The wild exciting music, and the rhythmical body movements make the earthy Mambo irresistible.
Salsa is the Spanish word for "sauce" denoting a spicy or hot flavor. As a dance it can be danced to a variety of different rhythms. Generically salsa music encompasses many Afro-Latin rhythms driven by the clave (two wooden sticks struck together). Today's Salsa is the result of many years of rhythmical evolution due to economical social and political change. Salsa is the national music and dance of Puerto Rico. Many of the Salsa dance patterns are closely related to those of the Mambo.
In 1933 Cuban songwriter Ignacio Piniero wrote the song Echale Salsita (throw on some sauce) after tasting food which lacked the Cuban spices. But it wasn't until 1962 when Jimmy Sabater's tune Salsa y Beme suggested the dancers liven it up or spice it up by adding a little "salsa" (sauce) to their movement when they danced.
Danced to four beats using only three steps, each step being a beat long, the remaining beat is used as a tag to the last step or perhaps an adorning (tap, kick or pause) movement called a highlight. Salsa steps can be traveling or on the spot.
Footwork--Steps can move side to side, forward and back or in circles
Rhythm--Count as Quick, Quick, Slow or 1, 2, 3 (holding taping on beat 4)
Regional Influences--Breaking on count three is acceptable on a regional basis.
Compare/Contrast--Marked similarities with Mambo, Lindy Hop, Swing, Hustle