Salsa dancing developed in New York City during the 1970s. It evolved from popular forms of Latin American dance, such as the cha-cha-cha and mambo.
Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants created salsa dancing when they began to combine steps from dances popular in their home countries. Other influences which shaped the development of salsa dancing include African drum rhythms, Spanish guitar music and disco music.
The dance spread from New York as immigrants settled in other places. Over time, salsa dance variations developed, and these variations often share their name with the geographical area where they were created. For example, there is a Los Angeles-style salsa as well as a New York-style. The Cuban style is also known as casino. From this variation, a Miami-style casino dance evolved.
The origins of the term "salsa" for this type of dance are not clear. Some explanations link the name to the salsa dip. The dance, like the dip, features a mixture of elements. Another explanation suggests that the dance movements are hot and spicy, just like the dip.
Salsa is a popular dance form, and various organizations host salsa competitions. Both the World Salsa Federation and Club Mayan host a World Salsa Championship. Other competitions, such as the World Latin Dance Cup, include a salsa category.