The salsa originated in the Caribbean, although it also has a strong African influence. It is typically danced by couples and centers on a four-beat combination of two quick steps and a slow step with a pause or tap. Partners can then add turns and other flourishes to this basic footwork.
Merengue is an essentially Dominican dance, even being named the official dance of the country. It is generally considered easy to learn. The following basic movement is performed to the front, back, and side in couples dancing – step onto the inside edge of the foot, roll the foot to transfer weight, then drag the other foot to meet the first foot.
Cha Cha Cha
The cha cha cha, also called the cha cha, is another Cuban-born dance, similar to the mambo in style. However, after the basic movement of stepping forward or backward and shifting weight between feet, the cha cha cha adds a quick set of three steps to the side. This gives the dance its name, as many dancers will count out these steps as “cha cha cha”.
The bachata is another dance from the Dominican Republic. Dancers move side to side in a four-beat pattern – three steps to the side and a pause. This pause forms the essence of the bachata as dancers incorporate pronounced hip movements. Overall, the dance is much more about moving the body with style than the simple back and forth steps.