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by Harold & Meredith Sears

4 beats/measure; 40-55 meas/min

Salsa evolved out of the mambo and other Afro-Carribean rhythms of the 1950s and 60s, such as rumba, cha, merengue, and more specialized rhythms like cumbia, guaracha, and Cuban Són and by the late 1980s and '90s was popular in the United States. Salsa is sometimes refered to as "son of mambo," but it is a little faster, a little softer and less crisp -- more flowing; it is more side-to-side and has lots of turns and spins. Being a fast rhythm, and the steps are small. Salsa has been called "mambo with spatial restrictions."

Dance with soft knees. Figures are timed with a quick, quick, slow, as in mambo and rumba, but the action is more like a quick, quick, quick, hold. During the hold, the dancer should introduce a little foot action or flourish. In Puerto Rico, a flick is commonly used. In Cuba, a tap, stamp, or scuff is more typical. You won't have time for any sort of a real kick. The flourish is a soft extension of the foot. Keep the upper body still while the hips and feet move -- "quiet top, busy hips." Salsa is that hot dip for your chips, and the dance is hot, spicy, and passionate.

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