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Salsa (Sp. salsa) - a music style, predominantly popular in Latin America at first. In its wider sense, the term is used to denote almost every kind of Cuban music, for example cha-cha-cha, mambo, rumba, son and so on. In its narrow sense the term relates to a style, developed by Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants in New York city and its surroundings in the 60s and the 70s of the 20th c. Nowadays this musical style has spread all over the world. Closest to salsa are the Cuban mambo and son since the beginning of the 20th c., and Latin American jazz as well. In general, the terms “Latin American jazz” and “salsa” are used as synonyms.
Stylistically salsa relates mainly to Afro-Cuban music, although it incorporates the influence of Puerto Rican, Columbian and many other Latin American rhythmic patterns as well as the influence of pop, jazz and even rock.
For the first time the word “salsa” has been mentioned in the song by the Spanish musician Ignacio Piñeiro, composed in 1930 and called “Échale salsita”. The song is in the style of son and is dedicated to an old black man from Matansas (Cuba). Some years later, the Cuban singer Celia Cruz was declared “the queen of salsa”.
Today salsa is the most popular music in Latin American dancing clubs and not only there. It conquers territories and overwhelms the hearts of all hot rhythm music admirers; it is not by chance that this style is known in some countries as "the music of the tropics" (musica tropical).
There are no strict rules for salsa dancing despite the existence of many different styles that have developed over the years up to the present.
The basic feature in the schemes of the various salsa styles is synchronizing the steps with the music rhythm. The dance is best divided into double times containing four beats each, which are counted: "1-2-3-... 5-6-7-...". The male partner starts at 1 stepping with his left foot, then at 2 and 3 he steps with his right and left foot respectively, and at 4 he makes a pause or a marking movement with his right foot. At 5, 6 and 7 the movement is the other way around, i.e. the male dancer steps with his right, then left and again right foot, then again a pause follows at 8. It is desired that each step is done with total transfer of the dancer’s weight. The female partner’s steps are identical to and mirror those of the male dancer, i.e. left and right are swopped. The rule with all salsa styles and figures is: the male dancer starts with left foot and the female starts with right foot.
The Basic Step in salsa dancing is the so called “back-and-forth” motion. At 1, 2 and 3 the male dancer steps forward (left foot), stands still (changing to right foot) and moves backward (stepping on left foot). At 5, 6 and 7 he steps backward (right foot), stands still (changing to left foot) and steps forward (with right foot). The female dancer does the same, this time backward and forward being swopped. In this way the dancing couple moves back and forth as a whole entity.
Various salsa styles are determined by variation in steps, different timing, characteristic dancing movements, particular preferences to movements and postures on the part of dancers, etc. More popular among them are: Cuban style, Columbian style, ball mambo, rueda style, solo, etc.
There are many places in Bulgaria where you can listen to and dance salsa. But how many are the places where visually impaired people dance salsa? The correct answer is: only in the "Rueda de Roce" salsa group at Vitosha Sports Club for Integration.
“Rueda de Roce” salsa group was established on June 30th 2006. The uniqueness of the group is due to the fact that it is established by and for visually impaired young people. The idea itself is incredible but it is a fact that these people give all they can to learn the steps and rhythm of salsa. Under the instruction of Ilian Georgiev and Polina Lazarova, his assistant, members of the Vitosha club persuade and accomplish their goals: dancing salsa.
The style practiced at Vitosha Sports Club for Integration is Cuban. Its basic element is “Cuba step”, also called “guapea”. In this dancing style the male dancer makes a basic step backward at 1-2-3 and a basic step forward at 5-6-7. The female dancer does the same, her motion reflecting the man’s movements. A typical feature of this style is the circle-like motion of dancers around each other.
Having acquired certain confidence the group has taken part in a range of occasions and cultural events such as:
- International Day of the White Cane and 5 years Vitosha National Organization for Sports and Integration commemoration - October 15th 2006.
- Salsa demonstration at 55th school – Sofia, November 25th 2006.
- Festival on the occasion of the International Day of People with Disabilities, December 2nd 2006.
- Fanta Fiesta International Salsa Festival (Qualifications for the World Salsa Championship in Las Vegas, USA), Universiada Hall, May 13th 2007.
- Salsa-parties in 2007, 2008 and 2009.