Cuban Dancers not liking Cross Body?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Captain Picard, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Captain Picard

    Captain Picard Changui

    A while back out local Cuban salsa classes were forced to close. The nearest salsa classes were a Cross body class. Myself and few others joined this class a few did not even want to try. After a month I am the only one who is still dancing with this class, they others either don't dance or have to travel much further which they don't do as much.
    My point being that they just do not seem to like the cross body style of salsa, they seem to find it too "formal" or just say they don't like it.
    What does everybody else think?
    I personally am enjoying it very much. While similar but different I have enjoyed the challenge of learning a new style and think it enhances my dancing by being able to dance both styles. Dancing socially after the classes and being able to throw in the odd Cuban move does seem to go down well. So I can't really understand the dislike of the styles. As for me whether it be Cuban or Cross Body I am still dancing Salsa which I love doing.
     
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  2. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I think the difference between Cuban and slot style salsa run far deeper than just the repertoire and etiquette. I think there's a fundamental difference in attitude and approach. So the longer you spend immersed in one, the less likely you are to "get" the other one.

    An example with a different dance: I had got used to the idea I could quickly become competent in any style of dance having found transition from salsa to cha cha and basic bachata quite easy. But then I find that WCS has a completely different approach to lead/follow and hijacking, and I find myself having to learn something besides steps and timing... or I tried Tango, where again the emphsis is on something completely other than steps and timing.

    So not only is it a new dance but it's a change of how to thing about dance, which can really deflate the ego at first! That's why I think a lot of dancers don't like to make the transition between Cuban and Slot styles.
     
  3. WessexSalsero

    WessexSalsero Rhythm Deputy

    I admire that, well done! You are a bigger man than I was.

    There is a long list of reasons for this reaction. Maybe at the root of it is simply a reluctance to re-learn something that you feel you already know.

    Let's hope your mates will give it another go inspired by your example.

    Out of interest: What do you think is different between you and your friends? Attitude, general dancing ability? Why do you think they quit and you didn't?
     
  4. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    First let me say that I think that the people who dance and appreciate both styles have the right idea. However, I'm not one of them. After dancing casino for a couple of years I tried some crossbody, both LA and NY. I agree that learning a new moves in class is always interesting and challenging. But after class when the social dancing started, I just didn't enjoy it. I don't know how much of that is due to the fact that I learned Cuban first. I do know that I don't like the linear motion. I feel like there's way too much marking time in place. I like to be constantly traveling.

    I agree that there is a fundamental difference in attitude and approach. The emphasis is on different things in the two styles and I think there is an aspect of personality that also plays into it, e.g. I think that there are elements of crossbody that run counter to my personality and therefore I don't like them.

    To me the emphasis in Cuban salsa is on musicality and the connection between the partners. Cuban dancing is about enjoying yourself and having fun with your partner, rather than being about "being the best". Just look at the subjects of threads posted by casineros versus crossbody dancers at this forum. I think the whole Cuban scene is just more relaxed and casual, less competitive. I don't want to feel stressed when I dance. That defeats the whole purpose.

    1) I hate styling. To me the movement looks unnatural and affected, both arms, head and body stuff. Styling is hugely emphasized in crossbody. Just look at the number of videos and workshops that are taught in it. So that is one thing that keeps me out of crossbody classes. More than one teacher has been frustrated by my refusal to do styling.

    2) I don't like spins. Again a huge element of crossbody and one that people spend tons of hours and money trying to learn because it is a sort of proof that you are a good dancer if you can spin well. And of course it does require balance and skill, but I don't want to do it. For me more than a double is too much. I like to move, not stick to one spot.

    3) I loath dips, probably because I don't trust a man to not drop me. So this is my own psychological issue. I just don't like not having my weight over my own feet where I am in control. And the acrobatics associated with LA style - no way!

    4) Not big on shines. Bought some shine DVDs but I feel like during shines you might as well be dancing alone because it breaks the connection between the couple, each doing their own thing until they join up again. Certainly many of the videos at youtube seem to confirm this. I don't see many couples maintaining the emotional connection during shines.

