New York Style Salsa & Salsa On 2

What is New York Style Salsa On2?

New York Style Salsa On2, also known as New York mambo, or simply mambo, is a linear style of salsa dancing that emphasizes musicality and elegance. It is danced on the second beat of the bar of music, “on 2,” which gives it a distinctive smooth and flowing feel.

The structure of the dance is linear, meaning the dancers move back and forth along a line of dance or “slot,” using the cross-body lead as the primary movement to switch places.

Dancing “on 2” timing means the dancer’s break steps—the steps used to change directions—are on the second beat of the bar of music: on counts 2 and the 6 when counting like a dancer in 8s.

The dance is rooted in the Cuban son and Palladium era mambo, and through the years it’s taken inspiration from cuban rumba, broadway, ballroom dancing, jazz, swing, tap and Latin hustle.

Are NY Style Salsa and Salsa On2 the Same?

Most people use the terms “NY style salsa” and “salsa on2” interchangeably but I argue style and timing are two distinct ideas.

NY style salsa refers to how the originators danced: their visual aesthetic, mannerisms and way of moving.

Salsa on 2 refers to dancing linear style salsa on the second beat of the bar of music.

So, although New York style salsa is danced on2, it’s also possible to dance salsa on 2—using the same structure and timing—and not have a NY aesthetic to your dancing.

What is the basic step of New York Style Salsa On 2?

The front to back basic step used in NY style salsa / mambo / salsa on 2 is taken from a dance called the Cuban son.

Salsa On 2 Timing & The Basic Step


Angel and Addie Rodríguez of Razz M’Tazz Dance Company


Who Pioneered New York Style Salsa?

The creation of NY Style Salsa is primarily attributed to Eddie Torres. He’s recognized as the “Mambo King” and played a crucial role in formalizing the timing and structure of this style, taking his his on 2 timing around the world via the salsa congress circuit, starting in the late 90s and early 2000s.


History of NY Style Salsa (Salsa On2)


1930s-1940s: The Roots of Mambo

Mambo music is pioneered in Cuba by the charanga Arcaño y sus Maravillas and further popularized by Pérez Prado. In the 40’s the dance of the Cuban Mambo takes shape and in 1949 Pérez Prado moves to México taking Mambo with him.

With an audience largely coming from outside of Cuba, Prado infused elements of North American jazz and swing and took the mambo to the top of the charts in the US.

1950s: The Palladium Era & Mambo Craze in New York City

The Palladium Ballroom opens in 1946 and by 1948 the mambo craze is in full swing in the city with the Big Three musical acts: Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Machito.

The Palladium became the place to be for the best dancers in the city of all colors. Their big nights included shows with top dancers like Augie and Margo Rodríguez, The Mambo Aces, The Cha-Cha Aces and perhaps the most famous of all, Pedro “Cuban Pete” Aguilar and Millie Donay.

Mambo’s structure and rhythm heavily influence what will later become NY Style Salsa.

1950: Eddie Torres is born.

The stage has been set for the…

1960s-1970s: The Birth of Salsa

The mambo craze ended and the Palladium closed in 1966 but latin nights sprung up around New York to keep fueling the communities thirst for the music and dancing.

Fania Records is founded by Johnny Pacheco in 1964 and, soon after, the Fania All Stars in 1968. Although it had a new name, the music was the same. Pacheco chose “salsa” as the memorable and marketable name that would take cuban music to the masses.





**1960s: The Birth of Salsa**
– **Eddie Torres**: Born in 1950, Eddie Torres grows up in the vibrant Latin dance scene of New York. He begins to develop a unique style of dance that emphasizes the break on the second beat of the measure.
– **Fania All-Stars**: Founded in 1964, the Fania All-Stars and the Fania Records label play a significant role in popularizing salsa music globally. Their music becomes the soundtrack for NY Style Salsa.

**1970s: Formalization of Salsa On2**
– **Eddie Torres’ Contributions**: Throughout the 1970s, Eddie Torres refines and teaches his style of salsa, which emphasizes breaking on the second beat. He establishes a clear distinction between On1 (LA Style) and On2 (NY Style) salsa.
– **Palladium Dance Scene**: The Palladium continues to be a crucial venue for Latin music and dance, fostering the growth of salsa.

**1980s: Recognition and Growth**
– **Eddie Torres’ School**: Eddie Torres opens his dance school in New York City, teaching Salsa On2 to a broader audience. His methods and techniques begin to spread.
– **Media Attention**: Salsa music and dance gain more media attention, further popularizing the NY Style.

**1990s: Global Expansion**
– **International Workshops**: Eddie Torres and other NY Style Salsa dancers start conducting workshops worldwide, spreading the style beyond New York.
– **Influence of Latin Music**: The rise of Latin music in mainstream media, with artists like Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz, bolsters interest in salsa dancing.

