Is Salsa dancing (globalized slot version) is an American art form?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by MAMBO_CEC, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. DLD

    DLD Changui

    Differences in teaching styles does not make a standard different. Again, the lack of authenticity does not come from it being standardized. It comes from the standardization being Westernized (of which my article provides proof).
  2. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    One more time..He did NOT standardise the " dance ",, what he essentially did, to all intentions, is copy a format already in place, and, here's the big one, changed the names to reflect a more latino origin ( which really aint true with very few exceptions ! ) .

    Pretty much all what we now call basics, came out of mambo/ swing, and the names used for the steps, were of a chain school origin ( taken from Swing etc.) .

    And, I do know the people that gave them those names..( worked for and/ judged, with many of them ).
  3. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    I think we need to change direction. So I will pose a question. What is a latin dance? In my view the geographical and ethnic boundaries used are now not in line with reality and the globalisation.

    For example, if we were still living in the early 20th century with limited transportation and communication then ofcourse regional and national dancing styles would develop and be confined and nurtured with a closed society with little interaction with other cultures. Logical. But now this is not the case.

    I will use an example which is completely different than latin in order to stay away from the casino/linear argument. If I take Greek dancing as an example, just because someone went abroad, learned to dance other styles, went back to Greece and started adding elements from other styles in his Greek dancing, it does not mean he is not doing Greek dancing. But he will certainly look different than the others. Others may wish to follow his example or not. Even so, there is a LIMIT beyond which the "Greek" element dissapears. If for example the person starts dancing swing to Greek music then he is NOT dancing a Greek dance and it will be evident to all. So the fact that someone is dancing to Greek music does not mean he is dancing a Greek dance, especially when physical actions he/she is performing during the dance are not in line with the norm. To add to this if that someone went back abroad and started dancing Greek dancing at a Greek music event abroad, then he is dancing Greek dancing irrespective of geographical location.

    If we go back to latin, then what is it that defines the latin dance? Dancing to a latin music is not enough as we saw from the Greek example above. Geographic location is not enough either. Nationality is also not enough. So what is it? In BR the simplest way of distinguishing latin dances from modern BR dances is the hip action. Latin dancing and hip action go together. But remember that JIVE (closely linked to swing and boogie) in BR is also within the group of latin dances. So if we go by the BR approach salsa/casino is clearly a latin dance.

    My understanding is that people are not content with the BR label as they are culturally and historically, and hence more deeply, involved with salsa/latin dancing and music. Hence, what I would like to hear from those arguing that salsa is not latin, is, how do you define latin dancing? What are the limits or boundaries that define it. The music is definately one but geography and nationality are not enough as the Greek example demonstrates. There should some physical, touchable elements that allow even when the sound is off to distinguish that this person is dancing a latin dance or not. What are they for you?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  4. DLD

    DLD Changui

    I would love to read more about this if you have any links you can pass along.

    As far as the Latinness of the style, at least, you and I agree.
  5. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Here's the name of the lady ( a legend in dance circles ) Laure Haile ,
    who instituted most of the foundational latin dances steps, for the AM chain schools in the 40/50s. I knew her quite well when I worked in LA, and, she was the most unassuming person, in spite of all her contributions, particularly in the Swing genre, but never mentioned her accommplishments. She also held the world record for continuous pivots ,I'm sure her bio will be somewhere on line .

    Other ones to consider ,who were a "force " in the studio chain, developing the latin syllabi.....Barbara Paul, Bebe Black and Nana Saminego ( her brother was Raymond Navarro, the actor ). I worked with/for all 3 at one time or another .
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Like ALL dance, " style " is 2 things ( apart from personal )..

    1....The eye of the beholder...... and...

    2..... Are its roots in evidence, and being portrayed in the indigenous style, as in the basic foundation , dominating the portrayal . .

    Which begs the question.. Are the roots in evidence in todays interpretations ?... it depends largely upon the performer !


