Salsa in Spanish means "Sauce", and because there are more people who like food than dancing here on E2, there's been a heavy emphasis on the dip/food Salsa.

For a different part of the population, however, Salsa is not just food, but one of the most energetic dances around. Fast-paced, sure to leave you sweaty like a dog, but still. Fun!

Salsa - The dance!

My first Salsa experience:

I enter the room in the basement of Oslo's largest Student Village hesitantly. Richard, my friend from Curaçao pulls me along. As the door opens, I am met by a girl/woman, about 30 years old. She is quite pretty, and drowns me in a tsunami of Spanish words spoken at the same speed as, say, a fine tuned Kalashnikov AK-47. Richard saves me from her by answering in Spanish, and we are admitted to the room.

When I am entering, I am met by a wall of sound. Cowbells, people clapping, trumpets, djembes, an electric bass guitar, a saxophone, a trombone, a three-piece choir, castanets, people stomping and singing, people dancing, people clinking wine glasses.

I am introduced to about five hundred stunningly beautiful girls (and this is before I got drunk) between 20 and 50 years old. They weren't necessarily so pretty, but they were... they were so alive.

About the Salsa

Salsa is all about being alive - the word Salsa, as mentioned, means Sauce. This is not a coincidence - the dance is a wonderful mix of a wide range of Latin and Caribbean dances, such as the Mambo, the Rumba, the Merengue, the Cumbia, the Cha Cha Cha, the Son and the Tango.

The beginning steps were easy to learn (trust me - If I can learn it, anyone can) , but from there it quickly got more serious.. Swinging hips, closeness to the dance partner, from quick little steps to long sweeping, whirling motions. And (of course) smiling faces.

The big thing about Salsa is that you don't dance with the same partner all night - In one night, I found myself dancing with 30-odd different partners. All of them were sadly better than me (being a male, you lead the dance. Disastrous if you don't know what you're doing. Extremely funny too, of course.)

The major impression I got fromt the Salsa, though: Everybody smiles. How can you do anything else? This is being alive at an entirely different level.

Salsa Music

Salsa music is typically quite fast - between 175 and 225 bpm. It often has a cowbell with a clear rhythm pattern that is easy (?) to dance to, and usually has lots of brass instruments. Go to a club and dance - I can't really describe it :)

As for bands... I wouldn't know, really.. Have a look at names like Wilfrido Vargas, El Gran Combo, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and Johnny Pacheco.. The first mentioned is my favourite, but YMMV

Learning Salsa

There are hundreds of Salsa clubs all over the world - have a look at if you can't find one.

Oh, and in case I hadn't mentioned this yet:
(Why else would you want to dance?)