Salsa leaders - your golden rules

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

  1. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Forgot to add; on Open break, " and then both break backwards".
    The release of the right hand hold by the man ,needs to be executed , as the side position for both is being concluded.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  2. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    This all makes a lot of sense now!
    Thank you, Terence!!!
  3. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    You're very welcome..
  4. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    You are right, I had a wrong vocabulary in mind.
    I had put it into the "sexist man<something>" category.

    Well, I meant "man controlling the dance without allowing her to form the dance together".

    But still, this has nothing to do with light or not light. And I started this path about the idea, that the woman has to know what you want, when you step aside. (Wasn't your idea, I know.) That is a point, where the communication is that soft, that it has become non existent and been replaced by the brains auto-complete mode.
    I was not criticizing light or soft - I was criticizing the dogmatic approach behind what is often combined with it. (And I do not know your way of dancing, maybe you are one of those, who really do not fall into it.)

    And that is something which happens in actual speaking too. When the language information becomes incomplete - for a variety of reasons - the brain completes it. That works so well, that many people do not even recognize they are doing it - i.e. when people are listening to the TV while being on the phone while reading something.
    The problem is, once the information becomes uncommon - i.e. scientific material instead of small talk - mistakes of the auto complete function become really important and the context is lost.
    (While reading this again I got an idea, why many technical trained dancers are that happy while dancing to low energy music that is hidden behind the chatter of the room - something I hate. They are even auto completing the music.)

    In dancing there is an auto complete mode too. The follow does moves she already knows and that she thinks - consciously or unconsciously - are expected now. This I know as counter leading and it is the antithesis of creating something together.
    Maybe that is the reason, why with highly trained linear follows a soft over following, whenever I try to do something creative instead, is that common, even at teacher level - and a lead who is completely used to this auto-complete mode will not even realize it, because he knows how to trick that mode or at least not to be in conflict with it.

    Lets take as a metaphor you are writing on your smartphone. There is an auto complete mode. This is in the variation between "giving examples how you can finish" towards "when it thinks this word is meant it finishes for you automatically". A typical problem for me is, that when pressing the space button - i.e. because my fingers are too big - it auto completes into something far away from what I meant.
    When you are used to handle this auto complete mode, you can write much faster. Even more, with the automatic version - in return this works only, if you do not use the oxford dictionary as your basis but reduce to a simpler language. (In another threat was mentioned that there is a popular way of teaching NY style based on 13 men's and 26 women's steps - exactly that!).
    Ok, I like to make up words. And I am German - we combine words into longer words a lot and this can be done infinitively. And people with an elaborated language do that a lot - while it is rather uncommon in small talk mode. The standard auto completes cannot handle that. So I do not only loose a lot of the function but little mistakes make me having to delete 10+ signs that were just splashed on my little smart phone screen. And if I had a chat function with the automatic version it would be practically impossible to write in an elaborated way or do scientific communication with it. Or to play a fantasy game with a lot of strange names, magic creatures, spells etc.
    If you want to master the auto complete mode, you have to adapt your language. You get benefits from staying inside the borders and are sanctioned if you leave them.
    But if you have grown up with that mode, you probably do not even know any different anyway.
    Another problematic version of the auto complete mode I just realized: the spelling helper of my browser. If I type a word wrongly, so it becomes another word (one - once) there is nothing shown, so I feel safe. Thus there are in my texts sometimes wrong words that are actually spelling mistakes. A normal spelling mistake can be read over easier, because it is seen by the reader as a mistake. Because I feel reassured in what I am doing I do not triple check it -> this very low key helping system supports some critical errors.

    And THAT is what I criticized.

    I do not use the dancing auto completion. My dancing is often described as very pleasant, very creative, very communicative but also requiring a very high level of attention of the follow. Some cannot handle it - many others go crazy for it. (Btw, this needs a much higher available energy than auto-mode from my side too.)
    Very high attention - not because it is hard to listen to me, but because there is no auto mode. There is no small talk. Instead there is a lot of communicative tension, which includes little pushes and pulls, hijacks, well placed frictions etc.