    MAMBO_CEC Sabor Ambassador

    Sacrilege and blasphemy!!! lol hopefully your experience with the Cubana cured you of that faux pas. Newbies don't do this at home.(not listening to the music).
    Live2dance likes this.
  8. WessexSalsero

    WessexSalsero Rhythm Deputy

    Yes, yes, you are right! The battle is in full swing already!!
    Warsaw must have been awesome, everyone here was raving about it.
    There's your Latin culture, you are answering your question:
    live quality Salsa music, people singing along with the lyrics. Lovely stuff!

    That's not a given, though, Smej. That's one congress and one that had everyone going bonkers i.e. it was unusually brilliant.
    It broke the mould, it broke the dance mould. A great example of what the rebellion looks like!
    Smejmoon likes this.
  9. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    In what way was the mould broken?
    What was the rebellion against?

    Who was dethroned. Is there a new salsa world order emerging :D
    Smejmoon and Sabrosura like this.
  10. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura El Sabroso de Conguero

    Just a paranthesis here: it's not about the mood of a song, when it switches to rumba it means the music actually changes, it's very clear, it is not about "mood". Listen to the drums, they'll tell you when it is rumba:

    For example take this song: the first part is rumba. Then at 1:18-1:24 it changes into timba (that is where you would stop the rumba and start salsa/casino). (And yes, doing turn patterns in closed hold to a rumba section is totally crazy to a Cuban!).

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
    vit likes this.
  11. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura El Sabroso de Conguero

    Agreed. Inauthentic does not automatically mean worse. And I will say this: I have danced salsa in various Latin countries and, as much as I love the idea of authentic dancing (and music), with the exception of Cuba and PR, where I enjoyed dancing casino/salsa as much as I enjoy dancing NY on2, I definitely prefer dancing the "American salsa" (in my case, I prefer NY on2) to the salsa dancing I encountered in various Latin American countries.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
    azana and MAMBO_CEC like this.
  12. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yes but the point some of us have been saying since page 1 of this thread is: why on earth would you think that the dancing at e.g. Taino Towers in NY is not authentic Latin just because it's from NY? I wonder what the response would be if you were to go there and say: those of you who learnt to dance in Cuba or PR are authentic Latin but the rest of you who learnt to dance here in the barrio are not Latin.
    salsera_alemana and terence like this.
  13. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    And by that logic most of the salsa music popular in Latin America is from NY, so that's not Latin either.

    The whole thing blatantly doesn't stand up.
    salsera_alemana likes this.
  14. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Nice story but I don't think it really backs up my point. I suspect most Latin salsa dancers cannot actually dance rumba, so your partner mentioned above is going to have trouble wherever she goes. (Maybe in Cuba most casineros know at least a little bit of rumba? Other Latin countries: I doubt it. Maybe PR?)
  15. wol

    wol Sonero

    I am also curious - what Cuban (street dancers, not school instructors) do with rumba fragments in songs? Do all of them really dance rumba? I find it one of the most complicated things to do decently in casino. I understand it is much easier for average cuban, but still, can street dancer do it reasonably well?
  16. DLD

    DLD Changui

    Most Cubans don't know how to dance rumba, and if they do know something, they know the basic movement only. The reason that you see a lot of rumba done in casino nowadays has to do with a couple of things: marketing, and who the instructor is. In regards to marketing, European people (which is where most rumba is taking hold outside of Cuba) want to experience something exotic (not white), and so there is a demand for not only rumba, but Afro-Cuban dances in general such as religious dances of the Orishas. And then there are the instructors, most of whom are artists who were trained at the ENA (National School of Arts), which has an Afro-Cuban dance curriculum that every dancer goes through. These instructors are the ones people see, and so is logical that people think that rumba is pretty widespread in the island, and everybody knows to dance rumba as much as they do casino.

    That's just not true.

    On the other hand, this indiscriminate mixing of dances by Cuban instructors (because they want to get more people in their classes) has given people the idea that rumba dancing is okay in any part of the song).

    As to what Cubans do when there is a rumba break. Well, those who know rumba will of course do it. But most people won't, as seen in the example here (fast-forward to 3:20.

