Danzon Dancers- Image Courtesy of Viva Panama Organization


Danzón evolved from the form of contradanse that arrived on Saint Dominque in what is now modern day Haiti on the island of Hispañiola. Civil unrest rose from the treatment of Spanish slaves compared to the treatment of French slaves. Spanish slaves were given more civil liberties then French slaves (1). Eventually, the tension resulted in invasions and conflicts which led to the emigration of French colonist to Cuba.

These immigrants settled in Sierra Maestra and contributed to the development of Salsa. Contradanza evolved into danza and danza developed into danzón. Danzón was created by Miguel Faílde Pérez in 1879 (10). The original form included an introduction of four bars and a paseo of four bars, which is repeated an followed by a melody (10). Between the first and second melody the dancers do not dance but they choose their partners and walk onto the dance floor. Amazingly, all the dancers start together on the fourth beat of the fourth bar in the paseo. During the second introduction, the dancers interact with each other and then start together as the paseo finishes. Danzón dance partners move together in the slow-quick-quick rhythmic pattern or a contratempo, opposite to what we see in salsa. Danzón music was usually played by charangas francescas or French orchestras (5). Each charanga consists of a rhythm section, strings and a flute. Modern charangas include vocalists.



History of Salsa
African Rhythms
History of Salsa Dancing
French Connection
Cuban Son