Recommendations: Songs with 3-2 clave (ideally Cuban musicians)

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by manzanadulce, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    I have danced for 18 years almost exclusively with Cubans and have not noticed a tendency to dance on5. Most of them dance on3 or on1. However as you said, Cuban music has a lot of clave changes and most Cubans don't bother to switch their steps if the clave changes. So they may end up on5 that way. But if it changes again then you're back on1.
    manzanadulce likes this.
  2. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    That's a new one for me, and I don't actually understand what you mean by 'dance to 3-2 clave'.
    timberamayor likes this.
  3. Desafinado

    Desafinado Tumbao

  4. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    I was going to ask you what you meant by dancing to musical "1". I think I get what you are saying after reading the rest of your post.

    I am going to say something that is more tangential to what you discussed. Perhaps contrary to most members of Salsa Forum.

    In the other two predominant dance forms I go out dancing, musica "1" is not as important as it is for most of salsa dancers that I that dance with (I don't dance cuban or casino). In the other dance forms (AT and WCS), good dancers would know where the musical "1" is in terms of where phrase starts and ends or where the section starts and ends. Therefore choreograph (not in terms of pre-mediated choreography, but just-in-time patterns they deploy to dance) their dancing to match the musicality of the phrase. But there is no rigid expectation that you step certain way or do certain thing on musical "1".

    Which brings me back to the question why should we have to be a slave to musical "1" ? Not knowing or not recognizing where the musical "1" is a different topic. But knowing where the musical "1" is and then wanting to be a slave to it, is what I am talking about. By being 'slave' what I mean is this:

    Strictly speaking music measure is 4 bars and dance measure is 8 bars (two music measures). Of course there is that call response dynamic going on over those 8 bars in the salsa music, but lets keep that aside for a while. If you think of dancer from strictly music point of view, then musical "1" and musical "5" are almost one and the same. Of course in the case of the music we are discussing the uneven clave rhythm across two music bars changes things and thereby partly or wholely causing the challenges you outlined.

    terence once had a an excellent suggestion, to change direction of our dancing according to direction of clave. If I understood him correctly he meant if 2-3 clave is playing then the direction of dance is such you are stepping forward on musical "1" (follower's timing on2 equivalent) and if it is 3-2 you are stepping backwards on musical "1" (lead's timing on2 equivalent), either that or vice versa. If that was indeed the norm then, it would truly represent both musical "1" and the clave direction in our dancing. Unfortunately that is not the norm and it would make dancing more difficult for people without both - correct sense of timing and clave direction. Another alternative to would be step to clave and dance that way - that would be five steps or weight changes than six that we do today. Again that is not how we dance. If we danced in either of those ways, we would be consistent with dancing with the clave. I think our current way of dancing (on2 or on1) is not consistent in dancing with the clave (or its direction), but it is more consistent with dancing to the toon-toon-paahk conga/tumbao rhythm.

    Anyways this is all very academic without any material impact on how we can dance and enjoy with most of the dancers outside of narrow confines of SF.

    P.S. - There are songs which change the direction of clave without changing the musical "1". The change in direction of clave may or may not flip the musical "1". It depends on the creativity of musicians.[/user]
  5. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    You are mostly correct in this analysis. And you're right. It has nothing to do with enjoyment of the dance. Only with learning to untrain myself to hear first and foremost the musical 1, because it doesn't help much when dancing casino to a lot of songs. It's fine in salsa because trained salseros usually can observe clave changes and adapt to them. Only relative beginners don't, in my experience. So you never have this feeling off being off timing because you started out dancing to the "1" in a 3-2 clave and then the song switched to a 2-3 clave and the 1 is now the 5 which in salsa on 2 would essentially mean you switched from
    Ladies timing to men's timing or vice versa, as Terence explained previously I guess. Dancing to clave as in doing 5 steps to each sound of the clave isn't the solution either. I can show you videos of people trying to dance this way and it has no flow. It's very strange actually. It's basically just to keep that pa, pa,, pa rhythm of the 3-2 clave consistent through that 8 count measure of a song even if the song happens to be organized around 2-3 clave. My point is to Cubans it doesn't typically matter. They just dance 3-2 not matter if the song is 2-3. They don't understand what the musical "1" is. I can't tell you how many Cubans I've met that can find clave immediately but have no idea what is the "1". That's something taught to trained dancers. thats not to say all Cubans dance to clave even though they can find the rhythm. Many would tell you they dance "por la sangre". And this is just how they individually hear the music. But those Cubans are very challenging to follow because they don't honor a consistent rhythm.

