Frequently Asked Questions  

Q: What is Tallahassee Salsa Dancers?

A: TSD serves to inform Tallahassee residents and visitors about local salsa events and instruction and is a collaborative effort between the Latin dancers in Tallahassee. TSD manages five performance teams: a semi-pro team, a mambo team, a cha cha team, a bachata team, and a kids’ team.

We have a Facebook page where we post up-to-date information about upcoming events for those interested. For additional questions or media inquiries, email us here.

Q: What is salsa and where did it originate?

A: People have turned blue in the face arguing this. Let’s just say salsa is a rhythmic Latin dance with a three-count beat on the clavé. It’s danced in a variety of styles and quickness all over the world. See “styles” below.

Q: What groups are in town that teach salsa?

A: If you’re interested in learning “street-style” salsa (aka non-ballroom), there are three teams that teach salsa locally.  Tallahassee Salsa Dancers,  ¡Azúcar! (FSU) and Corazon (FSU). Each teaches a different style. Click on the College Groups link for details.

Q: What classes are best for me if I am a beginner?

A: Each group offers beginner lessons. ¡Azúcar! teaches casino on Wednesdays and Sundays; Corazon teaches L.A. on Fridays; TSD teaches New York style salsa on Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday.  TSD also offers bachata classes on Sunday and Thursday.

Q: I hear about salsa congresses. What are they?

A: Congresses are big events, typically hosted at hotels, that offer workshops and performances by professional dancers and social events to mingle with other dancers and to practice your new skills. Tallahassee started it;s first festival in 2013 called Tally Latin Dance Fest (similar to a congress) .  Find out more info today!

Q: What are the different styles of salsa?

A: There are several. Here’s a few:

Cuban (Casino) – The contemporary faster rhythms of the more popular bands (Timba) are danced very differently than many types of salsa found in the U.S.  The newer sounds of Cuban music emphasize the “one” and the “three” beats of the rhythm, much more than the “two” beat. The rhythms are also much faster. Cuban salseros hold on to women’s wrists during a lot of the dance.

L.A. Style – Los Angeles’ style is influenced by West Coast Swing and Latin Ballroom. Many of the showy tricks, such as “shining” (soloing), and Cabaret moves are taken from Swing and Latin Ballroom, which is very prevalent and influential on the West Coast. Unlike in Miami, there are not many Cuban immigrants in L.A., so the dance style is more or less a hybrid of Swing, Ballroom and a soft Puerto-Rican style.

New York – In New York style, there is a strong Latin Hustle influence. The disco craze of the late ’70s and early ’80s caused many Hustle dancers to incorporate a lot of their moves into the Mambo style during the transitional period back to traditional salsa in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Because of the high concentration of Puerto Rican immigrants, Puerto Rican style is much like that of New York style, Latin Hustle or what is called “Mambo” or “On-Two,” incorporating fancy footwork and “shining.”

Colombian – Salsa is danced differently all throughout Colombia. In some parts, it is more about presentation while in others, and in others, it is more about the couple. But there is no forward and backward motion of the feet. Dancers tend to dance back, back or side, side. In some parts, they perform tons of jumps, tricks and flips, while in others, there are not many and dancers’ bodies are almost completely touching each other from head to toe.

Cali – Cali-style salsa is based on geographical location of the Colombian City of Cali, also known as the “Capital de la Salsa.” Here, dancers do not shift their body weight greatly as seen in other styles. Instead, dancers keep their upper body still, poised and relaxed while the feet do the work. A major difference of Cali and the other styles is the footwork, which has rapid, intricate steps and skipping motions. They do not execute cross-body bead, also called “Dile Que No”, like in L.A. and N.Y. styles.

Ballroom – “Ballroom Mambo” is normally danced on the “two,” the “three” & the “four” beat of the music, where both feet come together at an almost stand-still on the “fourth” and the “eighth” beats of the music. This is normally taught in professional dance studios by professional ballroom coaches. It is a much tighter, stronger dance with the partners showing off their control and balance techniques.

Millennium – Millennium-style salsa is recognized as dancing to the hits, peaks and valleys of the song with a lot of hip-hop influence. More or less made famous by Al and Edie Espinoza, this style incorporates dance and body movements to hits and breaks in the music (both “on-1″ and “on-2″), emphasizing tighter footwork, enhanced hip and body movements, and space-saving steps that are now replacing the dated, long front and back steps.

Puerto Rican – Puerto Rican-style salsa can be danced on the “one” or the “two” beat of the music, but it involves a tremendous amount of very technical footwork. It is characterized by combining a still upper body with sharp hip movements and a small kick on the fourth beat of the bar. The upper body stillness exaggerates the impression of the hip motion. Puerto Rican-style salsa tends to involve more turns than Colombian or Cuban salsa.