Salsa > LA style salsa-- what is it?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by pygmalion, Oct 25, 2003.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Stupid question. I hope it hasn't been covered in another thread. If it has, I can't tell from the titles. What is the difference between LA style salsa and other styles? I'm taking classes in LA style, and it's all good. I'm just curious how you could tell LA style from others by looking at it.
  2. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    High energy and typically filled with tricks, flips, and dips. It's very, VERY showy and if you hit Steven's Steakhouse or Sagebrush Cantina you'll quickly see what I mean by high energy!! Many L.A. style moves aren't slot moves, where as in NY style dancing in the slot is king
  3. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    LA Style

    Other differences are:
    1. Not alot of focus on complicated arm movements normally associated with the basic Cuban style.
    2. Turn patterns are normally "in-line", as opposed to "circular" in the Cuban style.
    3. Timing is more relaxed. On1 timing.
  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Speed is king :!:
  5. Danish Guy

    Danish Guy New Member

    As I understand, there's no X-body moves in LA style.
  6. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Heya Danish Guy, I'm not sure where you got this idea... I see a ton of x-body work in LA and from LA dancers... :?
  7. Salsero_AT

    Salsero_AT New Member

    yes, the x-body is one of the basic moves in LA style from which many other moves derive.
  8. Danish Guy

    Danish Guy New Member

    Cool, I love X-bodies.

    I think I might have mixed it up with Columbian style. :oops:

    Guess it’s time for me with some video presentations of the styles. :?
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    That's too funny you should say that. At the Jesus Morales workshops yesterday, we spent most of the time dancing to the slowest cha cha I've ever heard. :lol: We didn't progress to actual salsa music until about halfway through the last class.

    A digression, I admit. I assume by speed, you probably mean something more like speed of turns, speed of moves, silence and speed. Not just tempo of music. Right?
  10. brujo

    brujo New Member

    We had Al and Edie Espinoza up here for the congress. They were advocating what they called Millenium Style salsa, from what I understood, it incorporated many movements from Hip-Hop and eliminated the back step. Basically, instead of the back and forth motion, you exagerate a lot of moves to create the illusion of a complex move. It is a lot more playful than typical salsa, almost stepping on lindy hop territory. A lot of hijacking involved. Really cool stuff.
  11. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Millenium style is Al and Edie's creation. My good friend is one of their students. It's definitely fun to watch, but it really doesn't fit my personal style.

    Yeah EVERYTHING is done with speed! I've found that many times when people are describing a workshop as L.A. style they really just mean it's on1.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Here are some history and descriptions I found at Anybody agree? Disagree? BTW, it looks like this person must be from Miami. I guess she/he figured that their style needed no explanation. :lol:

    The U.S. West Coast scene:In New York, Puerto Ricans are credited with the tremendous popularity of salsa. In Miami, the Cubans take the clear credit. The West Coast is traditionally credited with its “Tejano” style of Latin music, where the majority of Latin cultures and people originate from the many countries of Mexico, Central and South America.

    The “Tejano” style music is very popular among Hispanic people in California. However, this style music never had the all-American broad appeal like salsa does.

    It wasn’t until the 1990’s that West Coast salsa truly became a craze. This was largely as a result of the famous award winning documentary Buena Vista Social Club, featuring the roots of Cuban music, which, in turn, represents the roots of salsa. Today’s West Coast salsa crowd is strongly represented by people of all backgrounds, nationalities, origins, ages, and professions. Attend a live California salsa event, and one may see doctors, lawyers, business people, clerks, college students, the trendy & hip, housewives, the Hollywood crowd… the list is endless. Salsa is World music, loved and enjoyed by all!

    One need not have any knowledge of the Spanish language to enjoy salsa music or dance. Knowing salsa dance to enjoy an event is not mandatory, although it’s lots of fun to learn! The music is riveting and cool, the atmosphere is tropical, the dance is so romantic to watch, and the rhythm is mesmerizing. The West Coast has truly carved a mark into the salsa world map.

    Local differences in the styles of dancing salsa:
    Los Angeles Style
    Here are some highlights, typical of the Los Angeles style:
    • Dance “On1"? (First dance step on first count): Yes
    • Based on the cross-body lead? Yes.
    • Turn patterns: Mostly based on straight, as opposed to circular.
    • How did the Los Angeles style evolve? Mostly based on external factors, influenced by elements from New York, Miami, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Columbia, Mexico, and Central America. Also have elements of jazz, swing, and even ballroom dancing.

