Salsa's roots are based on different genres such as Puerto Rican rhythms, Cuban son, specifically to the beat of son montuno in the 1920s. However, as it is a popular music, it is open to improvisation and thus it is continuously evolving. New modern salsa styles are associated and named to the original geographic areas that developed them. There are often devotees of each of these styles outside of their home territory. Characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, basic steps, foot patterns, body rolls and movements, turns and figures, attitude, dance influences and the way that partners hold each other. The point in a musical bar music where a slightly larger step is taken (the break step) and the direction the step moves can often be used to identify a style. Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common, for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts. Latin American styles originate from Puerto Rico, Cuba and surrounding Caribbean islands including the Dominican Republic, and then expanding to Venezuela, Colombia, and the rest of Latin America; also heavily influence Miami style which is a fusion of Cuban style and North American version. The styles include casino, Miami style, Cali style and Venezuelan style. North American styles have different characteristics: Los Angeles style breaks on the first beat "On 1" while New York style breaks on the second beat "On 2". Both have different origins and evolutionary path, as the New York Salsa is heavily influenced by jazz instruments in its early growth stage.
Bachata is a style of social dance from the Dominican Republic which is now danced all over the world. It is associated with bachata music. In the West, various dancers are known to copy moves and turn patterns from various couple dances, performing these combinations in the timing used in bachata dancing, thus creating a fusion dance. The authentic dance from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean is a basic dance sequence in a full 8-count moving within a square. Dancers in the Western world much later made up a basic step going from side to side, and also copied dance elements from other couple dances of various origins, Latin and non Latin alike. The basic dance sequence consists of three steps and then a tap step or various forms of step syncopation (such as the "double step"). Dancers in the west accompany the tap with an exaggerated "pop” of the hips. Bachata can be danced on the 1st beat of the musical phrase, with the tap on the 4th beat, but dancing on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th beat is also common. The tap is done on the opposite foot of the last step, while the next step is taken on the same foot as the tap. The dance direction changes after the tap or fourth step.
Kizomba is an evolution of the traditional dances of Angola semba, however, it is evident that kizomba dance as we know it today evolved after the vogue of kizomba music. Since the 1950s, Angolan people used to dance semba. This tradition remained unchanged even when the group Kassav from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe came to perform zouk music in Angola in the 1980s. In the 1990s, when the actual kizomba music got more and more popular, Angolan semba dancers started to adapt their semba steps according to the tempo and flavour of the kizomba/zouk beats. At the beginning of its development, Africans were dancing semba, and other dances at a slower tempo according to the beat of the kizomba music. Technically speaking, semba danced romantically to kizomba music is the basis of the kizomba dance. There is a considerable difference between kizomba "the music" and kizomba "the dance»: Kizomba "the dance from Angola" has no zouk influences. Kizomba "the music" has zouk influences from Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The cha-cha-cha, or simply cha-cha, is the name of a dance of Cuban origin. It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín in 1953. This rhythm was developed from the danzón by a syncopation of the fourth beat. The name is onomatopoeic, derived from the rhythm of the güiro (scraper) and the shuffling of the dancers' feet. The ballroom style of dancing the cha-cha comes from studies made by dance teacher Monsieur Pierre (Pierre Zurcher-Margolle), who partnered Doris Lavelle. Pierre, then from London, visited Cuba in 1952 to find out how and what Cubans were dancing at the time. He noted that this new dance had a split fourth beat, and to dance it one started on the second beat, not the first. He brought this dance idea to England and eventually created what is now known as ballroom cha-cha. Cha-cha may be danced to authentic Cuban music, or to Latin Pop or Latin Rock. The music for the international ballroom cha-cha is energetic and with a steady beat. The Cuban cha-chá is more sensual and may involve complex polyrhythms. Nevertheless, many social dancers count "one, two, cha-cha-cha" and may find it difficult to make the adjustment to the correct timing of the dance, "two, three, cha-cha, one".
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