Learn Salsa

Learn Salsa the comprehensive guide to salsa dance Robert Charlemagne

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Learn Salsa

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Robert Charlemagne Started teaching in 1992, combining his knowledge from a professional contemporary, jazz background with a mix of New York, Cuban and L.A. style to create a funky fresh new look to Salsa.

First teachers were Xiomra and Nelson Batista, and many other teachers around the world after. Starting out with a class of five pupils at the University College of London as a paid teacher working one day a week, classes soon grew and word spread’ In 1993, Robert entered the UK Salsa competition and came second two years in a row. He then went on to enter the European Salsa Competition in Copenhagen, representing the UK. This is where he realized there is more to Salsa dancing then just moves, and that the way moves wear executed meant a whole lot more.

Returning to London a complete Salsa junkie, armed with new moves picked up from experienced dancers and dance teachers from all over the world, Robert became a unique Salsa teacher. Robert has traveled to Greece, Hong Kong, Oslo, France, Gambia, Washington, Bangkok, Holland, Italy and Sweden, (to name a few), teaching workshops around the world. 1994 Represented the UK as a judge in the Rome Salsa Dance Competition 1998 & 1999 Represented the UK at the European Salsa Festival in Holland 1999 Represented the UK in the Washington Salsa Festival, and many others. In 1998 became a member of the United Kingdom Alliance ( U.K.A.) Salsa Division.

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Robert is now considered one of the leading Salsa teachers in the UK, and September 1999 won an award for best teacher in the UK

2002 UK Salsa Congress, Top teacher award.
2003 Norwegian Salsa Congress, Life Time Contribution Award.
2009 Sexy Latin Dance Festival Special Teachers Award.
2010 Salsa Central Top UK Salsa teacher award

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Learn Salsa with Robert Charlemagne

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Learning Salsa

Robert Charlemagne with his comprehensive guide to salsa dance on one DVD

Robert has designed this DVD to be the most comprehensive and informative Salsa programme on the market.

It runs for over 70 minutes starting with a beginners section and an improvers section, as well as an intermediate and advanced section with over 50 moves on spin, dips and turn patterns, 13 shines and 3 freestyles. This salsa DVD introduces a new concept in teaching that will enable the student to create their own routines.

This DVD can be used with Robert Charlemagne’s classes and workshops.

This salsa DVD also features Susana Montero

Video Content

  1. Trailer
  2. Introduction
  3. The Basics
  4. Improvers
  5. Shines
  6. Intermediate Turn Patterns
  1. Freestyle
  2. Advanced Turn Patterns
  3. Womens Tips
  4. Mens Tips
  5. Final Freestyle
  6. Credits

Robert is the cream of the crop!

Robert has a contemporary, jazz background with a mix of New York, Cuban and L.A. style to create a funky fresh new look to Salsa.

In 1993, Robert entered the UK Salsa competition and came second two years in a row. He then went on to enter the European Salsa Competition in Copenhagen, representing the UK.
This is where he realized there is more to Salsa dancing then just moves, and that the way moves were executed meant a whole lot more.
Robert developed new moves picked up from experienced dancers and dance teachers from all over the world,
Robert became a unique Salsa teacher. Robert has travelled to Greece, Hong Kong, Oslo, France, Gambia, Washington, Bangkok, Holland, Italy and Sweden, (to name a few), teaching workshops.
In 1994 he represented the UK as a judge in the Rome Salsa Dance Competition 1998 & 1999 Represented the UK at the European Salsa Festival in Holland.
1999 In 1998 became a member of the United Kingdom Alliance ( U.K.A.) Salsa Division. Robert is now considered one of the leading Salsa teachers in the UK,
and September 1999 won an award for best teacher in the UK 2002 UK Salsa Congress, Top teacher award. 2003 Norwegian Salsa Congress, Life Time Contribution Award.
2009 Sexy Latin Dance Festival Special Teachers Award. 2010 Salsa Central Top UK Salsa teacher award
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Specialists in the provision of Latin and Afro dance classes and events.

