Salsa leaders - your golden rules

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by MacMoto, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yeah, that also came into my mind
    In BR latin, we also operated with terms pull and push, however it was about force developed in connection as result of leader moving close towards follower (push) or away of her (pull), where arms act like a kind of spring, and force is more or less parallel with the line connecting center of leader and follower. Some were using more pull, some more push and the trends were changing along timeline ... but anyway, push/pull wasn't about leader standing still and moving furniture from left to right side (and even if you are moving furniture, you won't do it that way but will usually try to lean towards or away from the furniture to make it move). However, many social dancers looking that got similar wrong ideas ... and teaching that way produces even more traffic cop leaders combined with furniture followers that are never in balance because guys are always pulling and pushing them out of balance, that don't look like they are dancing but like "being danced". But on the other side, it can partially replace going to gym, so maybe it's not that bad either

    Well, I don't understand the language, but at least the girl can move and turn on her own and with balance reasonably good, unlike ...
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
  2. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Is it somewhat similar to what they do in WCS?

    He's taught them something called: "Paseo de Olas", which can help them make the dance even more circular.
    This mechanic replaces the usual backstep-into-tension technique they have been taught up to that lesson.

    -He tells the follows: to follow their hand ("with their frame").
    -And the guys, to make a (horizontal) figure eight with their hands. (therefore make the follows rotate).

    Then he uses this idea to lead some of the basic figures they already know, and in the end, demonstrates the combination they learned to execute using that technique.

    My personal take on this is different, though:
    *Their application of this idea still leads to tension. I actually use this in order to avoid it. S:
    *When I use it, I don't move my like he does, but rather step in a way that affects her hand the same way.
    *At "worst", I'll use my shoulder blades, and if really necessary, I will micro-manage things using my fingers.
    salsaImpro likes this.
  3. Interesting stuff. I do agree that pull & push should be minimal - otherwise you are indeed moving furniture. Also the use of visual indications makes that you only have to lead very softly - stepping aside as a leader invites a follower to move forward ( eg cross body lead).

    I also agree that very skilled dancers almost do not use the push & pull anymore - they only use more subtile indications as visual indication, body indication, eye contact, ... . But that is very rare and only for very skilled dancers because most people do not have the goal to become the best. They just want to have fun and learn something that works in a short time.

    The pull and push is something that always works for everyone and is easy to learn. I also teach it in a static position for the leader. This way, he learns the effect of a pull and a push rather then him compensating his bad leading with moving around his partner.

    So all you say guys I do agree but you are very experienced, not the 95% of the dance public.
  4. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    And, should be taught to all new students.. from the git go..
  5. Peason

    Peason Son

    It's good connection that will give you the opportunity to make your leading soft.
    A good frame from both lead and follow are required for this.
    Visual indications have nothing to do with it.

    The first problem that I see in your videos is that your body moves in a disconnected way from itself.
    Imagine your body being a rainwater pipe. Water can only fall through it straight onto the ground when all pieces are nicely stored on top of each other (pipe 1). When one piece of pipe is bend (pipe 2) or misplaced (pipe 3), this can harm the flow of water.
      1                          2                       3
    |   |                      |   |                   |   |
    |   |                      |  <                     |   |
    |   |                      |   |                   |   |
    Good flow in your body will bring the energy up from the ground to the tip of your fingers (look at how the body moves in rumba guanaco).

    The same ideas about flow can be applied to the connection with your partner.
    For example through opening your hip slightly to the left, your should and arm will go with it in a slight way. Proper connection with your partner will have her right arm open up slightly which will make her hip and body move slightly to the right. Setting her up for right-side turn.
    For the outside eye, this may look like pulling and pulling. But mechanics and energy that are involved is of a complete other order.
    vit likes this.
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    IF leading from a closed position ; in apart situations, the visual is important .
  7. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    Here you reach a level of "light leading" that I would call "requiring counter leading".

    A follow that passes me without me giving her a direction signal is doing one of two things:
    a) Hijacking - well, "light" linear follows usually are too submissive for that. They may ignore you and fall into shines, but they do not Hijack normally.
    b) counter leading

    Stepping aside means exactly that. I am stepping aside.
    It is a preparation for other stuff, but if I just step aside, I have not told the follow yet, what I would like her to do. She may Hijack - but that she can always do. And then it usually does not end in a CBL/DQN.
    If I want the follow to pass me, I have to give her some kind of impulse - i.e. pull a little on her arm or push on her back. Or pull on the non physical connection. Or directional eye contact ... Or use the "magnetic hand" on her back to make her move backwards instead, while I am moving at her side.
    If she moves without a directional impulse, she is anticipating what I would like to do. And once you step aside from the 26 something standard steps, this concept starts to fail ...
    I do not like the words push and pull in this case neither, because they are too much connected to forceful handling - I used them because they are in discussion here, but I think there should be better description. And I lack the English vocabulary to get the perfect words for it.

