What kills salsa

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Burritos, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    This is NOT your typical hustle "social" salsa! It only has 50spins in the whole song!!!! Normal "social" BR latin hustle salsa go to 100 spins a song as we saw in an another thread!!!

    But great dancing with lots of real latin flavor (that body motion and hips, oh dear)!!! I will take more of those anytime!!! Interesting timing by the way!!!
  2. elanimal

    elanimal Tumbao

    I think a few of your posts have been awesome on this thread but I have to disagree with just this thought.

    Girls LOVE dancing with tricky pattern-heavy guys, from beginners to advanced, as long as they don't overdo it with excessive spins. This is why guys like Super Mario, Alex Morel, and others are very popular. Notice they don't 'demand' much of their partners, in the form of spins. I don't like leading multiple spins at all, actually, because to me it doesn't really feel great to break the flow of a song and prep for a double or triple. If I use multiple spins at some point, I prefer to use them when doubling up inside or outside turns, VERY RARELY, or using checks to prep as opposed to prepping from the basic.

    A conversation I had with a friend towards the end of a social this past Sunday:

    Me: Have you danced with that guy? He's a beast.
    Her: I have before, but I don't want to dance with him now. My feet are killing me. He makes me spin too much.
    Me: Ah too bad. Yea I don't like leading spins much.
    Her: Yes! I like your style so much. Doing multiples and tripling up inside turns can be fun, but honestly only early in the night. With you I like to dance all the time.

    Note: she also talked about dancing with Terry, and wasn't a fan, because he seemed listless and distracted, with zero eye contact. Go figure.

    Interestingly I developed this style for 2 reasons: A) it's a nice way to test more inexperienced dancers and let them have fun, and B) dancers who are capable of doubles, triples, etc appreciate the 'break' and just enjoy the flowy-ness and trickiness of the dance. Point B arose because I noticed 'celeb' followers are under the constant barrage of over-eager leads trying to prove themselves using them, and I like to try to be a breath of fresh air for them, so to speak.

    The problem with pattern-heavy classes is that they cater almost exclusively to leads. So girls don't benefit very much, and hence don't like, pattern-heavy classes, BUT, they love dancing with tricky guys with massive repertoires.

    How do we fix this contradiction? Well, the problem with pattern-heavy classes is often it's hit-or-miss. As a lead who is progressing slowly out of beginner's hell, it's merely a question of how smoothly you can execute your repertoire, and how wide is your range. The current model of just going to a strictly pattern-based class is essentially a bet. You'll be seeing some random pattern you may or may not use, because you may not like it for whatever reason. Sometimes instructors don't show their best stuff, the stuff they actually use while social dancing, because they don't want to see it butchered and repeated in their scene. That's why it takes months, if not years to get out of beginner's hell... weeks and weeks of random patterns you may or may not use is what it takes to build a repertoire wide enough to smoothly execute different interesting and unique patterns without thinking.

    As a guy who learned a little later on to dance this way, I think one solution would be to reverse it. Group classes should be more technique-focused, and privates would be a great way to build a repertoire much more quickly. This way, a student can take ownership of the patterns they want to learn, by sending their instructor videos, and instructors can be a lot more methodical about teaching patterns. When you have multiple variations at different levels (beg, int, adv) in all the particular holds, open, closed, right over left, left over right, hammerlocks, etc etc... that's when girls really start enjoying dancing with you.
    Joco, SnowDancer and Slowdance like this.
  3. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Clave Commander

    After years of seeing Mario on videos (I bought a pair of his DVD's almost 10 years ago when I was getting started), I finally got to go to several of his workshops in November. And what really surprised me is how many women went. Even at the Amsterdam Congress, which didn't seem particularly follower-heavy, all 3 of the classes I went to had a surplus of several women. So I guess he has something women like. :)
  4. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Well, there are different kind of girls. Many (or even most) indeed like heavy pattern guys. However, not all. A few really good local followers (all of them danced previously some other genres) told me their brains get tired of that relatively quickly (they are however physically well above average, so they prefer dancing instead of "patterning" with hundred of sudden direction and hand changes, while "patterning" without that is boring for them, especially if the guy isn't especially musical and/or has traffic cop syndrome)
    elanimal likes this.
  5. elanimal

    elanimal Tumbao

    Some girls are comfortable dancing and grooving on their own, and like you say, they often have experience in other genres where they dance more to the music than with a partner. That is, most other dances are solo dances. So having a lead constantly 'telling them what to do' is frustrating, especially if they miss things. So with them I will ease up a lot and not necessarily challenge them with patterns and trickiness, but let them challenge me with shines or keeping it simpler.

