Salsa > Difference in types of salsa?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by ronalds, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    I didn't offer a method of instruction but provided suggestions. If it's a club lesson, then I don't have any suggestions. There's only so much that can be taught in 30-45 minutes where the ultimate goal is having students being able to fake it on the dance floor as soon as possible, knowing from experience that most of them will never come back. If it's a dance course, then music should be emphasized and students should be taught how to hear major elements and how to respond to them. However, there are many people who take dance classes to exercise. If so, then focusing on music may cause them not to come back since they didn't sign up or a music class.

    But, those thousands of people... only a small minority of them are still dancing. The attrition rate of dance students is very high probably because their reasons to dance weren't about dancing. They were there to exercise, socialize, and/or to find a boyfriend/girlfriend. And most of them never went to a club.

    I should mention that I stopped dancing salsa, at least in clubs, because I was disgusted by what I saw. No one was connected to the music. The music could have been turned off and someone could have been shouting out numbers instead. When I danced, most of my partners became bewildered when I started dancing and stopped doing the "basic step." But the ones who seemed to enjoy this were beginners because they didn't know enough about "on 1" to know that it was wrong, so to speak. And they actively reciprocated my movements and steps and seemed to be more connected to the music, even if it was new to them. In so many ways, I preferred dancing with beginners because they didn't know enough to be imprisoned by that mindset.

    This is exactly my definition. However, there are the "advanced" dancers who are so locked into that mindset that they can't break free from it and only prefer to dance with those who can lead them into the perfect triple spin with the exact same prep sequences. They seem to be performing and not dancing. Would you consider these people "advanced"?
  2. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    I would call this "dance vocabulary." Salsa dance vocabulary is rarely taught, either because the teachers don't know it or know it won't sell compared to fancy spin/turn patterns. Choreography is a sequence of steps that are preplanned while vocabulary are the movements that are inspired by the music. Choreography like this one sells:

    I'm not convinced that this is true because even babies enjoy being rocked to the beat and rhythms of music.
    Rock them the same way without music and it can scare them or bewilder them. But turn on the music and rock them and they are smiling. And toddlers, without instruction, are dancing while holding each other's hands. Why is it that the best social dancers on the dance floor are children? It can't just be due to their cuteness. And why can't I dance to American club music? Most probably because I don't listen to it but do listen to a lot of Afro-Cuban music and know how to reflect this genre of music.
  3. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Will agree again. but, that ,should not imply that ,"it " should NOT be taught by those who know better . You will get no argumant from me ( and many others ) about the spin, ,spin, brigade !.

    Vocabulary is how the world communicates, and a common language in dance would be desirable, language to mean, verbal as well as physical, and visual.

    And by the way, Ive been teaching Vocabulary in dance, long before you inherited the earth, and Ive NEVER had a problem teaching/selling my my students .

    On the contrary, if spoon fed in regular doses, it only serves to enhance ones understanding, of the task at hand. Knowledge is power......
  4. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca Member

    Why on earth would you want to lead a beginner into long turn patterns and double or even triple spins? Some of the best salsa dancers in the world don't lead triple spins - even when dancing with advanced followers.
  5. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    That is styling, not structured style - there is a difference.

    Those are definitely distinct styles, independent of the music being played.
  6. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    These aren't "steps", they are indications of timing...

    That's like saying all you need to communicate is grunt and think about what you want to express...that basic rules of grammar are unnecessary. This may hold true in freestyle solo dancing, but for partner dancing you need some kind of common framework to relax and enjoy the "conversation".
    Don Silver and SDsalsaguy like this.
  7. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Style, or form, is NEVER INDEPENDENT of the music in a social dance. Try dancing the waltz to salsa. Waltz + salsa music = really out-of-place people. In modern dance, this can be true.

    The common ground between both partners is the music, not body movement. Body movements can be reciprocated but these movements alone are not what makes it a social dance. This reciprocation is natural to most people.
  8. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Come on, stay on topic here...we're talking different styles of salsa.

    But since you've already gone can certainly be done most pleasurably. I've mixed up all different styles (ballroom, Latin, hustle, WCS) with eclectic music choices. Maybe salsa and waltz aren't as far apart as you are assuming..."1-2-3, 5-6-7". Could work, and there are some very romantic salsas that could suit the spirit of waltz. There are different ways of approaching the dance.

