My buddy sent me this:
Tonight at a dance event.
Me: asks girl to dance salsa.
Her: " Oh yeah that sounds great".
We stand up she begins dancing Cumbia off time.
Me: "Oh that's Cumbia not salsa"
Her: "No, this is Salsa. I'm from Colombia I should know."
Me: Grit my teeth and try to get through it but its pretty all over the place.
Mid way through the song she says: " You're actually not very good I'm done thanks"
then walks away and sits down.
Me: hmmmm k lol.
I feel your pain. It happened to me last night. Over the years, I’ve learned there are two salsa worlds that rarely intersect. One is what I call dance school salsa, when one learns the basic step, cross body lead, right turn and left turn, all with an emphasis on counting, whether On1 or On2. After mastering these basics, the student moves on to learning patterns, all in a rote manner.
The other world is what I call street salsa, wherein one never takes a dance lesson. These people learn to move to the music organically, with no learned step steps or moves or patterns. (Why would you take lessons on how to walk?) Cumbia informs the dance background for these people, and knowledgeable people can tell the dancer’s country of origin by the way they dance cumbia. These people call what they are performing “salsa”, and what the dance school people are doing “gringo salsa”. (I've been told I dance gringo salsa. My reply? "Well, I am a gringo.")
Street salsa people think what the dance schoolers are doing is overly rigid and regimented, and dance schoolers think the street dancers are wild and uneducated. I think each could learn from the other.