    Small talk has no friction. It feels soft, light, easy - for those who like it. For me it is dull and boring.
    There are cultures who have brought the etiquette to a level, that small talk becomes a thing of mastered technicality again. (I.e. the court of Louis XIV or the nobility of the Victorian Age.) Still it is small talk, nothing deep, nothing personal. They know - and probably use - more words than the common people. And there never is any friction, any tension in their communication (unless intended). But it lacks any personality, and depth. A person is treated by his social status, not by what he would like to be treated. The etiquette are valued higher than the people.

    That whole "how to treat the woman on the dance floor rightly" has a lot of similarities to the etiquette of the court.
    And that is another point I criticize.

    And now to the really dark side. The dogma.
    When you reach a borderline totalitarian system - which some cliques actually do - you really have to follow the rules of how to speak. You know the book 1984? There it is called Newspeak (I think - Neusprech in German). It is actually sanctioned to not speak as ordered.
    And that is, what I see many follows having fear of. And those who propagate the dogma, constantly call it with euphemisms like "light" and "soft" and everything that seems like it would oppose the allowed language is diminished.
    That is what I see in this thread. Instead of really trying to understand, what "push" and "pull" are meant to be, it is insisted, that it means dragging the follow around like a child that does not want to follow, like an untrained dog that has seen a cat on the other side of the street.
    It starts reaching a level of hysteria - something where people really fear something they made up themselves. (Btw, I did not like the videos I saw neither. The didactic critique is valid.)

    This dogmatic hysteria is something I criticize too.

    (This whole thing is about systematic problems. I cannot tell of any individual of you, without analyzing a lot of your texts, videos and personal observation, of course.)

    So back to your metaphor of "telling a story". This is where I care for your position again @Dissonant Harmony .
    a) I am not telling a story, I am playing a story telling game with her. Telling a story is a one direction street - it is what I criticized too.
    b) In story telling softening your voice is a tool. One of many. A good story teller has a broad variety of voices to adapt for the individual situation of the story.
    c) This tool actually is used for the listener to totally succumb to the story - i.e. in a special horror moment. Even in an interactive story (i.e. Role playing games), this is the moment, where the people are expected to be completely passive, to just listen. I am an active Role player - this lowering voice is one of the best methods to bring the players into passive mode and it is strongly used by Game Masters who make the game more about telling their story to the players - often times with great skill. But still it becomes a very hierarchical communication.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    Smejmoon likes this.
  5. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    So many words. But in general I agree with you.
    You already noticed that high attention dances are mentally taxing. So not to get exhausted after first half an hour, and keep ladies comfortable I suggest to use groovy autodances now and then. :)
    And .. let the follow express herself in the dance; there is so much creativity overridden by demanding leads.

    This and good looks is what makes difference between lead who never gets refused and lead who is actively sought ought on the dance floor.
  6. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    To put it very simplified:
    -We physically connect via hold.
    -I move.
    -Girl wants to keep the connection (and her poise, and her hold) - therefore she moves as well.

    The connection can either be heavy or light. It doesn't matter.
    (Except: Light takes less energy, heavy can go more wrong is one breaks the connection).

    -I don't lead by giving "the signal".
    -I lead by making the girl physically and psychologically feel it's the right thing to do.

    My #1 rule: It has to "flow well and 'naturally'" and feel good.
    My #2 rule: You don't have to know it to follow it.

    What I tell - I tell clearly.
    What I don't complete - is yours to do, and I will follow and complement.

    There is an auto complete mode. This is in the variation between "giving examples how you can finish" towards "when it thinks this word is meant it finishes for you automatically". A typical problem for me is, that when pressing the space button - i.e. because my fingers are too big - it auto completes into something far away from what I meant.[/quote]
    The girl had freedom and she USED it?!
    How evil of her!!!

    This is no: "I speak - you listen"; dance is a conversation - she has place to talk as well, and I better damn listen.

    -The problem with your metaphor is that when typing half-a-word in your smartphone - you have expectations what the complete word should be.

