Dancing with latinas who are untrained

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

  1. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    And you make it seem as if we should all dance Cuban dances with Ballroom technique or not dance at all. In full honesty, a ballroom champion would/should sit and watch and/or adapt his dancing to the lady, and he might get an interesting experience at the end!

    Personally I have more of an issue with :
    - badly trained dancers that think they are super dancers but they are actually really bad;
    - ladies that are trying to learn but simply copy the image thinking that its ok while not knowing how to reallly move their body correctly.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  2. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    Cumbia?!? There we go again! :facepalm:

    On the arms, honestly, about 90% (and am generousl) of ladies dancing BR latin or tropical dances are doing the arms wrong because they are taught to just stick their arms out or because they watch other ladies doing it and they wish to mimic it. On the other hand, latin americans that I danced with or watched dancing do not like to stick their arms out. In fact they laugh when they see BR style arm movements in salsa.
    terence likes this.
  3. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    Then let me clarify as well. My position is that for most Latinos going out dancing is a thing that happens every once in a long while. They have many other hobbies, from soccer, bicycling, running marathons in the Olympics, planting gardens, Chess, etc. and that's just my family. As a majority is one more than 50%, what I am saying is that less than 50% take up dancing as a regular hobby where they are honing it over a long period of time, because they're doing a ton of other things instead, so when they go out dancing, maybe six times a year, they might not know the basics of dancing salsa. And that's what I've meant this whole time, I'm not trying to claim any superiority as a person because while I might look better on the dance floor than my cousin, who will smoke me on the bike because he's training on it all the time. Further, I have claimed and continue to do so, that while salsa is stylistically elastic, there's a limit to that elasticity and at some point a person is dancing something other than salsa. So it's possible for a person to dance Bachata to salsa, Kizomba to salsa, or even a Russian folk dance. And if they're having fun doing it, they're having fun doing it, and I'm not calling for the dance police to arrest them. But they're dancing Bachata, Kizomba, and Russian folk dancing, rather than salsa.

    I never specified the method of instruction, so I don't understand why you're calling me out on training. Further, for anything and everything we tell people that if they want to be good doing it they should do training, practicing, doing exercises, get coaching etc. You want to be a good gymnast, get time on those ropes; basketball player, get time on the court, for both get some coaching too, etc. I don't know of a single boxer that said that ditching their coach and doing it naturally by themselves was a superior way to go.

    If your answer is that you should just show up to the dance floor, then go ahead and show us how amazing of a natural dancer you are and show up to a Russian folk dance cold and without even watching it on YouTube and smoke the guys that have been doing it for years. Maybe you'll change the old saying, "practice makes perfect" to "I am perfect".

    So what you are saying is that "practice makes perfect" is not common sense? How is that common sense? I never claimed some dance instructors suck at teaching, and that there are no charlatans teaching people. I was very lucky to have started off with an amazing crew. And no, I am not a professional dancer.

    I have choreographed and done some dances for the yearly Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, and in fact my experience has been the opposite. The first time a guy that came saying he'd been dancing for years and couldn't lead intermediate turns, dragging everyone down and all I could choreograph for the group were beginner moves. The second time around I didn't believe anyone and took the group as if nobody had ever stepped on a dance floor, and the Latinos thanked me because I taught them to dance, and after 3 months of practice and rehearsals, and put on a great 5 couple Rueda. Third time I did the same but with New York style and it was polished, but not as much due to having less time to rehearse and train.
    elanimal likes this.
  4. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    Nobody that is into this will defend charlatan instructors. I am united with you at exposing them and the harm they do. I've never said anything about Ballroom, I don't understand why you bring it up. Because it's not a scene I am familiar with, I can't comment on it.

    I never said there's only one right way to dance. But I will say there are many ways to do it wrong, as I did in Singapore when I dropped my partner, for which I am accountable even if (just speculating here) she made a mistake with her footing.

    BTW, I contacted my sister, and at least one Latina has now said she wouldn't be offended by a dance champion giving her advice on how to improve her dancing.
    wol, MAMBO_CEC and elanimal like this.
  5. Richie Blondet

    Richie Blondet Shine Officer

    I agree with what you describe as a Latin American reality and is pretty much what I was lobbying over. I would only clarify that my disagreement was not with the poster's title or premise, but the notion that "trained," in a local cultural social context, equals quality dancer. Which you illustrated such a reality on your last point. That was the gist or "theme" I was getting from reading the initial commentary. That being "trained" was an automatic V.I.P. pass to excellence. I don't believe it to be so Black and White. Anymore than I embrace that every single Salsa dance instructor merits being so. Or administrating a dance company.

