Salsa > Dancing? Or Puppetmaster Pulling Strings?

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

  1. englezul

    englezul New Member

    Personally I don't see sabor in that. To me sabor is breaking the chain Music Mind ->Coreography->Body to simply Music -> Body. The appendix to this is that it has to look good too (not complex) to really give me that feeling of...yeah, i really feel it. By looking good I mean it has to be looking like it's surfing the music, that the dancer is grooving, moving the body completely driven by sound. When I see that I get this huge energy grooving smiling sensation in my chest. Sometimes I see Music -> Attitude or Music -> Identity that also to me is inspiring and gives me that same feeling. But if you watch carefully...there's no attitude in the previous video, no identity forged in the music, no role playing, just a succession of well executed moves.
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


    Yes -- its in b/ room, and we call it" floor presence ",-- a rose , a rose ,etc.
    In beginnners ? of course it can ( although rarely ) I have them crop up in my salsa classes from time to time, and I will always say to them ( privately ) you have a great feel for the music ., and it many times comes from the least expected .
  3. Catarina,

    That does not mean there are no videos online with people that show sabor. It is just that after watching at least 10 or so I had not seen one with sabor. But you found one! Thanks for posting this.

    I am in no way a sabor expert, I can only tell you what for me personally is sabor. I really enjoyed this guy's dancing so much that I watched it more than once and watched other videos with him dancing. He really got me grooving here on my chair. He makes me want to jump out of my chair and ask him for a dance! He definitely has sabor!!! At least in my opinion! He lets the rhythm/music play his whole body from within! He demonstrates joy, skill and sabor! And his skill is not in his way when it comes to sabor, as is the case with so many other people. The way he moves his body and his body posture, I love it! Also, can you see how much his partner enjoys (!)? Those two have a lot of fun although they are apparently performing. And they draw me as a spectator into their joy and into their dance.

    I also watched the Cuban Salsa Final 2004 videos with him: and the other two parts. His great dancing shows even better when he dances to songs with normal (medium) speed. Too bad he cannot dance cha cha the way he dances salsa (at the end of part 2 and the beginning of part 3 of this video series). He would look soooo good dancing cha cha! For me he's got IT!!!

    By the way - and off topic (style has nothing to do with sabor): MY thing is Puerto Rican style, however, I really also enjoy Cuban style when it is danced this way!
  4. For me, this guy expresses everything you mention here, englezul, and much more than that!!! Exactly this is what I am missing on the dance floor nowadays, that kind of sabor!
  5. By the way, where did this Cuban Salsa Competition take place and who of the 3 won?
  6. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

  7. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    cuban final

    Was kinda disappointed--- if they were the finalists ,-- if amat., even then ,thought in some cases, it was walk ,walk , and did not really reflect the way seasoned dancers move . The music for the Guajira was so hackneyed, was surprised they used it for a final . Just a pro,s opinion --- fun -- yes, entertaining, yes, no more, no less .
  8. alemana

    alemana New Member

    The first video, of the single couple, was entertaining at points and I could see some good stuff going on in the lead's dancing. The second video, with the multiple couples - zzzz. I've seen more interesting/flavorful dancing by regulars (not the super-advanced) at hundreds of run-of-the-mill NYC socials.
  9. Big10

    Big10 Member

    :? Hmmm.....

    I guess sabor and attitude are in the eye of the beholder, because I saw plenty of sabor and plenty of attitude in Yanek and his partner during that clip.....apparently salsera_alemana and I have similar tastes and experiences regarding sabor. ;)

    The Yanek clip (the first one) was also a good example sabor in "fast" dancing (as raised in my exchange with Josh). Yanek is moving fast enough to keep up with the very fast beat of the song, but the dance still looks like it's effortless for him and he appears in total control of his steps, styling, body movements, etc., throughout the entire song. He also hit some accents well and added several unique/clever moves. Obviously, there is a small sample size, but it's interesting to see the various YouTube comments responding to the Yanek clip, which are overwhelmingly in favor of his dancing -- including several compliments written entirely in Spanish. The fact that he seems to have won over native Latinos with his dancing is a "plus" in his favor, regarding whether he dances with sabor or not....

    As a final note, I also agree with salsera_alemana about Stacey Lopez, whom I've seen dance in performances and also socially. Unfortunately, I could find only one YouTube clip of him, where he's performing a fast cha-cha (and it's not the perfect example, since many of his motions in this performance are directed to the crowd instead of his partner, but you can still get an idea of the flair he adds to his dancing):
  10. I think Big10 and I have the same taste when it comes to sabor.

