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.
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."
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.