New member of Salsa Forums here.

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Doo Wop Mario, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Doo Wop Mario

    Doo Wop Mario Changui

    Hello everyone,

    I'd like to introduce myself here since this is my first time posting. My name is Mario but most people know me as Doo Wop Mario. As the name suggests, I'm heavily into the 50's vocal harmony genre known as doo wop. In fact, I have been a part of the 1950's Rock and Roll lifestyle since 2000. If you're familiar with (or have attended) Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender or any local rockabilly shows, then you know what I'm talking about. For those of you not familiar with it, the weekender is similar to the Congresses the salsa community has, except it's all about the 50's from the cars to the clothing and to the bands. There are three main dances in what most people refer to as the "Rockabilly" scene (I refer to it as the Rock and Roll scene or 50's scene). They are the Jive, Bop and Stroll. The jive we dance is the European version of American swing. As the story goes, American GIs would swing dance during their stationing during WW2 and the Europeans soldiers asked them what that dance was called, to which GIs replied "jive". The European soldiers then went back to their camp and taught each other whatever they "picked up" from watching these GIs dancing. Hence, european jive was born.

    Here's a clip of actual footage of europeans jiving back in the 50's. As you can see, it's not the American version of swing. Search the following on youtube. I am not allowed to post a link yet.
    Don LANG & His Frantic Five " Boy Meets Girl " !!!

    You can also see that there's nothing to it. In fact, I learned how to jive back in 2000 just by watching those who I was impressed with dance. For most of you in here, I can teach you how to jive in one song. In three songs, you can enter a competition. All in one day!!! No, but seriously, this dance is so easy to learn that I can teach you the all four steps and 6 moves in one song.

    Having been "jiving" for nearly 13 years, I decided to tackle salsa. Why? Well, first of all, being a lover of the 50's lifestyle includes being a lover of latin music. Tito Rodriguez's 50's stuff and many other 50's latin music is fascinating to me and I'm forever discovering artist after artist from that era. Unfortunately, there is no 50's latin scene that I know of so the next best thing is the salsa dance scene. There is so much passion for dancing here, that I don't care if the music is not 50's, it sounds so good!

    I am currently taking dance lessons and am serious about learning about musicality. I've been reading a lot of threads here and elsewhere on musicality, and boy, I have about a month's worth of reading on all that. I've bookmarked several threads and I'm going through them trying to understand how to find the breaks and learn about the music, the clave, and everything that experienced, musical salsa dancers know. I'm reading the Salsa Manual by Rebeca Mauleon even though I don't have a clue on how to read music. I'm trying to grasp everything and i feel like I'm not worthy to be on the dance floor knowing that I don't have the musicality aspect together yet.

    I am currently a "pattern monkey" and I can learn a pattern very well, but unfortunately I can only dance through the entire song, not knowing how to do shines or footwork or anticipate breaks. I took lessons for about 6 months at Stevens, but then stopped for a year and now I'm back at it this year. I didn't dance for the first 6 months because, like Don, the UnlikelySalsero pointed out in an article of his I read, he didn't find his incompetence "fun" and neither could I.

    That's what people would tell me, "Just go out and have fun!" How can I have fun knowing that I'm in the middle of a break in the song and I'm dancing straight through it not knowing what to do?? On one of the two or three times I did dance, my follow told me that I was supposed to do a shine there. I was like, "Oh, I was??? and then thought, "Shoot! Note to self, don't dance until you know what you're doing and most importantly when to do it."

    I stay away from popular clubs for now and look forward to meeting you all on the dance floor once I get this down. Hopefully in the next couple months!!!

    I'll add more later, I have to get ready for salsa class.

    Nice meeting you all, in advance!

    Doo Wop Mario
  2. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    First, welcome to the site..

    A couple of pieces of info to your post,

    1.. the " Jive " as you stated, was being done in the UK in the early 40s ( my era ) .

    2... There are numerous articles about the latin genre, dating back with info, way before the 50s, including music and dance.

    3..There are many on the site that ,will have answers to your questions.
  3. MMaatttt

    MMaatttt Shine Officer

    If you like older styles, I would recomend learning Son. It's an elegant style who's influence you still see in Salsa, and it's still taught.
  4. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Hey Mario, welcome to the site. I'm a salsa DJ and dancer (amateur), I also regard the 50s very highly. I've been listening to blues and rnb for most of my life; of course a lot of the best music in those genres was made in the 50s. I also have a lot of interest in 50s style generally. I've not met anyone else on the salsa scene with a retro flavour, but it can be done!

    Some of my favourite 50s Latin music would be Tito Puente Dance Mania Vol 1 and Cal Tjader's Latin Concert. (You may well have these already.) If you want more recommendations then I suggest that you start a thread specifically for 50s Latin music; there's collectors/DJs here who will have many recommendations, I'm sure.

    Where are you based?

