Dance Styles

Latin dancing covers a broad range of dance styles with origins predominately from Latin America. Their popularity has meant that they have continued to evolve and adapt absorbing changes in trends and responding to the ideas of the day. Most are characterised by sensual body movements, a certain flair, and a strong rhythmic expression with each style derived from the music that it is danced to. Most are danced in couples, typically by a man and a woman, sometimes using tight closed positions or open positions with only a hand connection and even incorporating solo elements.

We focus on the social Latin dance styles, which are also sometimes referred to as the street or club styles. With no fixed choreography each dance works on a lead and follow system where the follower (traditionally the woman) is led into moves by following signals given by the lead (traditionally the man). The freedom of these styles means that the dancers are able to combine elements or moves to create a dance that is individual to themselves and interprets their mood and the feel of the music.

All the Latin dance styles are great fun to dance and can be highly addictive. They are a great way to keep active, meet new people and also for couples to enjoy together.

Salsa is the most popular couples style dance in the world and a staple of any Latin social night. It arose through the musical evolution and mixing of various Latin rhythums, most of which originated in the Caribbean and Cuba. By absorbing influences from many different Latin-American and Western dance styles it has become a trully world dance with many different flavours or regional variations (e.g. On 1, On 2, Cuban, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Cali).

In essence Salsa is an imporvised partnered dance that consists of a pattern of six steps danced to an eight bar rhythm. It can include many fun and interesting turn patterns, dips and stylised footwork but the basics are easy to master and great fun to dance. It is generally upbeat, sexy, cheeky, playful and rhythmic but its true character is in that it can be whatever the dancers wish it to be.

An example of Cuban Style Salsa dancing.

An example of LA Style Salsa dancing.

The Music

There is a very diverse range of music available to be enjoyed with the options sometimes over whelming for those new to a particular style. A great little Documentary was made by Fania records detailing how salsa music became the phenonomon that it is.

Fania Records - Our Latin Thing Music Documentary.

Below is a breif selection of Salsa songs recommended as a starting point on your musical journey with most ideal for beginners due to their strong clear rhythm and slower tempo.

  • Scandalo - Mandali
  • La Lave - Grupo Latin Vibe
  • Havana City - Los Van Van
  • Acid - Ray Barretto
  • el Robo - La-33
  • No Me Acostumbro - Ray Ruiz
  • Thinking Of You [salsa remix] - Lenny Cravitz
  • Por tu Traicion - La Excelencia
  • 50 cent remix - Berna Jam
  • Aquel Lugar - Adolescents Orquestra

Bachata is a very popular couples style dance with it’s origins in the dominican Republic and evolved from a fusion of the local Merengue with the Cuban Bolero. The music is romantic, sentimental and sensual, often with the bittersweet overtones of lost love. The dance consists of a pattern of 3 normal steps followed by either a tap step (often accompanied with a ‘pop’ of the hip) or a syncopation (steps inbetween the beats).

Traditionally danced in a close closed hold the evolution of the style has seen the inclusion of more styalised turn patterns, dips, body movement and footwork shines. With its slow tempo, simple basics and focus on partner connection it’s a great style for beginners and advanced dancers alike.

Performance by International Stars Ataca Jorgie (Jorge Burgos) & La Alemana (Tanja Kensinger) showing Bachata Moderna style.

Performance by International Stars Daniel Sanchez & Desirée Guidonet showing the Bachata Sensual style.

The Music

There is a very diverse range of music available to be enjoyed with the options sometimes over whelming for those new to a particular style. Below is a breif selection of Bachata songs recommended as a starting point on your musical journey with most ideal for beginners due to their strong clear rhythm and slower tempo.

  • Promise - Romeo Santos ft. Usher
  • Te Perdiste Mi Amor - Thalia ft. Prince Royce
  • Un Beso - Aventura
  • Con Los Ojos Cerrados - Domenic Marte
  • Me Sobran Las Palabras - Emocion
  • Te Extrano - Xtreme
  • All of Me (Bachata remix) - John Legend
  • Propuesta Indecente - Romeo Santos
  • No Te Quiero Ver Jamas - Flor De Tabaco
  • Yo Te Amo - Andy Andy
  • Mi Ultima Carta - Prince Royce

Rueda, or wheel of Salsa, is a form of Salsa that is danced in a circle with 2 or more couples that exchange partners and carry out moves synchronized by a caller. By combining complex turns with fun moves and lots of partner changes it makes for a very social and festive dance.

Flash Mob Performance by a group in a Slovensky shopping Mall.

Performance by .

The Calls

Some of the more common moves that may be called are provided in the list below. As Rueda originated in Cuba many of the calls are in Spanish but due to its adoption by the rest of the world many new moves have also been added.

Forward and back basic.
Leader takes a step to the left side on the 1, transfer weight to right foot on 2, bring the left leg back in, transfer weight to the left leg on the 3, bring the right leg back in on the 4.
A back step with a turn of your upper body to a 45 degree angle alternating left and right.
Leader steps forward on right leg and transfers weight to this side on the 1, for the 2 takes one step forward to replace weight on the left. The Follower has the same foot pattern but steps backwards on their left.
Leader does a back forward step on beats 1,2,3. Follower takes a basic backstep on 1, 2, 3. The Follower takes a clockwise spot turn on 5,6,7.
Follower/Leader/Follower Turns.
Leader does a modified cucaracha toward the Follower as he leads Follower to open out who does cumbia steps. Leading is through the right arm in a deeper embrace.
DQN Cross-body lead staying in closed position.
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Join our Mailing List

Find us

Wednesday: Salsa
Christ Church Hall (Anglican Resource Centre)
265 Moorabool St, Geelong

Thursday: Bachata
Geelong West Neighbourhood House
89 Autumn St, Geelong West.

Get in Touch

Copyright © 2022 Geelong Salsa. All Rights Reserved.