Dancing to the rhythm of Salsa in Monte-Carlo

The hottest salsa dancers on one stage during Salsa Monaco

Salsa PosterThe 9th edition of Salsa Monaco took place past weekend on March 21 to 23 with more than 500 participants coming from all over Europe. Since 2006, the extremely successful and popular International Festival of Salsa Monaco, brainchild of the renowned dancers and instructors Hamidine Thiam and Gregory Salerno, has been attracting professionals and aficionados with the best names in Salsa. And every year the show gets better and better! The festival took place in Fontvieille between the Stade Louis II and the Leo Ferre center which boasts an impressive stage and enough space for amazing workshops and hot Latino parties where salsa lovers danced until the wee hours of the morning. The neophytes had the pleasure of taking the first steps into this deviled dance form during the workshops organized with professional dancers like: Adolfo Tania, Mykael Fonts, Salsa sinners, Tropical Gem, Andrea & Sylvia, Alegria DC and many more not only put a wonderful show but shared their talent. It was an opportunity to discover or improve all the salsa styles: Cuban, porto and also the influences afro, rumba, hip-hop and kizomba during an intense and emotional weekend.

The best show in town!

Photos from the show by courtesy of Anael of Salsa Monaco

The origin of salsa dance

Salsa is the result of a musical evolution of various types of Latin rhythms, and a style that combines many different cultural genres. Salsa dance and its music are very much interconnected because the main purpose of the music is to dance. There is an ongoing controversy on its exact genesis and many believe that it originated from the Cuban Son, Cha Cha, Cha, Pachanta and . Due to the social and political pressures and restraints enforced in Cuba and Puerto Rico in the 30’s, many people emigrated or fled to the USA, including New York. These emigrants from the Caribbean blended several music styles together. It is also true that the dance evolved from influences of afro, rumba, hip-hop and kizomba, incorporating elements of Swing dancing and Hustle when it moved into Manhattan based clubs in the late 80’s and ex-Hustle dancers brought their disco moves into their salsa.  As for the name “Salsa” could very well derive from its spicy and hot connotations, or because translated into “sauce”, it means a mixture of different ingredients.

The different salsa styles have their own particularities depending on where it is danced: Cuba, Colombia, West Africa, New York or even in Los Angeles. In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer changes weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. The Cuban Casino style of salsa dancing involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage. The lead dancer uses the arms to communicate or signal the follower, either in open or closed position. The open position requires the two dancers to hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other, to name a few examples. In the closed position, the leader puts the right hand on the follower’s back, while the follower puts the left hand on the leader’s shoulder. In the original Latin America form, the forward/backward motion of salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact.

Salsa is a swirl of emotions designed to dazzle dancers and spectators alike, exciting, sexy and flamboyant with lots of dips, spins and drops, but there is also another style that is much softer with romantic tones and truly sensual. Salsa is difficult to define as it reflects the complexity of the human’s soul, so the only way to really understand it is to let yourself be carried by its rhythm that is the rhythm of life!

We invite you to watch the following videos for a taste of the different styles of Salsa:

Andrea and Silvia in a clip from Salsa Monaco 2012 http://youtu.be/hqU_-cqdsMI

Salsa Cuban style with Maykel Fonts http://youtu.be/RlrNPBfOowg

Mark your calendars for the 10th edition of Salsa Monaco on March 27-29, 2015!

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