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speed of Salsa
Posted by cdroge
2/14/2008  3:09:00 PM
I have just recently learnt Salsa and at a Ballroom the instructor played three fast salsa's that even the more experienced dancers could not keep up with. How do you dance a fast Salsa.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by Serendipidy
2/14/2008  11:04:00 PM
cdroge. How do you dance to a fast Salsa. Don`t. Go and sit down and then tell the music presenter if he plays at more than 120 bpm he is wrong. Just as you would if a Cha or a Rumba was not played at the recomended tempo. That`s what I would do.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
2/15/2008  12:24:00 AM
Salsa is recorded in several different " styles-- notably, Romantica ( sometimes called Monga ) Dura and Descarga .Add to this Cuban " Son " and all the variations by different countries ( Cuba-- Panama-- Venezuela- Colombia-- PR and NYC etc. )

As you can begin to see- the music is very very complex.

Fast ( descarga ) is not wrong-- but IS wrong for a beginner-- on the other hand-- the very slow tempos are more difficult to interpret .-- mid range is what i teach to my beginners, and the variety is endless.
Romantica, by the way, does NOT mean slow, its the type of Singer associated with the style .

Most Son is a very good pace for beginners and the music is the original form ( Son Clave )-- if your DJ knows anything about music he will have some . If not-- I can reccomend several .
I should add-- that Cuban Son is a style that defines a break on "2" rhythm to the trained ear -- but 1 will work .

Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by Serendipidy
2/15/2008  1:44:00 AM
Terence.Wouldn`t it be better to do what i suggested.I`ll add to that. If the Salsa is played faster than a Cha then in any situation it is not acceptable. In a night club it could be downright dangerous. i dont think any of us are trying to set any land speed records are we.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
2/15/2008  4:53:00 AM
My friend-- have been teaching Salsa/ mambo for 50 yrs-- it is NEVER easier to produce the desired foundational work with too slow a tempo-- the recordings i use, are fairly universal in their acceptance-- and is always more acceptable to the beginners ( I introduce various speeds, and they always go for the mid range )

the common mistake today? many people " Teaching?" salsa, that have no music or dance background-- hence the wrong musical choices . .
from a technical standpoint , all slower dances require more control and salsa is not designed ( for the beginner ) to handle the slower speeds like Cuban Son.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by IndySpinner
2/15/2008  9:46:00 AM
I would tell the DJ to slow it down. Also, learn the names and artists of your favorite songs so that you can request them. It sounds like the DJ did not understand the need to provide more moderately paced music. Maybe he was used to working at latin clubs. Only very experienced salsa/mambo dancers in the clubs can effectively dance to the fastest music. However it is personal choice, no matter how experienced the dancers, as to the speed of music they prefer. I do not enjoy the fast music, for one because I enjoy ballroom Mambo and all the hip motion and other technical aspects that become practically impossible to execute with very fast music. Other dancers like to fly though their CBLs and spins and dips, which is fun to watch, but for this writer is not as sweet as nicely executed figures and technique to moderately paced music. Oh, and by the way, Salsa/Mambo music is typically faster than Cha-cha music. It is the slower tempo of cha-cha music that allows the additional syncopated cha-cha steps to be inserted. Dancing Salsa/Mambo to most cha-cha music is too slow. Thanks!
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by Serendipidy
2/15/2008  5:08:00 PM
IndySpinner. I am no expert on the Salsa. I just use common sense. It is worth bringing to your attention that The speed that the Salsa is played is the same as the recomended speed for a Cha Cha. Did you also know that it is possible to do a Cha to a Rumba tune if the Rumba is set at 30bpm which is 120bpm Just put the syncopation in at the correct time..The recomended speeds for Salsa range between 30bpm to 35bpm. As with any dance that has a Latin Motion the first thing that will disappear is the movement of the hips if the music is played too fast. So is faster music a step in the wrong direction ?.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
2/15/2008  11:59:00 PM
PLEASE PLEASE do not classify Salsa as a ballroom dance !!

The very thing we are trying to do as Pros is retain its integrity .

The songs of salsa cover a variety of speeds that CANNOT be controlled by strict tempo .
If one attempted to do that-- it would begin to look regimented--thats the one thing it ISNT, and thats why it has a world wide appeal .

World class salsa bands and groups play songs at different speeds for reasons-- its all about telling a story. Cuban Son and Guaganco are written at different tempos for a reason, as are Guajiras( they even change into the original form of Cha )

The " Son " rhythm that dictates ALL " rumbas" ( thats a collective term )is divided into 2 categories- Rumba clave and Son clave-- all this is tied into the composition of the music-- you CANNOT regulate that .

We have already messed up-- beyond recognition-- every latino dance we get our hands on -- and this one does not need to follow suit .

Before you start giving declaritive statements about tempos-- you need education into the culture and its music ( Ive spent 50yrs doing this, and am STILL learning ! )
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by latina7
2/16/2008  5:58:00 AM

I have a question for you about Cuban son, and other styles, but will start a new thread, since the topic doesn't fit here.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
2/16/2008  6:03:00 AM
OK--will do my best to answer
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by Serendipidy
2/16/2008  3:24:00 PM
Terence. Although I don`t agree with with your suggestion that we have already messed up-beyond recognition every Latino dance we get our hands. On the contrary If they are dances that are going to be taught then there has to be basic rules for the basic timing.I would say in the case of the Salsa the most popular tempo is about 30bpm. Now that there is a Salsa World Championship and a Salsa World Champion there has to be a set speed the music is played at. Breaking on two is another point.
Question. Is Salsa music 4/4 and Phrased into 8 bars. Also as the footwork appears to be ball flat does the toe arrive before the beat and the heel is down on the beat just like it is supposed to be in a Samba. Unless you want to be chasing the beat.Then that is out of time and begins to look muddy.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
2/17/2008  2:04:00 AM
How can YOU possibly define the MOST popular ?-- where you happen to dance ?

