Silence or lack of leadership in salsa dancing community?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Offbeat, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. granrey

    granrey Sonero

    I do not understand the leadership you refer to or why is needed. is this needed in country music? country music is the most similar to Salsa in North America as it has good lyrics and is good for partner dancing.

    In Latin America, "Salsa Music" is a business, but "Salsa dancing" is not a business.

    Ouside Latin America, "Salsa dancing" is business but "Salsa Music" is not.

    This is so evident that in Latin America there is less knowledge about the vatiety of salsa dancing(On1,On2, Casino, etc) styles, pro dancers, but more knowledge about the bands, singers, musicians, etc. Outside Latin America is the opposite.

    I have covered this in several treads but everything that your teacher, DJ, Owners (club, dance studio), party organizers, do is based on the business side of things.

    Frankie Negron was in my city recently for a presentation in a club (a rare visit) and only 1 of the 5 schools in my city made students aware of it. why? the business. and I could go on and on with samples things like this like teachers bad mouthing other styles, clubs, schools, etc.

    it's a business.
  2. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I don't agree if we consider that there is not ONE salsa community. If we break it down into:
    • Salsa popular club dancing
    • Salsa clasica social dancing
    • Timba/ Casino social dancing
    • Salsa music fans
    • Timba music fans
    .. then there is leadership within each of these categories within each region. Some of the categories above are mutually exclusive so there cannot be joint leadership. One cannot combine Timba music fans and Salsa clasica social dancing in the same event unless there are multiple rooms.
  3. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    Other dance genres might appear to have leadership simply because they are very small. When there are only 100 or so Argentine Tango dancers in a metro of 3 million, then they had better be organized to have any events at all.
    Dissonant Harmony and vit like this.
  4. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Plenty - I suspect the majority - of salsa DJs spend more on music than they earn from DJing. So to say everything they do is based on the business side of things is clearly erroneous. At the same time, there is often a compromise between what a DJ wants to play and what they have to play, so the business side of things does have its influence.

    This is why I said earlier about a lack of an ethos.
  5. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco


    You are right. That is why I mentioned upfront that my comments were confined to a specific group. I excluded music from it. Among salsa dancing community, I also narrowed it to those who take up and learn salsa through schools - take social dancing as hobby, attending studio based socials, attending congresses and festivals primarily for dancing. Can I be more specific ?:) Excluding those who grew up withing their respective culture and family listening/dancing salsa, this group I believe makes up largest number of dancers you will encountered coming out of salsa schools all over the world. Their traits as I said are - social dancing at studios or where others like them congregate, attending congress festivals, attend classes/workshop or admire the popular dancers who prominently feature on youtube and predominantly dance either on1 or on2 (linear) in terms of style :)
  6. Jag75

    Jag75 Shine Officer

    From what I’ve seen Kizomba instructors appear to be generally far more concerned with teaching techniques than just patterns. Maybe the salsa scene could learn a thing or two from the Kizomba scene?
    LarsM and Offbeat like this.
  7. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    Hmmm, maybe too busy dancing the weekend away :D
  8. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    Even among studio-trained dancers, salsa is way too diverse in its styles and approaches. Knowledge leadership over the whole scene implies some sort of consensus over how it should be taught and danced. I am really not sure if this will be a good development.

    Knowledge leadership can come from somebody highly respected and charismatic. For awhile you could say, for example, that E. Torres was a de facto leader for a part of the scene. But with the growth/diversification/dilution of the scene it becomes much more improbable that another such leader will emerge.

    Knowledge leadership then can only occur in the form of a discussion which is exactly what we are doing here. I know that FB also hosts a lot of interesting (and heated) discussions but its nature is more transient, those discussions go away buried among the cat pictures, the photo challenges and the political debates. SF discussions stay and can serve as a source of insight for interested dancers.

    Here comes the other point though. Most dancers are not interested in looking for more information. Unlike dances such as AT, salsa is much more open and easier to get started due to its nature, history and the way it's taught. Nobody off the street just goes and joins a milonga and starts dancing. While in salsa you can go to a club, take a beginners lesson and have fun with your friends. This attracts a different crowd.

    Edit: For awhile there was a trend to organise discussions during salsa congresses. I don't know if this is still the case. Anybody went to any of these? Were they at all interesting?
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.
  9. granrey

    granrey Sonero

    I have covered this several times and I don't think people quit Salsa because is hard.

    A proficient dancer can be made in couple months.....most of the reasons new students quit is because teachers spread the basic tools for long period of time, while teaching fancy combos that almost look coreography.

    Most people dance in Latin America without taking classes and only knowing few moves.

    Salsa dancing and any other dancing is basically adding "variances" to the basic steps trough turns, changing positions, rotations, holds, etc. However, it seems this has gone out of hand.... and doing the basic is the new variance or the rarity.

    For instance, I'm originally from Dominican Rep. and I danced Bachata a lot since I was a kid. I moved to Canada in my mid 20's and out of sudden. the way Bachata is danced here makes me look like I don't know bachata or I'm a rookie.....btw, I'm not taking about the sensual stuff.....its all the constant turning and locks.....

    I mean back in the day, if you knew the basic and couple turns. then it was considered you could dance and you would have fun. but in North America and other places, dancing seems like an unending "arms race".

