This is a question that people who want to start dancing salsa ask me ... on the phone, by mail etc ... Difficult to answer correctly in two sentences :-). I guess the best answer is 'please google it and watch a few video's of both dances, that will explain better than my words what the difference is'. It is by the way also often more than a difference in dance style, it's also a difference in attitude ...

One not being better than another one, let us please put that clearly from the beginning. The dance styles are different but both are great and give lots of fun to millions of people around the globe ... You can and you will probably have preferences, that is ok ... but let's please respect other people's tastes and be moderate in our judgments ... I love  them both and i invite you to try them both out so you'll see ...

Next 'beginners question' ... what style should i choose then to start with salsa? I guess you should come to a class (first class beginners 1 is always for free), try it out and then see what you prefer. Don't forget that you can start with one style and then do the other one in some months or more, it's not a choice for life ...

At this very moment it is true that the majority of people dancing salsa in Leuven dance LA style. And in this our school has a big 'responsability' as we were the ones teaching all of these people for years to dance LA style :-). Since a couple of years now we have started up salsa cubana classes as well. The interest for this great style is growing and we are positive about the fact that these two styles are going to live together and florish together in Leuven, at the same parties often with the same people dancing LA or Cuban accordingly to the song or to the person they are dancing with or to their preference of the moment ...

Is there really such a big difference between both?

Yes and no. The styles both have their own typical moves, techniques. It looks different also from the outside. But on the other hand is it possible to strictly separate one from the other? Not really. LA feeds very clearly on Cuban (footwork, styling, shines, routines) and so does Cuban style with LA. Many experienced dancers mix both and i believe they are right to do so ... after all it's all dancing on salsa music. Me personally i will simply adapt to the lady i'm dancing with and to the music that is playing. Most of the time mixing both up with pleasure :-). There is no orthodoxy in dancing or there shouldn't be. There is no such thing as a 'pure' style. All dance styles that i know use moves, techniques of other dance styles. 

Is there something like an 'LA style music' and a 'Cuban style music'?

Again ... yes and no. And to be honest (of course this is only my opinion) there is more clearly a 'Cuban style kind of music' than there is an 'LA style music'. 'LA style' is a fusion style that has come from Cuban style, from New York style, from other non Latin styles. If there is a music that can be associated with LA it will be mambo (but then again some will say this is more associated with 'New York style salsa'). For the rest i would say you can dance LA on pretty much everything (as it is as i said a fusion dance style). Cuban style is often more danced on Cuban style music.

I invite you to try them out both. Hopefully you will discover the pleasures, the beauties of both and enjoy both ... Dance styles are always in evolution just as music is ... who knows how it will all look like in ten years from now ...

Let's stop here because ... we shouldn't think too much ... let's dance!

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