    Still, to continue the language analogy, which works pretty seamlessly have to be sufficiently speaking each other's language at least to enable a connection, and hopefully more than that, to actually enjoy the conversation. And you don't even need the music for that.

    Without that common language (call it style or physical queues for types of body movement) you can have a good old time but it's bound to be disjointed, disorganized, and probly not a little frustrating for at least one of the parties, if they are trying to create a harmonious experience with their partner.
    tangotime likes this.
  9. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    Waltz and Salsa are very different because of the underlying rhythmic foundation, and I agree crossing them up creates something that doesn't work. Doing salsa to a waltz makes little sense.

    Many salsa songs could just as easily be danced on multiple timings, or some dancers may choose no timing, but then they limit the partners who would understand what they are doing.

    A shared timing (on1, on2 or other) simply provides a communication starting point, but within that timing, the partners have a huge set of options for expression.

    Choosing one is like choosing a common language for this message board. If I go in and out of French, Spanish and/or Japanese, it makes it tougher for others to understand UNLESS they are also well versed in all the selected languages. Picking one doesn't limit what I can say or how I express myself, it simply provides the framework for the communications.
    BTW - Music has a large set of written and unwritten rules. While in theory a musician can do anything they wish, if they play notes which don't fit the current underlying chord structure, or they play out of tune, it is immediately obvious something is wrong, even to non-musicians. Similar with the rhythmic options. If the drummer plays a waltz feel and the bass player or piano are playing a groove in 4, that will clash too.

    They can do it in theory, but it makes no sense in practice.

    Music has a structure and so does most social dancing.

    Dance is no different.

    Huge sets of music actually fit multiple styles of dancing. R&B could be Chicago Stepping line dance or a WCS and both would be fine. The music doesn't dictate which style, but some styles work better.
  10. manteca

    manteca Member

    Dance styles and forms change all the time >>> even when the music is exactly the same. Lookup any dance, the way it was danced 20 years ago (Salsa, WCS, Latin Ballroom, AT), and the style/form will have changed compared to how it's danced today. Same music, different style/form. Every generation seems to change the style and form of their dances to suit their era and culture.
    tangotime likes this.
  11. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    This is where I have strong disagreements with the apparent consensus: salsa is not a strict dance like the standardized moves in BR. The layers of the music allow for a larger degree of freedom.

    This is criticism of dance instruction because if the dancers really listened, they'd know what needs to be expressed. But salsa is often taught as a strict partner dance. And dancers become very narrow minded, thinking that they must dance with a partner, or there must be different types of salsa because there are different names. The differences are with the styles of music which results in different movements to best express that music.
  12. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    This is because the music evolved and the ones who danced to the previous music continued to use the same vocabulary for the new music. However, over time, they learned the new vocabulary necessary to better express the new music. The dance style didn't change, the music did.
  13. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Im sure no one disagrees with that..

    I do believe that, posters are trying to convey, that a common language (particularly for the beginner ) is paramount for pragmatic reasons .

    Many advanced dancers, do deviate from the norm, musically speaking, and of course, there are those that never change.. but.. this approach for the new beginner, would cause much confusion.

    Most teachers who have invested time and effort into a deeper understanding of the concepts, in all likely hood, do point out, that given time,will educate their newbies, into the possibilities for a much less restricted format. BUT foundation ,in ALL dance , is paramount to success ,down the dance road .
    And, if you had spent any time as a teacher, you would quickly find out that, the attrition rate for beginners is extremely high, and subsequently never increase their basic knowledge, its not the most important factor in their learning process ( and may be a problem ,created by their "teacher " ) .
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Haven´t really got in what all disagreemts lie :cool:
  15. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    It's a cultural problem in the US where anyone who wants to dance thinks they have to take classes. They don't understand that the kind of dance they want to do is deeply rooted in music so they should listen and comprehend that music first. Music and movement are inseparable in social dances, yet it's taught as footwork, reinforcing their flawed belief system. This is why some people continue to take classes that aren't good for them thinking that more classes will somehow make them better.

    I wrote earlier the same thing, that very few of those who started out are still dancing. But those that do take these classes then take that minute knowledge and teach it to others thus becoming a "teacher." That's how the "basic step" took over the world, because it's so simply most people can pick it up in a few minutes. But that's not the basis of salsa, nor are the fancy turn patterns. But these "teachers" are banking. They know that what gets the most students to come back are the fancy spinning and patterns.