    The expectations on knowing moves are very high.

    the teachers feed this by telling students (the business again to keep students coming for more paid classes):

    "women get bored if you keep doing the same".

    if the knowledge expectations were less. it would be easier.
    DJ Yuca and vit like this.
  10. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I don't know how long you have been teaching ( if at all ) but, proficiency in a couple of months ?. I guess my standards are much higher than yours and you have exceptional students In your area .

    First, we need to delineate the "roles " of a student. It's a given that usually the ladies progress faster than do the men, exceptions are rare. The lack in numbers of male students in any given class, has a great deal to do with WHY some people quit . case in point, I had a beginners class in the recent past where around 50 plus beginners attended. Out of that number as I recall, only 7/8 men. The following week the class attendance dropped to fewer than half and in subsequent weeks it was down to around 8. Ladies get bored as we know, without a partner for practice .

    This same analogy may be applied to the club scene as one of the reasons why people quit..

    The difficulty of any learning to dance in any genre is firmly grounded in the "knowledge " of the teacher backed up by a wealth of experience. The ability to present material no matter the level ,in it's simplest terms ,comes with that experience

    And , when is "back in the day " to you ?... Having been around the dance world and teaching, probably longer than you have walked the earth, I can tell you from empirical evidence that no one would ever, "back in the day " consider you could dance ,because you knew a couple of steps. Yes," they " could get up and dance forward and back with just one basic, but that is hardly the criteria for saying one is a dancer ! .

    And, I do take your point about many latinos that have never, and never will, take a class lesson But I can tell you this, I had many latinos approach me in the club scene for private lessons .

    The classes in my reference, were the club style drop ins which hardly constitute a yardstick that is relevant to the discussion.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    wol, Offbeat, Aurel and 2 others like this.
  11. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    In my area, ratio is never that bad in social dancing scene. On salsa and kizomba classes, number of leaders and followers is usually around 50:50 and doesn't get much worse; dance schools usually try to compensate the difference by asking some of older/ex students to come helping on the class for free (I was also doing that). On WCS classes, ratio is worse and worst on zouk classes - beginners classes usually start with something close to 50:50, but after 2-3 months, men gradually drop out, so it becomes something like 1:2 and of course, followers also start dropping in follower heavy environment. It's also bad in competitive BR, I think it's something like 1:3 (would be even worse without several dancers from Russia)

    Obviously depends on particular area
  12. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    you are very fortunate..
  13. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Well, for me as leader, ratio of something like 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 ... would be better .... :p
  14. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    The teachers encourage this it's true but they're also responding to demand. It seems people from outside the culture for the most part cannot enjoy the music without the 'bonus' of doing endless moves.
    vit likes this.
  15. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Put me down for that !!. But in all honesty, I seldom had a problem finding good follows.. when one visits the same club for a number of years, the "dancers " get to know you .
  16. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    The best venues for me I that I have come across tend to a 2:3 ratio.
    Enough surplus of women/follows to make the "bad" ones drop out.
    Not so much surplus of follows, that it isn't necessary for a man/lead to become good.
    Good leads means the follows become better to get the attention of these leads (and because they actually can develop their skills of course). Also bad leads more often than not cannot appreciate the differences in skill of advanced follows.
    Thus there must be enough leads in the scene so the follows develop to the advanced state. Not the "high quality marionette" but really the "advanced dancer" state.
    And those are the ones I am out for!
    vit likes this.
  17. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Sure ... I was just kidding. If the venue is too follower heavy (and even if not), also the good/best followers drop out if they have not enough leaders at certain level to dance with
  18. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    If gender ratio were the reason for drop out someone please explain this. My local scene in SF is extremely leader heavy. Yet on an average we don't see high dropout of the average. Also the average leaders dance better than average follower. There are always more leaders in classes.
  19. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Let me start with where I agree:

    - yes discussions on SF do count. But how many if us are here actively discussing. 20, 30?

    Here is where I disagree:

    - leader as in a captain of ship is very different from leadership. There was once a beautiful article (I think it was from HBR) that was sent to me by a professor in Stanford. I forwarded it to my whole team. It articulated very well that leadership can be demonstrated by anyone in the team, irrespective of their position in the company heirarchy. Second excellent point it made was to not equate managerial positions with leadership. I agree that ET of FM can influence a lot. In one on one settings they are excellent. Even in small in person group discussions. But I also contend that it is not enough. It is not enough because it doesn't scale. It doesn't scale and it doesn't reach those that need to hear it most - the beginners, the newcomers, etc. All that is being passed on to newcomers is perceived importance if patterns.

    - salsa is not more diverse than any other art form. Take any art form and there are a number of different schools of thought and differences. No art form is immune to that. Old school vs new school and other arguments take place in other art forms too. But in the other art forms often there is a scholarship, an intellectual rigor, answers resulting from intellectual curiosity, which are not only debated and argued but also widely available to newcomers and veterans alike.

    - attracting different crowds is besides the point. What about those that stick through, take it up and see still dancing a year or two later?
  20. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    As I said, ladies are maybe not as patient. let me give you an eg. that happened to me in the States. I had a PR couple ( mother/ daughter ) who would call me to see if I was going to attend. She told me there was no point in going primarily because the level of lead was so low. made me wonder how many more felt that way (?)..This, by the way was in a major metro area with large latino attendance .

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