    5) Music! When it comes to the music, I don't know where you live or what type of music your teachers have played in class. All too often Cuban teachers think Cuban music is too complex and the dancers won't be able to get it so they play regular salsa even in casino and rueda de casino classes. I was lucky that when I started dancing the DJs played all styles of salsa and no one differentiated between PR versus NY versus Cuba versus Colombia. It was all played and everyone danced to everything without prejudice. But when crossbody came, the big clubs became crossbody and played only PR-NY and a touch of Colombian and so there arose Cuban clubs that play only Cuban. There are probably some predominantly crossbody clubs that throw in an occasional Cuban song but I don't go to crossbody clubs. To me the music comes first. It is the reason I want to dance and if I know I'll be dancing all night without hearing even 1 of my favorite songs, I'd rather stay home. It was better before the clubs split but that's just the reality of the situation now. Some clubs are trying to solve this by having two dance floors.

    Anyway the point being that a dancer who prefers Cuban music is going to look for places/classes where that music is played. Just like I don't expect a lot of crossbody dancers like going to clubs that play predominantly Cuban salsa or classes where the teachers play Cuban salsa. If you live somewhere where the teachers don't play Cuban music than this is not a contributing factor in your case.

    To summarize, for me Casino suits my personality in terms of the dance and my musical taste, whereas crossbody doesn't. BTW I started by listening mostly to PR salsa in 1997 but drifted into Cuban around 2000 and since about 2003 have been hopelessly obsessed with Cuban including son, rumba, changui, songo etc. So for me it was a progression of musical tastes and not just because I started by dancing casino.
     
  5. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    I dance both styles and enjoy it exactly because they are so different - musically and stylistically. But I do understand everybody who doesn't want to learn the other style. It is not easy and each is in a way an acquired taste that takes time to develop. IMHO going Cuban --> Crossbody is more challenging because of the technicallity of Crossbody. For somebody who is already a confident dancer, comfortable in Cuban it would be frustrating to start from zero again and having to relearn a lot of the technical details.

    As for the styling, spinning and shines - for many these are an acquired taste. They feel awkward at first and take a lot of practice until you get more comfortable. But once you do, you realize how much fun they can be. And BTW styling is by no means compulsory except the basic functional styling.

    I have to disagree about the musicality and connection - they are (rather should be) the emphasis in both styles. However I have danced with enough robotic leaders of both styles who are throwing me from one move to another to know that it is lacking equally in both styles.
     
  6. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I do dance both although my xbody is a hybrid with lots of spins with a few double handed typically cuban moves. My cuban dancing to non-cuban salsa music is also a hybrid since the music doesn't have that cuban movement thing in it that we do to timba. My top preference is to dance cuban to timba but even then its key to have a dance partner who has the same feel.

    I can see that for social dancing people could be wanting to be proficient in either even if one has a strong preference for one over the other. However, the people mentioned in the OP did not want to switch to xbody and that could also have something to do with the instructors or the studio. Many xbody studios try to keep their students tethered to the studio by teaching moves that they can only do with fellow students in class so mostly useless for social dancing, whereas cuban salsa "casino" has a syllabus of beginner & intermediate moves that are recognized and danced the same way in most places. Only the advanced moves tend to get more specialized in casino.
     
  7. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    Certainly it should be the emphasis in all dance IMO, and I'm sure you're right about it being lacking in both styles.
     
  8. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    Interesting. Personally I don't think there's any point to moves that aren't leadable, at least if your goal is social dancing. I like a move that you can use on any person and as long as the signals are done right the follower can do it.

    Of course if you are teaching a class for performance or competative salsa routines can have non-leadable moves because they are choreographed so you always know exactly what move will come and when.

    An example of what I mean by a non-leadable move was one that we did in an LA class where after a series of turns the woman had her back to the man no hand hold at all, and she walked forward a few steps and then fell backwards and he caught her. Only someone who has taken that same class or at least learned the exact same move will know that at a certain point she's supposed to walk away and then fall back. You can't signal that move except by whispering "now when I let go of you walk ahead 3 steps and then fall back and a I promise I'll catch you". As a follower I certainly wouldn't want to assume that the man was going to catch me if I suddenly decided to fall back just because it seemed like he had done the same series of turn combination as I had learned once in class.
     