**2000s: Modern Era of Salsa On2**
– **Continued Influence**: Eddie Torres remains a prominent figure in the salsa community, continually teaching and promoting NY Style Salsa.
– **Festivals and Congresses**: Salsa congresses and festivals around the world prominently feature NY Style Salsa, cementing its place in the global salsa community.

**2010s-Present: Contemporary Scene**
– **Diverse Influences**: NY Style Salsa continues to evolve, incorporating influences from other dance styles and maintaining its popularity in the global salsa scene.
– **Online Learning**: The proliferation of online dance tutorials and virtual classes allows for the further spread of NY Style Salsa techniques.

### Sources:
1. [Salsa Vida: New York Style Salsa (Salsa On2)](
2. [YouTube: SaLsa ~ NY Style](
3. [Salsa Forums: History of NY Style Salsa](
4. [World of Dance: The Evolution of Salsa](

This timeline provides an overview of the major milestones in the development of NY Style Salsa, highlighting key figures and events that have shaped its history.

Some of the key figures include Eddie Torres, known as “The Mambo King,” who is credited with popularizing the On2 timing. Other influential dancers include Frankie Martinez, Adolfo Indacochea, and Yamulee Dance Company.

How does New York Style differ from LA Style Salsa?

The first difference is in the timing:

  • NY style salsa is danced On2, with the break step happening on the second beat
  • LA style salsa is danced On1, with the break step on the first beat.

The second difference is how they begin the basic step:

  • Priding themselves on being gentleman, the “New York way” is for the leads to start the dance by stepping backwards, taking their back break step on 2, in order to invite the lady to step forward to start the dance.
  • In LA style or salsa on 1, the lead commonly starts the dance with a forward break step.

Lastly their is a stylistic or aesthetic difference:

  • NY style often focuses more on intricate turn patterns, jazzy footwork and body movement.
  • LA style is known for sharp movements, flashy moves and tricks.

What type of music is used for New York Style Salsa?

The common preference for most On 2 dancers is salsa dura, the classic Nuyorican sound of the “old school” or “hard” salsa that came out of New York in the 1960s and 1970s when Fania Records was at its peak. It’s characterized by a focus on the instrumental part of the music (piano, bass, horns, percussion, etc.) as opposed to the lead vocalist.

This is in contrast to the romantic salsa born in the 1980s that was smoother, more melodic and focused heavily on the lead vocalist.

These days, people dance salsa on 2 to various types of salsa music, and each dancer has their preferences.

Is New York Style Salsa suitable for beginners?

Yes, beginners can start learning NY style salsa, or salsa on 2, no problem at all.

There’s a never-ending online argument about which timing is better or harder, but it’s useless.

Salseros all over the world have successfully learned from zero with both timings, on 1 and on 2.

It really comes down to where you live. Some areas typically teach on 1 first and other areas of the world are on 2 focused.

So don’t stress. Learn whichever timing is danced more where you live, so you can start enjoying this wonderful dance and join the community.


What are some characteristic moves of New York Style Salsa?

The most important move in NY style salsa or salsa on 2 is the cross-body lead, which allows the dancers to move back and forth in a linear structure often called a “slot.”

Other moves include intricate shines (solo footwork) inspired by jazz and tap, fancy turn patterns, and body isolations.

The most common moves beginners need to learn are:

The most common variations of the basic step are:

  • Front to back basic
  • Side to side basic
  • Back basic

Other fundamental steps of LA style salsa or salsa on1 include:

  • Cross body lead
  • Right turn
  • Left turn
  • Change of place (similar to an enchufla in cuban style salsa)
  • Inside turn
  • Outside turn
  • and more…

You can learn them all in our online salsa program.




Where can I learn New York Style Salsa or Salsa On 2?

NY Style Salsa can be learned at many dance studios around the world, especially in cities with vibrant Latin dance communities. Online tutorials and classes are also available for those who prefer to learn at home.

Are there famous events or congresses for New York Style Salsa?

Yes, there are many salsa congresses and festivals dedicated to NY Style Salsa. Some notable ones include the New York International Salsa Congress, the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, and the Los Angeles Salsa Festival.

9. **What is the basic step pattern for New York Style Salsa On2?**
The basic step pattern involves breaking forward on the second beat, stepping back on the third beat, and pausing on the fourth beat, with a similar pattern for the backward steps on the sixth, seventh, and eighth beats.

10. **What are some common social etiquette rules for salsa dancing?**
Social etiquette includes asking partners to dance politely, respecting personal space, not criticizing your partner’s dancing, thanking your partner after the dance, and maintaining good personal hygiene.

For more detailed information on NY Style Salsa On2, you can visit various salsa dance forums, dance school websites, and attend local salsa events to immerse yourself in the community.