Different travellings ("deplacements")
By travelling we mean how the couple moves referenced to each other and to the dancefloor.
Circular travelling: The movements are performed while one or both members of the couple move circularly. The centre of that circle can be either the leader, the follower or most frequently an imaginary centre in between both of them. This is a strong characteristic of the Cuban style.
Linear travelling: The follower performs her patterns along a line. The leader tries to optimise his position to facilitate his leading, so his movements can take many different shapes. Linear traveling style is often referred to as "Cross Body Style" or "Cross Body Lead Style". In these articles we will refer to it a "CBL style". NY, LA and PuertoRican styles are particular cases of CBL salsa style.
On the spot: Leader and follower remain basically on the spot. They perform some turns around each other, without reaching an open position.Colombian style is a rather "on the spot" style, with some lateral movements borrowed from the traditional Cumbia. This style is seldom seen in the salsotecas, since it is not so flashy as the other two.
Why do CBL dancers need so much room????
I have often heard that CBL styles require most dance room than the circular ones. Well. This is both true, and false.
One of the difficulties in the CBL style is to keep the line. When you start dancing on the dancefloor you should occupy the same space (a narrow and long rectangle) that you will occupy at the end of the song. People dancing around you expect you to respect this rule. You stay on your area, I stay in mine. I don't bother you, you don't bother me. If you change the direction of the line, then you will literally invade the area of other dancers. Believe me, you don't need that space. You just have to learn to keep your line while dancing.
The second issue is how long the line should be. It is certainly more beautiful if you lead in a long line, but that's not always convenient in a dance floor. Firstly due to "leading&following" problems derived of long leading (I won't expand on this explanation since it is not the object of this article), secondly because probably you are not the only one on the dance floor. If the dancefloor is crowded you still can dance CBL. You just have to lead a shorter line.
Providing that the CBL dancers keep to their lines (their space) and to a sensible line length, I don't think that CBL styles require much more room than circular ones (except for the arms styling! Careful ladies on a crowded dance floor)