Salsa Music

Catch Jake playing percussion w/bands at various locations. Click HERE for more info...

FOR INFO ON VibraSON - Jake's new band, click HERE!


If you're dancing salsa now or interested in dancing salsa, a big reason for this is likely salsa music! It is exciting, exhilirating, hot, infectious and begs to be expressed in dance. The dance and the music are closely tied. We dance to the music, the musicians play also to the roots of the dance.

The origins of salsa music reach back into the distant past all the way to African rhythms. Slaves from Africa that were transported to places such as Cuba were not even allowed to express themselves musically, but did so anyway, using makeshift instruments such as cow bells, animal skulls, and of course conga drums made of barrels and animal skins. Nothing could suppress the rhythms.

I sometimes think of salsa music as "pizza" which is something that derived from elsewhere (Italy) but developed and evolved greatly to something else in this country of USA. Salsa combines influences from music of many countries via the people immigrating here from those countries and converging mainly on the New York Latin and Jazz music scenes during the last 70 years.

You must understand the basic musical rhythms to dance well, and this topic is explored further on our site. As to the exact origins of the music and the complexities of salsa, it is advisable to read some of the books published on the subject or to visit as a start, Rita's Salsa Roots page for more discussion.

If research music seems too daunting to go to a dance club, then don't worry. Salsa music is mainly written in a common time signature (4/4) and follows the same conventions of many other types of music. So, it has the same underlying structure of other forms such as blues, swing. But the complex percussion makes it unique. As long as you can hear the beat, you can enjoy the music and dance to it well. Learning more about it will come naturally as you dance more as well.

SalsabyJake recommends close attention to the music, the great local music scene here in the S.F. Bay Area, and to the bands that play. Enjoy all the intricacies, improvisations and energy that makes up salsa music, and dancing will come naturally.

And remember that this music brings us all closer together as a community. So embrace the scene as a whole to get the most out of salsa music and dance. Check out links under our "Music" menu for more!




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Welcome to, the home for Jake's Salsa Classes and Instruction in the San Francisco Bay Area.

JAKE has studied and taught Salsa dance classes for over 15 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has spread the SF style in clubs worldwide. He taught at the original legendary Emeryville Kimball's Carnival, the Bay Area's former premier Salsa Club for over 3 years, and at the Bay Area's longest running nightclub and Salsa Studio, Alberto's Nightclub  in Mountain View for over 2 years.   Jake's teaching methodology, style, and sense of humor became a favorite in the Bay Area Salsa scene over the years.  SalsabyJake teaches at several locations around the Bay Area,including  Cafe Cocomo in San Francisco, which is now the premier spot for Salsa in the Bay Area, developing a loyal following after opening over 12 years ago. Cafe Cocomo was favorably reviewed in both the 2002 - 2006 Zagat Guides to Nightlife in the S.F. Bay Area, with the "fabulous instructors" being mentioned as well (that's us) - the only Salsa instructors noted in the Guide!

SalsabyJake's Salsa dance classes are taught with all dancing levels in mind, going into important detail about the patterns taught, and the means for making them easy to dance, and attractive to watch.  Classes are kept "light" too, so that even those dancers struggling with new moves for the first time feel at ease and remember that dancing is for fun!   Many dancers in the Bay Area started dancing with Jake -  class attendance has topped 100,000 people over the years with steady growth.  Our experience and dedication to teaching solid dance skills that work well in any dance setting, and their commitment to building the Salsa dance community, make him a clear choice for learning to dance Salsa. For more information about us, visit What We Teach. Class schedule is under Classes.

Catch VibraSON, Jake's hot band at clubs locally. Click HERE

NEW!!! - LatinVibeTuesdays in SF! CHECK IT!



Check out as well...

fNOTE! Cocomo closed on SEPT 15, 2014! :-(



arrowCHECK OUT JAKE'S BAND: VibraSON! logo at and Please "Like" us on Facebook at

See the GIGS page for more info...



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Salsa Dance

newbieSee my Dance Humor page for a salsa satire series of animations!

Jake teaches great Salsa classes! Click HERE for more info...

WHAT IS SALSA? Good question...

Salsa, in the musical sense, is a contemporary musical style, which draws influences from a number of other types of music and cultures. It is often described as Afro-Cuban from the influence of those cultures on the rhythms that are prevelant. It was also an outgrowth of the earlier Mambo scene in this country.

Salsa, in the dance sense, is a simply a dance that expresses the rhythms found in Salsa music. It too, has roots in Mambo and other latin dances such as Cumbia and Charanga. Many of the steps in Salsa can be extended to those dances.

WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT SALSA? Lots of things...

Salsa music has a driving beat that makes people want to dance, and the dancers of Salsa, or "Salseros" express that in moves ranging from very intimite, to intricate. Salsa is our music and dance, because it draws influence from many places, and it can be done in many different ways. There are no rules or regulations, just the fun of moving to the music and feeling good.

You won't find Salsa in the ballroom competitions, because it is too nebulous to mold into the rules by which those competitions are judged.

Salsa brings together people of many ages and cultures, which share an interest in the music and dance, and that in itself is a very good thing! It is simply the most popular and romantic dance today.

WHAT'S BAD ABOUT SALSA? Nothing really... except that it can be very addicting!


Salsa has evolved over the years, but the fact remains that, despite the variety of styles, it is a close partner dance to great energy music. Salsa dance can be enjoyed after just a few lessons, but of course the more dedication you direct towards it, the greater the rewards. The basics are quite easy compared to some other dances. But it is a technical dance too, and having great partner skills is really essential in enjoying it with a lot of other dancers/partners. The better your skills are, the less energy required to dance and the focus of your attention can then shift back to enjoying the music, your partner, and the overall experience.

To understand more of what we offer, please visit our What We Teach page! And check out the links under "Dance" above!

Now Shut up n' Dance! :-) -Jake

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