    By the way, it is interesting that all this "light leading" and "inviting" stuff is said by men or by rather submissive follows most of the times.
    I have been taught leading mostly by women - by following women that told me, what they liked and what not. Many of them feared to be seen as bad dancers, when they did not follow these "invitations" - they saw it as hidden orders, like the drill Sargent looking for volunteers.

    So my golden rule for the leader:
    Ask the followers what they like. Many different of them!
  8. Peason

    Peason Son

    I disagree.
    As long as there is physical contact, there is a connection that you can use to lead the follow.
    Of course, this does not mean that visual aids can't be used on top of that.
  9. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    I follow in almost half of my dances - and rough leaders & leaders who have zero respect to my momentum & leaders whose hands are so disconnected that the pull/push me to one direction while their body language states otherwise - All annoy me.

    -I'm am a very accurate and "honest" follow: I will reflect and magnify your lead down to the little things.
    -I won't "cover for your mistakes" by guessing what you wanted me to do, and I don't follow what I don't feel.
    (even if you use an accepted signal! I don't feel -> I don't follow).

    -But I'm also very playful: If I sense any degree of freedom in your lead - I'll abuse it: Giving you different results you were not expecting. (Which still match your lead), and sometimes, I'll toy with your lead, listen to only part of your lead, completely disobey, or even suddenly lead you...

    *Yet. I prefer it as light as possible; That's all I need.

    It's my lightness and quick adapting to the girl's movement (rather than giving forceful-orders) that actually give the girls more space and ground to express themselves.

    Yes, but then there is the question: What do I like?
    And I like follows - who like light leads. If rather than dance with me, a follow wants to dance against me - she better go witha different lead, who might give her what she enjoys.
    LarsM likes this.
  10. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    If you are in closed position, how come you are apart?
    (What does the phrase: "In apart situations" mean?)
  11. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Didn't you notice the semicolon? In apart situations as opposed to in closed position.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  12. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Wohah - this pretty much solves everything. :rofl:
    DJ Yuca likes this.
  13. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    It's not that much about <how much> push/pull or any kind of force in connection you are using. You can use very little or quite a lot - depending on the follower and how they react
    Problem is in <how> and it doesn't look right in your videos

    As Peason said and I tried to indicate with my questions which you didn't answer, flow in your dancing with your partner is broken in various points. For instance, that "flick" with arm is a consequence of overall body movement. If you do it when standing still because you have seen other people doing it when dancing, it has no other purpose than pure "styling". So you are forcing your partner through moves because you are giving her contradictory information - your arms are pulling her somewhere, while your static body isn't telling her to move at all. So she is confused and is combating your arm when going over her head when you turn her and her own balance which is bad and her irregular stepping, you look like you are moving her all around, she doesn't look like dancing but like being moved over the floor and everything looks out of tune. So your teaching about good leading is useless until you both sort out those basic problems. I mean, I'm ok when I see people dancing like that, it's their business, but I have a problem when I see people teaching like that and then I'm faced with a lot of furniture on the dance floor as result of that kind of teaching
    Peason likes this.
  14. BMorin

    BMorin Son

    There are a couple issues I see in some of the softer salsa rooms I frequent.

    Physically sock puppeting followers works until you start interacting with fairly strong follows! Follows who don't know better are happy to be danced and if you're fun, playful, attractive, etc. you can move up the food chain pretty far until it's a significant deal breaker.

    Too much focus on teaching the leader's obligations and not enough focus on the followers job of maintaining timing and holding onto the leader.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  15. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    When a follow can't hear me - I speak softer - so she has to try listening.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  16. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    I think you wanted to quote me ...

    Well, if you prefer submissive beings who adore you for being soft while manhandling them - and that is what you sound like - it is your thing. But as I understand you twist what I am trying to say.

