Salsa Crossbody Style

Wander Rosario

What is Salsa Cross Body Style

It is not for everyone easy to correctly differentiate between the diverse styles of Salsa. In fact, even among those who are more experienced in this field there is some confusion about this issue. We can either say a lot about it or just keep it short and easy. Both scenarios are possible.
But we are not here because we want to write a Phd about this matter. At any rate, to those who are really interested to know much or all about it, I would recommend to carry out a careful research into this subject for, as it usually happens, there is also a lot of misdleading information out there.
A good start would be reading this two articles from Wikipedia:

Anyway, we can put it easily like that: there are basically two major Salsa Styes known and danced around the world; The Cuban Style and the Crossbody Style. The latter seems to have been steadely increasing in popularity in the last ten years due not only to a matter of taste but also to a growing trend.
Without examining it in depth, we can say that a fundamental difference between these two major styles is the way the dance is performed. Cuban Salsa mostly involves circular movements with the leader and the follower moving around each other, whereas Crossbody Style Salsa is danced up and down a straight line.
We might also want to mention that spinning is rather a Crossbody characteristic along with more arm styling.
But there is really much more to say about the differencies betwenn the way of dancing Cuban and Cross Body Style. You will find it out in due time.
Another very interesting style worth mentioning is the Columbian Stlye, often also called 'Cali Style'. The dancer remain close. The Colombinan Style features very little spinning. The interesting thing of this style is that it emphasize fancy footwork with still upper body.

On 1 - On 2

This is a very hot discussed topic. I have been asked upon the difference very often. Again, the answer can be both short or long. Unfortunately there are misleading explanations about this issue. Many explain it saying that when dancing on 1 you practically dance to the 1-2-3, 5-6-7 counts whereas when dancing on 2 you dance to the 2-3-4, 6-7-8
This is not correct for you can dance on 2 but nevertheless dance to the 1-2-3, 5-6-7 with holds on the 4 & 8 counts of music as in the case of dancing on 1. But here we also need to add that there are different variations of dancing on 2.

The main difference lies on the "where is your break/rock step"
There are three form of Crossbody style:
Los Angeles style (L.A.), New York Style (N.Y -often called also Mambo) and Puerto Rican. For the moment it is enough to know that L.A. breaks on 1 while both N.Y. and Puerto Rican break on 2.
At this point it is important to mention that the "dancing on 1" is actually more or less a simplified version of the origial way of dancing Salsa, which is acually on 2, along with other dances such as Rumba, Cha, cha cha. Dancing on 1 is so to speak easier to hear because of the natural pattern of the music phrase. Anyway, it is about dancing and having fun. Therefore, it does not matter which style one prefers. But of course, knowing more then one style makes you more professional.

Musicality and Timing

Often have I seen that people can more or less quickly learn routines, some footwork and even spinning, but for some reason timing and musicality are aspects of the dancing that even advanced dancers struggle with. This is not something you can learn overnight.
In addition, let for a moment assume that if you can already dance you are able to keep the timing; but keeping the timing does not mean dance to the music. Probably you can keep the 1-2-3 5-6-7 or maybe you know how to find the one or maybe you do not even know where is the one. Timing is not only about this counting but rather about understanding the music. Find out more about the understanding of the instruments in Salsa music.

As soon as you are able to understand such things you start understand how to interpret the music, and how you are going to play with your partner with the music.

What is the right Music

Speaking about musicality, we might also spend a couple of words about Salsa music. This is a topic close to my heart. There are far too many people who do not feel/hear/understand the difference between a timba and a mambo song, just to give a clear and easy example. Somebody asked me if it makes a difference to dance Salsa Crossbody style to Salsa Cuban style music. And yes, it makes a difference. If you really feel the music, you will feel the difference. Theoretically, and technically speaking, one could dance Salsa to Techno or even to Classic music but does it feel the same? Well, one could blame me for comparing Salsa with two completely different music genres. It is true. I just wanted to make sure you can feel the difference. Believe it or not, the fact is that I do feel the difference between Cuban and Crossbody music as much as everyone would feel the difference between Salsa and Classic music.
Actually, there is much more to say about what differentiate Cuban from Crossbody music. But if you consider that there are even people out there who pretend to be Salsa DJ but in reality they do not know the first about these differencies, then we might as well want to conclude saying that you just need time, experience and above all a feelig for musicality before you learn it. And for the Djs, if they themselves are dedicated dancer, they will surely have a better understanding of Music.

The most important thing

I would like to conclude saying that whatever style of Salsa you dance and to whatever sort of Salsa music you enjoy dancing, the most important of all is that you have fun!
Remember, the most effective medicine which makes you improve is dancing.

©Stepbystepsalsa 2013