    In fact, if you look at any of the videos here (these are Cubans dancing in the island), you won't find a single person breaking off and doing rumba.
    wol likes this.
  17. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura El Sabroso de Conguero

    I agree with what you're saying about Cuban instructors knowing rumba more than the average street dancer (of course), but this video is pointless for what you're trying to say about people ignoring rumba breaks, these dancers are doing an organized rueda, plus they are not normal people social dancing, it's a music video, so who knows if they were even playing this entire song to the dancers as they were filming them.

    And even though the average Cuban street dancer may only know the basic rumba movements, I think it's a far stretch to go from that to saying the average Cuban dancer will ignore a rumba break and just keep dancing as if nothing happened (even if tsomeone doesn't know rumba, they can slow down their dancing during the rumba breaks). That was not my experience in Cuba at all. (Dancing nearly every night for three months, so with 500+ different dancers in total, most of them non-professionals.)
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
    wol likes this.
  18. DLD

    DLD Changui

    This rueda is being called, and you can see it at 1:28: the guy in the green/yellow shirt is doing the calling. Even though this is a music video using the recorded version of a song so that the sound quality is better, what the musicians are doing live corresponds exactly to the recording (the singer, for instance, is on point with the lyrics). Now, because this is a rueda that is being called (and not completely a choreography), you can certainly call out some rumba steps during the rumba break. But it didn't happen.

    I don't know what your experience was in Cuba, or how you got there. But if it was like most people in the U.S. do (exchange programs, and what not), you were taken to very specific places (or so I'm given to understand by what I know about these programs). These places, in turn, are spaces of great exchange where foreigners get to see Cubans dance, but also Cubans get exposed to what foreigners expect of them--and if foreigners expect Afro-Cuban dancing be done, then it's going to become acceptable (and encouraged) in these spaces to mix rumba with casino indiscriminately (because foreigners are the first ones who are going to want to do it, since they're itching to practice what they learned in some Cuban dance congress in Europe). But I posit that this only extends to these spaces. Go outside of them, and the picture will be completely different.

    Also, a lot of songs out there today don't have as many rumba breaks as people think.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  19. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura El Sabroso de Conguero

    Now you are making a bunch of assumptions about me, which happen to all be wrong. :)
    I did not go with an organized group, I went on my own (I am a non-US citizen) and sought out the places where there were as few tourists as possible. I am also fluent in Spanish which helped me get around and find out through word of mouth about music/dance venues. Of course, some of the most popular casino places, especially in Havana, invariably attract a lot of tourists (especially since a lot of young Cubans prefer reggaeton/timbaton dancing to casino or son so those venues who do play exclusively non-reggaeton music will invariably get a reputation among tourists who are looking for non-reggaeton venues to dance), but I was able to find places with almost no tourists as well.

    I also took rumba percussion classes while in Cuba and spent time talking with musicians of all kinds.

    And I never said that they were mixing rumba with casino "indiscriminately", I am specifically contradicting you on that point based on my experience. I can recall only one example of a guy who insisted on dancing rumba indiscriminately, but he was clearly a bad dancer, plus he was a little drunk so was enjoying fooling around on the dance floor.

    And that's exactly what I did. :)

    Agreed, so usually not knowing rumba is not such a big issue. But that is different form saying the average Cuban street dancer will completely ignore rumba breaks and continue dancing as if nothing happened.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
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  20. DLD

    DLD Changui

    In my defense I was hypothesizing, not assuming it was true. That's why I said, "If you were..."

    I'm glad that you were able to go without an organized group. In my experience, there is not much "cultural exchange" happening in those groups, as a lot of people simply just end up reinforcing their views (and stereotypes) of Cuba and its people they are bringing from the States. I'm also glad that you escaped the tourist-attracting places and ventured into different venues.

    I wasn't saying that you said that. I was simply talking about what tends to happen at these places.

    I never said that the dancer will ignore the break. I said most street dancers won't do rumba specifically if a break were to happen (my experience after living for 15 years in Cuba).
    wol and vit like this.

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