SalsaSalsa (dance)Salsa dancers Kevin and Sarahi dancing. Reevolution XIII Cali International Art Festival, October 2007. There is some controversy surrounding the origins of the word salsa. In many styles of salsa dancing, as a dancer changes weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. The arms are used by the "lead" dancer to communicate or signal the "follower," either in "open" or "closed" position. In the original Latin America form, the forward/backward motion of salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact. In some styles of salsa, such as LA and New York style, the dancers remain in a slot or line (switching places), while in some Latin American styles, such as Cuban style, the dancers circle around each other, sometimes in 3 points. Latin American styles originate from Puerto Rico, Cuba and surrounding Caribbean islands. Dancing Salsa in Mexico The cowbell is played on the core beats of salsa, 1, 3, 5 and 7.