We're becoming more and more excited as the days near the opening of our first Beginner Salsa classes in North Sydney! Classes have almost reaches capacity as North Sydney get's in line to have a taste of the rich flavours of Salsa! (not the dip, the dance!)
Given that our new location will be made of first timers, we thought it appropriate to give you a bit of a background on what and where the word 'Salsa' came from!
Salsa is the commonly used name for the form of music formerly known simply as "Latin music". The Spanish word "salsa" means "sauce", and refers to the hot sauce commonly used in various Latin American diets.
In the late 1960s and early 70s, this latin dance term was coined in the New York city for the purpose of marketing what was already recognised as Afro-Cuban-based music, much of it interpreted over the decades by Puerto Rican and other Latin as well as North American musicians.
Over the years there has existed a controversy surrounding the use of the word salsa to refer the music, which in its primary structure, is essentially the Cuban son form. While many countries have contributed to the development of salsa, including Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela and of course
New York City (Jazz and North American styles of music have had a great influence on Cuban music and vice versa), it is Cuba which serves as salsa's foundation.
Although the national dances of Puerto Rico are the bomba and the plena, it is hard to miss the slogans of "Puerto Rico the home of salsa" everywhere you go on this island. Musicians such as Tito Puente a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent and Celia Cruz, born in Cuba, played a huge role in popularising this music. The two of them were often referred to as the king and queen of salsa. Thus although the origins of salsa can be traced back to Cuba its current form owes much to Puerto Rican and other influences.
A major factor in salsa's development stems from its deep connection to numerous drumming styles, most prominently in Cuba, where enslaved African peoples (predominantly from the western coastal regions of Africa) were able to maintain their sacred and secular drumming traditions. African instruments were not brought with the slave trade. Rather Africans re-created their instruments with the available material on the islands, making several adaptations along the way.
And there you have it! Now when someone asks about Salsa, you can ask them if they mean the dip or the dance?!