Dancing with latinas who are untrained

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by isaacjunk, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    I think the issue here is precisely that we don't know what they're dancing, it's not associated with any major style of salsa, and they barely follow anything from any of the major styles of salsa to include Dile Que No/ Cross Body Lead; and as for my personal experience they also seem very confident in whatever it is that they're doing. Which by definition makes your advice to go to the flow and dance their dance not possible, since they appear to have crafted their own personal flow.

    The follow-up problem is that confidence. If they were humble and said they just dance with themselves and are not formally trained it's one thing, but with that confidence I'm afraid of just outright getting into an argument without getting to the bottom of why they dance that way and what I can do to improve our dance chemistry. The absolute worst answer to "Where did you learn to dance?" is "I'm Latina."
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  2. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Totally unrelated but since I recall it while reading this thread, here it goes:

    This is my recent experience with a follower, who is the half part of young Puero Rican-Columbian pair that are world champions (they performed that evening, and that is how they were introduced). The performance looked fine, included some acrobatics. When I social danced with her, my experience was akin to dancing with someone just below intermediate level. The arm was bit stiff, there were miscues in the connection, response to lead was delayed. In short not a proficient social dancer. Neither could I figure out what style she might be used to dancing since I was trying to make adjustments.
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  3. noobster

    noobster Pattern Police

    This wasn't at Hot Salsa Saturday last week was it?
    I didn't see you there but that definitely sounds like the performers who were there that night. Perhaps they are making the rounds.
  4. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    No. This was at the SF Festival pre-party. I think they performed again last weekend, on Saturday, at the SF Mambo social, a few weeks back. I watched her social dance with some other leads, and saw her "struggle" when social dancing.

    It was not dark this time and the lighting was good. Apparently the couple appears fairly young. Therefore I won't be surprised if she doesn't have much experience social dancing.
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  5. Richie Blondet

    Richie Blondet Shine Officer

    If one is "Trained" and is dancing with a non-trained dancer, isn't that supposed to be an advantage for the "trained" Salsero?

    How are the "un-trained" dominating the dance? Who is following who?

    It's pretty ironic that someone who learned to express themselves to a certain style of music in a dance studio is categorizing women from Latin America who can express themselves to music without the personal need or constraints of technique and dance studio etiquette. They women are probably thinking how "stiff" such persons dance.
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  6. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    I digress, with good reason. Some years back I traveled to Europe. They were playing Aventura everywhere, and I found out later that Aventura was #1 in many European countries. Not #1 in Latin American music in Europe, but #1 in all music. I knew they were good, and one Dominican dance instructor was in disbelief. What's in disbelief for me is that Aventura are all US born people who have to go to other countries (that are not even Latin American) to get recognition, as the country they are born in doesn't even recognize their music as good enough for the general audience.

    So for me it's more ironic that we are talking about Latin Americans listening and dancing in a way different to how it's taught in USA, the country where almost all the biggest stars that defined the genre recorded and made their home. Tito Puente was a WWII US Navy sailor, Rafael Hernandez was in the Army during WWI, and for the Fania Era most of them were US citizens, so please stop de-latinizing USA and taking our contributions away from us and pushing them to the countries where we or our ancestors came from.

    Salsa is a cultural heritage of the United States, far more than it is the heritage of many Latin American countries, which in many cases have smaller populations than the Latino population of USA.

    Americans should proudly own it.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
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  7. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    N'importe quoi! Sorry you deserve the French! The US did what it knows how to do best! Commercialise! It took something pre-existing, adapted it, labelled it and sold it for profit! Go to Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and see what they say. As for the Aventura, simple, they fused things, again to make it more appealing to the masses and be able to sell it as hot spicy latin hit. Did you see Juan Luis Guerra not having success in Latin America? Or a different example, how many people knew Shakira in Europe and the US before she did the sexy soundtrack of the "Whenever"? Not many I can tell you that! But she was big amongst Latin Americans before that. However, without singing in English, getting more sexy and pop (in the UK people called her the Latin Britney) she would never have made it big outside Latin America even with Dónde Estás Corazón. Commercialisation! That is the US salsa cultural heritage!
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  8. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    Thanks for letting us know that you feel Latinos in USA are a bunch of opportunistic corporatists, who always have an ulterior profit motive. With friends like you, who needs enemies.