    I'm actually doing the inverse(ish) of what you're doing, as after a few years of salsa immersion I'm now trying to learn lindy.
  5. Doo Wop Mario

    Doo Wop Mario Changui

    Thanks for the tip, I will definitely look into that. I've seen Son danced in a lot of old movies and have always wanted to try that!
  6. Doo Wop Mario

    Doo Wop Mario Changui

    Nice to meet you DJ Yuca, I do love Tito Puente and Cal Tjader as well. I'm based in Southern California. Thanks for the tips. I am sure there are people on here who will enlighten me with plenty of good music from that era as well. I have a youtube channel on which I have over 100 of my favorite songs uploaded, including some vintage latin songs.

    Search "Mustafa 50's Cha Cha Cha" and you will see the type of primitive music I have a huge passion for. From there you will be able to click on my user name "discharmingman" and find all my music uploads, (including episodes of Blind Date, which happened to be my favorite show a while back before they took it off the air!) haha! I am currently uploading an early song of Tito Puente's called Quiereme y Veras. Check it out!
    DJ Yuca likes this.
  7. azzey

    azzey El Sabroso de Conguero

    Hi Mario,

    Welcome to SF! I understand it can be a painful period (the so-called "beginners hell") for a guy learning to social dance at a club for the first time, however the longer you leave it the longer it will take for you to learn. Social dancing is a different animal than class learning, so don't fool yourself into thinking that you need more classes and then you'll be able to dance at a club. Classes are good but what you need is club experience. You are only delaying your own development by not social dancing at a club. That said, I understand it could be harsh being compared to much more experienced Salsa dancers at Stevens. Though from what I've seen on videos there are a LOT of beginners out there dancing too. Most don't have any form of musicality from what I've seen so maybe its just you doing the comparison and thinking you NEED high level musicality before you can even go dancing.

    What you need are:
    - The basic step.
    - A few basic moves. cross-body lead (most importantly), right turn, left turn, cross-body left turn, guys left/right turn. That's plenty to start with.
    - The basic salsa rhythm and timing. 123-567-.

    So? That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to dance. You can only learn by doing. Dancing only becomes fun with practice and the right attitude of playing with it. Once you get the basics down REALLY well then you'll start to have some concentration left over for other things.

    Breaks are really simple. Stop when the music stops. Start when it starts. Try to time ANY move so that it starts on a break in the music. Breaks are most often on 1 anyway. e.g. step back on the 1 of the open break when you hear a break. Or step forward on the 1 of the cross-body lead. So this means a lot of the time you can just be doing moves as normal. What makes it different is putting a little emphasis and feeling into it. That comes with time and attention to the music and certainly won't happen if you don't dance much.

    Shines are just selections of different basic steps put together. So break away from your partner when you feel like it and do a few basic steps then come back together. Simple.

    She's wrong to say that in that way. I can't think of any time where you're "supposed" to do a shine. Maybe what she meant was (for her) it would have been nice to synchronise some footwork with the music at that point. Musicality is not about knowing what to do when, it's about feeling and self-expression. You get that by listening and going with what you feel.

    If you hold onto that idea (in bold) then you will never dance. Or you'll dance like a robot because you think things MUST be this way. That's probably one of the most unhelpful ideas so would recommend you throw that away and just dance.
    TwoLeftFeet likes this.
  8. Doo Wop Mario

    Doo Wop Mario Changui

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Azzey. I really appreciate everything you said. I have been listening to a lot of salsa music while driving trying to anticipate breaks. I'm also planning on taking Don's musicality class at Granada's to help me further.

    Thanks so much for the other tips on shines and breaks. I will focus on that when I stay and practice after class.

    OKay, I have now changed my mindset. I already have the basics down pretty good and even have learned a couple of other moves (nothing dancy), but I have read numerous posts where the ladies would prefer a lead who can do the basics and stay on time without all the fancy stuff and that is certainly a description of what I can do at this point. I will also work on adding little details while dancing (e.g., shoulder shakes, hand placement behind the back when turning a lady, etc.). Those are the only two I know at the moment, so if you have any other tips I would happily try them!

    Thanks again! I will be dancing more now for sure!
  9. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Yes, yes, yes. :) That and actually listening to the music while dancing (even if you still don't know what to do when it changes) is a great starting point. :)

    I would suggest listening to as much Latin music as you can even when you're not practicing, it will speed up your progress considerably.
  10. Doo Wop Mario

    Doo Wop Mario Changui

    Thanks Sabrosura,
    I'm constantly listening to latin music and I have also downloaded the Salsa Rhythm app that helps me listen to different beats and how it's all in sync with the clave. I have really immersed myself in this and I'm so serious about getting better. I'm excited to see how fast I can get out of beginners hell. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, I believe Don Baarns is having a musicality class at Granada today at 4 that I hope to attend. I heard his class is very insightful!
  11. Salsacore

    Salsacore Nuevo Ritmo

    I wouldn't call you a pattern monkey. A pattern monkey for me is an advanced dancer who still has no clue about the music, usually dances on1, except parts of the song with few percussion where he accidentally switches to on2 because he's got no clue about the music. If he puts out some super complicated fancy patterns and it's not a slow song he might just end up on3 and does not even realize. Music is background noise anyway to have fun with a girl and to demonstrate fancy patterns.

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