The Orishas dances are a part of the Afro-Cuban Folklore dances. For many Cubans Orishas are much more than just a dance, it’s a religion and a culture. Orishas are the gods of the Yoruba/Santeria Religion (and a few more). Each of these gods looks a certain way, it has a story and a character.
In addition to the story behind each orisha, nine of them have each a unique dance corresponding to unique musical incantations accompanied by special drums beats played on the Batá.

Here are a few Orishas commonly associated with aspects of life and human traits that may influence Cuban salsa dancing:

💛Ochun – female wearing yellow dress, grace and beauty, sometimes you will hear the dancer laugh during (it sounds bit crazy :D) – associated with love, beauty, sensuality, femininity, and sweetness. Dancers may channel the graceful and flowing movements associated with Ochún, incorporating fluid arm movements and gentle swaying to evoke her energy.

❤⚡ Chango associated with strength, virility, power, and passion. Chango is the Orisha of the lightning, war but also of drums, music, and dance. He represents masculine power and sensuality. His dance is energetic and powerful and has a special connection to drums.

🖤 Eleggua is the guardian of crossroads and is associated with opening paths, opportunities, and new beginnings. He has many faces, sometimes described as a childish trickster, and sometimes as a grown warrior. Dancers may invoke Elegguá’s energy through playful, improvisational movements, incorporating unexpected changes in direction and rhythm. The Elegua dance has a lot of flow and much play between control and release.

💙 Yemayá dancer wearing blue dress – is the mother goddess of the sea and is associated with nurturing, protection, and emotional depth. Dancers may incorporate flowing, undulating movements reminiscent of waves, as well as gentle rocking motions, to evoke Yemayá’s maternal presence.

💚 Ogún is the warrior god of iron and is associated with courage, determination, and perseverance. Dancers may channel Ogún’s strength and resilience through powerful, purposeful movements, incorporating strong arm and leg actions and assertive footwork.

When you watch traditional performances you can hear cries of warriors, dog barks and the clash of metal on metal, accompanied by aggressive body movements and stabbing gestures, you can see the throwing of the axe and the palm frond. The dance moves are actually little stories showing Ogun cutting through the branches and forest to create and open the path (from this example you can actually apply the destruction of the nature in front of him but in the same time the creation of new path) with his weapon.

Oya is the Orisha of winds, lightning, death & rebirth. She is the guardian of the dead and guides the souls to the right place. Her dance is energetic and flows like the wind and is as strong as lightning.