    Unfortunately due to currently working and living in Japan, a South America trip is not on the horizon.

    BTW, please elaborate on Aventura, I'm curious to hear you tell it like it is. And do us the favor to start with the many years of getting told they were garbage and making no money whatsoever in the 90s for trying to insert R&B and Hip/Hop elements in Bachata, a genre considered at that time a backwards rural music amongst Latinos.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  9. elanimal

    elanimal Tumbao

    Seconded. If a lead has trouble dancing with 'untrained Latinas,' or any beginner, his 'training' has been for naught.

    Everyone knows of the guy who religiously attends classes but barely goes social dancing, maybe once a month. They stay at the same level for months, if not years. A lead has to apply what he has learned and test what works, and what doesn't, with all levels of girls, but especially beginners. That is what makes it fun.

    We've also all seen the experienced dudes who can make a girl who normally steps on different timing every 8 count with other guys, look very not-bad in his experienced embrace.

    The original point of the thread is to explain the tricks that can help a lead and the 'untrained' follower, latina or not, to get on the same wavelength. So far I haven't read much actionable advice.

    OP, like I briefly stated, try dancing rotational with them. Rotation forces a stronger connection, and makes followers step along with the lead. This is one reason the bachata learning curve for girls is even lower than salsa; rotation eases timing concerns for the follower, as long as the lead does a good job keeping it. When dancing in a slot, often girls don't rely on the lead's sense of timing. Dancing in a slot can also be a little boring, and energetic girls might get antsy and dance ahead of the count.

    'Untrained latinas' may also be used to dancing with 'untrained latinos,' and that means they are dancing with guys who don't lead very well and have timing issues of their own. Basically, 'untrained latinas' are not used to being told what to do. But in salsa, you do tell them what to do, and if you don't do it well, you failed.

    As for everyone saying 'don't try patterns with them, it's hopeless!'........ jajaja. Yea, don't go crazy doing everything you would do with Alien, Magna, etc. But the fun in dancing with girls like this, is seeing what I can successfully get them to do. Untrained or not, girls like being (pleasantly) surprised. That's always my goal.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  10. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    I never said anything about US latinos. Only what US knows best and that you are way too strong to characterise salsa as a US only heritage. On Aventura you mentioned the fusion elements yourself so I don't see why I need to add anything more.
  11. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    1st para; and therein lies the truth...

    And, here is some advice that, you can count on.
    It's invariably down to 2 things.. They are not tricks, just sound teaching advice..

    1.. A bad " frame" and "hold"
    2.. beyond the very fwd/back basic, it seems that, the majority have been taught to dance in an open stance, seldom , if EVER ,in many cases, in closed position .

    Body "leads " are only truly developed, from a closed position .
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  12. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    As ladies are told they have to cross all the time then what else is to be expected? As you said it is the teachers (most of them copying others with no understanding of the basics).
  13. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    This is an excellent description of what one has to do and Terence complemented with the technical aspect of your description. I also find it fun to help beginners because its really rewarding when you see that they are saddenly having fun.
  14. combo

    combo Son

    This is a great post. The "trained" person should be able to adapt to the untrained person, not vice versa. An untrained person is not going to all of a sudden get what you're doing after a couple of minutes dancing with you. If you're really a skilled dancer, you find a way to make those few minutes together work.

    This is not limited to untrained dancers. If you travel, you know that people dance differently in different cities and countries. Part of the adventure is learning to adapt your style to the person you're dancing with.
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  15. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    You are mixing up two different things. Yes, USA is very good at commercialization. It stands head and shoulders above others. That is why companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others are able to so good that they have no peers in rest of the world. I am talking about the tech companies because all these were startups once and are now giants. It is something very difficult to replicate anywhere else in the world. A person without money has a better chance to succeed in USA than anywhere else in the world when it comes to commercializing something. Therefore not all commercialization is bad. It does have unintended consequences.

