The name Salsa (sauce) has been described as a dance since the mid-1970s. The use of the term for the dance started in New York. It evolved from earlier Cuban dance forms such as Son, Son Montuno, cha cha cha, mambo and Puerto Rican bomba and plena which were popular in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Latino communities in New York since the 1940s. Salsa, like most music genres, has gone through a lot of variation through the years and incorporated elements of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dances such as Guaguancó and Pachanga. Different countries of the Caribbean and Latin America have
distinct salsa styles of their own, such
as Cuban, Cali Colombia, Puerto Rican, L.A. and New York styles.
Salsa is different everywhere. For example, Celia Cruz says she makes a Cuban style of salsa. It is aimed heavily towards the Afro-Latino communities. Her songs represent traditional Cuban sounds and customs. Most countries add a different twist to their salsa dance and music and that's what makes it so unique. In the US there are multiple styles in different areas that represent those communities.
There is some controversy surrounding the origins of the word "salsa". Some claim that it was based on a cry shouted by musicians while they were playing their music. Others believe that the term was created by record labels to better market their music, who chose the word "salsa" because of its spicy and hot connotations. Still, others believe the term came about because salsa dancing and music is a mixture of different styles, just like salsa or "sauce" in Latin American countries is a mixture of different ingredients.