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Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by Telemark
10/29/2014  12:23:00 AM
"So do you believe that for someone that wants to Master salsa should focus only on this dance ?"

No, not at all. But you are referring to mastery - whereas I'd aim to work towards competence first. However, anyone who posits the view that there IS a composite Ballroom/Latin style or technique just hasn't noticed that in International style there are ten dances, most of which are as different from each other as they are from Salsa. I'd immediately discount their opinion completely, and go looking for some real help.

If you're having difficulty following, is that because you are dancing with people who can't lead (there are lots of those), or is it because you have got into the habit of committing to memory extended sequences or choreography (which is bad BR/Latin dancing, not good BR/Latin dancing) and you are not actually following, at all?

My focus would be to count all the styles that you DO dance, including Salsa, and concentrate on what makes each of them distinctive, in terms of technique and characterisation: there is no generic 'Ballroom' dance. Rumba & Cha Cha have a common technique (but look and feel very different), and the 'swing dances' - Waltz, Foxtrot & Quickstep share fundamentals such as the walking action and the use of rise & fall (but look and feel very different).

No one will be able to diagnose your problem without seeing you dance. But find another teacher!
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by terence2
11/2/2014  3:51:00 AM

First...... You are like many that I have taught, that come into salsa after dancing B/room and try to make comparisons.

So........... "forget" what dance structure you have been taught, and find a teacher who is well disciplined in the style you want to learn ( areas in many cities/towns may be dominant in 1 style ).The Frame, Poise, and Hold for salsa are completely different, altho there are the many that, for some reason, teach a B/room Hold (?)

The most common, if you live in the UK is what they call Crossbody. This is taught breaking on "1". If you prefer to dance on "2", then the N.York style will work for you.

"Cuban "indigenous styles vary, and are limited in access outside of metro areas ( as a rule ).. they include .. Casino, Son and Rumba ( NOT the same as you know )

In addition, there is Cali style which is peculiar to Colombia and of little value outside of the country from a social aspect.

Post the general area in which you live, and I may be able to recommend someone.

NB..I forgot to mention " Music ": there are certain styles, that suit particular dance styles within the genre. Not all salsa music, is compatible within the different dance styles.
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by O.K.
11/4/2014  1:01:00 AM
There are Basic Steps in the Salsa just as there are in any of the other dances. Learn them and learn them well. No matter where you go in this world whether it be in the UK or Japan Maybe not even speaking the same language. You will know what they are doing and they know what you are about.This could be Cha Rumba and so on. Learn the Basic Movement.And Please in Salsa no heel leads and use the hips and not the shoulders.
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by Voco
11/4/2014  9:55:00 AM
Attn.: Terence2

It looks as if I am not alone disliking the stepping on heels in Salsa. (O.K.s comment above.) Actually I should qualify my comment: stepping on the heel with straight or slightly bent knee will produce a rigid or jerky motion. And that is what I see in the salsa clubs.

O.K.s advice is right on the money.
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by O.K.
11/5/2014  4:00:00 PM
Voco The trouble with trained Ballroom Dancers with the straight knee as in Cha Cha they do not bend the knee as it should be which is the one that is behind. That first step is a down into the floor controlled by the rear leg which is bent. The weight is also further forward because of this. As we are aware in the Rumba or Cha both knees are straight.
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by Carol
11/5/2014  6:10:00 PM
Perhaps what would help you fit in is to develop a knowledge & joy in the music. Listen to the "clave" beat. Many people who dance in clubs have not taken formal lessons--they grew up with the music & have their own quirky styles. Some people incorporate Afro-Cuban dance moves, swing dance moves, etc depending on their background. In my opinion, the fun in going to clubs to dance salsa is the challenge in adjusting to the different styles. It takes some patience, but is well worth the effort.

Also be aware that some salsa dance teachers teach sequences of steps or choreography that students can only do with students of the same teacher. Often the sequences are so complicated that they can't be lead--only someone who has seen them demonstrated & has practiced them can follow. So students from those classes tend to dance mainly with other students from the same class.

Find teachers who focus on basic movement & partnering skills, rather than steps or choreography.

Also, be aware that some people dance "on 2" & others "on 1". You need to be on the same beat as your partner!

Good luck & hang in there!
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by terence2
11/6/2014  4:41:00 AM


Vaco.. please do not read something into my response, that was implying that heel leads were OK. From a strict ballroom technical explanation ( to which you constantly refer ) then yes, that's the mantra. And ,if you want your "latin ", to look like "cookie cutter " dancing, have at it ( You also should know, that I was raised in the B/room style, with the likes of Laird etc.and have trained Prof to the highest comp. levels )

Point is..IF you knew the heritage of salsa ( Cuban Casino and Son ) you would know that, Cubans DO use heel leads. But, I guess we English have always felt we know better about anothers culture( we English , often have that arrogant approach ).

Do I agree with heel leads in ALL matters..No... and.. I do teach my students a Ball/flat approach, going on to explain that there are significant differences between indigenous styles, and those of B/room .Also, heel leads in some instances , are deemed correct.

Bottom line.... ya see.. "latinos" are not hung up on "correctness " by and large, BUT, they dance with more sabor and understanding about its roots, than most on the planet !!.

Teaching ( which I've been doing for many moons ) is about adaption ,as ALL techniques, are not necessarily compatible to all genres.

"Styles " dictate, as a norm ,the best approach.

As Scrivener said.. "No technique is inflexible, it may change to suit circumstance" sic .

Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by Voco
11/6/2014  3:51:00 PM
Terence2,
Thanks for throwing some light on the subject. On the major points, we agree.
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by O.K.
11/7/2014  1:45:00 PM
Salsa is not just a club dance. They have competitions. Also they have there own World Championships. At this stage just like, Rock and Roll. It can become very acrobatic. Not much good in a club atmosphere. Would not be allowed anyway. The championship I witnessed, the moves, I don't think would be done in the street either.
Re: Salsa Dancing Confusion
Posted by dancer
11/16/2014  7:42:00 PM
Hi SalsaLover,

It sounds like somewhere in your dance journey you haven't crossed paths yet with someone who can teach you to follow.Some Instructors just teach steps so the students don't develop a true sense of following.If you learn how to follow you will have the freedom to keep dancing any style you like when you go to socials. I go Ballroom and Club dancing and have a great time:)!

If you learn Rhythm Mambo you will be able to do Club Salsa easily.Not only that if your female and you have a good Instructor looking after your technique and following skills you will enjoy and look better on the dance floor.

Good luck on your journey!

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