    If these teachers are aware of it, then they know it's ignorance that keeps them coming back.
  16. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I taught ALL over the US for over 40 yrs.. So Im well aware of the inherent " teaching " problems ,with the overnite" Im a teacher" syndrome ( its universal ).

    Most of what you say has truth.. but.. classes exist ,because they are more than just a learning exercise. Classes have cultural value , a place to " meet and greet ".Plus, one cannot get the technical knowledge, that ANY dancer in ANY genre needs, to help them develop a more clear and concise understanding,on lead and follow, for just one e.g.

    And... Do you really believe that ,with NO experience, one is able to walk into any salsa venue, and just commence to dance ??.. now, if you want to bop around the floor solo, have at it, but partnership is the order of the day .

    As to music.. I dont disagree that , most "teachers ?" , have a very shallow understanding of the many layers that exist in the genre . Ive railed against this for eons, but it invariably falls on deaf ears.

    On sites like this, you are, by and large, preaching to the choir, and you really should take your posits, to Salsa Forums . You may find the responses more than enlightening !
  17. justforkix

    justforkix New Member

    I think there are lots of salsa dance styles like
    Linear Style,
    L.A. Style,
    New York / Mambo Style,
    Miami Style
  18. Stephanie Bolton

    Stephanie Bolton New Member

    Just a thought - but something that may be helpful to teachers who have students who have trouble with musicality: I have found that when I have taken my students (I teach bellydance- so they don't know salsa) to salsa clubs, men LOVE to dance with bellydancers… we train to dance on the rhythm, so even if we don't know the "steps" or have any clue what is the music we are dancing on (Cumbia, bachata, etc.), we seek out the rhythm and move with that percussion (as many people do instinctually, yes, but we do this with the intention) and since these women have often learned no steps, they HAVE to follow, they have no choice …but for men or women who have trouble hearing the rhythm: you could suggest they try a bellydance class, the teacher will isolate the rhythms (most bellydance instructors have tabla solo music for training purposes) and they may gain a better understanding of what their feet are looking for in the music… If the feet can find that "auto-pilot" mode by syncing with the rhythm… the arms and body are free to catch and respond to the embellishments and melody of the music with ease. This basic understanding of making a body/music connection is made very clear in Oriental style & there is no partner interaction to distract from learning it…. and this style is all about being the visual contingent of the music, interpreting the music so that it looks as though your body is the source of the sounds the audience is hearing. I also feel that because the vast variety of Middle Eastern & African rhythms are so very diverse, it sort of makes Latin club rhythms a piece of cake because they are mostly 4/4, 2/4. I have seen lots of my students now get really into partner dancing (as I have) and the ballroom/tango teachers are always very impressed with how quickly they are able to learn. Cross training is always very helpful to any physical practice, but I really wish more American men could consider being open to trying Oriental Dance because, from my observations, they seem to struggle the most with hearing & isolating the rhythms in music.
    Imbrace likes this.
  19. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Stephanie, welcome to DF. And I like your method. That´s the way it should be, it´s not only a thought.
  20. Stephanie Bolton

    Stephanie Bolton New Member

    At first when I would ask tango dancers "Can you say the rhythm to me? What is the rhythm of tango?" they would be very confused… and it was strange to me that I couldn't speak it, since I could identify a tango song when I heard it- it is clear if a song is or is not a tango but I couldn't put my finger on what "IT" was very amazing tango dancer even told me that "Tango is music with an accordion in it." …I was thinking, "that can't possibly be the defining of a tango." A ballroom teacher told me "T-A-ng-O" and this works for many tangos, but I could tell it was not any sort of rule as the music does not follow it… a documentary I watched had a tango musician say "What is tango?…" I was on the edge of my seat thinking "Yes? YES?" and he says "Tango is an enigma." Oh brother!!! Not even the tango musician knows what it is he is doing- perfect! grrr more recently a woman told me it is "ONE -2- ONE -2-" at full time but that timing is at the whim of the lead… I have never experienced so many skillful dancers though, who were unable of explaining what they are dancing on. I think, in part, it may be because there appears so much focus on the connection (between partners) in classes (or rather the few I have taken) and not much discussion about the music. Although I did hear a lovely lecture putting the music in terms of Kiki & Bouba that was very helpful, but even this disregarded the "rule" that would define what is or is not a tango, because all music could be described in terms of Kiki & Bouba.

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