Salsa > How do I get asked to dance

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by curious1, May 24, 2009.

  1. Well, I find that rule of thumb works more on the ladies than the guys. Have you seen the non-dancing shoes that women wear when they go out? A lot of them have very thin high heels with nothing to strap their feet in, some of them have thongs or platform shoes with no straps. I think that experience dancers are capable of dancing in those, but I'll bet they would rather be in dance shoes.

    Whereas, I've seen guys in regular dress shoes but they all hold onto their feet. It may be harder to spin on rubber soles than swede or leather, but it still can be done.
  2. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    Possibly... My statement applies to someone I haven't seen dancing and is unknown to me. In the salsa clubs in LA, the regulars have dance shoes if they are remotely serious.

    And if someone is a beginner and has dance shoes, then I know she has made an investment, and is probably taking lessons or going out enough to justify the expense.

    If I know someone, we have a common connection, or I've seen them dance, then the shoes don't matter to me. If you're unknown and I have to choose between you and someone with dance shoes, you'll be my second choice. I will change that if I see you dance later.

    Your scene may be different, and if you're already established and dancing as much as you want, then alternate shoes are fine.

    I'm simply telling the ladies who aren't dancing as much as they like one of the things I look for when selecting someone unknown. It's an indicator which is often used by guys. I've seen enough exceptions to know it's not a perfect indicator, but it works more often than not for me.

    It's something guys discuss, as it was passed to me by a more experienced dancer when I was less than a year into dancing. Years later I still use it and find it a reasonable but not perfect indicator.

    BTW - Some of the best jazz dancers I know can dance barefoot, in socks, in 4" heels, in tennis shoes and make them all work. Someone with the background in your autosignature will make it happen in snow boots and look great doing it.
  3. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Agreed Don. Here (at least at the clubs I've been to in LA & SF, as well as the others I've visited around the US), almost all serious dancers have dance shoes. Of course there are exceptions (such as the person who didn't plan on showing up, but stopped by on a whim), and obviously if I see them dance then the dancing speaks for itself, but barring that I too will do a "shoe check" of unknown followers as I watch them enter a club.

    tt might be right as well though, as I learned that the same rules didn't work when I hit the salsa clubs in Aarhus .Denmark several years back (may be different now though, I don't know)
  4. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    Many times, I've gone dancing somewhere new, and watched total strangers check what I have on my feet, and then ask me to dance. I found it funny -- until I realized that dance shoes, especially *well broken in* dance shoes, describe She Who Wears Them as someone who wants to dance, and has done it before, more than once. It's a useful cue.
  5. Kromat

    Kromat New Member

    There are people out there, who like to stick to their skin colour, cultures,
    nationalities, height, so it can't be avoided in some people.

    Others that like to dance, and make sure everyone is a having a fun time,
    will ask anyone because they're comfortable showing others, that they enjoy
    dancing and make sure, that they had a fun time with them like myself.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The clubs I frequented ( Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta for e.g. ), were 99% latino.. they wouldnt know what a dance shoe was if you threw it at them !...

    The " ballroom " crowd on the other hand, will more likely adhere to the " correct " footwear and even then, at the socials that many of the studios ran, the majority of people still wore "street " shoes.

    I can remember the time in the UK, when many schools would not permit you on the floor with street type shoes .

    Its worth noting.. I was the first one in the US ( late1960 ) to import and sell dance shoes on a large scale, primarily on the W.Coast ( Supa dance brand ) I finally abandoned the quest, due to teaching and family commitments .

    It was then taken up by Walter Sorensen who took it to another "level ". ( I actually sold him his 1st pair, in the US )
  7. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member


    Before I ask a girl I don't know (as a leader - I'm learning to lead and trying to dance with girls of all levels, not just my friends), I check her shoes. If she's got a pair of mules on, she doesn't get asked, period. If she's wearing street shoes that could be danced in, I wait until I actually see her dance. Wearing dance shoes doesn't mean she's a good dancer, but it clearly means she's there to dance.

    Ironically, I often dance in my street shoes at my local clubs, where I'm a known face and I no longer need to prove myself to be a dancer. I have a few pairs that work just as well as my dance heels, and if a good song comes on before I have a chance to change my shoes, I start dancing right away in them. Sometimes I change shoes later while taking my bachata break :lol:, sometimes I don't bother and keep my street shoes on.

    Of course it's different when I'm away from my home territory - then it's time to don my salsa t-shirt (which shows that I'm a keen enough salsa dancer to have been to an overseas congress) and my best pair of dance shoes (by that I mean the most trustworthy, stable and well broken into pair rather than the prettiest).
  8. BrownSkin818

    BrownSkin818 New Member

    Somehow I don't get the impression that most salsa/dance forums members are patrons of the 99% latino clubs ;).

