Celia Cruz Inspired Through Salsa

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The majority of Americans think that salsa is a spicy tomato dipping sauce for tortilla chips. Perhaps, the more interesting meaning of the word refers to a genre of a vibrant dance that originated in New York. Salsa, performed to an African-Carribean beat, was and still is wildly popular within the Latino community in New York. Salsa had a queen, Celia Cruz, as pop had a king, Michel Jackson. Celia Cruz, the “queen of salsa,” was the greatest salsa dancer of all time. Her ability to shake up her audience by beautifully singing while dancing was unique. Indeed, Cruz is remembered by many because she would chant “Azucar” (“sugar”) in order to excite her audience. Thus, she should be remembered for not only her ability to sing and dance, but also for her unique style, and her compelling, awe-inspiring life story.
Celia Cruz,“queen of salsa,” was gifted. She was able to sing beautifully and dance her heart out simultaneously, a seemingly difficult task. Although Cruz had never sought vocal training as a child, her vocal ability was quite impressive. Her voice was powerful yet refined, allowing her audience to hear her powerful voice in a way that did not hurt the ears. More importantly, all of her songs allowed her to show off her voice. Therefore, it is no wonder that she was able to attract large audiences. Her dancing skills are unparalleled, which is largely the reason she earned the prestigious title, “the queen of salsa.” Dance was changed as she was able to create, with others, a new branch or genre of music salsa. Celia Cruz gifted the world with new choreography which allowed her vibrant dance to spread for generations to come. Her passion for dancing salsa was portrayed in every single performance as she would make moves that only a person with true skill could make. Furthermore, her facial expressions allowed the audience to feel her emotions. Celia Cruz’s skills in song and dance make her a true star.
Celia Cruz is not only known for her ability to sing and dance but also is known for her somewhat quirky, but truly unique style. Cruz’s most famous saying is “Azúcar” (sugar). This made her unique as she would shout “Azúcar” in all of her performances and would say it in a joyful, high spirited voice. This would even cause members of the audience to chant “Azucar” as well. Additionally, her smile was infectious, and her energy was one of a kind, keeping her band members energized throughout her performance. Perhaps, one of the main reasons for her success was her great, positive attitude! Cruz’s positive attitude will never be forgotten because she always brought joy to her fans. Cruz was a true sweetheart and she was able to share her sweetness to the rest of the world! Additionally, her physical appearance was one of a kind as she would always perform in “zapatos sin tacón,” (dressing shoes without a heel). Also, she would also wear bright vibrant colors which looked great on her. Finally, she would almost always wear a new wig to each performance. Her wigs caused her to have the most outlandish hairstyle which was able to effectively grab the attention of her audience. This is also why it is believed that she would always have hundreds of wigs at her disposal. The same goes for her dresses that were always dramatic and were often only used once or twice in her entire career. Celia Cruz’s distinctive style left mark on the world that can never be erased.
Celia Cruz’s natural talent and style made her famous, but her life story makes her a true inspiration to this very day. Cruz grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Santos Suárez, Havana, Cuba. Her father was a poor, but happy man who made a living as a railroad stoker. As a child she would sing for pleasure. Her voice grabbed her neighbor’s attention as they knew that she had a talent. However, as she grew up, it was made clear that she was to be a teacher. Thus, she attended school in order to be one, but one day her internal desire pushed her away from the classroom and into fame and performance arts. She did quite well in Cuba, but one day she and her band members had to leave Cuba due to the oppressive government. Celia remembers leaving her sick mother behind in Cuba and leaving her home country. As a matter of fact, her emotions prompted her to write “Cuando Salí de Cuba.” (“When I Left Cuba.”) This song explains how difficult it was for her to leave her ailing mother behind and how she would never forget her Cuban roots.
Celia Cruz lived in New York where she performed until her death. Celia Cruz worked with the Fania All Stars group, and they performed salsa in New York and around the world, thus making salsa a global phenomenon. Celia’s life was not an easy one, but her perseverance inspires and will continue to inspire generations to come.