    The caveat that still applies with even them, is they appreciate unique patterns whenever they are interspersed in there. And that is beyond beginner's hell.
    vit likes this.
  6. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I wouldn't blame BR latin for everything "wrong" in salsa. It looks like it's more connected with how people here groove to the music. If you give them randon music, they will move to it like that. They don't even dance social BR standard with proper rise/fall. On the other side, I think that more than 90% of my local salsa scene (and probably 98% of local kizomba scene) never danced BR latin (and even the rest was never told about some details regarding that on those few low quality social ballroom classes they might have attended). It's more likely that it was the opposite - BR latin became like that because people here move like that, so they just modified every dance they brought here, from son and danzon to kizomba
    Offbeat likes this.
  7. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Actually, I just hijacked the thread; that's all.

    -But since you asked, IMO - what kills Salsa (in that subject) is instructors who deny their students from having options: Instructors that teach that only their way is 'right' make me sad.

    Yes, you can argue that one way is more efficient than another,
    or perhaps more "traditionally accurate"...But "right" and "wrong"?

    I wish that instructors expose their students to many different approaches - so they can choose what they prefer most...But when instead of 'opening many doors' you slam them all and keep only one open...You get ignorant students who don't even know that there are other ways.


    -And also, yes - people who just teach combinations, while agranting their students only a shallow understanding of the dance are killing the quality of the dancers in the scene, IMO.

    Like my friend, I am sure that (more) professionalism and fun can go hand in hand - and you don't necessarily have to pick only one.

    I do agree that telling the students: "I take my right foot to the right. Notice how my hip is on the left" is a very 'incomplete' thing to say. (especially in a beginner class),
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  8. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    I don't think your argument has much merit the way you have expressed it. Sorry. How do you learn anything on the street? Name one dance you can learn on the streets - hip-hop? That too is now taught in the studios. I don't think younger people not liking salsa has anything to do with it being taught in dance studios. Like in everything else, the younger generation has different tastes that its parents generation. It is easy to call something as 'street'. But learning to dance on 'street' is not a scalable model, if you want a large number of people to be able to learn it.

    May be so. So what ? :)

    Plus what exactly is 'street'. Is the 'street' in New York same as 'street' in LA or 'street' in Puerto Rico or 'street' in Cuba? I don't think so. I think people use 'street' more as a catch all term to critic the more popular form. What do you consider to be a salsa 'street' dance and what are its key elements, and how is popular form different from 'street' version.

    I don't think young person's interest has anything to do with 'street' or non-street. You are drawing up your conclusions first and then trying to create logic to support it.

    If anything gets popular, it is going to exhibit certain characteristics. Some of those characteristics may move it away from the essence of its original form. Only one thing I can point to which is absent from popular form is the sabor. Part of it is that most dancers are not seeped in its culture and tradition. Another part is taking it up very late in life and struggling with movement which makes the 'dancing' part harder.
    mlemonl, wol, LarsM and 4 others like this.
  9. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Are you making up your own dance styles?
    Smejmoon and LarsM like this.
  10. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Why do I think that 90% of what's said since the thread has been revived is just nonsense. May be there is some substance in the remaining 10% of the written matter!
    Peason likes this.
  11. elanimal

    elanimal Tumbao

    Hip-hop has been codified, but a lot of people do indeed learn by themselves, as is the case with a lot of individual dances, i.e., non-partner. You don't have to step into a studio to learn the whip, naenae, how to pop or glide, the robot, etc etc etc.

    I'll step to the plate for khabibul. I think his comments make perfect sense. He says:

    In other words, people are hesitant to take classes for what many view as a 'social activity.' Why do you need a breakdown, a codification of dancing when it should really just be about having fun? I know countless people back home in PR who refuse to step into a studio to be told how to dance salsa. They believe it's in their blood, and to hell with anyone who tells them to count while dancing. Now others who don't even share a cultural affinity to the music they're dancing can break in one of two ways: have the same sentiment of being appalled by taking 'dance classes,' or be drawn to the codification of salsa. Then there's the hump of getting over beginner's hell, and constantly rubbing elbows with and comparing yourself to better dancers who get more attention from girls. Again, some will respond to the challenge, others will not be pulled enough by the scene or the music to continue.

