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Salsa is usually a partner dance form that corresponds to salsa music. In some forms, it can also appear as a performance dance . The word is the same as the Spanish word salsa meaning sauce, spicy or in this case flavor or style.

Salsa is danced on music with two bars of four beats. Salsa patterns typically use three steps during each four beats, one beat being skipped. However, this skipped beat is often marked by a shifting of weight from one foot to the other. Typically the music involves complicated percussion rhythms.

Salsa Styling

Incorporating styling techniques into any style of salsa has become very common. For both men and women shines, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies and rolls, and even hand styling have become a huge trend in the salsa scene. There are lessons dedicated to the art of salsa styling'. Hip hop, jazz, flamenco, belly dancing, ballroom, break dancing/pop and rock, Afro Cuban styles, and bhangra have all be infused into the art of styling.


Normally Salsa is a partner dance, danced in a handhold. However sometimes dancers include shines, which are basically "show-offs" and involve fancy footwork and body actions, danced in separation. They are supposed to be improvisational breaks, but there are a huge number of "standard" shines. Also, they fit best during the mambo sections of the tune, but they may be danced whenever the dancers feel appropriate. On seeing Salsa dancers perform similar moves the name was transposed and eventually stuck, leading to these moves being called 'shines'.

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