Like Mambo, only Spicier!

Used by Permission and adapted from the Dance Vision International Dance Association - American Style Rhythm Bronze Manual (MarB04).


Salsa originated from Mambo, which came from the Cuban dance Son, whose influences were African rhythms and Spanish music.  Mambo, created by Cuban musicians in the 1940's, became an instant hit and traveled the globe for the next 20 years.

Salsa has been a fusion of the musical cultures of Cuba, Puerto Rico, African American with Latin rhythms and jazz.  You will find the New York/Puerto Rican versions different from the West Coast styles.  It continues to be a very popular club dance as it evolves, integrating Hip Hop and World music. 

Dance Characteristics:

Salsa is a syncopated, sexy dance characterized by strong Cuban Motion, body isolation, and intricate turning combination's. The dancer can choose to break on 1, 2, or 6.

Musical Information:

Time Signature: 4/4
Tempo:  116 - 188 bpm
Count: 123(4), 123(4)
Beat Value: 1-1-2
Alternative Teaching Count: 123(4),  567(8)
or Quick, Quick, Pause.


Ball flat throughout except:
On back breaks, keep the weight forward by using mostly the ball.  The heel may lightly touch down with very little or no weight.  Keep feet in contact with the floor using slight pressure and keep toes slightly turned out from the hip.

Technical Tips:

Movement should reflect the character of the music --whether staccato and striking or romantic and sensual. Use strong rib action with Cuban Motion.  Create connection with foward poise.  Maintain the same height throughout and avoid tilting shoulders from side-to-side. Use compression and tension from the center of the body. Take small steps.  Use the free arm in a natural relaxed motion to complement the music and body movement.

Some of My Favorite Salsa Songs:

1. "Shhh!" by The Kumbia Kings
2. "Montuno" by Gloria Estefan on Mi Tierra
3. "Meleo De Cana" by Celia Cruz on Mambo Kings

Bronze Syllabus Figures:

Introduction to the Basic Steps:

Forward & Back Basic (or the Progressive Basic)
Closed Basic (for styling only)
Box Basic (or the Side Basic only used as a prep step)
Side Breaks
Back Rock Basic

Syllabus Figures:

Note:  Many figures begin with a Cross Body Lead but they may be danced without this entrance.

1a. Basic with Lady's Right Turn
1b. Basic with Men's Right Turn
    i. Overhead
    ii. Hand Change behind the Back
    iii. Off the Shoulder
2a. Basic with Lady's Broken Left
2b. Basic with Men's Broken Left
   i.  Overhead
   ii.  Hand Change behind the Back
   iii.  Off the Shoulder
   iv.  With Styling (Free Spin with Snake)
3a.  Back Breaks with Lady's Left Turn
3b.  Back Breaks with Men's Left Turn
4.    Cross Body Lead (in closed position)
    i.  Two-Hand Hold 
    ii. Handshake Hold
    iii. Waist Hold 
5.   Cross Body Lead with Lady's Inside Turn (in closed position)
    i. Shoulder Lead
    ii. Waist Hold
6a. Catch the Back/Two Way Underarm Turn
    i. with Right Turn Ending
    ii. with Left Turn Ending
 Catch the Back/Two Way Underarm Turn (with Arm Styling)
7a. Back Spot Turn ("1st Measure")
7b. Back Spot Turn (Open and Closed)
7c. Back Spot Turn (end with Check and Cross Body Lead)
8.  Cross Body Lead - Open Break to Shoulder Turn
9.  She Goes - He Goes - She Goes
10. Back Pass
11. The Spiral
12. Back Roll
13. Drop Hand Catch
14. Cross Body Lead with Lady's Inside Turn to Men's 
       Hook Turn
15. The Social Step Combination

Variations for Social Dancing:

Mambo and Salsa figures are fully interchangeable.