    I'm yet another one who looks at shoes, and has noticed my shoes being looked at.
  9. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member


    Of course, the last time I went to the local salsa joint -- btw, I am the whitest of white, skin reflects light even at night, and this is a Very Latino place -- the guys were checking out my shoes. So I was glad I was wearing my sparkly strappy silver salsa shoes; they scream IwannaSalsa! And they're stable, and broken in. They were great advertising -- for the 20 seconds before the floor got so crowded you couldn't get on it!

    I love a good club that's going at full tilt. Such a great vibe. Even if I don't get to dance!
  10. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    i've patronized more than a couple 99% latino clubs...
  11. BrownSkin818

    BrownSkin818 New Member

    I've only been to one myself. But I just imagine that people who let their salsa addictions lead them to online chat forums where they opine about technique & core exercises, instruction methods, salsa congresses, and the like... I just imagine those folks wouldn't regularly get their fixes amongst the home-grown salsero scene (as is my take on 99% latino clubs). Just my slant on it though. I could be wrong.
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    as long as the homegrown latino scene includes dancers who have studied club-style dancing, these are my favorite places. if it's populated by dancers who've never taken lessons, but have just grown up with the music and the culture their whole lives, frankly...i find it less interesting on the floor, because the leaders tend to do little more than hold hands and groove, not knowing all they can do with a chica in their arms, lol :)
  13. BrownSkin818

    BrownSkin818 New Member

    obviously ive been to the "wrong" type of 99% latino club, lol. so do they pay attention to "proper" shoe choice at the places you frequent? and do you notice whether the same efforts to secure/attract a dance in a studio-learned crowd are used at these other places? [​IMG]
  14. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    lol. i don't pay attention to shoe choice amongst the men, no. i just watch them dance.

    i find that where there are studio-learned dancers, the protocol to secure/attract a dance is more based on a dancer's ability, and the culture can be harder to penetrate, more clique-ish, which i just accept as normal.

    with the latin community that doesn't seem studio-trained, it seems easier to attract a partner, and i have consistently found i must be very guarded about attracting rather cloying partners who want to buy me drinks and go down the "enamorada" route. happens all the time with this crowd, whereas doesn't happen with the trained dancers.

    both communities can be fun, but the latter is "stickier" and tends to be (my own experience, of course...) more monotonous on the floor, but heartfelt & fun for a time.

    hope i'm not offending anyone with my candor but... that's just my experience of it.
  15. Beto

    Beto Active Member

    That's a pretty darn accurate description for the DC/MD/VA dance scene when talking about bar/club/studio-trained dancers vs the latin community dancers who haven't had or gone through the same training. There's a venue here in NoVa where both types of dancers share the same floor space and it's sometimes interesting to watch how they interact with one another.

    Don't find your observation offensive at all as I've seen it with my own eyes. You're stating facts and I agree with them.
  16. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    oh's not just me.

    i find that the salsa communities, trained & untrained, mix a lot at the venues, since there are only so many in NJ. and the side-by-side cultures are definitely interesting to watch & navigate. :)

    crikey, it's been a while for me. must get myself to a club soon...
  17. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    I don't believe 99% latino clubs, or even 50% latino clubs, exist in areas I've lived (Scotland/Japan).
  18. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    In my experience, 'Latino' clubs tend to welcome customers who are either Latino or female,white and pretty.
    Other than that - not so much......
    For non-Latino guys, some type of weapon or martial arts training wouldn't go amiss.
    Provided they let you in.
  19. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Its a totally different ambiance, and speaking spanish may be very helpful in some areas .
  20. guysanddolls

    guysanddolls New Member

    Just throwing in my two cents.

    I've been dancing Salsa in the south for quite a while, mostly Louisiana and Tennessee. More often than not, I'm the only Asian at the venue lol. This works both ways. I guess some leads think it's 'exotic' to ask an Asian girl to dance and tries to play the 'I'll teach you' card. But mostly I get ignored big time until I ask somebody to dance and 'prove' myself on the floor.

    Usually I'd have to be visiting a venue for a while, say a month or so, and establish some kind of connection with the local dancing 'clique'. It isn't until then I can relax and go to a venue knowing that I'll have dancing friends there. I did not go to a venue for dance only, I go for friends and making new friends. It will be hard if you're not going to be open about making friends.

    So all in all, I think race certainly does matter somewhat, but just initially, once you put yourself out there, not many would turn a lady away.

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