Salsa > "Cuban Motion": Ballroom vs. Social

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Joy In Motion, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Shaka

    Shaka New Member

    Move your hips to the left then to the right: that's the way street dancers perform the cuban motion. Bend and straighten your knees alternatively and see how your hips look like: that's the way ballroom dancers perform the cuban motion. Quite different, no? I may understand that some people will prefer the african street style but that's not my case and according to audiences, the european ballroom style is preferred.

    Ballroom dancers must not be affraid to dance ballroom in social events. That's a pity they have to hide their style either because they want to look like the others or because they just want to relax and don't feel like performing hard technique to look good.

    Actually, I began with street salsa (LA style, inline) dancing, that was my first dance ever. At that time I didn't know about ballroom and I used to dance like any other. One day, I saw a performance of mambo that completely transcended me. The dancers borrowed most of their technique from ballroom. Since that day, I'm a ballroom evangelist.

    I always perform ballroom when I dance in social events or trainings. Most of people are impressed with my technique and I get lots of compliments. Some people are really jealous but I think that happens to all good dancers. Even street instructors tell people not to do it the ballroom way which would make their students look better than them. In addition, people have in mind that ballroom is for old ones and I partially agree with them. Average ballroom dance lacks of intensity and looks worse than average street dance. That's a fact. And that contributes to the disrespect ballroom dancers get from street dancers. In my case, because I've reached the dancesport level, I get respect from everybody.
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    You need to go to Salsa Forums ,where there is an ongoing discussion on this very topic, of which I have detailed the major differences in the 2 styles, including some technical aspects .
  3. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Ha Ha! Judging by the AT forum here, you might come to regret that invitation!
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    True !.. they dont pull any punches when it come to opinions .
  5. Shaka

    Shaka New Member

    I'm a bit lazy to search for that topic. Some link?
  6. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    There are probably others in Salsa Forums that discuss this, but this is the ongoing one that is easy to find at the top of the list under the Just Dance category:
  7. Shaka

    Shaka New Member

    Thank you :cool:

    Well, I guess you'll have to choose. Don't forget to tell us why you decided to choose one way rather than the other. You may adopt both as well and decide to dance street, ballroom or mix depending on the music, partners, dancings and so on. In my case, I dance street in night clubs where people dance alone.
  8. Shaka

    Shaka New Member

    I can't answer on salsaforums so I do it here.

    Ballroom dancers should have their knees soft at any time with some exceptions like in lock-steps, break-steps. Even when they straighten one leg the supporting knee remains soft. Even on rise and fall figures from waltz. It's rather hard to describe soft knees but I can tell you how not to have soft knees: try to send back your knee to the maximum while standing. You should have completely locked your leg.

    Also, bending and straightening (in cuban motions) may be the consequence of rotating the pelvis. I think it's best to do it that way.
  9. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    In my experience: in Salsa, hip action is a product of footwork combined with keeping the shoulders relatively still. One keeps the feet turned out, and always steps on the inside edge of the ball of the foot. To the degree you do this you get hip action in Salsa. Street dancers may not put much emphasis on this sort of foot work, so the hip action will be more subdued. Ballroom dancing will put much more emphasis on proper footwork and the isolation of the hips from the ribcage. Until one has become fairly skilled at it, the hip action in ballroom can look a bit forced or artificial. The being said, the best salsa dancer I had the pleasure to watch and learn from (a world salsa champion) told of countless hours practicing rumba walks with a ballroom coach.
  10. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    This is subject to opinion, and I really would rather not get inot a lengthy debate about technique... perhaps a different thread. Suffice it to say that the main difference is that street dancers, for the most part, tend to be softer than BR dancers.
    Continuing from the above, ...yes and no. Re BR, you are most correct, but in the majority of what many simply call street stlye, much of the action initiates in the rib cage, and is then supported by feet/leg action.

    Final thoughts...
    What looks/feels good is relative to the looker/doer. What you saw that made you prefer BR style is most likely the very thing that caused someone else to detest it. It doesn't make one better than the other... simply different. Can both/either be danced well/badly? Absolutely.

    I doubt that the reason "street teachers" tell their students to not dance BR is because they are afraid of looking inferior. Most of the street teachers whom I know feel that the BR style is inferior, and would not wish to look like that.

    Lastly, because you've reached the dancesport level, you get respect from everybody... who appreciates that type of dancing. If you are truly at that level, then you know that there is much more to dance than mastering a style. A true DS level dancer would never consider one style to be better than another. A true BR dancer knows that DS is not better than BR... just different. A true street dancer might not like BR, but need not consider it inferior.

    The point... a real dancer understands what it takes to create the dance, and though one or the other might be danced poorly or skillfully, there is no one better... just different.

    (Incidentally, I have trained in, and dance them all).
  11. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    On the contrary, most " street " style salseros do the opposite on occasion.. and.. the foot turn out is NOT part of "street " style ( thats Intern.latin. ).

    The reason the 2 styles clash, is primarily thru HOW one portrays each dance.

    The B/room style is an extension of the indigenous Cuban genre, that morphed into a restrictive format for the same reason as the Standard.. to make it universal .

    Salsa, on the other hand , also a hybrid of Mambo, tends to rely more on its roots from an African perspective, and subsequently molds its self into a different form of expression .This format allows for the different styles within the genre, to experiment and grow.

    The very techniques, in many cases, are in direct opposition to the B/room style .
    Im currently working on a vid for salsa Forums that will depict the more authentic style of Cuban salsa ( plus some Guaracha, Cumbia and Bolero ) . Its not a teaching tool, but more a depiction of what the " natives " perceptions are of their music and dance .
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Hopely you will let us know when it is posted!
  13. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Well said, and very true. One test of mine for a real dancer is just this...viewpoint of dance in general and different styles.
  14. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    Amen, Angel HI :notworth:

    I definitely have my preferences (for the present moment - always fluid of course), but I would rather study with an instructor who dances (and thinks) beautifully in a style that is not my favorite than with an instructor who dances only mediocre in the style I am currently crazy about - assuming the dancing and teaching abilities are matched (which is of course another topic altogether).
  15. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Forgive this little sidebar, please :rolleyes: ..............

    JOY, I sure do miss you guys. And, I am so proud of my student; how much you have grown, how far you have come, and how much you have done since we stopped. Hopefully, I'll see you soon.

    OK, back on topic. :)
  16. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Don't forget your parisien friend across the pond when you do!
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Got ya covered Mon Ami .
  18. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Hmm. It seems that the definitions of "Street Salsa" depends on what street you are on. Some of what has been described here as street salsa does not match what I see in the US west coast. Cuban Casino, LA Style Salsa, NYC Style Salsa, Columbian Salsa are all different, if related.
    How do they dance Salsa in Alaska?
  19. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Fur coats and boots ?....:rolleyes:
  20. :uplaugh:

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