Teachers That Don't Teach What They Dance

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by khabibul35, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero


    In many cases the people teaching it are direct from the island. However I haven't paid that much attention to what they are doing so I may be mistaken about the use of the backwards and forwards step. (I'll have to do further investigation and report back.) I will say that here in Europe the authenticity angle is a major part of the advertising/propaganda campaign. Also, I think Miami style salsa/casino has had little or more likely zero impact in Europe. (I've even heard of a Cuban salsa instructor stating that Cubans from Miami are not real Cubans.)

    Whilst we're both here, I have a question re. the history of casino: the other day I found a brief clip of casino from (I think) '81, which predates the Cuban TV show Para bailar casino. Do you know of any footage of casino prior to this? I know there is quite a lot of vintage footage of Cuban dance, but afaik it's all son, rumba, cha cha cha etc. Never casino.
    vit likes this.
  2. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    We were discussing these things in the past and never came to agreement ... it's because dance science is many time in contradiction with physic (although those physical rules were invented before son and danzon existed, not to mention BR latin) and many definitions are, well, closer to art than to science that was accepted in most other areas long ago (it actually improved a bit in BR recently, because they want to bring dancing to olympics, and together with that, changes and more science approach is needed, like already done in other sports decades ago). And as I said, those physical rules are invented centuries ago, from Newton on, just that dance teachers don't want to use them but are inventing own vocabulary ...

    In terms of physics, it's very simple - if you put that much weight to one foot that other can "pop" somewhere, then it's most likely at least 99% of your weight - not really whole 100% but most of it. However, that's just statics part of mechanics (but still beyond understanding of most dance teachers). In more complete observation that would include dynamics, you can apply more than 100% of your weight to one foot, because you are also changing direction or speed. And third thing usually confused here is where your center of gravity is in relation to feet ... and result of that is that BR book, written in 1950s, still states that that it is partial weight transfer in forward / back break step in BR rumba or cha cha for instance and all dance teachers will give you that citation from the book ... and since I'm a mechanical engineer and learned these things quite in detail on university, I frequently have hard time with those nonsense ... just because dance teachers want to use own vocabulary instead relatively simple science invented centuries ago ...
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  3. tocatimba

    tocatimba Shine Officer

    One of the major problems of casino teaching and teachers is that there isn't any formal dance school type structure on the island. The ENA (Escuela Nacional de Artes) teaches it's grads Orisha and Rumba dancing ... and maybe a little bit of Show Style Son and that's it. Casino is usually learned from friends, watching other people, sometimes in rueda groups (which usually have a different purpose than the teaching of good casino technique), or in some Casas de Cultura (these vary wildly in their offerings). So usually Cubans fresh from the island have no formal training in Casino or really the faintest idea of how to teach it. It IS a more complicated dance structurally than American Salsa ... it is a formidable task, bordering on the impossible, to try to teach people not from that culture how to dance casino and not have any idea of the structure of the dance yourself .... So, what is happening is that there is a lot of linearization of the dance going on. The graduates of the ENA were taught that Casino is basically Son and so since they've received training in that, they fall back on Son as being the dance to emulate. This brings about standing around and back stepping which are components of the Son. Others see the sophisticated Salsa training available in the USA and Europe and they just blindly emulate that ... DQN is really just a cross-body lead, right? The son basic is really sort of a salsa basic, right? Leading should be done by stepping back to get tension so you can slingshot the follow forward, right? Follows need arm tension in order to build up that dynamic tension .... so stiff arms are what is required to be led, right? The sad litany goes on and on .... it's brought about by ignorance ... nothing more, nothing less.

    I think MIami style is having less influence than it used to even in the USA ... thank god.

