Salsa > Dancing? Or Puppetmaster Pulling Strings?

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

  1. gte692h

    gte692h Member

    haha, that video was a seminal event in dance forums. It set the whole place on fire, lol. I hope Sabor gives us permission to view that video someday again. i know he doesn't like that kind of attention, but it really is a very influential video.
  2. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Wow. This is absolutely not true, you can be in a room all by yourself no music no nothing, standing in front of the mirror and bag, Sabor will come shine through your every move. Gee, you can walk across a room full of people talking about the Political situation and sabor will come out. Sabor is in the person, not the music, not how the music sounds, no nothing. It is something possessed by the person! It's like being a millionare, you might not have a cent in your pocket, yet you are still a millionare. Your pocket full of lint at the moment does not make you poor!

    Sabor is not dependent on music, musicality is (there is a painfully obvious difference)...

    Basically I'm being told that I can not be in love with my girlfriend unless she is in front of me. Feelings are present regardless!

    There is a huge confusion in terminology and definition. Keep in mind that Sabor is not a magical thing that only happens when music it is on and people dancing to it. Sabor is present in all aspects of every day life, it is part of the person, not the music and actions to it.
  3. baile

    baile New Member

    I think it's sometimes difficult to see the sabor in rueda (of course it depends who's dancing), because it's so choreographed, but I think in this video it IS connected to the music. The beginning (and often throughout) connects to the rumba tradition and from there many of the moves have definite Afro-Cuban roots, which is much of what the song is about. Again, I think that sabor is not just connected to the instrumentation but also lyrical content.
  4. alemana

    alemana New Member

    you're a saborillionaire.
  5. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Assuming that you're talking about the Casino Rueda clip, yes, I was looking at their expression of it. I believe that the intro is rehearsed, but I honestly think those dancers are spontaneously responding to calls made by the leader during the Rueda section of it. I've personally participated in a couple of Rueda performances with the exact same format (i.e., planned beginning, and then rely on the leader's call for the rest of it). In the clip, it looks like the person with the white headband is making the calls beginning around the 1:20 mark, and the other leaders are regularly looking at the caller to identify each next move for the rest of the song; plus, it looks like they planned to do a special type of group lift in Rueda called the "flor" at the end of the song, but the music stopped while they were in the middle of it -- which wouldn't have happened if they were just following choreography 100% of the way.

    Still, rehearsed or not, those dancers' bodies flow in a way that seems to come from within. When a set of dancers is dancing a choreographed routine onstage, my eyes can still be drawn to a particular dancer who seems to be doing something cool and "different" using the very same steps within the very same song to which everybody else is dancing -- and oftentimes it's because that particular dancer exudes some sabor.

    Also, I really hate to pick on dancers who seem to be well-intentioned and are trying hard (and are probably relatively early in their dance development), but here's another starkly contrasting clip I found on YouTube:

    Those dancers are mostly unified in their steps to the choreography, but you won't see "a lick of sabor" (as borikensalsero would put it :wink:):
  6. Big10

    Big10 Member

    I understand what you're saying, but I think you're taking the topic in a different direction. A large part of the discussion in this thread is about the ability of outside observers to detect a dancer's sabor -- which I do believe is strongly linked to music and musicality in the context of dancing.

    Like I've said before, the dance movements/steps don't have to be fancy, but they do have be tied to the beat and the energy happening within the song. A person with sabor inside (as you define it) is not always proficient enough at dancing to be able to show it outside. However, on the other hand, when you see sabor outside, you know it's inside!
  7. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I may have gotten off to a different direction beacuse sabor, musicality and music are independent. The ability of the observer to see sabor in a dancer depends on knowledge of sabor -- not musicality, not the music, not the dance.

    If the person doesn't posses knowledge of sabor, he/she will be baffled by things that have nothing to do with sabor. Then think that the dancers ability to physically follow the structure of the music is Sabor, when all it is, is skill. Which to them will erronously mean: more of it, the more sabor. They have sabor because they can dance at some basic level. Statements far from the truth. They'll see an empty dancer accentuating the music extremely well, with an empty emotions, and call it Sabor. Therefore, pushing aside everyone else who has exuberants amount of sabor, but can't dance, can't keep a beat, can't lead/follow, or has never even danced before! So, yes, a crowd must learn to recognize sabor before they go on to missinform someone else.

    I get off topic so that we become inform that a white cow is still white in the dark, that even if I'm deaf I'll still be able recognize sabor in someone dancing to music I can't hear, music I can't feel. If musicality was means to sabor, then a deaf person, who can not find a point of reference, would never see it in a dancer.

    for someone to detect sabor applied within a dance, and towards the interpretation of the music (musicality), then he/she needs to identify Sabor on its own, then see how it affects the person, not dance or music, the dancer himself. If we think that to find it in the music, it must be tied to musicality and the music, then we are looking for the wrong thing. We need to go back and figure out what is meant by Sabor.

    The same logic in a crude example: I appologize to those that it may offend: great intercourse impeccably following background music in a bed of roses by total strangers is a sign of love. The more positions, and their ability to thrust themselves based on the background music, the love more there is. I'm sorry again for its crudeness.

