Older people and Salsa

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by flowrite, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. flowrite

    flowrite Sonero

    Is Salsa really for younger people?
    There are an increasing number of older people getting into Salsa; where I danced last Saturday the vast majority were in their forties and fifties. Unfortunately there were hardly any good dancers among them, apart from one who I know who has been dancing for eleven years. There was only one girl there in her mid - twenties, the youngest and she was, apart from the lady I just mentioned, the best, the rest were hard work - I could feel a lack of agility and a heaviness about them. Most of the time the floor was half to two thirds full, yet when a Bachata came on the floor filled up.
    Aside from anything else I’m beginning to wonder if Bachata is more popular than Salsa with an older age group and whether there ought to be Bachata and Kizomba only nights or at least the emphasis on those slower dances and Salsa played occasionally; a vice versa situation so to speak.
    I’m quite old myself but not a bad dancer now, only through taking it seriously and persevering for eleven years.
    So I’m wondering if Salsa is the right dance for the majority of my peers and whether they would be better off learning dances that do not require speed, fast reaction time and agility. And unless older dancers have a prior dance background or are willing to put time and effort apart from a Saturday social they are not going to get very far with the dance. Even the young have to work at it but the older even more so – they gotta loosen up them joints.
    Of course if they are happy being awkward and cumbersome and just want a laugh, who am I to say different, but it will keep me away from places where the crowd are predominately heading towards middle age, which puts me at a disadvantage as I'm not the first choice on the dance floor in a younger environment
    Having said all that, without those dancers there last Saturday the place would have been empty and the promoter out of business. Paradoxically it’s the oldies that keeping Salsa alive outside the city centres.
  2. premier

    premier Shine Officer

    Well salsa is a type of dance that would be easier to learn at a younger age. That's not to say older people can't learn it, but given the more energetic nature of the dance it's just easier for a younger body. A more experienced salsero is able to express more with less, which makes salsa very suitable even for older bodies. The problem is, it's very hard to get that experience if you star at an older age when your physique is holding back your training. I guess it's possible, but the training and road map for development is very different for older people and it requires adjustment from the instructor too.
  3. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    Personally I have zero problem with older people taking up salsa. And here I even include people in their 60s, why not? I think the OP assumes the situation where they start with low fitness and no history with physical training of any kind but there are also those who are in very good condition in their 40s or 50s.

    If this means dancing to slower salsa, so what? Is it a problem? There are great songs of lower speed, also chachas and other related dances. BTW that would be the case with any beginner even in their 20s - they will be awkward, slow and heavy and will need slower music.

    Developing flexibility later in life is more difficult, true. But if they don't become the most graceful of dancers, they might still be more enjoyable to dance with. I have danced with older gentlemen who were not very advanced but had fantastic attitude, radiating fun and enjoying the moment. For some reason they were much more relaxed than the younger beginners who looked visibly more stressed and stiff.
  4. salsamarty

    salsamarty Rhythm Deputy

    I started in my 40's and have been at it for 13 yrs. Physical agility matters but that is true at any age. Cha cha is OK. I don't care for Bachata. Salsa is what I love. My problem wasn't starting salsa at a later age. It was having no music or dance background previously in my life. I consider myself a decent dancer and I think I have a good attitude. I don't aspire to join performance groups. I don't do lifts and dips. Body rolls look awkward when done by older people but maybe I'm wrong about that. What I can't or don't want to do is hardly a restriction within salsa dancing.

    Fortunately I am more into musicality these days and the good DJ's here are playing older slower salsa music which works great for me but I can handle fast music too. I'm in pretty decent physical shape.

    I've found the proportion of young vs old to vary dramatically on the venue. The places and nights I go out is a predominantly young crowd but there is a respectable minority of older dancers too. The diversity of ages and races was one of the big draws to me to learn salsa. I feel much more comfortable than if I was in a club of all 20 yrs olds. I once went to an El Canario performance at one of my regular clubs and the audience was a complete turnover to an older crowd that I had never seen before. Very much as described by the OP. Occasionally, I will enter a new club that seems to draw an older crowd. I would not attribute what the OP experienced as any evidence of a demographic change in salsa.
    Slowdance and MAMBO_CEC like this.
  5. Kading

    Kading Rhythm Deputy

    I notice the same as OP. This is the reason I don't like dancing with most old people.

    The only reason I don't really mind it during practice is because it's a very good exercise to be completely relaxed while leading. If you give any wrong/slight wrong movement of your arm during the lead, or change the momentum that some moves require, they will not be able to follow it, so it's a good exercise.
    I'm actually sweating through the dance, because of the intense focus it requires for me to lead this steady and not giving any momentum changes. Copa's would be impossible with them, but basic moves are managable. I do not enjoy it though.