Welcome to the Dance2Salsa Dance Company website dedicated to exploring the wonderful world of Salsa, Kizomba, Cha Cha Cha, Bachata and other Latin and Afro related dances in the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey areas and in particular Salsa and Kizomba in Maidenhead, Tilehurst, Reading, Bracknell and surrounding areas. Salsa and Kizomba provide a fantastic, fun, social evening out, and a great opportunity to make new friends.

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Email info@salsacalientita.co.uk or Call 01753 535009 or 07973 390

Salsa music” and “Salsa Dance” are very, very much connected. The main purpose of the music is to dance to, but yet they both have their distinct own story in history

The origins of salsa

Existing on-going discussion on the exact origin of salsa. Many people believe that it originates from the Cubana. Because of the social and political pressures and restraints enforced in Cuba and Puerto Rico in the 30’s, many people emigrated or fled into the cities of the U.S.A including New York. These emigrants from the Caribbean blended several music styles together

Salsa styles

There are many characteristics that may identify a salsa style.

These salsa styles are made up out of different step patterns, different timing of steps, particular movement on the dance floor for example: slot, circular, dancer preference of turns and moves, attitude, dress code, and others.

Taking a dance course is not only good for you to stay in shape, it also gives you an opportunity to have an amazing cultural experience.

Salsa gained incredible success worldwide especially in the recent years among both men and women. It is hard to pinpoint what exactly contributed to this trend, but there are some interesting facts about Salsa that may have influenced its popularity.

History

French people from Haiti originally brought a dance called Danzon to Cuba, where salsa is mainly considered to have originated. This dancing technique was soon combined with African and other Caribbean dances, such as rumbas. It also combined with the dance called the Son, which came from Cuba. The Son has its roots in African drum patterns, as well as Spanish dancing, and lent these flavors to salsa. In the 1930s, salsa found its way to Mexico and New York, where it became popular and the actual term for it was coined.

Steps

Although it may seem simple, salsa dancing is actually quite complicated. In the very simplest sense, salsa consists of dancing six different steps over music with eight counts. Depending on the sound of the music, the particular styleof the dancers, and the actual salsa style being danced, different beats in the music are accented. For example, accenting the first beat is commonly called dancing on one.

Motion

Salsa is very similar to other Latin dances, including the Mambo, as the two dances are made up of the same number of counts and steps. However, dances such as the Mambo tend to have a feel of moving back and forth. Salsa has more of a side-to-side movement. The motion of salsa dancing is often quick, and should look very smooth.

Turns

Salsa can be danced simply, but is also enjoyable to do or watch when more complicated steps are involved. Salsa style dancing often incorporates many different turns. These turns often help distinguish salsa from other types of Latin dancing. However, not all styles of salsa incorporate these particular moves.

Different Styles

There are actually many different types of salsa dancing. Each style developed in a different area with its own particular style. There are a few salsa styles that are widely recognized, such as the Linear styles, which include Los Angeles and New York style, Puerto Rican style, Miami style, Cuban style, Rueda style and Casino style. Cuban style is considered to be the most traditional salsa dance style. Each style incorporates slightly different steps and tricks, such as various turns, as well as different timing and accents.

The dance Salsa is a popular form of social dance originating in Eastern Cuba. The Salsa we hear now is said to be born in New York to a mixture of Afro Cuban folk dances with Jazz. Evidence shows that the “Salsa” sound was already developed in Cuba before being brought up to New York. The movements of Salsa are a combination of the Afro-Cuban dances Soncha-cha-chaMamboRumba, and the Danzón. The dance, along with salsa music, saw major development in the mid-1970s in New YorkDifferent regions of Latin America and the United States have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Cali Colombia, L.A. and New York styles. Salsa dance socials are commonly held in night clubs, bars, ballrooms, restaurants, and outside, especially when part of an outdoor festival.