    An essese is not tied to the outside, it lives on its own. Sabor is just that, an essense.

    A much closer definition is heart, soul, love, passion, look for that in a dancer, regardless of musicality or music, and you have sabor. Then and only then can we see how it affects musicality.
  8. englezul

    englezul New Member

    I'm really starting to believe this sabor thing is BS because since it's internal and we're accepting the premises that it doesn't have anything to do with 1) skill 2) musicality 3) expressivity then sabor becomes merely an opinion since you can't genuinely tell who's got sabor or not. It's just an impression one gets based on the emotional state he's already in when happening to watch someone dance and on his latest beliefs.

    This videoclip was given as an example of lack of sabor, but these guys can't even do a basic step right, look at the bounce on 1 and 5. These are beginners and I used to be like that too because as long as you are applying knowledge to guide your body and you're doing that at a really focused level you CANNOT be in the music. But give me an advanced couple for who the steps, the timing, the lead, and the following are completely internalized to the point they don't even know it's happening, they're going to be COMPLETELY in the music, because now their dancing is not a function of brain/thoughts; instead it is a function of the sound coming out of the speaker.

    So yeah, no visible sabor in that video...but that's because their brain is running a program instead of letting loose. It's normal. They're beginners.

    Or you can say some untrained cuban has sabor...but the untrained cuban knows 15 steps that has been doing since he was 3. I guarantee he doesn't have to think about it. So he's free to be completely in the music. Then people watch him and say he's got sabor. But take the same cuban, teach him a new turn pattern call another group of people and ask them if he's got sabor? They'll watch him and see he's not in the music anymore (im not talking musicality here) and they'll reply no.

    Now Boriken will probably say ...but he's got sabor, because sabor is not based on skill or musicality, so since he had sabor in the first place he'll keep it. But that's a very circular, illogical kind of reasoning.

    So at this point I'm believing 1) sabor isn't a thing that either IS or ISNT in someone 2) sabor is in the eye of the beholder 3) sabor is one of those terms that gets people talking without having a concrete notion in mind, just based on some feelings of high intensity they experienced around some dancers.

    Let's continue adding video examples of what Sabor is and what Sabor isnt. This was it is more clear for all of us what we're talking about, because language in these sorts of discussions becomes confusing and doesn't pass the message along.
  9. baile

    baile New Member

    Are they even awake in that YouTube video?
  10. baile

    baile New Member

    Englezul, when you say "bounce" are you referring to the extra toe tap that Cubans use?
  11. englezul

    englezul New Member

    No, I'm refering to the fact that they don't move their weight at the same time with their stepping, so they are out of balance. Look at the head levels and at how to moves lack continuity. There's always a short break in their dancing. If dancing was like a continuous line, what they're doing is

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  12. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    I think he was talking about the fact that even motions that seem to come from the arm should originate with the body. Any push or pull or whatever that you give the lady from the arm will only feel good to her if the core of the body initiates and drives it.
  13. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Big10, it sounds like you're implying that to display sabor, one must slow down. That's like saying jive can't have sabor, but only a slow bolero or rumba can. Slowly moving the body, however good it may look, is not a prerequisite for flavor. Some of the most flavorful dances I've seen and danced have been the fastest.

    Wow... perfect example. It looks like these guys and girls learned lifts and tricks in week 1 of level 1, and then the basic in week 2. I was actually impressed that the ladies could do inside turns after I saw their body movement. Then I saw flips, neck drops, and my jaw just dropped! How can they be learning that stuff with that atrocious body movement? Only a teacher who moves that stiffly could influence students to move that stiffly. That much stiffness is not natural for most people.

    I'm going to show this to one of our performance groups next time they think they look bad to lift their spirits.
  14. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Huh? "We"? :confused: If you re-read the thread, I think borikensalsero is the only one who has said that a dancer's sabor does not have to have a relationship to the music.

    You may not like their style, but I think they're beyond beginners. They are on beat for the vast majority of the clip (at least the "bounce" is consistently on the 1 & 5), they do several moves that are intermediate or early advanced -- and there's even a lift at the end. I would even venture to say that they probably do have some internal sabor, if sabor is merely about heart, passion, love, etc. That is, I'm giving them credit for having some love of Salsa music and dedication to dancing, for at least making the effort required to memorize a routine of that length. However, the problem is that they're strongly lacking the ability to impart that emotion to a neutral observer.

    I strongly agree with you on that point. We won't make much headway in a discussion of internal sabor. Since all dancing is about communication using body movement, then people who have an opinion about sabor should give concrete examples of body movement that communicates sabor.
  15. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Okay, to clarify, no, I'm not saying that movement with sabor has to be slow (in an absolute sense) -- but, I do think it's easier for an observer to recognize sabor when the dancer's movements are at least smoothed out in a way that makes the movement look slower. When the music is fast, of course many of the movements will be quick. However, my opinion of sabor is that (most of the time) there is at least a smoothness or calmness or effortless appearance to it. Not very much wasted motion. In my experience, the problem is that unless a dancer is well-trained and has great body control, then fast motion will often create an exaggerated look that obscures the ability to precisely match the music.