Have danced in latin clubs all over the states since the late 50s and the uk and there is NEVER a set tempo for ANY type of salsa--the different styles of music does not permit that .

Many NYC clubs thrive on Descarga-- down south Miami-- Ga etc-- ALL clubs play ALL speeds .-- Once again -- this NOT ballroom.
The evidence I present is empirical- not opinion-- what YOU like-- thats a different story, and what i play for my beginners classes, generally, in a club situation , is a very small part of any DJs( including me when I play )reportoire .( Personally-- I am not a big fan of dancing to warp speed music, but I respect those that do )

And I have a flash for you-- the so called " world " champ. comps-- of which there are many ? (?)
tend to play primarily Descarga .

Again-- you are displaying your complete lack of knowledge , supplanted by opinion--

As to the present day so called " latin" that is danced-- do not tell this to any latino-- they may fall on the floor with un controllable laughter !!.

Everyone is so brainwashed as to what latin dances are supposed to look. sound and feel like ( dance schools have perpetuated this for multi yrs )--it morphed from " social " dance, to the present day debacle-- you should read what the last meeting by the chairman of one of the world bodies had to say about "latin "-- even he criticised its direction !!

the music selections proffered in the CHA post speaks volumes !!--- but-- weve been down this rd. before.

You need to walk into a " real " latino club, one where no one hardly speaks english , and the clientele are 99% latino-- only then will you start to understand what this culture, music and dance is all about .

( PS-- I was raised on the b/room " style when there was no Cha and no Jive and rumba was sq.-- at least they had that right ! )

The responses I invariably get when I site what is happening in the " real " latino world, are-- " well things have changed " -- or --" youre living in the past"-- and-- my favorite-- " progress ".
The last one might be true to a certain degree, and does have some validity-- but- it has come at the expense of obscuring the integrity of the roots of the genre, in pretty much all cases .
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by Serendipidy
2/17/2008  3:00:00 AM
Terence. Does Descarga have four beats to each bar of music and three steps with the fourth a movement of the hips.If that is so then Descarga is the only one I have seen.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
2/17/2008  4:29:00 AM
Apologies for not making it clearer-- Descarga is a " style " of music that is strongly jazz based and very very up tempo--popular in NYC.

ALL salsa is based on an octave-- 2 bars-- the rhythm is standard QQS employing 4 beats-- how those are used, is sometimes accented slightly different to portray a specific style such as-- Power 2-- P.Rican-- Cuban etc .
"Son" is a style that is indigenous to Cuba-- it is a musical style as well as a dance style and is very mellow ( My favorite )

Have just been invited to teach a Son class in march in another city-- should be interesting
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by mayagsd
5/31/2012  11:00:00 AM
I am not an"expert," but have listened to some...have to agree with indy...mambo is normally played at a faster bpm than cha cha, for the reasons indy mentioned. u can ague about it all day long, but their is no question which is "typically" the faster music.
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
6/1/2012  5:46:00 AM

I dont think anyone was disputing that. But, there are mambos which are very slow , remember, mambo is MUSIC first,and a Dance 2nd; but of course, like most social dances, one can find extremes in tempo thru a wide range, and this includes both Cha and mambo/salsa .

And by the way, Mambo, outside of the States(primarily in Chain schools ) , is seldom taught anymore.. its ALL salsa .
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by mayagsd
6/2/2012  4:31:00 PM
yes, unfortunately, u r correct. back in the day, mambo was real popular. i guess those folks have gotten old and don't dance anymore. although, (i'am not from ny) i understand that they do salsa like mambo, i.e. on 2...outside of the states, i am clueless..though i understand that at least some in pr do salsa on 2, i.e like mambo. i would be interested in hearing from pr natives as to whether salsa on 1 or salsa on 2 is the "norm" in pr; maybe it depends what city in pr you come from...
Re: speed of Salsa
Posted by terence2
6/6/2012  6:40:00 AM
Firstly.. I AM one of those old folks !! ( theres till quite a few of us around, still teaching ).

As to PRs many dance on 2, and also 1, is common.. but.. its nothing remotely like Mambo .

Styles have changed ,and many variations from Mambo, never crossed over . The Cuban influence in some styles, is very strong, particularly in casino .

PRs dance a more "blended " style ( what I dance and teach ) has some " slot " and also "circular " , very popular in NY, among other places .

** A footnote on the Son rhythms.. true Son was origianlly written in 6/8 timing.

And today , the Clave is used in a 3/2 and 2/3 based rhythm ,one being a Rumba clave and the other a Son Clave.

Most of the old time Mambo was written a Guaguanco style which is a 2/3 clave, whereas most of todays Salsa, is 3/2.. and the Guaracha which was taught back when, was also a 3/2 clave ( thats the style you will see danced in the old black and white movies, in a Sq Rumba format.. its really more like a fast Danzon )
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