    And I often have trouble "unhearing" the "1" if the clave shifts during a song which means I feel off timing even if I continue to observe a 3-2 clave structure in the dance.
  6. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    They know it instinctively really. Most couldn't tell you why they do. Probably as a result of just growing up with the dance and the music they know how to listen for it. Cubans, to my knowledge, generally don't recognize any direction for clave other than 3-2 (the original son clave).
  7. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    I mean that whether the song is arranged around 3-2 clave or 2-3 or a mix of both (clave changes within the song) they will continue to dance on the rhythm of the 3-2 clave and the step that coincides with either side of the clave.

    I.e. For followers in casino the break step occurs with R foot on 1 or the first stroke of clave. Clave strokes being, of course, 1, &, 4, 6, 7. This is why it's directional. Your break step occurs on 1 on R side and 5 on L. No clave sounds on left foot break step. Clave does sound on the right foot break step.
  8. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Firstly, you're working on the assumption that contratiempo or dancing on3 do not exist in casino (or are invalid ways of dancing casino). I disagree.

    Secondly, the dancers' 1 only matches the 1st stroke of the clave if the song is arranged in 3-2 clave. The majority of salsa and I suspect timba is actually 2-3.

    Those counts only match clave when it is 3-2 son clave. Not only is the majority of salsa and I suspect timba 2-3 clave (as already stated), but timba also frequently uses rumba clave.

    Are you simply saying that you dance on1 no matter what the clave is? And if there is a clave change you adjust so you are still on1?
  9. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    What makes you think that? Surely that would make them cruzado most of the time?
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I think here you're stating that you start on1 but if there is a clave change you want to ignore it. And that your objective is to maintain breaking on R foot on the 1st beat of the 3 side of the clave. Fine, but be aware that the song could just as easily have gone from 2-3 to 3-2, in which case by dancing on1 then on5, you will actually never be dancing with your R foot breaking on the 1st beat of the 3 side of the clave.

    Incidentally, although I'm not much of a casino buff, there are and have been plenty of Cuban dance / casino fanatics on this forum, plus I have met and seen Cuban dancers in the real world. Yet I have never seen or heard of anyone else using this method. Did you get it from that instructor I can't stand who markets himself as selling some sort of authentic, genuine casino that no one else outside Cuba is willing to share? Do you have any reference to or evidence of its existence outside of his lessons? And have you considered that he might just be selling you 'tonterĂ­as'?
  11. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero


    "Firstly, you're working on the assumption that contratiempo or dancing on3 do not exist in casino (or are invalid ways of dancing casino). I disagree."

    Of course contratiempo exists and I've said so many times but the point still stands. You only break step on ONE side of the clave. Either on 1, or on 6, if contratiempo. This has nothing to do with clave direction. Dancing casino is valid whether a tiempo or contratiempo. Agreed.

    "Secondly, the dancers' 1 only matches the 1st stroke of the clave if the song is arranged in 3-2 clave. The majority of salsa and I suspect timba is actually 2-3."

    Yes, I said this in my earlier post. Most "salsa" is arranged around 2-3 clave and even Cuban musicians include clave changes in their songs. However, clave may not be audible in a song in which case a trained dancer would usually dance to the musical 1 which exists separate of clave direction.

    "Those counts only match clave when it is 3-2 son clave. Not only is the majority of salsa and I suspect timba 2-3 clave (as already stated), but timba also frequently uses rumba clave."

    I was talking specifically about son clave. However even when dancing to timba I've seen Cubans still observe 3-2 clave.

