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Salsa dancing originated in New York in the mid-1970s. It evolved from earlier dance forms such as Cha cha cha and Mambo which were popular in New York, and incorporated elements of Swing dancing and Hustle, as well as elements of Guaguanco and Pachanga.
In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer changes 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 America form, the forward/backward motion of salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact.
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