Frankie Martinez explains NY, LA and Cuban Styles of Salsa


If there is a difference between the various Salsa styles is no question anymore. But what is the difference?

We tried to explain the difference between New York, La, Puerto Rican and Cuban style. There are allot of explanations out there, so if you can add something to make the the explanation better please do not hesitate.

But First let one of the Salsa Legends Frankie Martinez his point of view.
Frankie Martinez is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most revolutionary salsa performer/choreographers of our time.

One of the biggest differences is which count in the music you “break” on (i.e., which count you first step on, or some people will say which count you begin to shift your weight on). 

New York: Generally danced on-2. (There is more than one style of on-2 dancing in New York alone, however, including one associated with a specific teacher.) Typically danced within an imaginary rectangular “slot.”

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LA Style: Tends to be associated more closely to ballroom dance than the others listed here. Traditionally danced on-1. Reputation for extreme (if not excessive) flashiness and athleticism.

Puerto Rican: Often this isn’t included on such lists, but from what I have heard, Puerto Rican salsa dancing does tend to differ from the salsa dancing in NYC (despite the overwhelmingly Puerto Rican influence in the development of that dancing). Dancing on-1 (or even on-3) is more common there than in New York, although dancing on-2 is also common, and according to one Puerto Rican I have discussed this with, dancers don’t stick to the “slot” concept.

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Cuban/Casino style: Differs from all of the above more than any of them differ from each other. The male and female both step forward or backward at the same time, unlike the mambo-derived basics in the styles above. The dance tends to move in a circular motion. There seem to be other differences in the way things are led. (Some of this probably springs from the different basic step.) Cuban style salsa dancing (like Cuban style music/timba) is much more popular in parts of Europe (particularly Italy) than in the US.

Thanks to Salsa Lives who had this amazing interview with Mr Frankie Martinez.

Frankie Martinez explains NY, LA and Cuban Styles of Salsa