NY salsa teacher, the beat that one dances on varies from region to region, from country to country. Dancing on the one is done in Cuba and Colombia. Dancing on the two is done in NY, Puerto Rico and by the ballroom set. It doesn't matter as long as you are consistent and understand which beat you are on.

The message in the book seems to say that mambo and salsa are the same dance by different names. Of course when even the same thing is done in different regions or countries long enough, it will evolve differently, Take the English language for example. The spoken English in England, USA and Australia are noticeably different but you can't say that those languages are not English language.

I guess that Mambo is codified in ballroom dance syllabus so the consistency is maintained throughout the ballroom dance circle while salsa has little established standard thus it can vary quite a bit from place to place.

08-06-2000, 10:19 PM
A link to some salsa/mambo discussions:^3@.ee6b44c
09-08-2000, 04:37 PM
Bob B
Hi Donna. How are you ?...Is this the Telecordia Donna?...If so, you know me. Anyway, I have a friend in your area who takes Salsa lessons at a studio there. I will get the info and write u back.
Mambo is different than Salsa in that it breaks on the two ,and is also a bit more stiff. The basic foot pattern is the same.
12-31-2000, 03:50 PM
I just read the following article from another site.
A few issues come to mind after reading
the article,
1. Dance evolution vs dance regulation;
2. Can non-latino teach authentic salsa ?
3. What is "authentic" salsa ?
Judged by country ?
Judged by the cultural background
of the instructor ?
Judged by the specific point of time
in the history of the dance ?

Read the article and let me know
what you think.

February 27 1999 WEEKEND

British dance floors are riven by claims of racism. Ruth Gledhill reports on the salsa wars

Paul Harris, author of the official salsa technique book, with his dancing partner Sharon Hollis. He says: "I've been told I cannot know about salsa because I'm not Cuban or Colombian and haven't been dancing salsa all my life"
Photographs: ROY RILEY

'White men can't dance'

The ballroom floor has seen nothing like it since the Argentine tango turned the respectable tea salons of the 1920s on their heads and had the most stylish women of the day swooning over macho Latin dancers.
The world of salsa, the hot Cuban dance style which is bringing Latin American energy to clubs and bars in Britain, is being split by accusations of racism and slander.

At the heart of the debate is the age-old question: can white men dance?

Heated letters have been sent and solicitors consulted over possible libel actions in what is being termed "the Salsa Wars".

The fuse was lit when one of the country's oldest and most-respected dance teacher organisations, the United Kingdom Alliance, decided to set up professional examinations in salsa teaching technique.

Salsa, which has its origins in Cuban Latin rhythms, is the latest craze after line dancing to hit the over-25s chardonnay-set. Up to 25,000 people are thought to dance salsa each week. There are 82 salsa clubs in the Manchester and Leeds area alone, and more than 25 in London.

At the same time, while the competitive ballroom scene remains healthy, social ballroom dancing, such as foxtrot, quickstep, tango and waltz, is in decline.

A third of salsa teachers in Britain are thought to be Latin American, African or Cuban in origin. Problems have arisen because anyone can set themselves up as a salsa teacher.

The UKA, which has branches worldwide in ballet, ballroom, theatre dance and Highland dancing, decided to offer qualifications in salsa to bring greater professionalism to the situation. Nine teachers have been examined so far.

Salsa expert Ramiro Zapata and partner Michelle
The most extreme allegations have been made against Paul Harris, 39, a former ballroom dancing champion and a member of the new UKA salsa committee. He has written a book, Salsa & Merengue (Sigma Leisure ?6.95) and an official guide to the technique.

He says: "The problem is that I was born in St Helen's, not St Lucia. People have told me that salsa is not a dance, it is a way of life. I've been told that I cannot possibly know what it is all about because I'm not Cuban or Colombian or Latin American and I haven't been dancing salsa all my life.

