Salsa > "Cuban Motion": Ballroom vs. Social

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

  1. Joy in Motion, you hit the nail on the head! This is exactly what I would have liked to express but I would probably not be able to explain it as eloquently as you do.

    I am a street salsa dancer but I also love to watch ballroom dancing and I have a lot of respect for ballroom dancers!!! However, when it comes to ballroom mambo, I am always really disappointed. I cannot judge the technique but I am sure these ballroom mambo dancers have all the right technique down. However, it looks like the technique always gets in the way of the dance. It usually looks learned and the moves are hard and very technical. The smiles are also trained and often exaggerated and artificial. They dance with the music, but not in the music (and a total no go for me is when they dance to pop music instead of real mambo music). The "natural" component, the fluidity and what Latinos call "sabor" are missing. They do not "breathe" mambo and that is always so visible (an example is Joanna Zacharevicz).

    Compare some of the elegant greats of the salsa world, e. g. Felipe Polanco, Tito Ortos, Jhesus Aponte, Stacey Lopez, or Oliver Pineda. Many of them are also professionally trained dancers (not ballroom trained) and have their technique down.
    Here is an example of what I mean. Felipe's dance partner is just all musicality, sabor, fluidity and everything else:

    However, when they "combine their formal training in technique with good connection, musicality, and Latin movement", they look fabulous!

    For example, I LOVE to watch Yulia Zagoruychenko, no matter what she dances!!! She really has "it"! She is a ballroom dancer, but she oozes musicality, hotness, fluidity, all the above, and more.

    And many years ago I saw a couple from the professional cabaret division dance mambo. That was phantastic! She was Latina and that was obvious. Her (ballroom) mambo was so hot!!! Unfortunately I cannot remember her name.
  2. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    salsera_alemana, lots of great points. You explain how you feel about this quite eloquently... :cheers: And your passions shows...
  3. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Interestingly, there are huge latino communities in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. Of course, there are others, and I only mention these 2 because they are the largest.

    They refer to their style as Urban. In this, they acknowledge that there are many different styles; PR, Dominican, Colombian, NY, LA, Miami, BR, etc. The freestyle blending of these styles is what they call Urban, and most others call street style simply because it doesn't fit uniquely into either 1 particular styling.

    Also, you must know that this type of dancing is not unique to AK. I am only responding to the question of what do they dance/call it.
  4. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    I agree with Angel HI that there is a mix of various styles. And we do have a much bigger Latino community than most people would think...

    Despite the fact that I'm not very anonymous, I don't mind sharing my personal viewpoint on our local scene...

    We formerly had a couple of good salsa instructors here in Anchorage, and the community of non-Latino salsa dancers who learned through instruction was pretty good and developing nicely. Unfortunately, one at a time the three instructors who I believe were pretty good for the community ended up leaving or phasing out of the scene one by one. There is a new studio now that has been teaching L.A. style for the past couple of years. I find the musicality, connection, improvisation, quality of movement, roots of the dance, teaching ability, etc. to be lacking, but they are still very new and I hope they continue to grow and seek more understanding in these areas. There is definitely more of a separation between them and the Latino community than there was with the previous instructors, so it's almost like there are two different communities that tend to go on different nights. Again, it reminds me of the following Salsa Forums discussion: I did participate in that discussion and outlined the reasons I prefer the Latino crowd when it comes to dancing. I do enjoy learned patterns, but I find the sacrifice in musicality, connection, etc. to not be worth it to me in this new community. With the lack of these qualities I tend to find a less hospitable atmosphere overall as well - whether this is actually correlated or just imagined by me is open to debate. There are a lot of regular dancers from the previous community that stopped going reguarly as the atmosphere and dancing values changed with time, and the ones I have spoken to have cited the same reasons I have just listed. But there are also a lot of new dancers that have started up and seem to enjoy what they are doing.
  5. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    Only if we were to dance outside :). Haha, I would kind of like to perpetuate the igloo myth (so fun), but we have buildings and indoor heating and everything! ;)
  6. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Fur-lined boots. :D
  7. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Wow. I find the idea of separate norteamericano and latino salsa dance scenes kind of strange. In Northern California, we always sought out the clubs where the latinos hung out, expecting to find the best music and dancing there. While I haven't gone out of my way to explore the salsa scene in the Seattle area, what I've seen so far looks kind of like west coast swing danced to salsa music (ugh).
  8. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

  9. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    Well, they dance in the same club, sometimes on the same night but there is a definite difference in one night vs. the other. Formerly there was more interaction between the two crowds because the instructors and dancers were more aligned in terms of musicality and quality of movement and so there was more mutual appreciation. Now, not as much. Formerly I would say our community was more like Portland because the dance was more social and musical in nature in terms of those who learned formerly. Now I do think it is becoming more like in Seattle in terms of more performance-type social dancing. Again, it comes to a difference in dancing culture/values. Perhaps others find this to be a good change; I think some parts are potentially beneficial but on the whole I prefer the previous.

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