    As to salsa heritage of USA, it is true and there have been many contributions. You are only concentrating on those that are commercially successful. What about those that are not commercially successful. If today Salsa is a world wide phenomenon, it is in large parts due to USA. Not due to any of the other latin countries. In short the excellence in commercialization should not be an excuse to undermine the salsa heritage and contributions from USA.
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  16. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Be careful of making sweeping statements like this. Have you ever danced with a follower who moves wildly on the floor without you even leading or has not an ounce of rhythm? Reminds me of a follower I recently asked to dance at WCS. I have danced with many beginners. But this particular follower has to take the cake. I just didn't know how she would move from point A to B. She had the most random way of walking from one place to another, that too unprompted! It was a true definition of random motion :)

    So no, sometimes all the training in the world can't save you :D
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  17. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    I tend to be careful about which words to use when I write, specially in my second language of English. I used the word "many" vice "all", when describing salsa in US vice Latin American countries. Also note I used the adjective "countries" added to Latin America, therefore avoiding a comparison between USA and Latin America as a whole, but rather making it a comparison between USA and each Latin American country individually. Can we say they have a band here or there in just about every country in Latin America, I'm not so sure but It's possible, but we can say that about a lot of European countries too. To say that it is part of the country's cultural heritage is a bigger statement. I count these as places where that is true: USA, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru.

    On the other hand I am confident to say it is not part of the cultural heritage of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Haiti.

    You on the other hand say US. Everything that comes after is by definition a sweeping statement about the whole of the country, its people, history, etc. without breaking anything down. And now you're surprised I'm offended?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
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  18. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    There is a school of thought that dance training on the part of a lead can overcome all deficiencies of the follower. I am not in that group, after all if that was the case there would be no point for the followers to take lessons to learn to follow. Specially during beginner lessons learning to read the signs of the lead is very important for the follower.

    There is also a school of thought that want to give Latinas the benefit of the doubt that would not be given to Asians, Europeans, Africans, etc. I am also not among them, as a Latino who has danced with a lot of the women in my family, I have seen everything from grace to terrible confusion.

    Therefore my advice is that their ethnicity should not matter to what you do with any follower, what matters in how a lead adjusts to the follower is their dance ability, style, and body type in comparison with the lead. For dancing it takes two, for salsa there are specific roles assigned and a person who deviates from their role will make it more challenging for the other, under the best of circumstances. If that person has also consumed significant quantities of alcohol it can also alter their perception of their ability and cause them to act the fool, salsa is not magically absolved of this problem. If that person is also coming to the dance with an attitude it can also negatively affect the dance.

    In short, if a Latina or otherwise doesn't want to follow it's not your fault. If you've been smart enough to seek out different instructors and gained skill in different styles and you've tried them and you still can't jive, there might be other non-skill related factors at play. Just try to enjoy the dance.
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  19. elanimal

    elanimal Tumbao

    More of the same...

    "Sometimes beginners have no hope, just grin and bear it!" "It's not necessarily your fault, sometimes it's just hopeless!"

    The posts here have focused on the exceptions, the followers that dance like jittery squirrels. These are the type of followers with 'no hope.' What percentage of people in a given salsa club are of the 'no hope' variety? Trick question. A beginner lead will have a much higher percentage of 'no hopes' than an experienced lead. What does that say?

    As everyone has so breathlessly hammered away, yes, even some ladies have no hope with a pro. Here's one.

    Again, what percentage of dancers are like that? Are these the type of dancers OP was referring to?

    Can you tell if a person has 'no hope'? I can. You can try to dance with them, but I just don't.

    The point of the thread is those type of beginners who do have hope. Either beginners, or followers who have a different style or idea than you're accustomed to. In other words, these are salvageable. How can we salvage them?

    Instead of focusing on those girls who have 'no hope' and resigning to a fate of dance misunderstanding, we can admit that the higher the level of the lead, the lower the percentage of 'no hopes' for the lead. So thanks @terence for the great advice, closed hold is actually really useful.
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  20. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    That video made my day :D That is one of the kind of unleadable follower I was talking about. They come in all flavors. At least in this clip the follower was at least stepping somewhat to music even though totally ignoring the lead for most part. And then there are dancers that you feel are totally deaf to the music and instead are dodging some imaginary bullets coming from all the sides :D

    Is it me or does anyone think that the leader in that clip is ridiculing the follower. I don't know if he is celebrity or not. If I was in his place, I certainly wouldn't ridicule or make gestures, though I would be praying hard that the song ends. Worse comes to worse I would end the dance after few minutes (though I have never ever done that).
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