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Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by terence2
6/7/2012  2:43:00 AM

lets me clarify a few points..

IN salsa.. it depends upon the style one is teaching/dancing, WHERE the emphasis lies.

In " Son " rhythm, the accent is on a stressed 4, but, breaking on 2( which is clave on the 2nd bar ).

As to the " kick ", more reminiscient of mambo, whereas in salsa, many use a tap on the 1st and or 2nd beat ( PR dance frequently breaking on 3 )and most,add nothing.

The next consideration is the commencing direction; current vogue is to have the 1st bar break fwd , and in old school mambo ,it was/is always taught commencing back wards .If we also consider Eddie Torres'method, we can add 2 other styles of commencement.

The " call and Response " theory in salsa is more in keeping with a clave based rhythm ( it hits on 6, or, 2 of the 2nd bar ).

If one also takes into account the many styles of salsa being taught and danced today, there are many different approaches to the accents.. from Cali style to NY, PR,LA , and several in between .

The reason for this is primarily the style of music that is played/ orchestrated ,in different Latin countries ( NY style , heavy jazz influence.. Colombian salsa,, Cumbia influenced )

The 1 thru 8 count, is common to the theatrical profession ( thats how they count " in " the dancers, and it, I guess, seemed more appropriate ,to the non trained dancer when teaching (?).

Add to the mix, counting in S and Q, this way defining time allocation .

For those that may be new to the genre, it may seem confusing.. reason ? there is little or no standardisation in Salsa.. it has a firm grip on a more "street " style approach , and with such diverse music to dance to, no wonder !.. From Charanga based rhythms to pure Son .
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by mayagsd
6/6/2012  9:34:00 AM
agree, the commencing direction would seem to be a factor in that the "first half" would be different depending on which way the leader broke first. I note that the mambo basic depicted on this site has the man breaking forward on 2. I agree that that is the norm. It is the same way the cha cha and rumba commence (at least according to this site and the ISTD). But doesn't this underscore the superficiality of counting 8 beats. Unless everyone starts at the same time, i.e. the same measure of music, and breaks in the same direction, the counting to 8 rationale, re the 1 being stronger in the odd measures than the even measures, while perhaps true in some cases, loses all meaning vis a vis the dance.

In the end it seems a personal preference, i.e. whatever works best for you. It just seemed curious to me, since the other closely related latin dances, i.e. cha cha and rumba, aren't taught that way...at least in my experience. Also agree that the rather complete lack of standardization in salsa, i.e. how it's danced and how it is taught, may explain why it tends to be taught differently.
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by terence2
6/7/2012  2:40:00 AM


Attempting to equate BR style latin and " street " style is like akin to comparing apples to elephants.

The rigidity of BR ( and I was raised in the genre, and do teach it ), does not provide for the changes that are often demanded by the music being played.

A classic e.g. is Guajira ( A cuban style dance and music ) is often mistaken as Cha Cha..I could list other styles, but I think you get my point ?
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by Guest
6/7/2012  7:16:00 PM
What is the correct name for thoes two pieces of wood. Ebony black in colour, hand held ,that a true latin band use
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by terence2
6/9/2012  6:44:00 AM



Clave.. they set the "style " and are the Soul / Heartbeat ,of latin rhythms ..

.. Rumba Clave is 3/2

Son Clave is 2/3

2 more which are used

Guaracha in 2/3 ( lots of old time Mambo ) and...

Guaguanco 2/3... popular in many NY style songs.

Guajira, a dance similar to Cha Cha in sound, and is a Son based rhythm , uses the 5 "clicks " within the same single bar ( 2/3 clave ).

Salsa varies, depending upon who's writing the music; it(clave ) can be all in one bar, and sometimes crosses over into the 2nd bar ( usually when/where, on "2" may be danced ).
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by booji
12/29/2012  4:45:00 PM
No disrespect to the above but I was of the same opinion as the poster even after hearing all of the above. None of the explinations of Clave rhythms give a reason why you should be on 1 and not 5. What changed for me was that I realized that if I don't dance to 8 beats then I can't match my dancing to the energy changes in the music. I'd be hearing the tension build and know the high energy part was coming but it would start early for me, I'd have to dance four beats before I could change.
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by rgswoohoo
12/29/2012  5:43:00 PM
with my studio they teach us the 6 count Salsa so that we can go out to the clubs and somewhat fit in. If you try to take ballroom slasa to the Salsa clubs, they just laugh at you and ask you, "What is that?"
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by Voco
12/30/2012  2:57:00 AM
RE: Ballroom Salsa

What is Ballroom Salsa? I always thought that Salsa was a Social Dance or Club Dance. Neither Latin nor American Rhythm has it. Did you mean Mambo? American rhythm Mambos music is clearer and the Cuban Action is more apparent.

Many trained Latin dancers turned off Salsa for two reasons, in my opinion: The overly busy music and the club-style stepping on the heels (man), which looks jerky and rough to the eye of a Latin dancer. Also, a salsa dancer is regarded well by his peers if he can pack as much action in one measure of music as physically possible, without regard to the beauty and the expression of the movement.
Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by terence2
12/30/2012  6:04:00 AM


Your are making a distinction between " Styles " : its the SAME dance, but,stylistically and technically, the 2 are quite different .

Many variations in salsa, at a basic level, are pretty much the same, no matter the style ( Cali and Cuban ,are different, as can be the music ).

And, I would agree with you , that the BR style ,looks very out of place in an authentic Latino club . States-side, B.R. types, are very rare in the Latin clubs .
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