Salsa > Backleading.

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Matrix, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. lynn

    lynn New Member

    One thing I struggle with is to relax but to still keep up the frame and have tension in my arms, that's difficult....

    Speaking of tension, yesterday i was dancing with a friend of mine, he was saying how i have poor connection b/c he couldn't feel my "right hand", i thought the connection is mainly in the left arm (with the man's right arm), or am i missing something here??
  2. setsuna713

    setsuna713 New Member

    Depends on the style... in some the right hand is very important, others it's not....... I was always taught that it's the connection of the mans right hand on my back that's the most important... but i could be wrong.....
  3. lynn

    lynn New Member

    That's what i thought so too. I don't like to put too much tension in my right arm because many times it feels like i'm getting into an arm wrestling contest with the guy.
  4. redhead

    redhead New Member

    don't you compare dancing to heavy lifting. that's why your hurt that girl in first place
  5. luh

    luh Active Member

    @matrix. You are pretty strict with yourself. Is that possible?
  6. tacad

    tacad New Member

    I had a woman actually try to lead me last night. I think she was bored and/or was trying to be helpful. :roll: Seriously, she tried to lead me through turns and other things. so I started leading something on every beat. There was no extra time. That was really odd.
  7. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member


    Muahahahahahahah No why didn't I think of that..... :twisted:
  8. setsuna713

    setsuna713 New Member

    Now I'm been known to steal the lead from friends of mine as a joke :oops: ... but as they are all friends of mine, I know that they all follow already, that they won't be upset by it, and that they'll steal it back when they're tired of my silliness....

    I've never just started leading a random guy just 'cause he wasn't leading a lot of moves.....
  9. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I only dispute one part of this: it is to the detriment of the lead, whether he is willing to admit it or not. If the lead is just "cueing" the follower, who is then expected to know what to do from there on, then that leader is always going to be stuck with doing that step exactly the same way, every time. I think it was you that mentioned earlier about back-leading in class. That's an easy trap to fall into, for both the leader and the follower. You're doing a pattern over and over in a group class, and when the instructure says "3, 4,...", you just launch into it because you know that's what you are going to do. Everyone learns their own steps, but the lead/follow connection isn't there, so really the step is only halfway learned. Someone else earlier had mentioned about back-leading with a beginning leader so that the guy wouldn't have to think abou the lead while learning the step. Although the good intention is appreciated, it really does more harm than good to do this. The lead is as fundemental a part of the step to the leader as his own feet are, and until he learns to lead it, he really can't do it. (It took me a while to realize this... :oops: ) Yes, you are right in that dancers who all take the same classes or alll learn from the same teacher can get locked into patterns of anticipating each other, and it might look good for a while, until something changes. I've known dancers who, when doing a travelling dance like waltz, could only do certain steps at certain areas of the floor. That was because they had fallen into the habit of always doing it that way; the follower had learned to anticipate the moves based on where they were on the floor, and the leader had fallen into the lazy habit of allowing the back-lead to happen. Put them on a crowded floor, or just in a different ballroom, and all of a sudden they can't do those moves at all.

    Related to the above, there is one other form of back-leading that I've noticed over the past year or so. It seems to be a phase that some followers go through in the 1-2 year range; I call it "book following". It happens when the follower has learned patterns for a bunch of steps. She might be an excellent follow with a good connection when doing basics, and she picks up well on the beginning of a move. However, once the move is started, she's on autopilot, doing the move exactly like it's written up in the syllabus. The leader can't lead any variation or amalgamation, because that's not in the syllabus. This type of follower is the exact opposite of an overstyler; she probably doesn't style at all, because... well, it's not in the syllabus. :wink: (If she does any styling, it's probably the exact same thing for a given move every time.) This can be really frustrating for the lead, because the lead can't try to stretch or challenge his leading abilities; he's constrained by what his partner knows how to do by rote. Fortunately, most followers seem to break out of this as they approach the three-year mark or thereabouts. So my one piece of advice for followers here is: don't forget about your connection while you are doing your steps.
  10. Matrix

    Matrix New Member

    First of all, you must always CUE, never forget to cue, keep in mind that you should cue, ... you must do it, period.

    Now, while it may take a while to be able to cue women into different variations of the same move, the cueing must always be a part of the dance.

