Salsa > Hitting Breaks

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by rails, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. tj

    tj New Member

    Hey, welcome to DF!

    I think most breaks ( at least in songs that I can think of) usually are on the 1. And yes, they will last either a half or full count, but it's up to you as to when to restart as long as you can communicate it properly to your partner.
  2. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    I had the most difficult time staying on beat with one song last night. It was filled with breaks that, I could have sworn, started on 1, lasted for 4 counts, and then started on 1 again, instead of 5. After the first couple of breaks, I decided to just dance the basic right through these breaks, to work on my timing, and I still kept finding myself off by 4, after each and almost every break. Do salsa songs sometimes do this (next time I'll ask the DJ)? It was only this one song.
  3. tj

    tj New Member

    Yeah, I know a song or two that does that. What should happen is that you'll eventually get familiar enough with the song that you'll (subconsciously if not consciously) know what to do.
  4. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    Whew, thanks, so it might have been one of those songs. I get off beat at times, but that one was yikes! :)
  5. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    oh...what fun! I know it is quite tough to eventually you'll hear that and get excited at the opportunities available.
  6. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    Ha! What was worse was that I was dancing with an almost rank beginner, and after about the 6th or 7th pause, to get back on beat, and this was just doing the basic, she asked me if I was a beginner. How could I respond, but to say yes! Basic mambo, pause, basic mambo, pause, basic mambo, pause, go search for lost confidence in doing even the basic mambo on beat, pause.
  7. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    It so happens to me sometimes when I'm having an off night...and I feel bad for the follower as there isn't much I can do. Then I feel bad if I sit out as there usually is an excess of followers too. What is a guy to do? ;-)
  8. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    Yes, it's called Clave Reversal and it's a hot topic! (Search on google for all the painful information you could wish for) You can either know where the reversals happen, anticipate them, adjust after you hear them, or ignore them! It's good to have a couple of 4-beat moves up your sleeve if you want to do anything but ignore them!
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    As Steve said, -- also known as a "pick up " bar . Fairly common in music arrangement . Kudos to you for recognising same !!
  10. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    Thanks for everyone's insight, and words of encouragement - could you tell my ego was bruised? (still kinda' sore :))

    New support group: Novice Salseros Dealing with Ego-Bruising by Clave Reversal.
    Next meeting: at the pick up bar :).
  11. dancedude314

    dancedude314 New Member

    What does the term "hitting a break" mean? I keep seeing references to this term, and I'm curious to know what it means.

    Also, why does the count 1-2-3 5-6-7 mean? Aren't there eight beats?
  12. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Thank you , someone else , who sees the need to count the bar.

    The " break " is the accented beat upon which you are breaking, as in 1, 2 or 3 . The general reference, is to the number of movements being employed in a given sequence .Slow is given a value of 2 beats ,and a quick , 1. So-- that gives a q.q.s. rhythm count a value of 4 beats .If you are in the u.k , am doing a workshop on sat 31st.mar., and will cover the usage of both methods .
  13. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    You are talking about the break as in the step pattern (forward break/back break), but I don't think that's the subject of this thread...

    I'm not a musician so I tend to use musical terms loosely, but when I say "breaks in the music", I generally mean "the dramatic bits", often with a big bang on the percussions, a big blast of horns, or even a pause. The "big finale" (where many dancers opt for a dip) is the most obviously dramatic part of the music, but there are often other dramatic bits, which I usually refer to as breaks. They often signify the end of one part of the music before going into the next part -- e.g., many songs have a break at the end of the intro and also at the end of the descarga section before the song goes back to its main phrase. It's very satisfying to hit those dramatic bits by doing something dramatic to match, like a dip, a big open break with a throw of a head, a dramatic stop, etc.

    As for 1-2-3 5-6-7, that's just a convention -- those are the beats on wchich you usually step, so in lots of salsa classes that's how the teachers count. That doesn't mean there aren't the beats 4 and 8, but counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 needs more breath :p.
  14. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    There's a few meanings to "break" - the break step is the step on which you change direction... if you dance on1 you break on 1 and 5.

    But in music a break is where most of the band drops out - the music effectively stops - and then comes back in again. If you know "Merecumbe" it's got some really clear breaks where the band stops, then comes back in with a big buildup before resuming the rhythm.

    AFAICT the thread "hitting the breaks" is about being able to spot when this will happen, so that you can stop when the music stops, and go when the music goes, instead of doing the dance equivalent of shouting over the music in a crowded bar and then the music finishes just as you say something compromising! You don't want to have just committed to a fancy move then be forced to executed it to silence in the music!