    The problem, of course, is getting a partner dance to be scalable. There are inevitable rules that need to be learned for such communication to happen. It can be learned in the home but only if it is passed down culturally from a very knowledgeable partner. I know my kids won't need to be trained in a studio, that's for sure. At least to a point. But that's because I was.

    Ultimately what khabibul is saying is absolutely right. Learning in the sterile environment of a studio, where you need to wear special little shoes, and count, and be all light and fluffy, and dance in a straight line, can be repellant because it's seen as inauthentic. Not to mention the $$. I'm reading this book by Juliet McMains which is really fascinating, called "Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce." She says:

    You don't say! I was one of them!

    I'm not using an opinion from some book, or my anecdote(s) to turn it into a fact, but the thinking that the regimentation of salsa in studios has ultimately paid a price in potentially alienating a significant number of people of the culture salsa was originally made for, is too compelling to sweep under the rug. To a degree, it reflects the experience of a lot of normal Latinos not in the dance scenes of their respective cities.

    I still do think the regimentation has ultimately benefitted salsa as a whole with a resurgence of old school, better quality salsa music, and dancing that matches it. It will just require more enterprising teachers to help bring in more and more people to make that initial barrier of entry as absolutely low as possible; to try and get leaders, in particular, to a good level as quickly, painlessly, and cheaply as possible; and to disavow people of the notion that learning in a studio somehow invalidates what turns out to be real social interactions that lead to friendships and families.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  12. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I understand what you mean. Problem is, teaching a few different things in parallel doesn't work well for most people, because they tend to become confused. However, it's certainly true that many teachers (not just in salsa) tend to become too enthusiastic claiming that there is only 1 right way. On the other side, some of my teachers actually tried teaching different styles, but it didn't work for them either - everything they were teaching looked pretty much the same. It's not that easy and it's overall problem of teaching/learning and not something killing salsa in particular

    On the other side, some teachers actually point out on the class that there are various styles / approaches, and ask people to do it "their way" on their class, and when they are on the class of other teachers, to try doing the way that teacher is teaching. I think it's better
    mlemonl and Dissonant Harmony like this.
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    [QUOTE="vit, post: 322781, member: 184738
    , some teachers actually point out on the class that there are various styles / approaches,

    What I had to learn as a "teacher " as opposed to being just a proficient dancer..

    1...Realise that, not every student wants/needs to aspire , to be a world class dancer/performer .

    2...The quickest way for class teaching.. learn how to put my class at ease .

    3.. Teach technique .but NOT technically

    4.. Compliment as deserved, NOT for "brownie " points

    5... Stress the importance of foundation basics .

    6... Introduce and explain with brevity, the musical choices that exist in the genre .

    7.. That " dance " is a journey not a sprint

    8.. Do not be afraid to make mistakes ( teachers even make them !! ) .

    9.. Consistency of learning, solidifies each and every lesson

    10..Final analysis ; It's never about how good I think my student is, but how THEY think .

    NB...Teaching is an art form , and developing skills, takes multi years. Always be open to new ideas/concepts, even if you disagree .
    Aurel, SnowDancer, Nika and 7 others like this.
  14. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    do you by chance have bullet point 6 written down, i.e. a short explanation of the music in the genre?
  15. Peason

    Peason Son

    Can we close this thread now?
  16. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    LOL !!
  17. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Sure... as in the sound of for ex.. Colombian to PR and Son as to salsa, as Guajira to Cha cha .The distinctions when pointed out, become clear ..
  18. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Hm, if you introduce that in beginner classes I would imagine a big contingent would be very confused and promptly forget everything after 5 mins. I know I would when starting out :D
  19. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    What is " that" ?...To play 3 different styles over one house lesson is not overkill .and, did you understand my post ? I said.. this what I learned over a period of years. They are points, by and large, of what I need to remember when teaching .

    My beginners classes are very limited to 3/4 steps on the 1st lesson, with brief explanations. I tend more , to stress Frame/Hold and timing The music explanations are very. brief .

    If you believe that's a lot, then, different strokes as they say .
  20. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I think that in real world this is pretty much unimportant - most people tend to skip beginner class anyway, if they at least watched a movie with 30 second salsa dancing inside :p
    They want results as quick as possible, they want moves, they don't want postures and old fashioned music styles explained that would be just wasting their time ...

    So at the end, most people get the teacher they deserve, as I already wrote in other thread ....
    SnowDancer likes this.

Share This Page