Salsa > Hip Motion : Salsa vs Latin Rhumba

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by rickyT, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. jhb

    jhb New Member

    Well, I've watched people who are very good at ballroom rumba dance it, and while I wouldn't want to suggest that it is unmusical, or unemotional, but it is certainly very different than its street relatives. I would even go so far as think "they got this from the son?" when I see ballroom dancers do their rumba. Again see the analogy to walking. Just because the base mechanism is the same doesn't mean they are totally similar movements. It may well be fairly easy to go from one to the other if you are good, but the differences are there, and they are obvious. All you have to do is look!
  2. tacad

    tacad New Member

    Ahh. This makes sense. At least I can understand it. :wink:
  3. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    I've seen a lot of discussions comparing one dance style (or form) with (or against) another. Inevitably it starts when someone will debate the the merits or demerits of the other form and vice versa. And sometimes it gets contentious, but mostly it is educational.

    My experience has been that these discussions constantly miss a crucial point. CONTEXT. One has to evaluate a style based on the greater context of its purpose. Now technically speaking, IMO:

    -- You don't need weight change/shift to have hip movement. Proof? Stand on one leg and raise your hip or move it forward. Hip movement is accomplished by flexing the appropriate muscles of the pelvic cavity and thighs.

    --Weight change is simply shifting the support of the trunk of the body (either from from one leg to another, or from the inside edge of the foot to the outside). It is used to HELP accentuate and assist hip motion. It can also help the overall look (the context) of the style whether you are moving with a bent leg, straight leg, or split leg. It simply depends on the choices in style and movement of the dancer.

    -- If you are going to compare Salsa and Rumba hip motions, you have to acknowledge the differences as much as the similarities.

    • A race horse, a show horse, and a farm horse will all move differently at one level and similarly in another.
      A race horse moves for speed--and will have pronounced galloping skills.
      A show horse moves for precision--and will have pronounced cantering skills.
      And a farm horse--simply doesn't care. It will do what it needs to do to pull the hoe.
      But the root of their movement will be the same--because they are all horses.
    By the same token, an International Style Rumba Competitor will have moves that will be different from a Social Rumba dancer, which would be different to a street Salsero. (No aspersions on any of the styles intended).

    But you know what? The muscles that will produce the movements will be the same--or at the very least very similar. It is in the context, or the purpose in which the style serves--and to that end, what decorations and other stylistic considerations (such as straight vs bent knee and split weight vs distributed) that would make the difference. The competitor moves for accuracy and performance. Thus the presentation of the movement will considerably be more stylized than a social or street dancer's.

    Compare a red rose with a yellow one--and consider their differences. But in the end, don't forget to appreciate how fragrant both are.

  4. HF

    HF New Member

    ... so if ballroom does not look similar to good salsa than it's bad ballroom - is it that what you are saying ...?

    *Hide behind a table-leg*
    sorry, was not able to resist ...
  5. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Nice analogy.

    Well said! Why can't I be that articulate . . . :?

    Oh, and HF:
    (and also a slightly belated welcome to DF :))
  6. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Thank you delamusica :) so far, DF has been really educational for me.

  7. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    That was actually directed at HF - but same to you, since you mention it. :)
  8. HF

    HF New Member

    Thank you very much, delamusica and everybody else!
  9. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    :oops: :oops: :oops:

    note to self. Don't post in DF when sleep-deprived. Not anymore anyway :) :) :)

    Thanks dm

  10. tacad

    tacad New Member

    I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the IRU (Insomniacs Are Us) is available for just such occasions. :D
  11. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    :D :D :D

    Thanks tacad. I always thought that *sleep* is overrated. :)

  12. dancepgh

    dancepgh New Member

    Cuban Hip Motion

    Hi! I'm a Latin dance instructor and a professional competitor. Where I come from....we call it Cuban Hip Motion and it is indeed the same action for Rumba, Cha Cha, Salsa and Mambo. The speed with which one dances can easily affect the look, feel and actual execution of the movement but it should be the same in an ideal situation. Do not confuse with Samba - which has a totally different hip action.
  13. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Re: Cuban Hip Motion

    So is the salsa hip motion based on the figure eight as well? In what way is it the same as Rumba motion?
    Oh, and welcome to DF (already said that in another thread :p )

    Twilight Elena
  14. Medira

    Medira New Member

    Re: Hip Motion: Salsa vs Latin

    I'm slowly working my way through this topic, so I may come up with more questions to ask, but for now I'll start with this...

    Now, I can do this. I've done it for a couple of years during training for polynesian dance. My trouble comes along when I have to try and incorporate the steps of the dance in with the hip action. It feels awkward, and I have no doubt that the awkwardness shows, especially when I'm really focusing on it.