    New York (a.k.a. NuYorican) Style
    Some typical New York style highlights:
    • Dance “On2”? (First dance step on second count): Yes.
    • The female is always the main focus of the dance.
    • Into “shines”? (Breaking away from partner in the middle of the dance to display individual footwork)? Yes.
    • Turn patterns: Circular, fast, and snappy.
    • How did the New York style evolve? From the city’s strong mambo past, and a strong influence from the huge Puerto Rican population on the East Coast.

    Miami Style
    With its strong Cuban influence, there is no wonder Miami has developed its own style, called the Casino style. This spectacular style has it roots in dancing the mambo in the old casinos of Havana's heydays of the pre Castro era; thus called the Casino style.
  13. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    As youngsta says, EVERYTHING is fast. Music, name it, it's fast. Granted this doesn't mean you can't dance this "style" to slower songs but, as a rule, it's speed, speed, speed!

    As far as LA dancers/dancing (vs. LA style)... because of the speeds involved good LA dancers have some of the most impressive control I've ever seen. At the same time, however, I've never seen more attitude, bad manners, and poor floor craft in my life! People banging into each other left and right without even a nod let alone an apology, knocking over a drink and then just turning your back on it, glaring at a partner who messes up a pattern, etc.

    One idea is that some of the aggressiveness of the current LA style is a Hollywood influence. You never know when someone watching might be a casting agent, or a producer, etc., so whenever you dancing you're still always "on," still always performing.

    [Note: this is basically about what is currently recognized as LA style, largely as promoted by the Vasquez brothers, etc.]
  14. will35

    will35 New Member

    What you found is interesting, Pygmalion. I watched four Mexicans dance Tejano a few days ago, and I could have mistaken it for Jitterbug except for the boots. Well, they said it was Tejano.
    I notice in the news recently the Social Club guy died. Very little fanfare. Then, a few days later Celia Cruz died, and people came from everywhere to kiss her fanny. What was with that?
  15. brujo

    brujo New Member

    Casino, as a dance style, is Cuban in origin. More info at The style is not restricted to Miami only. It doesn't have the slotted / straight motion associated with LA Salsa / NY Mambo. The man shows off more than the woman, the woman keeps time. Personally, I love this style as it is so much closer to the Cumbia style of salsa that I started with a few years back. It doesn't have the fancy spins and dips of LA / NY, but rather, it has a ton of really cool arm wraps and is the most connection based of the styles of salsa that I have tried.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You know, I think I might take a drive down to Miami one of these days, and check it out. Yes, people do it other places, but Miami is the closest large Cuban community to me. I have family and friends in Miami, and what the heck. I like field trips. I'd love to see this style done. Just to compare and see which I like.
  17. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I had a great time at Bongo's one night. It's Gloria and Emilio Estefan's club. From the outside it's shaped like a giant pinapple. Inside they have a large dance flooe and Bongo drums you can play. They have lessons there on a regular basis. When I was there it was Rueda lessons.
  18. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    LA style salsa

    Hi Guys, I wish Miami is just a 'drive' away from me...! Being so far away, the last time I visited LA was back in '99, and while the salsa dancing there were amazing to watch, I DID encounter some attitudes.
    I think SD Salsaguy here explains it pretty well.
    Here in Melbourne we don't have the 'on 1' or 'on 2' arguments widely documented in most of the sites. The most frquenly asked question is more likely to be "Do you dance LA or Cuban style?"
    Having grown up with the Salsa scene in the last fifteen years, I would like to remind ppl that we are all here to have matter what style/timing you dance! :wink:
  19. Salsero_AT

    Salsero_AT New Member

    I could not agree more salsachinita !

    To be honest i cannot stand the endless discussions which style is better any more. Here i Vienna cuban style has been the dominant dance style till 2 years ago some teachers started to do classes in LA style. I took some time but now LA style is slowly getting more popular here.

    I dance casino, i dance ruedas and i dance LA-style, whichever suits the music best and which partners i have. I think it is a good thing to know more than one style, because i am more flexible and you learn different things in the different style which makes you simply a much better dancer.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Sounds good to me, Salsero_AT. I admit I'm a relative salsa newbie, but I have never understood what all the uproar is about. Good music, good friends, good times, and dance whatever you want. That's how I feel. LA style just happens to be available. But I'll try whatever's there. *shrug*

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