Salsa Los Angeles style = “Salsa L.A.-Style” is danced “On1”, which meant that dancers make their first step forward on the first beat of the musicm. (In contrast to Salsa New York Style, which is danced “On2” = starts on the second beat of the music). Salsa L.A.-Style is danced in a line or “slot”, with dancers exchanging positions throughout the dance, unlike Cuban Salsa (or “Salsa Classica”), which is danced in a more circular fashion.
The two essential elements of this dance are the basic steps in a forward–backward motion and the cross-body lead. In this pattern, the leader steps forward on 1, steps to the right on 2-3 while turning 90 degrees counter-clockwise (facing to the left), leaving the slot open. The follower then steps straight forward on 5-6 and turns on 7-8, while the leader makes another 90 degrees counter-clockwise and slightly forward, coming back into the slot. In total, the couple turned 180° with the follower and leader switching places.
The “Vazquez Brothers” (Luis Vazquez, Francisco Vazquez, and Johnny Vazquez) are credited for the early development and growth of Salsa L.A.-Style. Luiz Vazquez was the co-founder of LA’s first salsa dance team, Salsa Brava. The Vazquez Brothers drew influence from stage dances such as tap dance and helped develop Salsa L.A.-Style’s reputation for flashy moves and acrobatics.
Other prominent figures in Salsa L.A.-Style include salsa promoter Albert Torres, who created the “LA Salsa Congress”, the first salsa congress in the United States and for many years one of the largest salsa events in the world. Later dancers such as Alex Da Silva, Christian Oviedo, and Liz Lira are also credited with developing the LA style of dancing as we know it today.
Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa, dancing has become very common for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling and even acrobatics elements.