    EDIT: I forgot to answer your question. Off the top of my head I can think of no casino videos from that time ... The 80's were the height of the Marxist repression of culture in Cuba leading up to the Periodo Especial in 1989 when it really got bad. Dance places (casinos in Spanish) were closed, popular culture was suppressed etc etc .... It's not surprising there is little video footage from that time.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  4. Marisha

    Marisha Descarga

    I agree with you. I started to learn salsa in Ukraine. We had 2-3 classes per week+ social. Every class was 1, 5 hour. We did a lot of body isolation exersices. Our teacher was someone who really wanted us to do everything correctly. Keep frame, do proper hand to hand connection. After two years I moved to Canada and decided to go to salsa classes. I was confused. Salsa classess only once per week and 50-60 minutes without body isolation work. My first question was, how I can progress if I dance only once per week+social. Also, it was a big surprise for me, in Ukraine, I was after 2 years training considered as an intermediate dancer ...here I am considered as an advanced dancer. But I know definitely, it is not true. I am constantly working on my skills, but I cannot say I am advanced. Not yet....Also, it is funny, some teachers advertise their schools and say after 2 months(8 lessons) you can move to next, intermediate level. So, 2 months for beginner level, 2 months for intermediate and 2 months for advanced... voila you are an advanced super salsa star. It is too sad.
    Smejmoon and Dissonant Harmony like this.
  5. tocatimba

    tocatimba Shine Officer

    It would depend on the coefficients of friction (dynamic and static) on the forward part of the sole of the shoe of the foot that is being "popped", right. If those coefficients were very low, one could imagine far less than 100% of the weight being transferred. But really, vit, I think maybe I'll change my emphasis here just a bit ... the point isn't so much if there is a near instantaneous shift of almost all the weight to the back foot ... the more important point is that the upper body doesn't translate back with that weight transfer ... the weight of the upper body remains forward and mostly static during a son basic. The salsa basic (Please, I claim very little knowledge about Salsa) as I see it has weight changes propelling the upper body backwards and forwards .... THIS is what I see as quite rare in Cuban dance.

    Everybody gets in a tizzy including myself over the Salsa basic in Cuban Salsa or Casino. The reality is that within the lead structure of the Son or of Casino, you CAN do a salsa basic. It's just that from empirical observation, it is/was rarely done in either of those dances. When you see someone doing it, you have a strong tendency to say, these are salsa influenced dancers.
    terence, vit and Dissonant Harmony like this.
  6. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yes, I agree with this. My interpretation would be that son is generally based on idea of box step (used in many genres including BR - for instance waltz basic step is also a box step) and linear salsa is based on idea of break step (which I actually don't know where is the origin) ... and those are different. It was my observation a few days ago about teaching in linear salsa. Namely, a part of linear salsa dancers gradually adopt a kind of hybrid between box and break step, which is much more smooth and natural, but most teachers actually don't teach it. On the other side, break step is hard to do nicely and smoothly, especially if longer, so most people have problem recovering the weight, and it's connected with other problems you mentioned ... Linearization is also connected with way of teaching, things are intentionally linearized so they are more simple to show and understand ... of course at a cost, because with robbing the movement of 1 dimension, you considerably changes the dynamics (like "linear enchufla" in one of examples a few days ago), sometimes to the extent that it actually can't work anymore ... it happened also in european way of teaching kizomba, because africans are dancing it much more circular that taught here etc ... and also, not all people want RR ride, it's just boring for them ... etc ... there are number of reasons, but anyway, don't be so critical to linear salsa, it depends on the area and teacher, so some dance it harsh and some quite smooth, some are more similar to casino and some are very different ... it depends ... just like not all cubans dance casino in perfect circles and arcs like YM, many don't I suppose

    And yes, in Europe, there is very little influence of miami style casino, it mostly came from Cuba ... which still doesn't mean it looks very cuban by most .... it's vary hard to transfer a dance genre to a totally different area, where people move and think differently ... it always tend to mix with local specifics. Out of 100 people, maybe 5 of them will learn it about right and 95 won't, so when they all dance socially with each other, 95 always wins against 5
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
    tocatimba likes this.
  7. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    That may well be true, however many (I suspect the vast majority) 'Cuban salsa' teachers in Europe despise US/slot style salsa with a passion. Consciously emulating it is the last thing they'd do.

