Salsa > Difference in types of salsa?

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

  1. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Firstly, I dont dis-agree with your "rhythm " concept, but, if you really believe that, this is whats needed first( necessary ) for someone to follow, then maybe it highlites your lack of knowledge in partnership dancing ?.

    The whole premise of that, is based upon, initially , the " Hold, Frame and Poise " .
    Even if one has the most talented students ( and Ive had plenty of those recently ) they STILL need to develop those characteristics first, whether it be Salsa, Ballroom ,or any other partnership style, from the very beginning .

    Simplicity is a good thing , IF one has the correct tools to develop students.

    Ive lost count ,of how many " advanced ?" students Ive taught in the past 2yrs for e.g. whose foundational work was sadly lacking. So.... all the " rhythm " teaching in the world, would never have corrected those underlying problems.

    The whole concept of dancing "musically " is a very personal journey.How we all listen to any given song, it may have different "messages " for each of us, as it usually does. One cannot pigeon hole rhymical concepts to fit all .

    Theres always much talk about Tumbao, Bass, Conga and Timbales, and how dancers should adapt. . The problem is, that this a very complex musical system, and the average dancer ( and they by far, are in the majority ),will NEVER come to understand their applications.Thats not to say we should not teach them, but, as in dance ,"timing " is paramount .

    So in principle, I dont dis-agree with your initial rhythm concept, but ,I believe it needs to be used in concert, with the foundational aspects ,from the git-go ,not as a forethought .

    This is a separate issue.. The majority of " teachers ?" in salsa, have little or no professional training, and as far as musicians go, they are not trained dancers, so they will have a different "take ," on musical application to dance.This is a large part, of WHY you did not get satisfactory responses to your question.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  2. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Aloha pua, Imagine my surprise to find you on the salsa page (thought, on second thought, I don't know why). International BR Tango is danced in 2s; American and AT (Argentine) are danced in 1s and 3s. I can exlpain the music to you when you PM me about the other thing, or e could rehash it on the AT forum. A hui hou. :)
    Stephanie Bolton likes this.
  3. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I understand where TT is coming from, but I do agree that belly dancers in my past have been able to adapt to Salsa quite well. I have even sent some of my Latin students to BD classes.
    Stephanie Bolton likes this.
  4. Stephanie Bolton

    Stephanie Bolton New Member

  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Cross training maybe a useful tool ,for those rhythmically challenged, as has been discussed on Salsa Forums quite recently.
    Its the choices which are often suggested, like WCS for e.g.that are debated.
    Like I said, Im not against people who try other genres for those purposes, but ,I prefer to develop my own students with their dance problems .

    The main problem with other genres music is primarily this: Latin rhythms are unique, and dont really educate the musical genre within the latin genres , that are played at Socials, etc.
    A good e.g are the songs with Cumbia passages that ,the majority of dancers do NOT acknowledge during their dance. same is true for Son .

    The instruments employed in Salsa, Son, Charangas etc, vary. And, the Montunos are usually very confusing to most students ( even teachers, and some musicians ! ) . Theres currently a discussion, again on SF, about the subtle differences between Montunos,Boogaloos and Cha chas. and in some cases, this is with Musicians !!.

    Sleeve notes on some CDs are also misleading, so in some cases ,they do not even prescribe the correct musical format.

    Being also a DJ, I spend hours every week ,categorising music for use in my gigs and teaching .

    So, point is, cross training is only good upto a certain point, and as I stated, I prefer to use my own methods of developing musical knowledge as is warranted, to each individual student ,and thru my class work.
    I should add.. the vast majority of students, dont really care for in-depth teaching ( sadly ). Its the day of instant dance !
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Forgot to add this.. The most common suggestions on SF, for those musically challenged as applied to dance, is to take lessons, in Rumba and Guaguanco .
    Stephanie Bolton likes this.
  7. Stephanie Bolton

    Stephanie Bolton New Member

    You sound like a thorough and fantastic teacher!
    I love to talk with someone who can "geek" out on dance & music as much as I do ;-)
    I'd love to learn more about Latin music ...some of my South American friends are turning me one to the nuances that set apart styles but sometimes our language barriers keep it from becoming an in-depth conversation.

    I agree that sometimes the desire to know is missing from a student's motivation- many people are just trying to find an outlet to meet people & socialize, they get overwhelmed by the details, so some teachers begin to omit the "boring" elements in fear of losing their attention.