    So Yanek is apparently not Cuban then (his name is not, but that doesn't mean anything)? I have no idea who he is. His dancing looked authentically Cuban to me. (Although my love is PR style, I have danced with many Cubans over the years and was in a rueda group with mostly Cuban leads many years ago.)
    I didn't care for the other two couples in the competition, either.

    Alemana, I also have seen many dancers who show even more sabor, this was only meant to be an example. And it would be disappointing if you did not have more flavorful dancers in NYC of all places.

    Big10, here is another clip of Stacey Lopez dancing cha cha: (scroll down to "Lucia and Stacey"). Like Big10 I have seen him performing and dancing in a social setting and I am always at awe! However, those videos of his performances are not the best demos of sabor for people to whom you want to explain the "sabor" concept because they could confuse sabor and skill level here. IMHO a video of an ordinary social dancer is more effective in that respect.

    By the way, here is a very interesting interview with Stacey Lopez about his philosophy about dancing and teaching (in Spanish). Especially his answer to the last question is interesting regarding congreso type salsa vs. real salsa/mambo: Enjoy!
  11. englezul

    englezul New Member

    That's exactly what I was saying :). Using almost the exact words. That clip doesn't do anything for me. It leaves me cold like a fish. I saw no passion and no connection there. I enjoyed the rueda clip much more than this one, there was more real feeling to that one, more grounded. This, to me was a lot of shaky fast trembling footwork and too rigid (probably because of the speed). But then again, I personally believe that the cuban and colombian styles should be banned by law. And I didn't like the song either. Not my kind of thing. I need the groove man not just some dude on speed crack on cowbells.

    I hope to manage to get a clip of Angus dancing with his partener Caryl. The chemistry these two have when dancing blows everything else out of the water. It's like a whole room destroyer. Once you set your eyes on them you completely forget about anyone else.
  12. Big10

    Big10 Member

    :shock: Pure blasphemy! :mad: If I had known that you had no sense of taste, then I wouldn't have bothered conversing with you at all....:p

    Seriously, though, that raises another concept that had crossed my mind. I think that a certain aspect of recognizing sabor (not required but it helps) is having been exposed to the "culture" of a particular dance over a period of time, so that you understand the impact of certain moves and/or recognize when a person is adding something truly special to the dance. For example, someone may have learned some cool Guaguanco moves in a class, but if he/she tosses them in the middle of dancing to Salsa Romantica, then people versed in the "culture" will probably say that was definitely uncool. That might be an extreme example, but hopefully it gets across the point that certain stylings, movements, or steps can have a contextual/cultural meaning to them

    I've watched enough good Cuban and Colombian dancers to recognize that Yanek is doing some things that are extremely creative and/or require a certain personality to pull off -- it's not just about his speed and knowing a lot of moves. A person who doesn't like Cuban-style dancing enough to pay attention to it, or who thinks of that style as merely funky footwork and pretzel arms, would not recognize the subtleties and may have a different impression.
  13. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    am in complete agreement!
  14. englezul

    englezul New Member

    Yeah, I think it's true. Awareness is key to appreciation. Perhaps I haven't been exposed to what's truly authentic cuban dancing around here. Maybe if I go to Cuba and get mesmerized by some beautiful local salsera I'll find some new flavour to it. :)

    But until proven wrong, you guys should pray I don't become a politician. I'd just use a smart knat sentence that contains the words cuban, colombian, salsa, dangerous, security, terrorists, and homeland and have my way with the voters.
  15. englezul, your comment did not expose you as someone who is very knowledgeable about salsa, its history, culture etc....
    Anybody in any style can have sabor, no matter if that style is your personal preference or not.

    Yes, the song is very fast, agreed, however, as Big10 mentioned before, contrary to most dancers Yanek really masters the art of dancing and bringing out his sabor even at this speed. To a slower song he would even look better!

    Cuba, Puerto Rico and NY are "las cunas de la salsa" from where different styles have developed. Who are you to say that Cuban salsa should be banned? You might not have been exposed to good Cuban salsa/son dancing and don't seem to know what you are talking about. Maybe all you know is that congreso type salsa? Don't know, just speculating...

    Big10, very good point! Totally agree! Although, like you say, that is not essential to recognize sabor. I think it helps when you have emerged yourself into the specific cultures by traveling to salsa countries and having danced in those countries (especially Puerto Rico and Cuba). That gives you a great deal of cultural knowledge even without having read books or learned about the history of the dance/music etc.

    I did some research on Yanek (although I should get some work done here, hehe). Yes, he IS Cuban and he is the casino and rueda de casino champion, in and outside of Cuba. So if the Cubans themselves vote him the champion of their own dance, who are we (i.e. any of us here) to judge him on having sabor or not...
    For a short bio see (scroll down).
  16. yippee1999

    yippee1999 Member

    Yeah, I think sabor really is in the eye of the beholder. It's sort of like asking who has a cool style of dress, or who do you consider beautiful. You'll get a wide range of responses.