    Again, I contend if one is truly "trained" in the Art of dance, adapting and expressing oneself to a partner without any formal training should not be cause for concern. The perception of this dance today is that partner-work is a dominant element. To me, that's the core issue when engaging with the so-called "untrained" on the dance floor. Less partnerwork/turn patterns, IMHO, is the equalizer. You can still dance with a person without physical contact. A lot of folks who have absorbed formal instruction were drilled with partner work vocabulary and naturally follow that design ad nauseum. Sometimes "technique" can be a Debbie downer. To each their own but, in a social context, my litmus test for a quality dance experience was always whether one was enjoying themselves or not. Regardless of skill level of either party. Not focusing on what count someone stepped back to. With that said, I do advocate that everyone seek instruction. Albeit without becoming snobs or elitists. Which is an unfortunate reaction of human nature with any kind of achievement of any discipline or craft. But even snobbery has a way of producing positive effects for an art form. It sets plateaus and allows one to choose to equal it, surpass it, or be distinct altogether. I believe that to be a good thing for any form of art.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
    wol, terence, MAMBO_CEC and 1 other person like this.
  6. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    As a person who by appearance is not readily thought of as a Latino, I've had a variety of experiences dancing where the girl acted like the girl from the Pupy y los que Son Son song "La Figura Soy Yo". Some Latinas have not been content with merely telling me no to my dance request, but rolled their eyes at me and started talking to their friend next to them about me in Spanish as if I didn't understand; acting as if they thought I was a fish out of water not to be handled. The last one who gave me an attitude was probably the only Latina at the event we were at, not getting much action on the dance floor and she was a terrible follower, which is probably part of the reason she wasn't getting much action. When I asker her how the learned to dance she said "I'm Latina". The moment she said that, she lost me. The reason is that saying that it's a conversation ender, I don't want to get into an argument with her by telling her that instead of continuing to do something that made us clash she could do something different and have her come back with, "I learned like this back where I'm from".

    In my experience the girl's ability level and involvement in the local dance scene is inversely correlated to the likelihood she will act this way, i.e. they're more likely to not know proper dance decorum if they're not doing it often. There might also be a negative feedback to girls like this where their lack of decorum leads them to being ignored, they're not having as much fun, and therefore they don't go out as much, or stop going completely. To me some of the things the initial poster said were indicative to this type of situation, whether I jumped to an incorrect conclusion is hard to tell since his absence continues.
    Richie Blondet likes this.
  7. Richie Blondet

    Richie Blondet Shine Officer

    The problem with perceiving Salsa as a dance from set in stone is that it negates its overall evolution and history. Like all other crafts it *looks* the way it *looks* now because of dancer variety, dancers being influenced by that variety, and inserting it into their dance "narratives." Which adds or depreciates the dance's vocabulary. Depending on how much it deviates from the core root of dancing in clave. Which is the measuring stick I personally believe all dancers ought to recognize. Not how you express yourself in terms of movements, steps, etc., per se.

    Nobody was dancing the way they are today 40 + years ago. Ask a serious dancer who came up in the 1980s and were active throughout the 1990s and they'll tell you that the approach today on the social level is radically different than how they engaged then. Today, there is far more performance-oriented expression (for lack of a better term) or characteristics on the dance floor than 25 years ago. The excessive turn patterns/partner-work that dominates dance floors today and is employed in every single genre of Afro Cuban music (Guaracha, Son Montuno, Guajira, Mambo and even the folkloric, ex. Guaguanco) is a testament to the contemporary reality of the 21st century Salsa dancer.

    I do 'get' what you are saying. Only I feel what should not be compromised is the actual "science" of what makes this musical culture work. Why dancing or breaking on the "2" makes sense and fits into that "science." At one point in time, long ago, Cubans were dancing to Son (what we identify as Salsa) in the same manner dancers would employ towards hearing a Fox-trot. Or side to side a lo Merengue.

    It doesn't matter if people look like they're dancing bachata, cumbia, capoeira or joropo to Afro-Cuban music. As long as they do so in clave. That's what counts in the end. 25 years from now, Salsa dancing will not look the way it does now. It's not supposed to. It can't. Culture isn't a repertory phenomena or museum. It's a living embodiment that manifests itself among a consensus of the masses. The masses dictate what is popular. And if people start adding back spins, the way a bboy or bgirl did to HipHop music long ago, to Afro Cuban music, then guess what? That's "Salsa" for that generation. No different from dancers in the 1950s inserting elements from the tap dance tradition. Or a modern dance performer like Liz Lira using vocabulary from ballet in her routines, as well as on the social dance floor level.

