Salsa > 1 or 2 beats behind the music

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by aimerrouge, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. aimerrouge

    aimerrouge New Member

    Often, when I'm out dancing socially, my partners aren't as good as my instructor. My partners often lead me a beat or 2 "behind" the music. This is not been an issue for me until recently.

    Given how often I go out social dancing, I have developed a new bad habit of being 1 or 2 beats behind where I need to be. This is especially obvious when I'm lead in a cross body lead. I don't want to back lead. I don't want to correct my partners on the dancefloor, but this is interfering with my dancing. This is not a problem on1, but on2 it's a mess.

    When I dance with my instructor, he'll remark how slow I am and he'll point out that he KNOWS I can move faster (because I've done it with him).

    How can I address this without offending my partners?
     
  2. genEus

    genEus New Member

    You shouldn't really develop "habits" that are related to timing. I think you are either ON beat or you're not. I mean, the music doesn't really change, so if you step across on beat 2, you Hear the music and you step, so when you dance with a leader who's on time, you follow him and you do what you know is right. And, when the leader is off, you don't really have a choice... except just not dancing.

    Now that I read what I wrote I'm not sure how helpful any of this was :rolleyes:
     
  3. aimerrouge

    aimerrouge New Member

    genEus, assuming you're a lead -

    you don't sound like you have timing issues, but if you did, would you prefer to be followed off beat or would you prefer your partner follow your rhythmless self? ;-)
     
  4. genEus

    genEus New Member

    I don't have timing issues, but regardless, as a leader I would always like to be followed on whatever beat I'm stepping. I think that's the role of a good follower: to follow the leader.

    Obviously, since we dance to the music, an off-beat leader is not hearing THE music, so for all intents and purposes, the dance is dead. All you can do is enjoy the ride and wait until it's over. I would hate to be in that position. I, personally, have no idea how people can be off beat, and moreover, I fear the question "How is it possible for them to dance and connect with the music, the instruments, the breaks, and so on, if they don't hear it?! What is the purpose of their dancing then? To move in a random fashion across the floor while salsa music is playing in the background? I don't know... :?
     
  5. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    1) be a good follower, just follow him until the song is over
    2) give him a hug and thank him
    3) never dance with him again until you see him on beat

    :wink:
     
  6. aimerrouge

    aimerrouge New Member

    Cute, Josh. :)

    I've actually considered this, but these guys are in my class.

    This is the first time that other people's abilities have affected me. I don't like it.

    For the first time, I actually understand why more advanced dancers don't always like dancing with those who aren't as advanced.
     
  7. dgcasey

    dgcasey New Member


    Maybe he's dancing mambo. ;)
     
  8. africana

    africana New Member

    That's why I'm a dancer 1st, a follower 2nd.
    I know full well that I can follow just about anything (excluding really strong/rough leds), so I'm not interested in being anyone's dance-dummy

    But since I believe in dancing with just about anyone who asks, if he's offbeat it'll be on my terms, sorry: I will either delay or speed up the execution of a move to match the music.
    It's a personal preference, and I'm not afraid of being labeled a "backleader" LOL so be it (I have been a real backleader in the past and that's way worse than this)

    But I actually enjoy some of those dances, and apparently a lot of those guys do too because being offbeat is like being lost or blind, so when they all of a sudden *get* it, they want more. I can't tell you how many times I've heard something to the effect "I can really feel the music/rhythm dancing with you" or "you keep me on time, thank you!".
    Of course my approach has intimidated a few here and there, but they were almost all people I don't particularly care to dance with anyway

    Anyway I'm also not a fan of the lead-follow religion, where the follower must do everything exactly as told, like a puppet. And I'm not interested in leaders that are expecting that anyway >> boring
     
  9. africana

    africana New Member

    aime I also recommend practicing your basic step(s) and cross body leads to salsa music, outside of class, before social dancing. Then practice doing variations to your basic and try to make sure that you come back on time when retuning to the standard basic step

    You want to make sure that your timing is SOLID before attemptingthe sort of thing I do, i.e. recalibrating offbeat leaders
     
  10. genEus

    genEus New Member

    That confused me...:oops: Can you explain what the difference is in being "like a puppet" and just following the leader? I mean, we have no control over the flavor and styling that the followers do, but if I lead something, shouldn't I expect the follower to follow?
     
  11. aimerrouge

    aimerrouge New Member

    Practical advice I can use.

    Thanks.
     
  12. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Now, there are a lot of people who have a ton more music experience than I do. So I am sure they naturally hear the music better. Hearing the beat and music changes takes some time and I am way better than when I started, but certainly no master. That is especially true when trying to lead new material. Learning the new step requires a lot of focus and that means the leader is not as focused on the music. As the steps work their way into muscle memory, the ability to listen to the music goes way up.

    Now, the obvious solution when social dancing is to lead something well within the leader's ability even if that is pretty basic. Those guys might do that with someone they were not it class with. However, there is usually an expectation, from the women I take classes with, to add whatever new stuff we learned. I think the women are able to learn to follow something new faster than the guys are able to learn to lead it.
     
  13. africana

    africana New Member

    when there are fundamental problems such a lack of timing, one can choose to either follow exactly what is lead or what is intended by modifying the speed or type of response, i.e. using some brain cells.
    A lot of (male) teachers discourage this though ;)

    But IMO followers also need to be solid on their timing, it makes the social dancing experience more enjoyable
     
  14. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Neither ;)

    I HAVE TO dance on beat... otherwise I feel physically sick... :( Sorry, but in such circumstances I DO backlead.
     
  15. sweavo

    sweavo New Member


    Interesting issue you bring up here. I discourage this in class because if a guy is contantly back-led back onto the right track he will not see the weaknesses in his lead. The best learning aid for a new leader is a completely faithful follower. But thanks for the headsup - I wouldn't necessarily advocate "puppetlike" following in a social context. I'll have to draw a line down the middle of social vs class etiquette when I'm explaining these matters to new dancers.
     
  16. naturallove

    naturallove New Member

    I can't stand dancing off the beat (well, actually 'on' the beat if the man purports to dance on 2!) :raisebro: I just feel very off... I'd rather have an enjoyable, simple dance than someone who tries to do a bunch of complicated stuff without mastering the basics.
    Josh, you're hilarious! I can't wait to dance with you in Atlanta! (And you'd better not be off the beat!) LOL
     
  17. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    100% agree!
     
  18. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    I'll be looking forward to it as well!
     
  19. africana

    africana New Member

    ahh I see....class vs social.
    I too think it's important that the leaders not be "helped" when learning their timing for signaling a lead, but the followers also need to learn timing somehow, in order to follow on beat leaders, and also if they want to dance i.e. "style" or shine later on

    For social dancing, I think the trick I use is not to transfer energy to the lead, even if I delay or speed up my response. I do this by always controlling/carrying my own weight and by modifying the amount of connectedness or "tension" in the arm that allows the lead to manipulate me.
    So for something like a single turn, on a slow tempo song, I will not complete the turn when the leader expects because it would be too fast...off

    In a class context though.....tough <shrug>
     
  20. Ron Obvious

    Ron Obvious New Member

    Seems like somebody here feels a little rebellious. I would think most leaders are expecting their follows to follow. Would you like to drive a car that doesn't turn in the direction you steer?
     

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