    I'm thinking of pre-'80s. In the '80s there was the aforementioned TV show, from '83 onwards, which was full of casino. But what about in the preceding decades? Supposedly casino started in the '50s, yet all the old clips from Cuba show rumba, son etc, never casino. Which makes me suspect - although anyone is welcome to correct me - that it was not popular at all until the TV show Para bailar casino, or perhaps not even until after that in the 90s.
  8. tocatimba

    tocatimba Shine Officer

  9. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Someone said linearization is easier than rotational (vit, I think?). I am not sure for the basis of that. In my personal experience it is the opposite. Rotational seems more natural and easier. Linear makes you go in straight in a line back and forth. If you observe a group of beginners, you will notice how hard it is for them to stay in a slot. On the other hand you observe a group of beginners taking casino lessons and you find they tend to struggle more with the hand moves than the legs.

    P.S. - I am no one expert and hence "seems".
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  10. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Good point and spot on. Here in Berlin last week we were having discussion on bad dancer but may be a good teacher. This was related to discussion on those taking up teaching after only learning and dancing salsa for a few years. My point was that if you don't have a good body movement (and balance) yourself when dancing, there is no way you can be a good teacher ( and still be a bad dancer). Is there any example of a good teacher who has bad body movement and can teach good body movement plus dancing? Not in my experience. Curious to know if there is anyone that can prove the opposite.
  11. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I can give you a comparable one from BR. I held a comp. in Phoenix many years ago ( Pro/Am ) 5 judge panel. In the advanced levels I was collecting the score cards and noticed that one couple , the girl was from BYU, was outstanding and yet as a couple, marked last of 6. When I queried the panel they said that is where he should be. I started to laugh, and said " HE was the teacher ". Point; he may not have been the best dancer on the floor, but he had turned out an excellent student .

    "Teaching " has more depth than just good body movement.
  12. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    What was the judging criteria? What percentage was body movement? How much of that student's success could be contributed to him? May be she had learnt from someone else before him?

    Of course teaching has more depth. My point was that if a dancer can't exhibit certain proficiency in basic techniques or fundamentals, it would be very hard for them to demonstrate, show and train a student how to reproduce the right movement. Of course there can be rare exceptions.
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  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Criteria was standard judging ...
    ; Timing, Footwork, Frame, Posture , floor presence.

    And how much did he contribute ? ALL... he was well know for turning out top class dancers. And she was only 18 also the entry was judged for admission to BYU on a dance scholarship .
  14. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Well, I never taught dancing, so it's just my opinion for the most likely reason. It's because students in bigger group classes need some reference direction, so they are not lost after they make some turns during moves and can check if they finished in "proper" position . So for linear salsa it's slot, for rueda it's circle, for BR standard it's line of dance etc ...
    Other reason would be to pack more students into class and avoid collisions, like for the social dance floor, of course...
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
    Smejmoon likes this.
  15. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Not sure what would be the judging criteria for the body movement, except subjective one
  16. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    So you're teaching now?
  17. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Hey TT :)

    For what it's worth, wanted to add that having now been to Cuba 9 times (mostly Havana and Santiago), my top 2-3 favorite dancers (leads) in Cuba all prefer to dance/teach a 'hybrid' salsa-casino. (However, they freely admit this by the way, without trying to say they are 'pure casineros', unlike the many Cuban instructors abroad who insist they are teaching 'authentic Cuban salsa'.) It's probably part of the natural evolution of any dance. In 5-10 years the preferred style of the younger generation of casino/salsa dancers in Cuba will have probably changed further, in either direction, away from or towards old school casino (just like modern salsa now has way less spinning than 5-7 years ago.)

    Here is one of my favorite leads in Cuba, as an example.

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  18. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    My crystal ball says: I the future, casino will mix with kizomba and sensual bachata :p
    LarsM likes this.
  19. Tomm

    Tomm Tumbao

    Iam already doing that :)
  20. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I think it already has happened. At least in Riga, salsa crowd doea not mix with kizomba as well as casino crowd. It could be musical preferences that unite them.

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