    (shouting over music): "I WAS OUTRAGED! HE TOLD ME THAT... "
    music stops

    (still shouting): " ... ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE GAY!"
    looks around silent room at a bunch of people staring at him...

  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    When the poster made a numerical reference, it spoke ( to me ) more about the value of the beats. However,I could have misunderstood his post. Maybe they will clarify ?
  16. devane

    devane New Member

    Yes, to dance it requires more than just dancing to a beat but in my experience you are lucky if you see people even doing that. It's mostly 99% of the people I see dancing to their own beat.
    But it's rarely taught anyway so what can we expect? The excuse teachers use like students get bored so they water down the art of dancing is unforgivable. The music is just as important as the moves.
    So called advanced dancers who don't know ...
    Where the 1 or 2 is.
    What a clave , conga is, can't name ANY salsa artist.
    Yeah, sure they're dancers........ in their heads.

    So concepts of hitting breaks, fitting your sequences into the song, or interpretation of the mood of a song are things not to be expected in a class.
    Things discussed on these boards are far more advanced than things discussed in the classes I've been to. I've even met people who don't know what style they do or what On1 or On2 means. I'm sure I would be the same if it didn't visit these boards or buy a load of DVD's.

    Dancing without Musicality isn't dancing. Who can you dance without the music. You may as well classify it as a style of Kung Fu or maybe label it Aerobics because without the music you're only learning a physical skill. Ok martial arts have a spiritual side too but tend not to be taught too!

    Here's an old article from Edie
    Focus on the Music FIRST … The Beat (Timing) SECOND…!!!
    I saw this one when I was a beginner.
    It took me a long time to actually understand it. I'm not 100% there yet but now certain things feel wrong if I'm not dancing with the song.

    This is nothing to do with dancing on time. I'm sure most people will distinguish that?
  17. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    The 4 and the 8 are held, and as someone else said, counting just "123..567.." allows the person counting the chance to breathe (just try counting 12345678 over and over, and see how quickly you will run out of air!). Rumba (international, not American) timing is usually the same as salsa timing (quick, quick, slow), with the first quick on count 2. It is sometimes counted: 2, 3, 41 (spoken as "two....three....four one....") to emphasize that the 1 is not a regular weight change or action, but that it is held, just as the 4 is held in salsa on1 timing. So, for salsa you could count: "one.. two.. three-four..". Maybe one reason people don't usually is because the word "seven" is a two-syllable word, and it feels and sounds awkward to say "five.. six.. se-ven-eight.." (whereas in rumba, for example, it's not a problem, as we just count 1-4 usually).
  18. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I don't particularly adhere to one rule as a must in dancing, such as the one to stop, to shut up when the music does like wise... the one that is perceived as knowledge of the structure of the music, especially, when feelings are still being driven during that audible stop, as well as the continuation of time, not to mention that the stop is also part of the song… though no sound has happened, the song has in fact continued... It never means that the band stopped playing, rather they’ve allowed silence to become the sound of the music... if the dancer is attuned enough, the dancer is able to communicate through that stop, blending as an extension of the very feelings exuded by the band, by each other...

    We rationalize musicality and assume that it is physically meshing to the structure of the music, disregarding our feelings. If we can't feel, then we aren't really dancing, and I mean that well beyond a robotic break, robotic smile or regurgitation of 5 years of classes that because we’ve taken enough of them we have a conscious knowledge of musical breakdown. Musicality is dependant on emotions generated by the music and not all songs, not all measures, not all breaks mean the same... There are breaks that speak of a stop, a rest, while others speak of smiling, of flirting, speak of the soothing of two bodies…

    It is what is done, not how is done... If I keep screaming during that audible pause everyone will stare at my lack of etiquette, even knowledge and rightly so, If I’m dumb, then dumb I will display. However, if I lower my tone, whisper sweet nothings into her ear, while forcing both dancers too feel that stop, not as such, but as our union just before we part when sound re-occurs, then I've accomplished a musicality well beyond the intentions of programmatically following ones and zeros.

    Though, it is rather funny to hear someone scream when the only sound is silence screaming at us to hush…

    If we want musicality, or ability to interpret the sound of silence beyond stopping because it rationally makes a good debate, then we must listen to ourselves being driven by the song, all of the song, not just the apparent parts… Get there then notice how that stop still makes your pores raise, your heart swell, your smile cease, just learn to treat silence further than knowledge allows…

    I should have read the thread first, though...
  19. dancedude314

    dancedude314 New Member

    Thanks for the answers to my questions--all of them were helpful.
  20. basicarita

    basicarita Member

    I don't care who you are; that's funny right there ... :D

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