    "Are you simply saying that you dance on1 no matter what the clave is? And if there is a clave change you adjust so you are still on1?"

    I am saying that in salsa I adjust my timing by using a "kick ball change" to switch back to women's timing after a clave change which is typical in salsa world. However as @timberamayor also pointed out earlier, most Cubans ignore these changes and continue to dance observing 3-2 clave structure meaning that the woman break steps on her right foot on 2 (or left foot on 6) and the man break steps his left foot on 2 (or right foot on 6) no matter whether the clave changes during the song. So a trained dance would perceive them as "crossed" or "off time" and I am trying to train myself to not listen for the musical 1 and to ignore clave changes when dancing casino and just keep the 3-2 direction (tiempo or contratiempo doesn't matter).
  12. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    I think it's ironic that you keep saying you're not a casino buff but still want to argue with me when I know a lot about the dance and the topic :p.

    BTW, how many people do you know that teach REAL casino? And I don't mean linear fusions like Miami style. If you know of other quality teachers I would love to know.

    I've already acknowledged that there are differences in the way untrained Cubans dance, but I also realize that most of them (some of whom I've only seen videos of and some of whom I've danced with personally) don't observe clave changes and continue to dance "on1". So, I am concluding that this is a skill that will be helpful for me to further develop if my ultimate goal is to dance casino with a wide variety of Cuban dancers.

    As for the person you love to hate, I've seen plenty of "tonterias", but what he's selling is not one of them. I think it's quite clear that the method is sound when he posts plenty of videos of both himself and other leads and followers (mostly NON CUBAN, btw) that he's trained dancing with regular untrained Cubans IN Cuba. How much more proof do you need that overall, Cubans dance like that? I'd be suspicious if it was JUST videos of him dancing with people he's trained in his method. But the method stands up far beyond that. And yes, of course I have evidence outside of what he specifically teaches. As I said, I've danced with plenty of untrained Cubans not associated with him or his method and some of the problems I've had dancing with them are those I've described in the earlier post.
  13. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    A lot of them wouldn't consider themselves "cruzado," because they don't recognize 2-3 clave as "valid". Nor do they recognize a musical "1". So if your only way of interpreting a song is by following the pattern of the 3-2 clave you would never be "cruzado."

    By the way, this is a shortcoming of untrained Cubans because they only have one way of interpreting/hearing the music, whereas I would argue the trained dancers who can count the musical measure and adapt to clave changes have more at their disposal in this regard. Either way, it doesn't help you if you're dancing with a Cuban who ONLY observes 3-2 clave.
  14. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    It has nothing to with clave direction - that's why I'm so confused as to why you keep bringing clave direction into it.

    Most dancers dance on1. That has nothing to do with whether or not the song is 2-3 or 3-2. Some prefer other timings, but for almost all dancers, their timing has nothing to do with clave direction.

    Once again, I really don't know what you mean by 'observe 3-2 clave'.

    You want to learnt to ignore clave changes in songs? Ok - a simple concept. And yes untrained dancers, including Cubans, are known to do this. Ime it is more a case of simply treating the count as 1,2,3 (i.e. there is no 5,6,7); as well as ignoring clave changes, the dancer may start on5 rather than 1. (Frowned upon in the salsa scene but personally I can't see a problem with it.)

    But what has that got to do with 3-2 clave structure or 3-2 direction? This is where you are confusing me and I suspect everyone else.

    Incidentally, surely you would be better off practicing with tunes with clave changes in, so you can accustom yourself to ignoring them?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
    LarsM likes this.
  15. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    If you know a lot about it, you should be able to answer my previous questions.

    Here's where the whole MCC thing makes no sense. Timba is a fusion, and it started in 1990. And I have literally never heard of a Cuban night, anywhere, where there are old records played. I.e. from the 80s or earlier. Even stuff from the 90s is considered old hat by most timberos. Yet somehow not dancing a form of casino that possibly existed decades ago is considered inauthentic? Have a listen to the music timberos dance to - it is full of influences from late 80s funk b lines, and contemporary hip hop and reggaeton. The music certainly hasn't been frozen in time - so why should the dance be?