    Any suggestions for making the transition between hip action when your feet are stationary and hip action while the feet are performing the proper steps?
  15. Medira

    Medira New Member

    Okay, one more question....

    Back in the earlier pages of the thread (page 2? 3?) there was mention of being able to successfully complete hip action while seated in a chair. Could somebody elaborate on this? Are you talking a stationary chair or a swivel chair? Is the motion coming strictly from your abs and obliques only?

    *very curious*
  16. dTas

    dTas New Member

    this is cool... i just went back and re-read this entire thread. i totally forgot that i had written stuff in this thread already. it was like reading someone elses posts (except for the fact that i totally agreed with what i said... WHOA!)

    regardless of what ever kind of motion you have in your dancing... what it really boils down to is can you dance it; and not far behind is, does it look "good".

    can you dance it is a personal measure. what you're comfortable with, what you're able to learn, and what you're able to use.

    does it look "good" is subjective. what might look good in one arena might look terrible in another. its all in the eye of the audience.

    for me i like cuban action that rotates around the center of the body. regardless of the speed of the music i like the action to have a visible center and strength. i'm not saying that any particular genre of dance has this. i've seen social latin dancers (salsa, for lack of better description) with good hip action as well as bad... and i've also seen professional latin dancers (balloom) with good and bad hip action. but again... its in my minds eye that i've rating these people.
  17. dTas

    dTas New Member


    about hip action excercies...

    keeping in mind my previous post. i like latin action that is central around the body so here are some exercises that i use to help promote this action.

    1) "twists": stand with your heels together and toes facing out (about 90 degrees). raise your hands/elbows so they're above your waist (to engage the back muscles). now... trist your hips back and forth holding your hips in the twisted position for a second then switch to the other side. try not to bend your knees but allow them to flex if necessary.

    the trick here is to rotate your hips around your spine. right hip goes forward she same amount as left hip goes back and visa versa. its very easy to "settle" your hips back behind your spine allowing your lower back to "curve". (aka... do not stick your tail out behind you and wag)

    2) "toe raises": this is done in a lot of different forms of dancing. stand with heels together, toes apart (about 90 degrees). hands/elbows raises abover the hip level. now... raise up on your toes as high as you can BUT DO NOT SEPARATE YOUR ANKLES! control your motion up and down, do not "thump" down or allow your weight to roll back onto your heels.

    this is great for balance. also be sure to engage the abs and butt! it also teachs you about forward poise and conditions the inside edge of foot.

    3) "shifts": same as "toe raises" but with your feet apart (either side/side or forward/back). raise up on toes (try to use same part of foot as "toe raises") and lower one foot to shift weight. then raise up on both toes and lower the other. shift your weight back and forth, forward and back.

    again great for balance and control. builds ankle strength. don't forget to raise your hands/elbows above waist level.

    these are just a few basic exercises that i use to develop the muscles that i think are important to "latin dancing".
  18. Medira

    Medira New Member

    Thanks for the exercise suggestions, dTas! :) Those are actually very similar to exercises I did during my ballet training and still do now. I find that the difficulty I'm having comes in keeping a smooth hip rotation when I incorporate the steps: mostly for mambo, cha cha and salsa. Rumba actually "clicked" so to speak, last week and has been progressing more smoothly now. I can do a nice, smooth, figure eight rotation, keeping myself centered (anything else just feels odd) as long as my feet stay where they are. As soon as I begin a basic step, a break or a turn, it starts to feel awkward and forced. I don't want to force my hips to move, I want them to move smoothly and comfortably.
  19. dTas

    dTas New Member

    here's another exercise...

    "swivels": step forward onto a foot. now pull the other foot closed while turning the foot you just steped on 90 degrees (on the ball of the foot). stop and hold in 3rd postion still standing on the first foot (now turned 90 degrees).

    then (after all momentum is gone) point the free closing foot in front of you (with no weight) only after pointing that foot do you shift weight through the toes like in the previous excersise; "shifts". repeat with next foot.

    the sequence should go: point, shift, rotate. point, shift, rotate. when you turn the supporting foot 90 degrees be sure to concentrate on rotating the hips as much as possible and ending in 3rd position ("T") with the free foot infront of the supporting foot.

    this helps teach the hips about rotation and using power of the hip to move the body. try doing it to a rumba counting 1 - point, 2 - shift, 3/4 rotate and hold.

    i belive that when the body develops a muscle group that it will favor using that muscle group over other muscles so... if you develop the proper "latin" muscles through isolated exercises then the body will begin to use that action naturally to dance.
  20. Medira

    Medira New Member

    Beautiful. I'll start working on it tonight. :D


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