Salsa > Bumping Knees While Salsa Dancing

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by danceguy, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    A question for the Salseros and Salseras out there - I have been having trouble with bumping my knees into the few ladies that are brave enough to dance with me. As I'm making the transition from Ballroom Salsa student to bumbling night club Salsa dancer, I'm in a real state of flux right now, but I have to be honest, I love it! :)

    I'm getting a good hold on the basic steps and simple turns, but when dancing close to the ladies, I kept bumping their knees during the practice session tonight. I first thought they were stepping too far, until I danced with a very advanced Salsera and I kept doing it to her too. She mentioned that I needed to be stepping on my toe and not with the whole foot on the forward step...with so many things going through my mind at this point I'm not getting everything right, but I'm very deteremined to do so. 8)

    I was thinking that I need to take smaller steps, but my steps are pretty small to begin with - but maybe they're not and I'm not seeing this? My basic feels great when I'm on my own, but once I've got someone up close, I feel like I'm trapped...but I have a feeling its just a small hurdle to get through...

    Any advice would be appreciated! :)

    Many thanks,

  2. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Hmmm this is tough. I haven't experienced it but I'd say 1) to try to keep your steps small, 2) make sure you are only landing on the ball of your foot (heels shouldn't touch the ground), 3) somebody's timing is off--either they're not following your timing OR you're timing isn't consistent and they can't follow it. Even if you're not on beat, if you're consistent a follower should be following you and there shouldn't be any collisions.
  3. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    Hey Scorpion,

    Yeah the timing issue is there, but I think it's also about space.

    I don't remember where, but I posted a topic about how I use
    space, and how I do my footwork.

    Basically, internally I take big steps, but I actually come off
    with smaller steps. This is a bit tough to explain, but I know
    that Brujo also came up with some great points. I will find
    the post and place it here...
  4. Danish Guy

    Danish Guy New Member

    You are not always ballroom close to your partner.

    Specially for dancing the Cuban salsa style, where you lift the feet more, to place them slowly with to toes first. (To get the tasty hip and body movements)

    If the timing is fine, you could be holding your partner to close, or lifting the feet to high.

    Just my shoot form the hip :oops:
  5. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator


    I have your answer... Ta ta ta taaaaaaa

    You are standing right smack in center/right-in-front-of the lady. Shift yourself to the left a tiny-bit where your right foot is between the lady's feet. That way you have no worries about bumping knees when dancing very very very very smacked glued close to each other, regardless of length of steps. Or any variation of close you decide to use. :wink:

    I believe, someone correct me if I'm wrong, that the rule of thumb is to not stand face to face but that the male should be a bit more to his left where it becomes easier for each other to step forward without bumping kneees. Don't go to far off to the side... You might end up dancing with the couple next to you. :D
  6. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    Yes, yes, yes! I have been told that many times before, but in the heat of the moment I must have forgot! I get so darn nervous out there...but God knows I'm trying my best. Oddly enough, I'm pretty good at having my feet up close and inbetween the ladies (thanks to some Ballroom lessons)...but you're right on the money, I was perfectly parallel and its no wonder I kept knockin' knees! :oops: :roll: :oops:

    What happened was that one of the instructors mentioned to me that I was standing too far back and stooping my posture a bit, and he was right, I certainly was (the shyness thing again). He helped adjust my frame and said to get closer, and I have to be honest, it felt nice and I was comfortable with it.

    But then the knees...and I could step properly even with tiny steps...but you are so right...I had forgotten the "be a bit to the left" rule that many of my other teachers have mentioned before. I will work on this next time for sure! I probably shouldn't have been out dancing due to some physical discomfort, but then again, what better way to relax? Salsa has been very theraputic for me.

    Thank you so much Boriken - your words are pure gold! :p

  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Ok, there are lots of possibilities and, without seeing you in action, none of us can be dead certain what's going on in your particular case. That being said, you have some excellent advice here. The only thing I'd add, which may or may not be related but which will add some dynamism to your basic actions, is as follows... think of your forward step/break as your first step backward and your backward step/break as your first step forward. This should (A) keep you more on the toes & balls of your feet, (B) keep your actual steps smaller, (C) make your timing crisper, and (D) actually help generate more body action. B & D together are actually, I think, much of what Fernando is getting at – small *actual* foot steps linked to feeling& thinking big.

    Hope we've come up with some help for you and please do keep us posted... :D
  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I so relate on the bumping knees issue. My problem is that sometimes the followers keep wanting to be face to face, rather then slightly off center. I've played this game where I move off-center and the follower tries to center herself, against my frame!! :(
  9. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    I think you're on to something here SD - for that is almost exactly what someone was telling me the other night, to be more on the toe and not step too far forward...

    I've noticed that I have trouble stepping on the ball of my left foot on the first step, I just don't have the coordination developed yet. I've been working on this a lot, but I keep putting too much weight on my left foot and end up going forward...its a hard habit to break! :oops:

    I've never heard the Salsa basic explained quite like that before, thanks SDSalsaguy! Also thank you to Fernando and Boriken, you've all offered some great advice that I will put to good use.

    I will definitely let you know how it goes! :)

  10. redhead

    redhead New Member

    Sagitta, you don't have to move much - just a tiny bit; maybe you're moving too much? I see that problem with beginners sometimes, but I move myself to the left even before they realize it. Works like magic - once they feel what's right, they never go back.
    There's only one guy I know who's totally hopeless knee-bumper, he's been told about it multiple times and still doesn't get why followers avoid him... :headwall:
  11. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Try thinking about pushing yourself backwards with your forward step SG...

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