    However the instructor is also 50+ but is very easy and fun to lead, so it is possible. I think if you are not in shape, have zero dance experience, and you are 50+ it's kinda hopeless...I hope to be proven wrong though.
  6. wildbill20056

    wildbill20056 Sabor Ambassador

    I think this is bizarre, anyone at any age is prone to being a good or bad dancer. By all means chase away what you see as the 'oldies' and let's watch salsa die a slow death.
    slubia, Slowdance, Offbeat and 3 others like this.
  7. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Clave Commander

    Some people are 'old' in their 30's, others 'young' in their 60's. I think 90% of this is a combination of attitude and healthy (or unhealthy) living. I'm usually the oldest person in the club, but few would guess. One of my friends is in her 50's, but moves like a much younger woman, and guys 10-20 years younger often hit on her!
    slubia, Slowdance, MAMBO_CEC and 3 others like this.
  8. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    That alone says a lot. What you describe is called leading well. If you still find it difficult then maybe you are not ready to make generalizations on things like which age groups are hopeless. You sound like a very young person - let me guess, mid 20s? When I was that age I thought late 30s was when life ends. I can report now that this is not the case. Fortunately for all of us. :)
    Slowdance and Jambo like this.
  9. disarm

    disarm Son

    Modern Jive/Ceroc I find more of an energetic dance style (but certainly inferior to Salsa) and yet the crowd is mostly middle aged. Personally I like to see a mixture of age groups.
  10. Kading

    Kading Rhythm Deputy

    Mid 20's? You flatter me! Lets call it early 20's :D (21)

    Hopeless is perhaps a harsh word..but it's the same if I wanted to be a ballerina. I can't, because I didn't start when I was 5. I'm the last person to say I'm a good lead, but this does not make me unqualified to speak about my own experiences. The 50+ people (that started not too long ago) I danced with probably only dance 1-2 times a week. It might be different if they dance 5-6 times a week...I don't know.

    Like I said, prove me wrong and I would be very happy. Any example of a 50+'er out there that started at 50+ and is now pretty good? (one without any background in athletics or dance).
  11. MMaatttt

    MMaatttt Shine Officer

    Yes, we need to separate age, physical condition and dance ability.

    Controlling for condition and dance ability I find older people really good to dance with.

    Controlling for dance ability, I find the older dancers generally are slower follows, but still fun to dance with.

    Not controlling for anything I find the older dancers on my scene are still worth dancing with.
  12. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    Examples?? Have you seen that clip of the 80-year-old dancing with her grandson? But seriously, do you expect me to give you names of salsa stars who started dancing late in life? This is not how this industry works - think young, skinny, pretty and dressed in lycra. The only example that comes to mind is Edie the Salsa Freak who started in her 30s.

    The people I am talking about are not stars and will never be. But they are great fun to dance with - unlike some salsa stars. ;)
  13. Kading

    Kading Rhythm Deputy

    Don't need specific examples, just if you have seen any of them.

    To not let there be any confusion: I have seen alot of older people dance great, much better than any youngster. The clip that was posted here in some kind of Tower in NYC also had alot of great old dancers. I doubt they started when they were 50+ though..
  14. Salsa Student

    Salsa Student Pattern Police

    I would guess that the percentage of people who start dancing salsa later in life and go onto become good is probably close to the percentage of people who start salsa in their 20's and go on to become good. I think the dropout rate for people in their 20's is higher though.

    I'd also like to point out that many (maybe a majority) of leads of any age aren't really doing much which is all that physically demanding. A lot hardly move at all and some aren't even stepping.
    SnowDancer likes this.
  15. Flying Donkey

    Flying Donkey Tumbao

    Who are all these young people coming into salsa? They turn, turn ,spin, spin, but they never stop to listen to the music! They have got no spatial awareness, its been swallowed up by their egos. I'm going back now to my commode. Someone in their 20's can then wipe my ass until they are in their 70's. I will have retired a long time ago, but I'll be sure to vote to block them from retiring. I can do this as I have some life experience and actually contributed to society at that point.

    This is a really bizarre thread. If you think people in their 40's are old, you've got some growing up to do......
  16. salsamarty

    salsamarty Rhythm Deputy

    I"m speechless . . . and yes you don't know. 21 says it all. Lets return to this thread in about 5 yrs.
  17. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    A load a youngens, dancing ??.. quick, call the care home .:eek:

    And what is "quite" old ? .
    Young is, as one does.
  18. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    I may be veering this discussion in a different direction, but here goes: in the "mainstream" clubs and socials in NYC (the "trained salsa scene", i.e. non-Harlem/Queens/Bronx Latino clubs), the majority of the dancers are in their 20s and 30s, and a good deal in their 40s. Above that, I see quite a few men in their 50s/60s/70s, but extremely few women in those age groups. Is this the case in other scenes? And if so, why? It is quite discouraging for young women who aspire to dance till they are at least 100 years old.
  19. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I have dance shoes older than that:rolleyes: ( and music ) !

    And, I cant even count the number of over 50s ( and 60s) ive taught how to dance, and many ,turned out to be pretty damned good !
    Slowdance and SnowDancer like this.
  20. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    In Atlanta and Tampa, in the "latin" clubs, for 2 e.g. , there was always a pre-ponderance of older ladies ( and men ), and whats more, they had forgotten more about dance and music , than the majority of " dancers ?" in the scene, will probably ever know !.

    What a pity that "youth " is wasted on the "young " .. .

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