Saturday, June 11, 2011

Random Ballroom Musings: Salsa on 1 vs. Salsa on 2? And Mambo?

I have always been confused by the distinction. Here is my list of questions. SOMEBODY HELP PLEASE AHHH.

1. The 1 vs. 2 means when you're supposed to break forward, correct? 1 = salsa, 2 = mambo?
2. If that's the case, though, don't on 1 and on 2 look completely different in terms of footwork?
3. Which one should I take classes in if I want to apply the moves across to my mambo routines in Rhythm?
4. Which one is "Los Angeles style" and which one is "New York style"?
5. What does that even mean?
6. Why is life so complicated?

Every site I look at online seems to contradict another in terms of the answers to these questions. Here's a video from Howcast that purports to describe the difference. Is this accurate?

The reason why I'm asking is because I'm interested in a Zozi deal that my friend Eugene posted - $40 for three months of classes (RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME), but I want to be sure I'll be taking the right style before I commit to it.


  1. The video is accurate in terms of the basic distinction between On1 and On2. Technically, the footwork is the same, but shifted a beat. Although, On1 your "pause" is with your feet together and On2 your "pause" is with your feet apart, and that can give you a very different feel, especially when spinning (On2 gives you a whole extra beat in your basic right-hand turn). Also, On2 fits much better with a lot of salsa music, especially in songs with a clave.

    There are actually two different On2 styles: New York and Puerto Rican. The only difference between NY and PR is that in NY the lead starts back and in PR the lead starts forward. Literally, the pattern just shifts by half, the rest is all the same.

    In my opinion, you should go with On2. First of all, On2 is what you would call Mambo in the ballroom world. Also, from what I have heard, it is much easier to make the transition from On2 to On1 than the other way around. Plus, you are in NY, not LA, so you should def. go with On2. And you dance Cha Cha On2, so any patterns that can crossover will be easier to figure out.

  2. Thank you, Jennifer! That was so helpful. This is the company that I was talking about -

    The problem is that they say they teach Los Angeles On1, but the videos seem like the salsa / mambo I know and love, hence this entry!