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Salsa On1 Vs Salsa On2

Salsa On1 and Salsa On2 aka Mambo, refer to two different styles of timings of dancing Salsa, primarily distinguished by the timing and the way dancers interpret the music. Here's a breakdown of the main differences that people often refer to:

Mambo Salsa On2


  • Salsa On1: In this style, dancers start their basic step on the first beat of the music going forward On1 also known as a break step. It is also known as "Los Angeles style" with "1-2-3-5-6-7" timing, where the numbers correspond to the beats in the music. Note this is also used in Cuban Salsa & Puerto Rican styles. This is the most widely used timing to dance Salsa in the world.

  • Salsa On2: Also known as "New York style" or "Mambo style," dancers in On2 start their basic step on the second beat of the music breaking back or forward. The timing is often referred to as "2-3-4-6-7-8." or "2-3-5-6-7-1." This is considered one of the oldest ways to dance Salsa but has become more popular in the last two decades. Note: Puerto Rican & Cuban styles are often danced On2.

Connection with the Music:

  • Salsa On1: Dancers in On1 typically connect more with the melody and the accents on the first beat, creating a smooth and flowing style.

  • Salsa On2: On2 dancers, on the other hand, often emphasize the percussive elements of the music, syncing their movements with the clave rhythm and creating a more rhythmic and dynamic style.


  • Salsa On1: Musicality in On1 is often about expressing the melody and following the structure of the music.

  • Salsa On2: On2 dancers may focus more on interpreting the rhythm and playing with the musical accents, incorporating more syncopated steps and shines.

Geographical Influences:

  • Salsa On1: Often associated with the West Coast of USA, particularly in Los Angeles.

  • Salsa On2: Originated in New York and is sometimes referred to as "New York style."

It's important to note that these distinctions are not strict rules, and there is a lot of overlap and variation within each style. Many dancers choose to learn both On1 and On2 to become versatile in their salsa dancing.

It's also important to realise that this article is not about style or structure of Salsa, some structures & fundamentals are more suited to On1 and some are more suited On2. Ultimately, the choice between On1 and On2 often comes down to personal preference and the style of salsa that a dancer enjoys the most.

How to learn Salsa On2?

We recommend staring Salsa On1 first then try out Salsa On2 once you have learnt the basics on1. Salsa Latina has been teaching Salsa On2 for many many years and the style we teach is a New York Structure, so it can easily be switched between dancing On1 and dancing On2. You can learn Salsa On2 at Salsa Latina in regular Salsa imp-int classes, we also have a basics class in our online salsa course series.

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