Clave is the key element to salsa of all varieties, be it from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela or anywhere! Without clave, you do not have salsa music or dancing. It is not enough to read and understand the rhythm from a technical point of view, it is something you must learn to FEEL inside yourself. You must internalize the rhythm before you can really be a good dancer.
Angel Navarro teaches workshops on Clave,
dance on Clave, live, eat, breathe and dream in Clave!
Clave -- A five-note, bi-measure pattern which serves as the foundation for all of the rhythmic styles in salsa music. The clave consists of a "strong" measure containing three notes (also called the tresillo), and a "weak" measure containing two notes, resulting in patterns beginning with either measure, referrred to as "three-two" or two-three." There are two types of clave patterns associated with popular (secular) music: son clave and rumba clave. Another type of clave - 6/8 clave - originated in several styles of West African sacred music.
Claves -- Two round, polished sticks which are used to play the clave patterns.