    I think alot of this disagreement seems to be generally delineated among three intersecting camps (the "trained" and the "untrained") ; latinos vs. a more mixed bag of people (who, if dancing salsa, are almost always "trained"); ON-1ers (which includes a high percentage of untrained latinos) vs. ON-2ers (almost always trained, and more racially mixed as a group). So it almost seems like a natural us vs. them thing. Some of the "trained" people may think of everybody else as not being technically good... of dancing like campesinos. And the untrained people often look down on the trained dancers, chuckling because they had to spend money and time to learn salsa, only to end up (in some of their minds) as dancing like robotic clones. I also don't think you need to understand a culture in order to have sabor. I think so long as you can FEEL the music, you have the potential for sabor. To me sabor crosses all types of music and dance.

    That said though, clearly there are lots of people who don't necessarily agree with the concensus of their particular camp, when it comes to the definition of sabor. I'm just making a general observation.

    For me, I consider women with sabor those who have a certain "casualness" about their dancing, while at the same time, who have great form and technique, and who dance with their own flair. I really love Samantha Erskine and Griselle Ponce:
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I like Samantha Erskine's style (in the second video) but not Griselle's. Looks like smooth & understated ethnic salsa styling, completely integrated into her dancing so that it's just casual & intuitive.

    I agree... the perception of sabor is entirely subjective & based on certain aesthetic and cultural preferences.
  18. englezul

    englezul New Member

    It doesn't have to. Yours doesn't expose you as one either. Besides I'd love to hear how you make the link between personal preference and artistic inclination to knowledge (or lack thereof) of salsa, it's history, culture, etc...

    We aknowledged so far that sabor for someone who's watching is not the same with sabor for the person being watched. And the two can coexist, or be independent of eachother depending on the eye of the beholder.

    Perhaps. But another thing to keep in mind is that to me he doesn't look good. He lacks THE GROOVE.

    I really love this one :). If I had the power to do everything I wanted in life, and change everything to fit my liking/vision/etc I would do it in a second. No excuses. Life's not fair. Get over it.

    To answer to your second implied question, I have never been to Cuba no. So who knows, maybe there is something spectacular there to change my mind. That's what I kind of alluded to when I made that tongue in cheek comment about the cuban girl hinting that chances are if I will ever come to like the cuban style dancing it will be because of some other experience that is not related to the type of dancing in itself (kind of how some people fall in love with the latin culture and then start loving cuban salsa more than the other styles to the point where it's the most authentic not because it's has superior qualities or that it's visually more appealing, but because they are already in love with the culture so they give it meaning themselves).

    Because I clearly do not like the way it looks. Chances that I'm missing something are dim. I have spent houndreds of hours watching videos got from all sharing networks, dc++ hubs, all major websites out there. That was a lot of content. When I actually started dancing, I was exposed to cuban salsa first, and didn't know anything about the other styles. I had cuban instructional dvds taught by so called "cuban champions" (i didn't actually verify who these guys really were) taught in spanish, i've seen a lot of stuff and i've listened to alot of stuff, so my opinion is not based on some odd couple around here who's dancing cuban or colombian. Besides, cuban coca-cola just sucks!!! :D

    Develop some critical thinking. If you have your own reasons to think this guy is god's gift on earth, please do so, that's awesome.

    But an argument like "the cubans themselves" opposed to "who are we". I strongly believe that I have on average at least as much artistic inclination and musical understanding as any cuban or latin born person. Please don't be another one of those people who buy into the idea that being born latin gives you a license to establish what salsa is and what is not, who is a real dancer and who is not, who has sabor and who has not. Besides, perhaps you would find interesting the history of modern salsa say starting the 50s till now with regards to who had impact on the salsa music as we enjoy it today.
  19. baile

    baile New Member

    Con sabor, sin sabor - whichever, Yanek is HOT and no matter how good a trained ballroom dancer's technical skills are, never have I looked at him and thought, "wow, look at his amazing technical skills, he's hot!"
  20. baile

    baile New Member

    Yes, Stacey is pretty awe inspiring, but I must comment on Lucia. She dances a pretty good cha cha in this video, so this led me to watch some of her other videos. Here's an example of someone being hot w/out (I don't think any guy would deny her hot rating, right?) the sabor. Her brand of gratuitous arm flailing is precisely what turns me off about trained ballroom (and, yes, mostly non-Latino) dancers. Please, much of salsa may have had its roots in the sterile ballroom environment, but salsa is about Latino life/love/loss/food/lust, passion! Enough with the theatrics, start dancing to the damn music already!

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