  9. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon Clave Commander

    Uff.. that's obviously dangerous move. The variation I see is leadable though. You can lead upward and back motion. Later when people read each other, maybe you could do it as you describe, but I'd really say you must be a partners of some kind and floor gotta be empty.

    As a side note I spent too much time for my liking, catching ladies who decide to drop/dip right now. Considering that guys tend to be more than 1.5 times heavier and stronger, I see where this is coming from, but still I wonder how these girls survived that long ;)
     
  10. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    Can you lead it if you are not touching? i.e. you let go of her when she has your back to you? I suppose you could give her a push as you let go so she moves forward but then how is she supposed to know to fall unless she happened to be in the same class?
     
  11. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    In my experience this is a myth. I have been to many classes by a lot of different teachers and nobody ever taught me unleadable moves. Some have been difficult to lead, others have been poorly explained and understood so students assumed that they need some sort of secret sign to make them work.

    Surely it must happen sometimes that some unqualified teachers think it's ok to teach unleadable moves. But in all this time I never saw it, so, I cannot believe that it is in any way significant for such a blanket statement. Or maybe it is a regional thing? Or is it ballroom schools that we are talking about?
     
  12. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon Clave Commander

    I can signal this before in musically inapropriate moment. So follow who listens to the music and myself would get a hint, when music changes. To add I could position myself for catching when she sees it, to show I'm ready. I can blow her hair which works as a lead, but you don't need to use hands. There is freedom of interpretation on follows side. If I her walk forward on her own, I espect her to return eventually or go to get her, but if she's free she's free to do what she wishes. :)
    Actually I'd like to learn more about 3D leading. I envy Brasilian Zouk because of that.
     
  13. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    If someone blew on my hair I think I'd assume they were trying to cool me down or that my hair was in their face or something :lol:
     
  14. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    For example a well directed gust of wind will knock her down into your hands ;)
     
  15. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Do you really believe that ??. On the contrary, most studios do exactly the opposite .

    And why do you also think that B.R. studios teach ONLY one style?.

    I cant speak anymore for the UK, but in the States many Chain schools bring in Latinos specifically for styling purposes , and in addition, many have them working in studios ( I know, thats where I got my first intro. into the culture ) .

    In fact , thats where many latinos get their dance training from in other styles .
     
  16. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    What I meant is that the ballroom culture is focused more on competitions where people would use choreography as well as leadable moves. So it makes more sense to teach element of choreography in the lessons as well.

    As for the "bringing in latinos" comment, I won't go into that because it will steer the discussion into a completely different direction.
     
  17. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Again, that is perception on your part. It might interest you to know, that in all the studios and towns in which I have taught ( and thats a bunch ),they were NEVER geared towards comp. dancing.. in fact if they were, they would go out of business .

    And , are you implying that choreg. doesnt exist in salsa ?.. every congress clip I have seen teaches nothing BUT !.. thats been my major complaint .

    In all my 4yrs in my current location, I havent even taught a medal test level class, let alone comp style.. everyone wants Social style .

    As to the latino inclusion, I believe it is very germain to the context unless you are thinking parochially .
     
  18. timberamayor

    timberamayor ¡WEPA!

    That's interesting because I share that perception. So ballroom studios are not generally focused on preparing people for competitions and performance but rather social dancing?
     
  19. petteri

    petteri Descarga

    It probably depends on the country. In Finland ballroom and latin studios and clubs are focused on competition dancing. Social dancing and salsa are taught in other studios. I think this applies to ie. Russia and Estonia as well.
     
  20. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Absolutely.. the percentage nationally in the States is about 5% of the student body. Having owned managed and taught in both major chain schools and Indies for over 40 yrs, its essentially still the same .

    One needs to realise that the student body in many schools are over 40 ( many do get into Pro/Am.. but its a very expensive hobby ) .

    The last studio I worked out of in 2005 had a weekly fri nite party for social dancing, and consistently pulled 100 plus dancers , most NOT affiliated with the studio .

    NYC does have schools that spe******e in comp. work and there are other large metro areas that do the same, but..Social dance dominates.. always has, even in the UK the " home " of comp. dance styles.

    As profs, many of my colleagues have NEVER taught comp style dancing ( it actually hurts ones business from a dance social aspect.. in fact many yrs back they were not permitted at socials ) .
     

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