Salsa > Counting me in? Turning me off!

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Ms_Sunlight, Oct 3, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ms_Sunlight

    Ms_Sunlight New Member

    Okay. Here's a question.

    Why is it that some guys I dance with in class insist on verbally counting me in to start the music? I know it's not a case of they're counting out loud for their own benefit (as some guys who are new do) because they don't do it with everyone and they don't do it with others social dancing.

    When I dance, I take my rhythm from their body movements because that's the only way to dance and not fight with the leader. I can hear the beat of the music perfectly well, and I can feel the movements of anyone who's got even an ounce of leading skill.

    Perhaps they don't think me capable of finding their rhythm yet. It's only a couple of blokes, and one of them has taken it upon himself before now to tell me off for turning too early in spins and turns. Is it wrong of me to find this insulting? Should I say something?

    :evil: :evil: :evil:
  2. yola

    yola New Member

    hmmmm this sounds quite irritating!! maybe ask the guys why they are doing it.... coz if you can feel their lead and dance in sync etc with them, i don't see a reason why they'd do it. Maybe they're thinking of teaching and are practicing their (apparently non existing) skills on you? :evil: :evil:

    and on the turning thing: maybe when he's doing it again, just play innocent and ask the teacher 'we don't seem to have the same timing in turning... can you help us find the problem' or something like that :twisted:

    (i'm sorry, i'm in a 'who ever knows what a bloke is thinking ('xcept for the obvious), they're peculiar beings' kind of mood...)
  3. Ms_Sunlight

    Ms_Sunlight New Member

    Of course yola for all you know I might actually be heinously off time!

    I'm fairly confident that's not the case. I can dance with a bunch of people and it works beautifully and feels nice and smooth. Then I suddenly get counted in!
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    ya know I have had this too...and if there is one thing I am confident about it is my musicality (play 3 different instruments ...sing, aerobics etc....I know that stuff) really doesn't bother me unless as you note the guy gets verbally insulting...I think some guys just think that everytime a woman isnt perfectly in sync with them that it is an insult to their lead rather than a host of other an honest attempt to follow or an inability to completely close one's ears to following the correct timing...I don't really think getting into a conversation with these sorts is usually if it was an instructor that would be different b/c as I have said in other threads....I am learning that there is a finesse at higher levels to, among other things, creating a sort of pulse to your dancing, coming around almost late, etc....
  5. yola

    yola New Member

    oops... , i wasn't doubting your timing, ms sunlight... i actually meant my comment to be sarcastic on the guys part.. (his 'trying to teach while he obviously doesn't know what he's doing himself) but since english is not my native language i horribly fail to let my meaning come across sometimes.. :wink:

    that's why i said: ask the guys themselves. coz who knows what goes on in a guys head.... :? :roll:
  6. africana

    africana New Member

    it's sort of a he-said she-said thing here, although I'm biased to agree with you ;)

    Maybe you're turning too early because he signaled the turn too early? and since it's not in time with the music, it's any body's guess as to when you should actually turn. that's irritating!
    I'm having similar issues when leading certain turns, but I always know when I'm leading some move off beat, even if I can't tell how to fix it. But I can't afford to beat down on my partner, because I need her to let me practice on her next time :twisted:

    Maybe try explaining what specific thing you have problems with, what feels off and why (if you know). but if he's not receptive and is insulting, you can either not dance with him again or tell him to stop being insulting.
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Does salsa share the step, turn, step, turn seperated action of a latin alemana type turn? That's notorious for coming out with the turn early/blended into the step...
  8. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Agreed that is probably the lead's fault - but not because it's too early, but due to a basic misconception as to wehre the rhythm really is...!!

    Many leaders don't realize that the timing in a dance is what the FOLLOWER does, not the lead. A leader who moves right on the beat will make them both look offtime (or 'beginnerish') because it is the follow's movement that defines the dance.

    How in the world can a follow spin in time with the music if the lead happens on the same moment that the spin is to begin? That's why one basic dance axiom is "the body moves faster than the feet" and 'it's always better to move slower to the music arther than on it our faster'. This is sometimes translated as 'grounded' musicality...

    As leaders get better, they realize that the 'count' has nothing to do with what they do. The follower is moving to the rhythm of the leader (from his back) and the leader's expertise is how well he translates the music thru his back, to the partner.

    This is why the ongoing 'on1 / on2' debate. Most leaders, tho they will never see it in themselves, are incpabale of dancing IN the music, and will always fall into the patterns they know or are taught. Leaders who are trly free as dancers do not listen to where one is or where two is but where the want the movement to exist.
  9. saludas

    saludas New Member

    It should but usually it's a sort of rotation in place. the axium "a turn is three forward walks" in Latin is alien to salsa. That's why it often looks 'soft' or undefined, and why the rhythm seems to disappear when a turn happens. Top dancers do incorprate the footowrk into the turn - tho it's not taught in Salsa classes, as it's a pretty advance concept...
  10. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Hmm. I often "count off" a 5-6-7-8, not verbally, by by tapping my partner on the back with my right hand, before I start. It does serve the purpose of cueing my partner in that I'm going to pick it up with the next bar. (I've found this helpful particularly in comps sometimes, where there is pressure to get going as soon as you can. At times I might choose to wait another bar, say, for the right place in the music. If it's something that has an obvious four-bar or eight-bar structure or whatever, it might work out better to avoid starting on the "off" bar.)