    This is very very very cool! (And also somewhat reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

    -Leading through constant-continous connection has detphs and resolution that pulling and pushing cannot acheive...
    -This can be done either heavy or light.

    *TBH, I'm lost in your analogies and metaphors. I am not sure if what I am answering is even relevant to what you meant to say.

    I don't see how this is relevant to anything discussed before. :S

    -I prefer "light" - because it feels better to me, and is also more efficient.
    -NOT because "It's the getleman-ish thing to do".

    Then you got the whole story wrong.

    We are discussing the efficiency of techniques. (And what are techniques for - if not efficiency?)

    It's two people telling a story together. (Or playing it, or whatever). I'm with you in this one.

    And also make people "engage" in listening, and "actively" pay attention...
  7. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    Instead of "grooving auto dances" I prefer small space groove dances. I know follows who cannot handle the high attention dances but seek me out for those.
    Some people use Bachata or Kizomba for that, but it can be done perfectly fine with Salsa in my eyes. Maybe not to every song, but to many. "Sensual Salsa Mode"
    Often times it's a good choice for the 3rd or 4th dance in a row. Well, I myself can keep this high attention mode for 4-6 hours, if I had enough sleep before and my chocolate with me. But they are nice and rather intense.

    Actually to the abilities that divides a "technically good dancer" from a "pleasant follow" belongs the ability, to change into modes like the "Sensual Salsa Mode" and communicate the desired distance and level of tension within.

    The "very communicative" includes the option of the follow to change the mode from her side at any time. To open a game etc.
    I do not stand there and whisper "now please tell me what you'd like". I open up a channel an am open for input at any time - well, I do not like passive dolls that only speak when asked to.

    Well, if you would have told me a year ago, that women - experienced and skilled dancers - I barely know would cross a large room to ask me, I would have made jokes about mirrors. Nature had her fun when creating me.

    But I have experienced social status to be most important - even outside of cliques. Good looks, good technique, good looking partners, desirable peers - outside factors. Few women care for the smile of your partner, when you are a joke of nature. This only changes when the wellbeing you provide for your partner is on a much superior level and even then a glimpse of social insecurity can drive the person back to the clique.
    Smejmoon likes this.
  8. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    When, does the rest of the "book " come out ?,,, :D
  9. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Right after mine! :D
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  10. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    -I don't think anyone here is an advocator of auto-mode.
    -You obviously misunderstood what "talk softer".

    Once again:

    My #1 rule: It has to "flow well and 'naturally' and feel good. (allow me to rephrase: feel "natural", "right" and "easy"*).
    My #2 rule: You don't have to know it to follow it.

    -You don't have to work hard to decipher anything.

    -"Softer" doesn't mean: "Go figure".
    -It means: "If you are highly resistant, or not connected - I will not cover for that by overwhelming you with force".
    -In addition: I will actually lower my "voice".

    *Start telling someone someone a story, and then lower your volume and slow your pace down - suddenly, he will get "curious".

    I noticed a reoccurring (obsession-like) strong motif of status in your posts.
    Feel free to type whatever you wish, of course, but if you care about my feelings - I have to tell you I personally find it a little unsettling. /:
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  11. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Paying attention is hard. Dancing in unusual style is hard. Especially in salsa, which is very quick dance with rapid changes in and of connection. Oder?
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  12. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    This was to clarify that the "I speak softer" analogy doesn't mean "I say less".
  13. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Might sound like off-topic, but do you also follow in salsa?
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  14. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Not off-topic at all,
    and about 30~40% of my dances.
  15. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    The freedom to do the right thing?
    And if she did something else she had done something "not right"?

    So you are speaking to her auto complete mode - her subconscious decisions - and you are setting an expectation. You have a plan where to go - this is the expectation. Even if for you yourself it might not be important, she might make a "live or death" decision out of it. Specially because it has been implemented that subconsciously.

    This actually produces a very high psychological pressure. A strong person might tolerate it - but many can get harmed by it more, than by a little too much force. I have had my portion of that during childhood - the reason why I actually took a lot of energy into understanding those mechanics.