    Here is the thing.
    "light" =/= "respectful" =/= "connected"
    and "pushing and pulling" =/= "non light"

    I experience many very light follows as very disconnected. From me - not from reality. They are attentive and submissive, but not connected. The communication is one sided - I get nothing back aside from watching a pretty girl move. I like to dance with follows as equals, not as soft beings from another dimension / the weak gender. (Btw, the "modern chivalry" treats women as inferior, as something that has to be lifted, because it cannot do it itself.)
    And "pushing and pulling" does not mean "moving against the follow." That is something you simply made up - the wrestlers simply are bad leads. From all points of view (but their own).

    See it more as a communication. You can tease each other and play with the connection - that includes a little "pushing and pulling". That is, what I like. Of course I prefer to dance with somebody, where this communication is not harmed by uncontrolled friction - but that has nothing to do with a higher level of tension.
    Or you can be without any resistance and simply agreeing to everything the other one says. That is what I feel when dancing with these ultra light follows. And that's for me the opposite of being connected. It's submission - not connection. It's meaningless for me ...

    Sometimes I see 2 different meanings of "light". And there is no reason somebody could not fulfill both of them at the same time.
    1. Soft, respectful, clear communication. I am accused of being a very light and clear lead regularly and I think this is what the women mean with it.
    2. Antagonistic gender roles - the woman as the weak gender, protected in her golden cage. (And this applies less, if you as a guy follow!)
    The 2nd ones are the ones shouting out louder, how important it is to be soft ... and how important it is, to do that from the side of the lead.

    This is forcing her into submission.

    If she has to use all her energy to listen to the whisper behind the wall of sound, moves and emotions to execute, what she is "invited" to do, where is the place to relax, to play, to flirt, to simply have fun ?

    How about you adjust your "voice" to the listening ability of the woman ?
    And if she is half deaf, you shout to her - in a friendly way.

    (And help her training her senses, so she becomes a better listener over time.)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  17. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    "Apart ", is when a couple are in a single hand hold,usually facing, with no body contact. Double hand holds ,are also "apart ", but may transition into side by side or other compatible positions ( like hammer locks ) .

    Many dancers, dance in "close " position but that, is not " .Closed " ( full body contact ) .
    There are frequently misconceptions, about terminology.. ex.. Footwork and Foot positions..Open breaks and Separation breaks , both are different concepts .
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  18. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    I pretty much stated that my lead gives the girl more space and ground to express herself. (Compared to the ones that a "pulled" girl has).
    That's the opposite of manhandling as I know it.



    Oh, I can assure to you that my favorite follows are not weak; They don't just respond, and they don't "work for me" - they have their say in the conversation...They will challenge you, and surprise you - and you will have to be just as flexible to not stay behind. ;)
    -I should film it once, so you understand what I'm talking about.

    -I know some LA dancers who would react to 'pre-programmed': You give input X at time Y -> They give you the corresponding output Z.
    Some of them are heavy, others are too light - but they are all disconnected. One of them - I accuse of being a robot:
    She's very light, and moves bery beautifully, but she's disconnected, and she will execute the same patterns with the same hand styling the very same way, through the end - and until she's done the sequence, she won't process any input. Perhaps those are the girls you were referring to...

    I simply said that when a follow is heavy - I don't overwhelm her with power. I make her more cautious to lead by softening mine even further.

    A person who can't hear is one thing.
    But when a person doesn't get the message because his ears and attention are averted - I don't scream to make my message clearer, I speak softer so the other party gets curious and starts listening.

    From analogy to reality: Try it in real life. Tell a story, and then at one part lower your voice. See how suddenly people listen more carefully.

    Helping someone become a listener - is why I don't shout.
  19. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    1st part: Got it clearly. Thanks! :O
    2nd: I thought Foot position was a part of Footwork.
    3rd: I'm still not sure about the difference. You explained it to me once (twice) but used terms I couldn't comprehend.

    Is that an Open Break?

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  20. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Foot "position"..the placement of the foot in a given direction. i.e. Forward , side,across, back etc ,in other words.. Directional

    Footwork.. The part of the foot that first makes contact with the floor..i.e Heel. Ball, Inside edge. The 2 separate parts are conjoined, and both may be changed to get the desired result.

    The Pic.i s a Crossover break ( or New Yorker in Intern BR latin ) .

    Open break.. From a closed/close position,Man and lady both step to the SIDE, and adopt a single hand hold..

    Separation break.. Man and lady both step backwards, ergo a "separation".. The man may choose to mark time, whilst leading lady to the separation .
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.

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