"It is offensive to suggest I cannot dance salsa or Latin American because I am not Latin American. Would anyone suggest Baryshnikov could not dance Don Quixote? It is ridiculous. In London there are salsa teachers whose only qualification is that they are South American. Some classes are dreadful." Harris, a leading choreographer in film and theatre, is consulting his solicitor over accusations made against him. In a letter to the monthly dance paper Dance Express, but never published, salsa promoter Rachel Anstis accused him of being "a ballroom dancer trying to take over the salsa world". Anstis, of The Hot Hole in Leeds, said: "Salsa can only be demonstrated properly by Latins." This week Anstis added: "It is not a question of colour. Some English people are excellent teachers but anyone who learns salsa from an English person alone is missing out. Latin Americans have this fiery nature which comes through in their dancing."

One of the most successful London teachers, Ramiro Zapata, 29, from Bolivia, says: "What the UKA is doing is wrong. Salsa is passed from father to son, from generation to generation. It is not something you can find in a book."

But Ansell Chezan, another UKA salsa committee member, defended the move. "We are trying to get good quality teaching. Anyone can learn a few steps and set themselves up as a salsa teacher.

"The Latinos might be frightened they will be failed if they are assessed. They think we are trying to take over the salsa scene overnight."

Another insider says: "An English dance association saying it is going to regulate salsa has provoked a serious backlash. People believe salsa started with the Cubans but now belongs to everyone. They admit there is poor quality of teaching, but are not happy about being associated with what many regard as a ballroom dancing association. They want salsa to remain a free dance with no rules. The last thing any of us want to see is a split in the salsa scene."

Salsa started in Cuba but when Castro came to power many Cubans fled to America, taking their music with them. The Puerto Ricans in New York fell in love with the new rhythms and, mixing them with jazz, came up with a new style which became known as salsa. From there it went to Colombia where it took off.

Lisa Stubbs, editor of Salsa World says: "It is huge in Israel, Europe and Japan. Here it is mainly the chardonnay set - salsa dancers are over 25 and largely single. It is a hard, exciting sound which gets the feet going."

Cuba's Nelson Batista, one of the founding fathers of British salsa, has been teaching here for a decade. He is on the UKA committee. "White men can dance," he says in Salsa World. "In my years of teaching I have learned that rhythm is colourless. It exists in the mind not the body, and white guys can learn to move as powerfully as anyone."

02-01-2001, 12:04 AM
Bob B
Lol, Us "white" guys have been under attack from insecure sources since we whipped everyone in the world in combat.But it wasnt us, it was our love of science .Here are some less than scientific observations to counter some of the random put downs.
We can fight , we can dance, and we certainly hold our own in the bedroom.The secret- WE make it a science and its done us right up till now.
With that in mind ,-exactly what RACE is "Latin"?? -Scientifically speaking-
Latin peoples are a mix of Caucasians(whites), Negroids(blacks) and native Indians(Asians) in the Americas of varying degrees. Some are totally caucasian some almost totally negroid, and some totally indian.Some have mixes of 2 or 3 groups. A far better article to read than this would be US News and world report Current issue which deals with the breakthrough on DNA, and its ability to track your ancestors, relatives etc..
Some dispelled myths in that article will turm more than one head. The basic conclusion is that there is common ancestry among us all.DNA markers dont lie. And if you still dont believe me? Watch Ten Dance Champion Gary McDonalds breakdance intro at least years worlds. Id like to see his counterpart do a cha cha to match.I don think so. ...Its all about science-
06-11-2001, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by Tancerka:
Having recently attented a workshop on salsa, I was informed that there is no such thing as salsa. Salsa is mambo, with a few variations. This might make your search easier. Good luck.

There is such thing as Salsa. Come on down to Puerto Rico where there are many, many people who dance to this fabulous rythm. Here everyone who is anyone learns to dance salsa withou taking clases. Everyone dances salsa, Puertoricans are born with it.

There are so many competitors who just learned by themselves and in the dance clubs. Ask any of us native puertoricans, they'll teach for free.