    After partner dancing lessons, you might be stuck to a move for a while, but that's why i said it will take some time to learn different variations of the same move. LEARN one variation perfectly first, then move to the next. Spend weeks if necessary on 3-4 patterns. Then learn 3-4 more. Then 3-4 more, etc.

    NOW, in salsa there is no syllabus!!! Well, unless you're talking about "Ballroom Salsa"...

    If a woman goes into autopilot on a pattern, you, as a leader, if you want different variations of the same move, must know how to signal her and LEAD her into those variations. Period.

    Yet, the subject of BACKLEADING is a very real one. So, if you have a backleader, you WILL have to be a bit more precise and/or strong in your lead... NEVER being rough.
  11. setsuna713

    setsuna713 New Member

    I think the kind of cue cornutt was talking about was the kind that starts a move and then does not lead the entire move/pattern. The leading mindset of "I've started the pattern, now you know what to do and I can stop leading." A cue is not a bad thing as long as there is a lead throughout the entire move/pattern.
  12. Houdinni

    Houdinni New Member

    Humm.... For those of us with less knowledge of english...

    What is to CUE? (Can't be the billiards ball... wouldn't make sense... :shock: )
  13. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    There's no such thing as Ballroom Salsa, ergo ther is no such thing as a Salsa "sillybus". It's called Mambo. :p
  14. setsuna713

    setsuna713 New Member

    A signal, such as a word or action, used to prompt another event in a performance, such as an actor's speech or entrance, a change in lighting, or a sound effect.

    A reminder or prompting.
    A hint or suggestion.

    Hope this helps.
  15. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I actually recollect in some old discussions people taking about ballroom studios having it and doing it just like mambo, but breaking on1 etc. :? Or maybe my memory is going. :? :oops: or df is getting too big...
  16. Houdinni

    Houdinni New Member

    Thank you!!!

    Now everything makes sense again... Of course you've got to cue... It's essencial...

    It should be hard enough to react to whatever we decide to lead in a split second, but if you wish to do, say... a triple spin without cuing first... hell!!! :)
  17. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Yea, that's what I want to know . . . I see setsuna713 answered it, but . . . isn't that the same as a "prep?" Whether it's done with a word, a hand or arm motion, a body or rib lead, a nod of the head, a look down the line of dance, it's still a prep. No?

    I guess it's . . you say potato and I say say potatoe, or something like that.
  18. latindia

    latindia New Member

    Sometimes, that funny look just means, 'Gee, I led 100s of girls into this move before and now I realize I'm not doing it right!!!' At least in my case...

    For the record, my best and favorite Salsa instructor is a woman. She's bada$$. No-nonsense. Doesn't hesitate to tear a guy down if he's leading in a dangerous way (for the woman) and knows the right way to teach leading. All the guys in my studio (at least, those who stick on) swear by her teaching.

    Backleading -- depends on comfort level and how good the gal is + attitude of the guy. I went out last night, and danced with this wonderful salsera. She was an amazingly good dancer, but amazingly nice. Maybe coz she was married? I'm a beginner still (4-5 months).

    She was very encouraging and towards the end of the dance, said 'Let's try this', and led herself through a series of steps (with me following it and learning to lead it at the same time). I enjoyed it thoroughly and learned something new!!!

    I wonder if anyone knows her and her dad, who's from Costa Rica and his name's Oscar. They're black (racially). Her dad's a really tall guy and is a really good dancer. This is in Houston, TX at Taco Milagro. :D [/i]
  19. setsuna713

    setsuna713 New Member

    I think that's exactly what's going on....
  20. latindia

    latindia New Member

    Had a hilarious backleading experience earlier this week.

    This lady is trying to teach her husband (I think) the salsa basic, but he doesn't seem to be picking it up. She sees me and is like, 'Hey, you want to dance?' I agree and then she sweetly proceeds to nearly wrench my arms off with her backleading. Not only that, she was SO totally off-beat.

    The funny thing was, all the time, she's smiling sweetly and is like 'Oh I'll follow everything you do, it's all upto you' and doing it so innocently that I couldn't help smiling back and making the best out of it. And I completely understood the relieved husband who was just chilling enjoying his drink and his turn to laugh at me :D

    At least she had some seriously great cleavage :roll: :oops:

    The rest of the evening was fun, I found a couple of great partners of my skill level who seemed actually happy to keep dancing with me, so that's all cool. Just a fun experience to start the evening that I thought was relevant to the thread topic :D

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