In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer shifts their weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. Salsa generally uses music ranging from about 150 bpm (beats per minute) to around 250 bpm, although most dancing is done to music somewhere between 160–220 bpm. The basic Salsa dance rhythm consists of taking three steps for every four beats of music. The odd number of steps creates the syncopation inherent to Salsa dancing and ensures that it takes 8 beats of music to loop back to a new sequence of steps.

Fania Allstars record label in the 1960s gave the name “Salsa” to a blend of different influences, rhythms and styles of Latin music in New York City, especially in el Barrio, Spanish Harlem, and the Bronx. Salsa means sauce which represented son, guaguanco, son montuno, Jazz elements, Latin Jazz, Cuban influences. Prior to that time, each style was recognized in its pure original form and name. It evolved from forms such as Son, Son Montuno, cha cha cha, and Mambo which were popular in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Latino communities in New York since the 1940s. Salsa, like most music genres and dance styles, has gone through a lot of variation through the years and incorporated elements of other Afro-Caribbean dances such as Pachanga. Different regions of Latin America and the United States have distinct salsa styles of their own, such as Cuban, Puerto Rican, Cali Colombia.

There is some controversy surrounding the origins of the word “salsa,” which has been ascribed to the dance since the mid-1800s. Some claim that it was based on a cry shouted by musicians while they were playing their music. Others believe that the term was created by record labels to better market their music, who chose the word “salsa” because of its spicy and hot connotations. Still, others believe the term came about because salsa dancing and music is a mixture of different styles, just like salsa or “sauce” in Latin American countries is a mixture of different ingredients.

In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer shifts their weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. The Cuban Casino style of salsa dancing involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage.

The arms are used by the “lead” dancer to communicate or signal the “follower,” either in “open” or “closed” position. The open position requires the two dancers to hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other, to name a few examples. In the closed position, the leader puts the right hand on the follower’s back, while the follower puts the left hand on the leader’s shoulder.

In the original Latin American form, the forward/backward motion of salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact.

In some styles of salsa, such as the New York style, the dancers remain mostly in front of one another (switching places), while in Latin American styles, such as Cuban style, the dancers circle around each other, sometimes in 3 points. This circular style is inspired by Cuban Son, specifically to the beat of son montuno in the 1920s. However, as it is a popular music, it is open to improvisation and thus it is continuously evolving. Modern salsa styles are associated and named to the original geographic areas that developed them. There are often devotees of each of these styles outside their home territory. Characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, basic steps, foot patterns, body movement, turns and figures, attitude, dance influences and the way that partners hold each other. The point in a musical bar music where a slightly larger step is taken (the break step) and the direction the step moves can often be used to identify a style.

Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts.

Latin American styles originate from Puerto RicoCuba and surrounding Caribbean islands.

Many Salsa dance socials are commonly held in night clubs, bars, ballrooms, restaurants, and outside, especially if part of an outdoor festival. Salsa dancing is an international dance that can be found in most metropolitan cities in the world.[5] Festivals are held annually, often called a Salsa Congress, in various host cities aimed to attract variety of salsa dancers from other cities and countries. The events bring dancers together to share their passion for the dance, build community, and to share moves and tips with each other. These events usually include salsa dance performers, live salsa music, workshops, open dancing, and contests.

Salsa’s roots are based on different Cuban genres such as Cuban Son, specifically to the beat of Son Montuno in the 1920s. However, as it is a popular music, it is open to improvisation and thus it is continuously evolving. New modern salsa styles are associated and named to the original geographic areas that developed them. There are often devotees of each of these styles outside their home territory. Characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, basic steps, foot patterns, body rolls and movements, turns and figures, attitude, dance influences and the way that partners hold each other. The point in a musical bar music where a slightly larger step is taken (the break step) and the direction the step moves can often be used to identify a style.

Afro-Latino style

The afro-Latino style is a very popular kind of salsa in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. It pretty much involves the same dancing as most versions of the salsa but has a little bit of twist added to it. The thing that separates it and gives it its own identity is that some of the songs tie in an African language and certain African instruments that gives the songs different rhythms.

Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common, for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts.

Latin American styles originate from Puerto RicoCuba and surrounding Caribbean islands including the Dominican Republic, and then expanding to VenezuelaColombia, and the rest of Latin America; Also, there exists the “Miami” style, which is a fusion of some Cuban style elements with elements of various North American dances from the USA.

Colombian / Cali style

Cali-Style Salsa, also known as Colombian Salsa and Salsa Caleña, is based on geographical location of the Colombian City of Cali. Cali is also known as the “Capital de la Salsa” (Salsa’s Capital); due to salsa music being the main genre in parties, nightclubs and festivals in the 21st century.

The elements of Cali-Style Salsa were strongly influenced by dances to Caribbean rhythms which preceded salsa, such as Pachanga and Boogaloo. Cali has the most salsa schools and salsa teams in the world. Many of the competitions are held in Colombia.

The central feature is the footwork which has quick rapid steps and skipping motions. Colombian style does not execute Cross-body Leads or the “Dile Que No” as seen in other styles, but rather step in place and displace in closed position. Their footwork is intricate and precise, helping several Colombian Style dancers win major world championships. Cali hosts many annual salsa events such as the World Salsa Cali Festival and the Encuentro de Melomanos y Coleccionistas.

Cuban style / Casino

In Cuba, a popular dance known as Casino was marketed as Cuban-style salsa or Salsa Cubana abroad to distinguish it from other salsa styles when the name was popularized in the 1970s. Casino is popular in many places around the world, including in Europe, Latin America, North America, and even in some countries in the Middle East such as Israel. Dancing Casino is an expression of popular social culture; Cubans consider casino as part of social and cultural activities centering on their popular music. The name Casino is derived from the Spanish term for the dance halls, “Casinos Deportivos” where a lot of social dancing was done among the better-off, white Cubans during the mid-20th century and onward.

Historically, Casino traces its origin as a partner dance from Cuban Son, Cha Cha Cha, Danzón and Guaracha. Traditionally, Casino is danced “a contratiempo”. This means that, distinct from subsequent forms of salsa, no step is taken on the first and fifth beats in each clave pattern and the fourth and eighth beat are emphasised. In this way, rather than following a beat, the dancers themselves contribute in their movement, to the polyrythmic pattern of the music. At the same time, it is often danced “a tiempo”, although both “on3” (originally) and “on1” (nowadays).

What gives the dance its life, however, is not its mechanical technique, but understanding and spontaneous use of the rich Afro-Cuban dance vocabulary within a “Casino” dance. In the same way that a “sonero” (lead singer in Son and salsa bands) will “quote” other, older songs in their own, a “casino” dancer will frequently improvise references to other dances, integrating movements, gestures and extended passages from the folkloric and popular heritage. This is particularly true of African descended Cubans. Such improvisations might include extracts of rumba, dances for African deities, the older popular dances such as Cha Cha Chá and Danzon as well as anything the dancer may feel.

Miami-style Casino

Developed by Cuban immigrants to Florida and centered on Miami, this dance style is a fusion of some elements from Casino with lots of elements from American culture and dances. The major difference of Miami-style from other North American styles is the “Atras” or “Diagonal”, back breaking steps performed backwards diagonally instead of moving forwards and backwards as seen in the New York style. Dancers do not shift their body weight greatly as seen in other styles. Instead, dancers keep their upper body still, poised and relaxed while the feet execute endless intricacies. The dancer breaks mostly On1.

A major difference of Cali Style and Miami-style is that the latter is exclusively danced on the downbeat (On1) and has elements of shines and show-style added to it, following repertoires of North American Styles. Miami-style has many adherents, particularly Cuban-Americans and other Latinos based in South Florida

Rueda de Casino

In the 1950s Salsa Rueda or more accurately Rueda de Casino was developed in HavanaCuba. Pairs of dancers form a circle (“Rueda” in Spanish means “Wheel”), with dance moves called out by one person. Many of the moves involve rapidly swapping partners.