    But it's for my own benefit as much as it is for my partner. I find that the "startup" bars are much smoother if I can do some motion with some part of my body to get myself dialed into the beat before I start. It's a bit like a drummer starting a song by tapping out four beats with his sticks. I use my right hand because it isn't noticable to anyone but my partner. Plus, it gives me an indication about how my partner will feel in my hand. I get a sense of where the back muscles and shoulder blade are and what it should feel like when my hand is in the proper place. Do followers find this annoying? If so, I'll try to make an effort to stop doing it. I've never had anyone say anything to me about it.
  11. lynn

    lynn New Member

    OK, i have a very weird question here - sorry if it sounds not very intelligent.

    I've often thought that for the follower to follow on time - that meant the leader has to lead BEFORE the beat, does that make sense? Somehow some of the leads i danced with expect me to be a psychic and be in sync with them when they are on the beat - i find that when leads are exactly on the beat, that makes me a little behind - is this simply b/c i'm not reacting to the leads fast enough??
  12. saludas

    saludas New Member

    This is the gist of my comments - that a good leader gives a lead that allows the follower to move onTo the beat. A bad leader will complain that the follower is late or that the follower does not know where they rhythm is, but it is the lead's responsibility to do that. That's why it's always good for leaders to imagine themselves as a follower during dance.
  13. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Salsa women are very polite....
  14. lynn

    lynn New Member

    i think the biggest problem here is what's the definition of "on time" means - i get the feeling that majority of people think it means the leaders stepping on time (which unfortunately would mean i, as a follower, will be late). I've actually asked a lead to lead ahead of time (ie, to raise his arm 1/2 beat before the turn) - he refused b/c he said i'll turn ahead of time - he doesn't realize that by the time he raises his arm, in order for me to turn, i'm already 1/2 beat late (of course, this could simply mean that i'm not picking up the lead fast enough).

    Sometimes i actually prefer leads to do that, esp when we're not in sync - salsa music is somewhat complicated given the # of instruments involved and it allows me to know how i interpret the music/rhythm in relation to the lead.
  15. africana

    africana New Member

    a bit confused here, sometimes I wish i knew enough ballroom to tell what is and what isn't salsa better lol
    :shock: both partners movements define the dance, not just the follower.
    Yes I have seen dances where the lead does nothing more than twirl the follower around (either on or off beat, mostly off), but that's lazy leading, and not true dancing, where the lead ignores his footwork and only focuses on turning the follow. Again in salsa, the lead is not supposed to be a strict frame around which the follower dances, both are ideally supposed to dance.
    So for basic steps or styling by the lead, both need to be on beat. But I agree is correct for turns to signal before the actual turn. And for turns, the preps can begin any number of counts before the actual turn. for example I was taught yesterday to prep a spin on the 6-7 by the left-to-right arm swing, at which time the follow creates her crossed feet and twists the torso, and then the spin begins on the 1 (I was learning this on2).

    So the lead is not supposed to look or be or try to be off time, but I agree the signals to the follow are coming before the follow actually acts on them, on beat (good reason for followers to learn the music also)

    The rest of this confuses me. of course I might need the visual to get it
  16. africana

    africana New Member

    ok sounds good 8)
  17. clave

    clave New Member

    Not sure I understood what you meant: counting while the music is playing, or counting aloud while you're walking through steps in class without music? I always count aloud when breaking down new steps in class, usually only the accented beats. With music I'll sometimes count out the "five six seven" before starting a choreographed move from a standstill, it's just a habit that started out for my own benefit and is hard to break (it helps my timing when I can't hear the music well, through a noisy audience and such). I never do this when social dancing except when I get lost and am struggling recapture the song.

    I'm sure they don't mean to insult. Perhaps they are perceiving your following as distracted? One of the best follows I dance with shows up some days with her mind way out there in the stratosphere, often forgetting to start the choreography on cue; I find it helpful to verbally "clue her in" a second or two early to break her reverie.
  18. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    But the lead shouldn't actually be seen to move ahead of the beat.

    I think that's why latin has the step, turn action it does - it achieves precise coordination through a sequence of actions, rather than suprises coming out of the blue with no warning.

    In a latin turn, you would step together in the same timing, with the turn being created a half beat later by the nature of the connection as you arrive on the step. The step is the heads-up for the turn... and in something slow like rumba, the settling would be the preceding action that coordinated the step.

    I would assume good salsa dancers have worked out a coordinating mechanism that works for them...
  19. clave

    clave New Member

    Every step has a prep. :)

    Ah, that would explain the jerky appearance of ballroom dancing. Salsa appears smooth in part because all the momentum changes are prepped quite dramatically and visibly. If you want to spin the girl four times in four beats within four square feet and come out on time you'd better wind up quite visibly!
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    JERKY??????????????never experienced that at least not on purpose
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page