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Physics Of Salsa Dancing Essay

878 words - 4 pages

Salsa has become an ever more popular dance in the United States, especially with the emergence of Latin artists including Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Shakira. Go to any club or ballroom dance and you will hear a pulsating beat moving you out of your chair and onto the floor. Even Broadway has been affected by Latin music. For instance, Cell Block Tango in the smash hit Chicago has a driving Latin beat. It doesn't matter if you are partying in Miami or sipping martinis in Massachusetts, Salsa has invaded America and taken a grip on the culture. Some even consider Salsa an addiction. "Perhaps it's because of the addictive quality inherent in this rhythm which fuels the desire to become part of it and express it physically..." (Tripp).

The Danzon from Haiti, Rhumbas from Africa, and the Son from Cuba mix together to create what we know as Salsa (Pretell). Because of its diverse background it is hard to know exactly how it originated. The most widely believed origin is Cuba where everything is hot, from the weather down to the cuisine. What else can you expect from that environment but music that will have you dancing in the streets?

Key Words

Leader- does just that, gives the leads, usually a man

Follower- takes the leads, usually a woman

*Both can be either gender, the pictures used in this site show the leader as the man and the follower as the woman.

Open Position- follower's hands are palms down on top of the leader's hands

Closed Position- follower's left hand grips the leader's right arm and right hand is held by the leader's left, the leader's right hand presses against the follower's shoulder blade.

Basic Step

This is fundamental, starting off the dance and used between more complex moves to tie everything together.

First beat of the measure- the leader steps forward with his right foot as the follower steps back on her left

Second beat- leader steps on his left foot and follower on her right

Third beat- same as the first only reverse direction, leader goes back and follower goes forward

Fourth beat- PAUSE!!!

Fifth through eighth beat- repeat previous four mirroring the direction, leader does what the follower did and vice versa

Now let's find the center of mass in the x direction at the pause in this step.

The equation for the center of mass in the x direction is xcm=(Mx1+ mx2)/(M+m) where M is the mass of the leader, m is the mass of the follower, x1 is the position of the leader,and x2 is the position of the follower.

Turn

The turn starts off with the follower and the leader side by side and hands crossed. The leader pulls the follower so that she is facing him.

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