If Son is the mother and Rumba is the father, then Salsa is the daughter. Salsa is a style of music and dance that fuses elements of Son, with folkloric Cuban and other popular dance/music styles, such as Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, jazz and more recently Timba. The term Salsa was born in the 1960’s as both a generic term to describe the mix of all Cuban music, and because audiences would call out “salsa” to bands and musicians to “spice up” the music.
The music composition of Cuban music in the late 19th century varied according to geographical location. In the East, music was based on a rhythmic progression of simple chords accompanying the improvised words that obeyed the clave. Music in the West, had more of an European influence with the instruments used being similar to those found in French orchestras. The preservation of the orchestral structure, instruments and specialized musicians would later make jazz’s appearance and entrance into Cuban music much easier. When Cuba became an independent colony, all of these geographical differences gradually merged and evolved.
Salsa dancing can either be done as a partner dance, a solo dance, or as a group if dancing Rueda. The dance features a repetitive eight-beat pattern (two bars of four beats). The basic salsa step uses three steps during the first three beats with the fourth beat being skipped. When dancing socially the missing fourth beat is used for doing extra steps for styling purposes.
Cuban Salsa is danced with the knees always bent, a slight forward inclination of the torso, and the torso moving side to side in synch with the feet. The dance patterns feature a circular momentum unlike other styles of salsa such as LA Salsa, which is dance more linearly
Salsa in its diverse variations is the most popular style of dance in the Sydney latin dance scene.