Salsa > Dancing? Or Puppetmaster Pulling Strings?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by SalsaTO, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. I am really enjoying this thread!

    It is so hard to explain in words what sabor is.

    Boriquen and tangotime, you are doing a GREAT job explaining it. But I think it is still difficult to understand for people who might never have seen a dancer who truly has sabor. And that is probably the case for most salsa dancers out there now.

    I am neither latina nor am I old (at least I don't think so, hehe) but I have been in the salsa scene for 15 years and at the beginning of the 90s I danced my way "up" to and with Puerto Rican leads who really had that sabor you are talking about. And when you go to a great dance in Puerto Rico (I am not talking about the dances at the salsa congresses!), you can still see people who have that sabor. But in any other place I have been in the western world, you hardly ever see people with this ingredient anymore. I would assume that you can see it in NYC, though.

    My husband and I went to the "I Love Salsa" concert in DC in February and there you had sabor and 100% "non sabor" right next to each other on the dance floor, it was so obvious, too bad I do not have a video to post here. It would be a perfect example. There were two guys who really caught my attention because they were so annoying. They were all absorbed in themselves and their technical moves and shines, danced by themselves and if they danced with a partner they did not pay any attention to her (I really disliked their dancing or what they thought was dancing). I did not see them do one basic step, they just did move after shine after shine etc. and to me all their moves looked just totally empty, technical (probably just got out of dance school) and totally disconnected from the music. And they thought they were so "hot" (give me a break, yawn...). Nor did they pay any attention to the music, they did their same thing to all songs. And then right next to them there were a few "old school" Puerto Rican guys dancing with their partners and it was a DELIGHT for me to watch them because they had sabor! All they did was the basic step and some basic turns but I could have watched them all night long, it reminded me of my "old" salsa days.
  2. Big10

    Big10 Member

    You had me agreeing with you throughout most of that first paragraph -- but then you totally lost me in the second paragraph!

    Like some of the other posters have said in this thread, sabor is frequently seen in what you call "simple" movements. Indeed, in my opinion, sabor is often more visible (in dancers who have it) when the movements are simple, smooth, and fluid -- as opposed to a lot of jerky fast movements that sometimes don't match up with the music. For example, the singer and musicians in that "Chumalacatela" video don't do any steps that an absolute beginner couldn't do, but the way they move makes it seem like the music is completely inside them in and oozing out as the song goes along, or that the music is like a wave and they're calmly riding on it.
  3. Big10

    Big10 Member

    I understand your point that this particular Frankie/Seaon clip is not a good example of great "sabor" -- but I think you're going to the opposite extreme by saying that Frankie doesn't even "show a lick of" it at all during that dance. :?

    I thought this clip was more of an example where too much movement can overpower the ability to express the emotion of a song (Frankie seemed to be focused on matching many of the quick percussive hits), but there were still flashes where Frankie slowed down a little bit and some sabor was evident (to me, at least).
  4. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Oh yeah, and to show one example of my opinion of some cool sabor, look at this:

    They're not a bunch of skinny folks doing quadruple spins, but they made me feel the music and feel their enjoyment of dancing with each other when I was watching the clip! :cool:
  5. Catarina

    Catarina New Member

    Can't say that I've truly seen sabor in action, but I can say that there is a big difference between the way the current generation of dancers incorporates a big portion of performance/showy-ness to the dance compared to the few older guys that I've seen dancing. Earlier this summer, saw a guy who was maybe 60 (?) and from Cuba, just grooving, dancing with a girl was on her own a phenomenal dancer--he was just barely moving his feet while she did some rumba around him bc the Timba music was too fast to do much in the way of fancy salsa combos. but I know what others are talking about--it was magnetic watching him. It wasn't just that he was enjoying the music, or trying to even match it's pace or highlight the music...that's about where my vocabulary ends for how to describe it all. So maybe that was sabor? let's so hope so, so that i know what y'all are talking about!
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Sal. Al

    I noted with great interest ,your observations on one of your dance "outings" . Also your reference to the cultural aspect ( the way the latinos interpret ) .One could say, that any dance genre, danced in a vacuum, that has no continuous point of reference ,as to its true interpretation, is bound to stray from its original source . (sauce ? coudnt resist ! )

    The advantages of growing up, and or living in the communities, that are constantly pounding the air waves with their cultural music ,puts them ( in many cases ) at an extreme advantage. Am not saying this guarantees anyone the inate ability to express same.However, it surely imparts, thru words, if not music, the story that needs to be addressed by movement .