    The first point defines something as "right". This often produces a "wrong" - one you might or might not have intended. So there is no real freedom of decision. (Take the Drill Sargent analogy.)
    Whenever the follow does not do the "right" action, there is a chances in her head is a "beep - you are wrong". And because you produced an inner pressure, this produces an inner pain. Something you cannot see from the outside before it is really massive - and something barely anyone will tell you in time.

    I have been told by many women, that they feel obligated to dance correctly, to not be wrong. And that they like dancing with me, because this obligation is gone and they can do mistakes, without feeling bad. And well, the leads they usually dance with are not of the rough kind.

    Don't forget, psychological harm can be VERY painful and hurts much deeper, than a twisted arm. And to make it worse, the people will not tell you, so you can do better next time, but the ones who actually get hurt, will either shrink or just leave and seek their wellbeing elsewhere - so you select your partners for people, who are trained to live with that behavior, or even might glorify it, instead of really adjusting for the person you are dealing with.

    Well, in that case I'll side with the wrestlers.

    What is unsettling in naming the child by it's name?

    Social status is one of the core motivation of many humans - and it's a gathering term. And many are willed to take great burdens and to inflict great pain for their status - and often run towards things that look like they would be beneficial to their status blindly. Therapists and status goods dealers live good from it ...

    And if you want to understand a society, you have to understand their mechanics of social status. And if you want to solve problems (not hitting the knot in two with your sword, actually solving the puzzle) you have to understand it.
  16. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Then what she felt was right for her - did not match with what I meant - hence my leading didn't meet my standard. :)

    My answers to you were (for once!) very short and clear. Stop twisting what I'm saying.
    You are arguing with imaginary arguments...

    -I'm expecting the girl to stay connected, and follow the lead.
    -But if the lead has a degree of freedom - I have no expectations for what she'll be using that freedom for.

    I am not quite sure what you are referring to. I'm sorry to hear about your hard experience in childhood. I do hope it's got you stronger.

    What is your point, exactly?

    You obviously have a very important point to make, and I really want to understand what it is -
    but I'm having a really difficult time trying to figure what it is, and I fear we are having a dialogue of the deaf...

    Can you please point what the bad thing I'm doing in your opinion is?
    (not why it is bad, not how it is bad - what the bad is).

    Nothing. I just think you are very obsessed with it.
  17. Hey thanks for your feedback vit. I have been teaching for a while but I notice creating videos is much different. Every detail gets enlarged :) Yes, I see your point. I know that I normally do not have this flick, but for a reason it is in this video as a result of breaking down things. Thanks for pointing it out. Next, yes I thought by breaking apart to leading of the arms of all the rest, would make things more clear for people. Apparently not :) I have video last week when just experimenting with a few freestyle tricks while dancing at home. I hope you like it. My girlfriend only dances a few months, even rarely, but she can follow very good as she never learned any figures. She never knows what is coming next, so I learned to lead well and she to 'listen' very well.
  18. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    On this video, you look considerably better, while she looks considerably worse. I suggest teaching her walking like cuban salsa follower should walk first. First thing to deal with should be those bouncy rock steps she is using constantly. Inconsistent timing next. Ever played in a band with "musicians" with inconsistent timing? Not fun at all. The same thing here

    As about teaching videos overall, I have large collection of both ballroom and salsa videos, probably 300+ hours in total. Most of that was recorded by top dancers and teachers on the world level. But believe me, most of that is pretty much useless for learning. It can help to some extent when you already know the stuff. Or as a kind of notebook if you are a teacher. But simply needs personal contact with a dance teacher to actually learn something
  19. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I actually learned a lot from one waltzing video of American pro in Japan. He talked about concepts, like weight and pivoting. Physics.
  20. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Dance teachers don't talk psychics, they talk pseudophysics that should make it easier to get the stuff. Main purpose of it is to work on most people (as explained by terence), not to be physically correct
    You can become familiar with concepts and other theoretical or pseudotheoretical stuff watching videos, you can learn a lot of it, but until you feel it, it's worth nothing. And when you feel it dancing with someone good, it's always different than you thought it was after watching the videos. At least it was for me

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