    (Ironically on the slot style scene it's absolutely normal to hear large quantities of pre 90s music, even stuff from the 50s and 60s, so there it would make some sort of sense to try to preserve vintage forms of dancing.)
    LarsM likes this.
  16. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    I don't see how it makes no sense. casino can be danced to all kinds of different music. an individual's preference as to whether they like older or newer songs is irrelevant.

    nor am I commenting on whether its a problem that dances have evolved and continue to evolve. obviously its a fact and it will continue to happen. "vintage" forms of dance will continue to be preserved if there is demand for them. obviously the fact that MCC has plenty of interest shows that outside of cuba many people want to learn how to dance this way. if there is no demand, the dance will fade away and eventually disappear, unless effort and care is made to document and preserve the tradition of the dance. people can dance linear fusions if they want, I have no problem with it. i'm not interested in learning myself, but whatever. just because there is a demand for linear/casino fusion doesn't mean there's no demand for casino. you seem to think that Miami style is some "improvement" on casino from decades ago, but that's not true. it's just a fusion of slotted style salsa (aka WCS) and Cuban casino.

    I am simply trying to get better at dancing to 3-2 clave regardless of the song, because I have observed that many Cubans dance this way, using IMPLIED 3-2 clave, whether the song is ACTUALLY 3-2 clave or not.
  17. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    Observe 3-2 clave = dancing on the 1 as though the song is arranged around a 3-2 clave EVEN IF the song is NOT ACTUALLY arranged around a 3-2 clave. If others are confused they can certainly post and ask me what they are confused about.

    I practice to tunes with clave changes all the time but am still having trouble ignoring them during casino because i am so accustomed to observing them when dancing salsa, so I thought that listening to exclusively 3-2 songs might help (at least I was hoping). I also wanted to have a nice selection of 3-2 songs for those times when I want to dance casino without having to think about or deal with clave changes or what is the 1 vs the 5. so thanks again to all that helped provide some songs for me!
  18. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    My first interpretation of the statement "untrained cubans continue to dance in 3-2 clave, even when the direction changes to 2-3, ignoring musical "1" is that they switch between on1 and on5. If 3-2 is playing they are dancing on1. If 2-3 is playing they are dancing on2. My reason for that interpretation are the statements:

    My correct or incorrect interpretation is that they (followers) are used to breaking with right foot on the first clap of 3 side clave, irrespective of the direction of the clave. Since the musical "1" doesn't change due to change of the direction of clave, when clave changes to 2-3, they will have to break on5.

    But then this one confused me:

    Then I reach the opposite conclusion to my above interpretation. Dancing using implied 3-2 means they keep breaking on1 with R side or R foot (in case of follower) irrespective of whether the direction is 3-2 or 2-3. If the primary rule is to be that the followers in casino the break step occurs with R foot on 1 or the first stroke of clave then dancing with IMPLIED 3-2 clave when the clave direction is 2-3, would mean that they continue to break on1 with the right foot (for follower) even though there is no clave clap on 1 (in the 2-3 clave).

    Manza can perhaps say which of my above two interpretation is correct. Or I am totally wrong in both my interpretations!
  19. manzanadulce

    manzanadulce Sonero

    @Offbeat it is not an easy concept to wrap ur head around! it took me what seemed like ages to understand, especially with my having a salsa background, where dancers are accustomed to switching timing and generally not observing the clave at all (instead, just dancing to musical 1 and switching from the 1 to the 5 when the clave direction changes.

    basically yes, assuming 3-2 direction means follower breaks on 1 (first slap of clave), regardless of whether that is the musical 1 or the 5. however. this still is the case even when there is no audible slap of clave on 1, and it is only implied the case that the clave direction changes during the song, the dancer would continue as though it had not changed.

    some Cuban musicians do break up clave or switch clave direction in songs. most Cubans are not adept at dealing with these musical difficulties in their dance. this is not the case for all cuban dancers but it has been largely my experience dancing with untrained Cubans thus far.
  20. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero


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