    A good comparison would some highly skilled athlete -- a common expression is that the best ones "make it look easy." Fast 100-meter sprinters will look very smooth from start to finish, because they know the best way to conserve energy -- as opposed to the average person who may run the distance with lots of fast, jerky movements, but taking a much longer time. Football kickers don't need a 15-yard headstart to kick the ball far; just a few steps followed by highly efficient leg motion. Top golfers or baseball batters are the same way -- a powerful swing does not require a hugely exaggerated windup....just a smooth, precisely timed stroke.
  16. marie

    marie New Member

    So what is sabor?

    The sense I get is that it is really grooving and dancing fully to the music?

    Here's the thing, I am sure that I don't have it...I have danced several dances and over the years taken many lessons. One thing that I have learned is alot of technique. I imagine for alot of dancers trained in this way, it can be a little uncomfortable to totally let loose because for me I wonder if I am letting go of my technique. For me, I only started dancing Salsa recently but having been through other dances - I get a little confused watching the good followers. I can see who are the better followers - they are the ones dancing with the great leaders, dancing alot, looking smooth, and looking plain old good too. But I also see that in terms of general dance technique there are some fundamentals that aren't there. But I could also be missing something. Is that the difference here - sabor? These ladies have it? I don't want to imply at all that I think technique is different from sabor, I am just wondering how they fit together. I am sure that sabor is a technique that I just don't understand yet.

    In the end I've decided to dance what feels right to me and talk to my teacher in privates.
  17. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Hmm - the response I had expected was "Jane you ignorant slut."

    I haven't the foggiest. Right now, my best guess is "the gift of making the dance personal". But I'm still trying to gather evidence.
  18. I wish I could post a video clip here to demonstrate you what "sabor" is. It is almost impossible to explain it to people who don't know what it is.

    For me, these Cuban guys in the rueda video that Big10 posted have sabor. And their sabor has nothing to do with their routine. They could dance all by themselves or they could dance in a social setting with a dance partner, they always would have sabor, especially the first one that comes out.

    It would not help you if I posted a video clip of one of the greats out there (Stacey Lopez), who for me has great sabor. You would get sabor confused with skills and technique. I wish I had a video clip of ordinary people at a social dance setting but I don't.

    After the Cuban rueda video I watched other salsa videos on YouTube to find one and was not impressed, did not find a single one of all those supposedly "salsa greats" that I hear talking about on this forum that impressed me with sabor. Here is an example of a couple who certainly has great skills but for me has no sabor at all:

    But when I am in Loiza/Puerto Rico at the fiestas patronales on the town square and La Sonora PonceƱa plays and I see all these Puerto Ricans groove and dance at the plaza, that is saborrrrr!!!! And I just wish I had just a tiny little "biddy" bit of that sabor that these dancers have! I just looove the way Puerto Rican women move and bring out their sabor - often with subtle little movements of hands and shoulders and hips, but gee, do they make a statement!

    As was said before, in order to have or develop sabor it helps alot to be Latin, although by far not every Latin has sabor. But in my opinion it is much easier for them to develop it than it is for us non Latins. However, some of us can develop it. A while ago at a dance in Germany I saw this guy dancing and my husband and I were debating what he was, we thought he must be Cuban according to his dance style and the way he danced. We couldn't tell from his physics, he could have been German but he also could have been Cuban (there are plenty of very light skinned Cubans). He was kind of short and chubby, light skinned and had dark hair. And he wore a guayabera. He did not have great technique, i. e. he did only a couple of turns, nothing fancy, but he had some kind of sabor the way he danced. Now, when he walked over to our table and talked to our friends, we heard that he was German and they confirmed that. And we were very surprised. He told us that he learned salsa in Cuba and he goes to Cuba all the time to dance. He was an example that you can develop sabor without being Latin.

    IMHO part of the problem that you don't see much sabor out there anymore is that salsa has become a competition and sports activity for people. It is all about turn patterns, multiple spins, shines, neck drops and tricks and who can do the best show on the dance floor. It used to be about having fun together and not competing against each other. That's when you saw people grooving, getting all absorbed in the music and in their dancing.
  19. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    I believe that, but it isn't helpful yet. How about 20 questions?

    Is it possible to see sabor in someone who is just starting the dance (weeks, months, the first year)?

    Is it possible to see sabor in other dances (ballroom, swing, etc) or is it exclusively latin phenominon?
  20. Catarina

    Catarina New Member

    Thinking about salsera_alemana's comment about not finding good videos online that demonstrate sabor got me thinking: What's the impact of performing on sabor? in my mind, the essence of performance is adding on to what comes naturally or to fake it (take the plastered on smiles, for example)...which would seem to muffle sabor since there are so many other elements that have to come out in performances...??
    {this is a really uneducated question, forgive me}

    Almost forgot--what about Yanek?I know I just asked about performance/sabor, so I guess I just want to know from you sabor experts what the verdict is on him...

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