Could anyone elucidate me about salsa different styles?

Hello, everybody!

One thing that I've been researching is the different ways of dancing salsa.
My doubt is about the differences between Puerto Rican Style and NY style. What are the major differences between this styles?

Another thing that I would like to know more is about "Minor Styles". For instance, reading an interview with the dancer Victor Burgos I realized that the tradicional mexican way of dancing salsa is called Tibiri or salsa callejera. Does anyone knows anything about this style or other styles that are usually less spoken?


João Santos,

PS-Sorry for any mistake in my english.
Hi joaoluissantos,

Welcome to the Dance Forums!

As far as I know, the 3 largest styles are:
1) LA Style - danced in a slot and incorporates a progressive basic. This seems to be the most widely danced style incorporating lots of rapid turns and tricks.
2) New York Style - Even though it's danced on the 123, the forward and back breaks are on the 2 and 7 beats. This changes everything. For example, the lady executes the pause when she is half way through the turn, offering some interesting changes in direction during turns.
3) Casino de Rueda (very big in Miami) - danced in a group with frequent partner changes during the song. A caller will tell people what to do next. They showed Casino style in the club scene in the movie "Dance With Me".

As to Puerta Rican style, I'm not sure what to tell you, but hopefully someone will know the answer.


Staff member
DanceMentor said:
As far as I know, the 3 largest styles are:
These are actually "the big three" only for the USA. Based on personal experience Cuban style, for instance, is quite popular in Denmark and Italy...and there are definitely distinct Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Colombian styles as well, just to name a few.

Also, within the USA there are also several studios/groups who do what they call “power 2” which is closest to the original mambo danced in NY and which, timing and footwork wise (albeit not style wise), is comparable to ballroom mambo.
These are actually "the big three" only for the USA.
SDsalsa guy, I would love to know more about the characteristics of these other styles. I know, for example, the Columbian style tends to me more side to side and using a Cumbia type step:
1. Rock the left foot slightly behind the right
2. Slide the right foot to the left
3. Step to the side on the left
4. Tap the right toe (or heel)
Repeat on the other side


Staff member
Hmm, not exactly. Well, at least not what I've seen. What I've noticed is more of a back rock on both sides with tap accents on the 4. So back, rock, side, tap...etc. Does that make sense?

So, not style, pattern, or music wise—but as far as timing/footwork—I find it closest to NC2.


Staff member
Hmmm, I think the confusion then came from this...
DanceMentor said:
2. Slide the right foot to the left
I thought you meant slide the right foot to the left foot whereas, if anything, I've seen it slid away from the left foot--which could also I guess, technically speaking, be said as sliding it to the left, which seems to be what you meant. Ooops. My bad then.
Hello, well puerto rican style is ON 2 except you break forward on 2 instead of breaking back on 2 and is danced very smooth and flowing like NY2 not jumpy and big like LA 2.
Hope that helps you.
Rican style

Rican style... Lets call this street rican style. For Studio rican style is the 2,3,4 6,7,8 as some NY dancers do it. Or the Paladium Style...

What is known as the rican style is almost the same as the cumbia step, with a little slide of the foot forward/cick of heel/tap of toe foot forward while in the middle stop, that being the 4 and the 8. All the tapping, cicking, sliding is done with the same foot that is on the way to either hit the 2 or the 6. It differs with cumbia in that Ricans don't jump when they dance or over exert the movements while in the middle stop. Columbians tend to get "off" beat because they like to move a lot on the 4 and 8. Rican street basic step can be compared very closely to the cuban step. All of their patterns if any originate from there. However patters are very few and far between. If spins are taken, each spin is done on a half count/4 beats, both by male and females. This style is very famous in NY with the Older folks as well as those who say they were taught by their old schoolers, or their parents. Ricans who use this style tend to slide their feet a lot. Their arms are always in front of their chests as well as the elbows tight to the sides. A very lot of circular hand movement and the sway of their hips is far less noticeable than that of cubans. Ricans lean somewhat forward, with their butts seeeming to sticking out. It isn't consider one of the big 3, however, when someone in PR is street taught they will most likely be referring to what I've mentioned above, not really any "kind" of Studio taught dancing. It is more of a Island wide subconscious culutral body movement for salsa.

But if we are talking about what some consider the power2 rican style, Then the dancing style has very little to do with feet placement. It is all about body placement and movement, this style is more of a suave one, very little solos, and not very many fancy moves by the males as compared to NY style. In my opinion they over emphasize the lady making the less expirienced male dancers look like a striper pole. I had the oportunity to hangout my last visit to PR with 2 groups that perform regularly at the congressos. I happend to notice the similarity off all of the dancers no matter what school they went to. By similarity I mean hand, body movements as well as the translation of the song into a dance. The males where somewhat reserved, almost seeming that the ladies "out-classed" way too much. To the point I had to mention to one of the guys that dancing salsa was like making love to a woman. You gotta move that body boy!! Although it was refreshing to see the difference in styles from PR to NY on2 dancing. I couldn't help but to think that they are limited by that which finds itself in the island as opposed to what we have in NY which is a lot of different styles.

Hope that helped some...

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