Salsa > Arms

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Sarah, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

    When I started learning salsa we were initially taught to keep everything above the waist fairly still and quiet, with the understanding that the shoulder rolling/arm movement would come back naturally when the feet,knees and hips were all doing the right thing. The upshot of this is that I'm more comfortable with leaders who have quiet arms, or at least quieten down when they're going to attempt something complicated.

    Sometimes I find on the social dancefloor a dancer with what seems to be artificially exaggerated arm movements, and when I dance with them I have difficulty finding the leads in all that noise. I also find that I have to go somewhat spaghetti-armed to protect my elbows and shoulders from injury[1].
    Others seem to be following them all right, although they may be recognising patterns.....

    So is there something I could be doing better to follow these types of leaders?
    I readily admit to being biased toward my own club's style of dancing, so I prefer the way quieter arms look (stronger and more connected, to my mind). What are others thoughts on salsa arms?


    [1]Honestly, at times it feels like the guy is trying to unscrew them. :?
  2. Salsero_AT

    Salsero_AT New Member

    Hi Sarah !

    When a man does such a arm movement that you do not recognize when his leads start there is nothing wrong with you but with his lead. He should hold his arms still when he leads. I do move my arms around sometimes but not when i start a lead. So i think it is not your fault but some guys are just to excited when dancing to keep their arms still when they should ;).

    Keep on dancing
  3. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    It is a bad habit, not only for leaders but followers, to swat their arms around in blocking position as if they were in karate class fighting the entire student body.

    You could either give a little more resistance so he can tell that he needs to tend to you better, or you can flat out tell him that his arms are too busy and you are having difficulty following him. The movement of his arms is so much that his leads become very difficult to read/feel. You can either tell him after the dance, or if it is frustrating enough you can tell him during the dance. If you are too shy to say something, or are worried about his ego, then play the stay away game doing solo shines. It is better that his ego gets hurt and finally learns to properly lead than you getting hurt in his hands.

    This is frustrating to me as a leader I can't even begin to imagine how much worse it has to be for the followers.
  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member


    Well, I think you have your answer Sarah… you’re in New Zealand, Salsero_AT is in Austria, and boriken and I are on opposite sides of the U.S. (so 5k km apart), and we all agree!
  5. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

    Yep, that's the feeling exactly! It's not even paticularly relevant to the music or to what the guy's feet/hips are doing. I can filter or ride large movements, as long as they're rythmic and predictable. I think what happens is some intermediate-ish dancers who see flamboyant arm movement in others, like it, and attempt to copy it with little idea of where in the body it actually originates from.
    Me shy? No way. :) But I have found that bruising egos is a quick way to being disliked, so I am very hesitant to offer unasked-for corrections. Most of the guys I'm thinking of seem to think that they're just fabulous, and that the problem is me.:roll:
    I do know how to look after my elbows though - the guy just doesn't get anything like a decent connection untill he works out how to ask nicely. ;)

    Thanks for the concensus all of you guys. It's nice to find my predjudices confirmed.


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