Internal thoughts

This past weekend, my best friend Emily was in town from Indianapolis. She and I are both a part of a ministry called Young Life that works with students in schools in Lexington. When she lived in Lexington, she was a Young Life leader at Bryan Station High School, and I am at Tate’s Creek High School. Bryan Station is known for having a large Hispanic community, so while she was a leader there, she came to meet many Mexican students. While she was in town this weekend, we hung out with some of her old students, Mayra and Lupe.

I’ve known Mayra and Lupe for about a year and a half now. I love spending time with them because I get to use my Spanish and here and there I make them teach me a few dance moves. 🙂 Recently, they showed me Bachata and some Salsa moves. As we trotted around the room, I started thinking..

Why are there two different meanings for the word “Salsa”?

Have you ever thought about that? One’s a sauce and one’s a dance. Also, the wonderful, cinnamon-infused drink “Horchata” sounds an awful lot like “Bachata”. Those two might not have anything to do with one another, but the ending “-chata” of both of the words had me wondering. Do Mexican foods and Mexican dances have anything to do with each other?

Something to think about. So, I decided to do some research to find out where these things derived from and why they mean what they do, and/or if they’re connected!

I typed in “salsa” into Google Translate just to be sure, but salsa literally means “sauce”. Now that makes sense for the food. But why would they name a dance after something you put on a chip?

Well, come to find out, it makes plenty of sense. Salsa the sauce came first. It it known for it’s colorful mixture of ingredients that give it a flavorful – and sometimes spicy – taste! Just like the sauce, the dance has the same characteristics. Okay, maybe not the whole “food” part, but Salsa dancing is known to be sexy and “spicy” as people like to call, consisting of a variety of moves. The origin of Salsa dancing and Salsa music began in  the Carribena, in Cuba, actually,. This type of music is grouped with Spanish, African, Cuban, and South American sounds and cultures. According to, “The name “Salsa” is the Spanish word for sauce, connoting (in American Spanish) a spicy flavor. The Salsa aesthetic is more flirtatious and sensuous than its ancestor, Cuban Son. Salsa also suggests a “mixture” of ingredients, though this meaning is not found in most stories of the term’s origin.”

This delicious condiment, spicy, yet cultured, not only serves a purpose around the dinner table, but also tells a deeper story on the dance floor — one that shows deep roots that have a history. Now, go ahead and picture two sides of salsa doing intricate foodwork like I am… Nope, just me? Alrighty then. Suit yourself.

Next up, Horchata vs. Bachata!

One comment

  1. stevenpaulalvarez · February 18, 2016

    I like the way you are thinking through languages here, or thinking bilingually. Bachata comes from the Domincan Republic, and it’s a popular form of dance, you are write. It has no relation to horchata however, but I suspect Dominicanos may have a similar drink.

    Salsa is the same, I think, but I believe there may be a reason that has to do with spicy food. I’m not sure. That’s a good point. Salsa dancing is very popular in Mexico, and the music I’ve heard folks describe as “tropical.”


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