    All components of a given dance are all present in the one discipline if people can commit enough interest & enthusiasm to discover for it.
    It is nice when you are able to find a class where the interest & commitment level of the students is at the same level… in Hawaii, it seems like often there is always a vast mixture of interest levels and motivations that the teacher has to simultaneously accommodate… I suppose privates are the better solution (rather than group classes) for someone who sincerely wants to learn to be their best.
  8. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Yes, TT is a wealth of knowledge. And, right you are again re the privates.
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I lived and worked in Hawaii ( Arthur Murray studio in LA) back in the very late 50s, but only for a very short time .

    Went there twice with the studio ( student / teacher trips ) and then , decided to give it a try living there , Again, working for A.M .with my ex.

    There is a well known English Ballroom dance coach who lives there,has for many years, from the UK. His sister is married to a VERY well known older prof.

    And the world gets smaller..
  10. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    This goes back to the concept of "feeling". Certain timbres (instruments) compel certain parts of the body to move. The clave is a short, high pitched instrument that compels the upper body to move. This is why you should not step to the clave. The congo compels the mid section of the body to move (and also the upper portion, like the shoulders, depending on the pitch.) The bass the lower portion, the legs and butt, but it doesn't necessarily means stepping/stomping. These are just suggestions. Interpretation can be much freer than I've indicated but the key is always to listen and let the body be moved by the music. But how many teachers teach students to listen to the music?

    The "slot" in US salsa is arbitrary and has no basis in the music. The music doesn't allow for back-forth, cross-body leading (which takes up a lot of floor space), but it does allow for a lot of turning and rotations, especially when the lyrics contain long, sustained tones. The problem here is that it's difficult to rectify the "slot" and feeling the music. Most people will do what they've been taught so here again the student dancer is facing contradicting information - one from the ears and the other from the teacher. And since most people want to get it right, they end up following the instructions and thus get it wrong, but don't realize it due to trusting that the teacher is always right. (How trustworthy is someone who's 'overnight-I'm-a-teacher' after they've been taking lessons for a few weeks and thought "it's so easy I can teach and make a few bucks"?)

    This inability to hear is mostly due to the lack of exposure to the music. People who grow up in cultures where salsa is played (e.g. Cuba) hear the music, feel it, and move to it very differently than almost any kind of instructor in the States and abroad. This is the reason why Cubans complain that US dancers don't feel the music. (And due to our collective ignorance, think they are the ones who are wrong or "arrogant" when it is actually they who is speaking the truth.) By comparison, this is the reason why older Argentinians make the same complain about tango dancers today of not feeling the music.
  11. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I have to disagree with almost all of this. Sorry.
  12. vit

    vit Active Member

    I actually agree with some parts of above post:

    - it's correct that slot has no basis in the music. There are various theories about origins of the slot - for instance, one is due to the restricted space when people danced swing on military ships during WW2, other one is for dancers to remain in focus when filming and there are probably others
    - it's correct that students mostly trust their dance teachers, which are not always right. Bad dance teachers outnumber good dance teachers several times
    - in salsa, we don't actually step to claves, which would mean doing 5 steps during 8 beats (ok, sometimes, in some short sections of some songs, when claves and clapping is the only sound or almost, I sometimes make a few solo steps exactly on clave beats, but it's an exception). However, we don't move our upper body to claves that way either
    - it's true that some cultures are more exposed to the music and rhythm than other cultures and that they feel the music differently (and probably better) and that they move to that music differently
  13. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I wont dis-agree with the fact that, most teachers (?) do not spend enough time, if any, on the musical aspect of dance.

    However, "feeling ", is ephemeral in dance, as music is constantly changing during many songs ( Im not speaking about salsa Monga).

    And if you lnow how to reach "feeling " I would be interested to hear, having taught for more yrs than you need to know, at all levels , in several genres.

    Teaching musical interpretation is NOT teaching "feeling ", that is purely and simply, "application" .

    Music, in general affects us all, differently , and the argument, which has been discussed on Salsa Forums, ad infinitum, about how latinos and non latinos dance and listen ,has no bearing on the fact that ANYONE no matter race or origin, is capable of emulation.

    Its the old argument that, latin dancers know more then anyone else. Couldnt be farther from the truth.

    As to Clave, whether you want to believe it or not, IF one is breaking on 2, then you are dancing "on" clave .

    And, those who are musically aware, then they will know where the clave changes ,in some songs, and dance accordingly ( And, most latinos I have known over the years, dont have a clue !! nor do they care) .

    Using Tumbao, Piano etc, to identify where we apply our weight changes,and styling, is important , but only for those who WANT to be above the regular type dancers, who dominate the dance scene. The majority really dont care ( sad, but true ).

    Teaching, is not all about getting perfection with the average student, its always about getting them out onto the dance floor and having a good time.

    Yes, I do spoon feed solid foundation material, but, unless they have a need for a deeper understanding, then its all about enjoying the music ( and I introduce ALL styles, to my beginners , including Son) .

