What you need to know to join our Salsa classes.
Instead of just one style of Salsa, we teach the “Toronto Style”. This means: as you’ll learn basics, at first, you’ll get to know most common elements off two styles of Salsa: LA Salsa (Linear Salsa) and Puertorican Salsa (Circular Salsa). Then, as you progress to higher levels, there will be elements of Salsa Cubana and Salsa Cali added to the mix. The Toronto Salsa is danced on 1 and 3.
Calendar - Our Salsa Classes
Salsa Lev 1 – Novice
Friday 7:15 – 8:25 pm
Salsa Lev 2 – Beginner
Friday 7:15 – 8:25 pm
Salsa Lev 3 – Improver
Friday 8:30 – 10 pm
Providing your dancing is of a compatible level, you can join a group at any time.
Witch level of our Dance Classes would fit your experience?
What do our levels mean: if you are not certain which level of dance classes you should attend, you’ll find an explanation of different levels HERE
Joining: Before showing up for the first time be sure to contact us.
We wouldn’t want you traveling all the way down for nothing just in case there is an unscheduled cancellation.
Novice: If you are interested in getting started please let us know by contacting us so we can put you on a list.
All other classes: providing your level of dancing is compatible with the level of a class you are interested in, you can join at any time. Please note: if you would like to attend without a partner there might be a delay in getting you enrolled: we are trying to have an equal number of women and men in each class and typically there is a shortage of man.
For prices please click on the “Cost / Payment Options” link in the main menu or click HERE
Origins of Salsa.
Salsa is not just one dance. It’s more like a family of dances, all rooted in Latin American and in particularly Cuban culture. It originated in the 30’s 40’s and 50’s of the previous century from a cultural mix of traditional Cuban Son music, Rumba Wawanco, more modern Mambo, and finally a folk routed social dance from Columbia, Chile, Mexico and other South and Central America countries – the Cumbia.
As Latin dancing and Latin Music became ever more popular around the world, Salsa grew organically and matured in many placed at the same time. It went through its hey days at the end of the 80s and the beginning of 90’s of the previous century, with its most dynamic growth strengthened greatly by popularity of Hollywood movies like “Dirty Dancing” “Salsa”, or “Dance with me”.
Different styles of Salsa.
There are several styles of Salsa danced around the world. Differences lie both in geometry of patterns, as well as in timing of the dance itself. Here’s a short overview:
The Geometry: Linear vs Circular
The patterns of linear Salsa are distributed along a straight line. Primary form of movement is that of a woman passing from one side of a roughly 2-3 meters line on the floor to the other, “switching places” with her partner while he spins her in either direction both during the passes as well as at the end of the passing moves. The orientation of the “line” on the floor stays usually the same throughout the entire dance.
LA Salsa on 1 and on 2, New York Salsa on 2, as well as Mambo would fall into that category
As dancers of any Circular Salsa alternately spin into passing each other, the patterns are distributed around in a circle, as couple rotates on the dance floor. In this style of movement dancers do not pay as much attention to alignment with respect to the floor, as much as to the alignment of one person with respect to the other.
Salsa Cubana, Puerto Rico Salsa, Salsa Cali and Cumbia would all fall into this style of movement.
Timing: Salsa on 1, 2 and 3.
There are several ways to accent the dance moves with respect to the music.
The “Break”, or as it’s sometimes called “the Rock Step” – the strongest and the most dynamic part of the pattern – might be danced to either bit 1,2, or 3 of the typical Salsa 4/4 time measure. Deciding to confine the strongest move to either of those 3 options means that the different styles of Salsa – even if using similar patterns – will flow differently and produce distinctly different visual affect.
How to Learn?
All of the above means that at a Latin American night club you could easily observe 6 couples all dancing in 6 distinctly different ways to the same tune, and all 6 couples would be dancing Salsa.
So if one posed a question: How should I go about starting to learn how to dance Salsa? The answer will be different depending on who is the instructor.
Most likely most instructors will immediately starts to teach you the one style that they are feeling most comfortable with or the one that is their personal preference. However if you choose to go to a Latin nightclub to dance with other people, you might encounter five other different ways of interpreting the same music. So the only sensible way to learn, would be to try to find a common thread between all different styles. This way you learn basics that are applicable to all styles and at some point in time will allow you to branch to either of the more specialized versions.
In some ways that is exactly what Toronto Salsa is all about. Whereas in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Puerto Rico or even Havana itself, there is usually one regionally dominant and most popular style of dancing Salsa, since Toronto is a very Multicultural City and it became a melting point of many cultures, in Toronto you will find people dancing all styles. In a place like Toronto a natural thing would be for dancers to – sooner or later – take moves from different styles and to intertwine them. That made Toronto Salsa scene very different from any other place in the world, and by extension defines a separate style of Salsa: the TO Salsa.
In Toronto Salsa you do not “stick to” only one geometry, but smoothly go from linear to circular and back. Toronto Salsa also smoothly switches from dancing on 1 to dancing on 3 as you execute moves from Linear La Salsa on 1, Salsa Cali, Puertorican style and Salsa Cubana.