    Have had private discussions about this very topic, and the sad part is this--- majority of areas outside of Miami, N.Y., Chicago, Orlando , L.A and Tampa, with few other exceptions,-- do not have authentic latino venues, you know, the ones where the clientele is 99% hispanic and all the announcements ( or most are in espanol ) . If one can immerse oneself in that culture for extended periods, you begin to see what the REAL intent of the music is saying t o the people who dance to its rhythms. The other side of this coin is this-- there invariably seems to be someone in most non " latino" clubs, that begins to display that indefinable something, the magical, elusive " sabor ". So--- watch and watch again,-- it just might rub off !!
  7. Vibrance

    Vibrance New Member

    Oh! I recognise some of these people – Moe Flex is the first guy and I’m pretty sure it’s Franks Santos (bachata specialist) behind Moe.

    I’ve had lessons with both – fantastic instructors and social dancers, plenty of sabor!
  8. Sabor

    Sabor New Member

    in my view.. sabor is multifaceted.. and non-explicable in words.. cause while part of it is external and visible .. most of it is internal and spiritual, like an exotic form of energy generated by the magical balance between mind, body and soul triggered by music that vibes with that energy and produce something greater than the sum of its parts .. the best you can do here is explain one or a few of those parts.. cause its is as unlimitted and variable as the soul..
  9. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Their CHOREOGRAPHY is cool, are you sure you are looking at their EXPRESSION of that particular choreography that you like? Because they are certainly not 'making it up' on the spot - they have rehearsed this for a long time. I'ts not social dance, nor is it 'interacting' as in partner dancing...
  10. saludas,

    You are right about the dance being practiced and choreographed. However, you can also have sabor when you have practiced and choreographed something, not only when you make things up on the spot.
  11. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    hehehe :)
  12. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    This is an explination of sabor.... not what it says, but how it's said! you can feel sabor's words just by reading it.

    Sabor, were's your video from a couple years ago? Still have it? That's a magnificent example of sabor in a dancer.
  13. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Salsera_Alemana is right there is more to the choreography here. Sabor has nothing to do with the choreography. If chreography was the track to sabor, then all great choreographys would posses sabor, yet that isn't the case. All the skilled dancers would posses sabor, and they don't.
  14. englezul

    englezul New Member

    Yes, what happens is that it doesnt trigger any kind of reaction in me. I think it's because it's too simple not in the technical sense, but too simple to actually ellicit any emotions in me. I'm not even sure if simple is the word that im looking for, but ...I can't think of anything else.
  15. englezul

    englezul New Member

    If you are talking about the Frankie Martinez video. That was not coreographed. They were messing around on the stage. Which is why expressiveness is a big deal. And even for coreographed moves, it's one to attempt to express an emotion, and a completely different thing to completely NAIL it. And just that ability of nailing it shows an internalization of the feeling, and the emotions of the role you're supposed to play and gives a strong indication that the dancer has sabor.
  16. alemana

    alemana New Member

    Looks like pure improv to me too, but agree that it's mostly performance of technique on F's part.
  17. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Somehow, I expected sabor to suggest a stronger connection to the music (I was a lot more impressed the first time I watched this when the sound was off than I was the second time with the sound on).

    But I'm a westie, so what do I know....
  18. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    You are referring to musicality, not sabor. Sabor is totally independent. They could be stepping one each other and they'll still have sabor. It is best to watch it without sound. Once the sound is on, we begin to put even more judgement into what we see.
  19. englezul

    englezul New Member

    Way to abstract. We're talking about dancing on music, if it's not sabor with the sound on then it's not.
  20. gte692h

    gte692h Member

    that's it! now, I am officially over an 8 month low. This thread just reminded me what I had stopped doing with my salsa. I had forgotten to really enjoy the simple things in life. i got caught up with trying to match my friends, who have all these great moves, but I lost myself along the way, trying to match them.

    I was listening and dancing too much with my head, and not enough with my body. thanks!

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