    True. But unlike boxing, basketball and being a gymnast, "Salsa" isn't an athletic sport with a competitive goal or pursuit in mind. At least, that isn't what it set out to be on the cultural level. Those athletic activities have standards that have been measured and are universally recognized by the masses. "Salsa" does not have this universal POV. The fact that we refer to a dance culture with a commercial marketing term speaks to there being a cultural divide. Not to mention a co-opting. NO ONE has taken basketball or gymnastics and changed the names of either or altered and emphasized its rules that make it what they are. What defines its characteristics. No one has altered their structure. "Salsa" has been reimagined, re-presented, and misrepresented time and again by cultural outsiders, and by those within the culture, catering to a demograph outside of it. All for the sake of attaining something other than what it was traditionally intended for. To be a saxophone player, you have to learn to play the sax. Not another instrument. There are specific reasons for this. When it comes to "Salsa" dance instruction, in a rash of cases, students are basically taught how to play the kazoo if they want to be a great flutist. It sounds harsh but there's a slew of "fast food" instruction out there and that's just in NY. And if it's like that in NY, then it definitely dominates elsewhere. Latin America included.

    For the record, I specifically asked if you were a professional dancer out of curiosity. You mentioned dance, work and several countries, in the same sentence in your previous post. I wasn't trying to be a schmuck...

    So you are a pro-dancer then. If you're choreographing and performing, no?...
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  8. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    I consider a pro dancer as someone who is making a living from dancing, by their performances, cash from competitions, money from lessons, etc. The few lessons and performances I've done have not been associated with any monetary activity, so I'm far from a pro. My work requires travel, and as a lover of dancing when they tell me at work we're traveling to a particular location, I always try to find the local scene, even if sadly sometimes my schedule is not conducive to going dancing there. Outside of work I also love to travel for leisure, and until I had children it was a given that I was going dancing wherever I traveled.
    LarsM likes this.
  9. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    And that, essentially stems from the fact ,that "real " partnership does not seem to be taught, and "spins " are de riguer .. Flash and Trash, is like a light bulb to a Moth..

    Fast food "teachers" abound. The quality of instruction seen in many venues, is oft reflected in the social scene .
  10. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Can you, Live2Dance and others chill out with statements like these? "real" partnership is definitely being taught by some teachers. Some social dancers love to lead/do spins.

    I just abhor stereotyping and generalizing :mad::vomit:
    Marcos, MAMBO_CEC and wol like this.
  11. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    This is what I've seen from the dreaded "untrained" latinas. Lots of excessive arm movement, disconnected from the body.
    Marcos and MAMBO_CEC like this.
  12. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    nowhiteshoes likes this.
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I did not imply that ALL teachers are guilty of that, but, there is a preponderance. Having taught/ danced in many major cities in the UK and the States.. over the last 30 plus years, I can give you empirical evidence that ,it does exist..

    And, if you like "spinning " have at it. it's just an My comment was just my opinion.
    Live2dance likes this.
  14. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    It's not confined to any one "group "...
    Live2dance likes this.
  15. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Your ""real " partnership does not seem to be taught" certainly seems to indicate that if not all, then a large majority of teachers are guilty of this. Despite your extensive experience (I thought this had gotten worse in the last 10 years?), I don't think you can conclusively state something like that. Not discrediting your anecdotal experiences, which obviously has its value.

    The spinning comment was once again you, but Live2 in particular, complaining about excessive spinning on the social dance floor for the Nth time. I guess we can always quibble endlessly about the definition of de rigeur in this context though, heh.

    Edit: removed an irrelevant aside.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
    Marcos likes this.
  16. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

  17. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Of course not, but it ime it's exceedingly prevalent also in untrained latin@s. I'm not surprised Live2 sees it differently though.
    Live2dance likes this.
  18. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Why am I not allowed to conclude something that has happened IME ?.. You may disagree, but that, will not change empirical evidence. And, there are many others on this site that have similar experiences,, are we all incorrect ? .

    As to worse in the last 10 yrs ?, no, it's symptomatic in the genre, way beyond that time period..

    To conclude ; I'm not against "spinning" per se, but, excessive usage in a single song, which more often than not, does NOT represent the music.
    I also realise, that the demand by many, is the spin cycle. It's morphed into a place, where it is deemed by many, as the hallmark of great/good dancing .
    Live2dance likes this.
  19. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Because empirical evidence is not sufficient to provide actual evidence. As you well know, human perceptions has a host of pitfalls (like selective memory, seeing patterns where none exist and very much so on), meaning anecdotal experiences (which I prefer over "empirical evidence" when it's just a guy using his senses outside of a controlled environment/scientific experiment) needs to be judged carefully. I would venture to say that there are also many others on this site which have the opposite experience, or rather a mixed experience (like me :D). Who is correct? Rarely the ones at the outer edges...

    For the record, ime classes at big congresses are often very, very bad simply due to circumstances (mainly to do with logistics, but also the fact that the groups are incredibly varied in background, skill, language understanding etc). Though Magna Gopal still managed to teach a fairly large group something significant about connection and partner dialogue, so it's possible. Sometimes.
    wol and Marcos like this.
  20. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    I absolutely agree that excessive usage of spinning is vexing. I haven't been to enough major congresses/events yet for me to say whether it's excessive in my eyes...maybe offbeat, vit and other frequent flyers can speak out about their views. Though we're veering dangerously far away from the original topic. As usual :D

Share This Page