    The genre , in general , has been developed far beyond what the original concept of "dance " was, and this has come primarily thru NON latinos, in many different countries.

    Its a form of arogance to imply that ,only "they " know what is good, bad, right or wrong .
    There is not a dance "form " today, that has not been given some modicum of improvement, by someone who is/was not a native of the dances antecedent.

    There is, I would admit a caveat to that statement.. which is.

    The injection of "style " can, and has, in some cases, drifted too far from the original concept, and though carrying the same name, it has morphed into a hybrid.. " evolution ?" .

    I would really like you to take your posit to Salsa Forums, and see the responses you receive from the many musicians ( latin ), teachers and dancers, that permeate that forum.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
    Imbrace and vit like this.
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The "slot " is a derivative of WCS, bred in Long Beach , at a well known ballroom .
  15. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    That actually might be an interesting question. I´ve still got no evidence yet, but I fear the slot in salsa (mambo) is an independent development, may be as a result of the ongoing show and stage-orientation.
  16. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Well I have plenty. I actually worked with the people ( in LA ) who were around, and who participated, when all the B/room stuff ,started to get into the Latin indigenous genres, when Mambo was 1st introduced in the 40s.

    And... The " side pass " is a typical variation, that is identical in WCS , which exemplifies the slot style.

    Mambo has more influx of american style dances, than there are Cuban, so at best, it ( mambo ) is somewhat of a hybrid .

    There are really only 2 indigenous dances, still being pretty much the same as the originals, in the partnership styles. Danzon and Son, and even they have been " tainted " .
    opendoor likes this.
  17. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    ... but mambo was developed in NY, was it?
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Actually, Cuba.. From all accounts, there were many tourists travelling to Cuba in the 30s , 40s and 50s, and one can be fairly sure that , music and some semblance of the dance ,was picked up and embellished. NY frequently gets all the credit, but that was initially primarily due to the musicians and barrios.

    I worked one time, with a national dance director ,who had visited Cuba in the very late 30s and 40s , Bebe Black ( she lived and worked in Miami ). Her speciality was latin .I remember her "take " was very different from the usual type stuff I had been exposed to.Wish I had asked her more questions !!.

    The west coast had more than its fair share of the name bands of the day, playing at the very high profile club on the "strip ", the " Crescendo " . I actually saw Machito there .And Rene Touzet , which supports the fact that Mambo was alive and well on that coast.

    There are vinyls that are still around from the 30s ( Cachao for one e.g ).,that were recorded in the genre, so we know the music was there, and most certainly bought by americans,among others, so, it seems highly improbable that it was not until 1950 when it was " discovered " ....popularised?, definitely.

    As is normal with any genre, difficult to pinpoint exactly, where and when it was 1st introduced to the States, but I feel sure it was being danced in Cuba much before its arrival, states-side, but not in the form we dance today !
  19. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Why do you disagree with all of it?

    Any response to the clave should be subtle because it's pitch is so high. It doesn't compel the body to move very overtly.
    However, if you play clave alone, doesn't it resemble flamenco, not necessarily in character but in freedom? Because the clave timbre implies more than just the 3-2 rhythm. It's high pitch is free because of the absent bass timbres. Thus, the mid to lower portion is given freedom to express.
  20. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Feeling comes from understanding what the music is about. As a musician (not just an instrumentalist) music is a language (not in and of itself, an art). It's almost the same as the words I'm writing. The purpose is not correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation of the sentences, but on the meaning of the ideas the words convey. In contrast, for example, my favorite written language is Persian. I cannot read Persian but think it looks beautiful on the page. But just because I find it beautiful doesn't mean I understand any of it. My preference for it is purely aesthetic. The same applies to most non-musicians who like the way the music sounds but has no understanding of the meaning behind the notes. It just sounds nice to them. Thus, it will be difficult for them to feel what they don't understand. Like reading a Rumi poem in Persian, the meaning is entirely lost. But at least the words look pretty.

    My understanding of the clave, either forward or backward, applies to the two halves of the measure. Some music is On 1, others On 2. So I fail to understand what you mean that stepping/breaking On 2 means dancing on clave. Can you clarify?

    What weight changes? It's my firm belief that there is no need for any dancer to step On1 or On2. It's not in the music. To my knowledge, the stepping On1 or On2 started from get-rich-quick dance instructors to provide quick and easy instruction. It's not necessary for either dancer to step exactly the same way even when doing those fancy turn patterns that cost $15/lesson to learn.

    I have a feeling I'd simply get flamed out of that forum. I've only made a couple of posts and it was to correct some misunderstandings about tango. To which I was flamed. :rofl:

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