All of you must have been wooed by the steps of Salsa; yes the dance form with ample of curves and twists. Actually Salsa is a dance form originated in Latin America, and besides it, there are many dancing styles, like Carimbo, Conga, Cueca, Cumbia, Joropo, Lambada, Macarena, Mambo, Merengue, and Rueada, which share the same origin. Today these dance forms are popular worldwide, have truly gained international recognition. As regards history of Latin dance, most of these dance styles have evolved out of fusion of the European and the Negro slave dance forms.
Dance has always been an important part in all cultures. In earlier times, the Negro slaves used to dance at nights, however, it was regarded sinful by the Europeans, and at times, the authorities also tried to repress their fame. Undoubtedly, their dance had an impact over people. In 1569, the Viceroy of Mexico ordered to bury the Aztec Calendar Stone since the Negroes loved to dance around that stone. Later, the dance was made restricted to Sundays and feast days, and thereafter, only to afternoons.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, a gradual synthesis of the three cultures happened to create a new culture-Creole. When the European dances were introduced to Latin America, they were made ‘creolized’. The Contra dance, in Cuba, transformed into the Contradanza Habanera due to the influence. Eventually, as the dance evolved, the name got shortened to ‘Danzon’. Music and costumes has definitely got evolved, and complex syncopated rhythms now characterize all the Latin-American dances.
Dates back to the 16th century, the Samba has its origins near the January River (Rio de Janeiro) on the east coast of South America. The Portuguese came on the river’s shore and got settled. Gradually slaves were brought from South-West Africa to work in the plantations of Bahia, Brazil. For the followers of Afro-Brazilian religion, Samba suggested prayer to the God. The African rhythms, along with Latin Music, arrived from the Yoruba, Congo and other West African parts at the New World. These rhythms were used to invoke different gods in the slaves’ homeland. Influenced greatly by Brazilian music, these rhythms provided Samba a unique genus of music.
The dance form of Rumba has its roots in two dance styles, the Spanish and the African. Though the main growth occurred in Cuba, some similar dance developments happened in other Caribbean islands and in Latin America. Earlier the music was played with a staccato beat by instruments, including the maracas, the claves, the marimboa, the guiro, the cencerro, and the bongo. This dance form is usually slow, and comprises romantic, flirtatious overtones. Characterized by knee bends and hip circles, the Rumba appears to have the Latin aura amidst expressive arm styling.
Cha Cha traces its origins in the religious ritual dances of Cuba and West Africa. Amongst the three forms of Mambo (single, double, and triple), the triple version evolved into the Cha Cha. At times, it is depicted as a Mambo danced with extra beats. In fact, Cha Cha, the name, has been derived from onomatopoeically sound produced by feet movements. Just because of the musical beat differences, some people identify the dance style as ‘Cha Cha Cha’ instead of Cha Cha.
The origin of Salsa often appears as a question, like who invented Salsa - Cubans or Puerto Ricans. Actually Salsa took birth with the encounter of Cuban and Puerto Rican music at Big Band Jazz in Latin Barrios of New York. The literal meaning of term ‘salsa’ is ‘sauce’. In Latin America, Salsa originated from a cry of appreciation for a selective ‘piquant’. In the mid-1970’s, it was first used when some Latin musicians revamped the classic Cuban band to illustrate a style of music. They worked to make something better and proper for their modern, multicultural lifestyles. Slaves used to dance Salsa through streets in the catholic holy days, and such ceremony was known as ‘Santeria’.