“Rueda de Cuba” is original type of Rueda, originating from Cuba. It is not as formal as Rueda de Miami and consists of about 30 calls. It was codified in the 1970s.

“Rueda de Miami” originated in the 1980s from Miami, is a formal style with many rules based on a mix, and is a hybridization of Rueda de Cuba & North American dance styles, with some routines reflecting American culture (e.g. Coca-Cola, Dedo, Adios) which is not found in the traditional Cuban-style Rueda.

Los Angeles style

Basic step for LA style, with leader’s steps in blue

Salsa show dancing

The Los Angeles Salsa Style (LA style) is danced strictly on 1, in a slot \ line, using elements of various North American and stage dances. This helps prevent dancers from hitting other couples on a crowded dance floor. It is strongly influenced by the Latin HustleSwingArgentine Tango, Mambo dancers from Mexico and Latin Ballroom dancing styles. LA style places strong emphasis on sensuousness, theatricality and acrobatics. The lifts, stunts and aerial works of today’s salsa shows are derived mostly from LA style forms with origins in Latin Ballroom and Ballet lifts.

The two essential elements of this dance are the forward–backward basic step and the cross-body lead. In this pattern, the leader steps forward on 1, steps to the right on 2-3 while turning 90 degrees counter-clockwise (facing to the left), leaving the slot open. The follower then steps straight forward on 5-6 and turns on 7-8, while the leader makes another 90 degrees counter-clockwise and slightly forward, coming back into the slot. In total, the couple turned 180° while the follower moved a distance (about 2meters).

Rogelio Moreno, Francisco and Luis Vazquez are credited for the early development and growth of LA Style as well as Albert Torres, Laura Canellias and Joe Cassiniare. Later dancers such as Alex Da Silva, Edie Lewis, Joby Martinez and Johnny Vazquez are often credited with developing the LA style of dancing as we know it today.

New York style

New York style is danced in an ellipse or a “flat figure 8” on the floor, with the partners facing each other most of the time. Unlike other styles of salsa, New York style is danced on the second beat of the music (“on 2”), and the follower, not the leader, steps forward on the first measure of the music. The etiquette of New York Style is strict about remaining in the close dance space, and avoiding dancing in a sandbox area with a lot of spins, turns and styling. There is greater emphasis on performing “shines” in which dancers separate themselves and dance solo with intricate footwork and styling for a time—a phenomenon that likely has origins from Swing and New York Tap.

Though he did not create New York style salsa, Eddie Torres is credited with popularizing it, and for having the follower step forward on the first beat of the first measure, followed by another step forward on the second beat to change direction (the “break step”).

There are two distinct developments of New York salsa as a music and dance genre:

  1. Primary evolution from Mambo era was introduced to New York due to influx of migrating dissidents from all the Caribbean and other Latin migrants during Pre/Post Cuban Revolution in the 1950s and 1960s. This era is known as the “Palladium Era”. At this time, the music and dance was called “Mambo”—connoting the general term without being specific. The most famous dancer during this era was Puerto-Rican descendant Pedro “Cuban Pete” Aguilar,[8] also known “The King of Latin Beat”.
  2. Secondary evolution during the late 1970s, Latin Puerto Rican migrants, contributed a lot to the New York salsa development during the “NuYorican” era of Héctor Lavoe which greatly popularized salsa and modern Latin music throughout the world. Puerto Rican salsa superstars were the most important musicians during the era, such as Ray Baretto (“The Godfather”) and many others. There are also salsa artists that transcend both periods, notably the legendary Puerto Rican Tito Puente (“The Mambo King”).

These two developments create a fusion of a new salsa music and dance genre, different from its Latin American and Caribbean counterparts.

New York style salsa emphasizes harmony with the percussive instruments in salsa music, such as the congas, timbales, and clave, since many or all of those instruments often mark the second beat in the music

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