Salsa > Videos > New Salsa Documentary

Discussion in 'Videos' started by Don Silver, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    Check out this new salsa documentary. It's NOT about dance moves, but it focuses on getting new people to join the salsa scene.

    It's hard for me to be objective since I was one of many interviewed and I have a few snips in the video.

    A Gozar (To Enjoy): An Introduction to Salsa Dancing

    PS: I tried to embed the video but since it's not on YouTube, but couldn't figure it out. If someone can tell me how to do that I'll redo this thread. I have the embed code, but it didn't work in the preview so I assumed it wouldn't work when posted.
  2. dance234

    dance234 New Member

    wow, very nicely done.
  3. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    Hey Don, ...Steven and Missy are in it as well. ( the very end, during credits).
    Kate did a wonderful job producing it. Her BF(?) Jimmy (El Gallo....Steven's nickname for him) is the perfect example of the L.A. salsa scene. He's an ADS protoge and has some of his own moves as well. He has taught the kids a great deal....and it was a great honor that Kate asked the kids to perform at Jimmy's recent b-day party.
    Thanks for the link.
  4. claws

    claws New Member


    Very nice video. Loved it!! Thanks for upload.

    Can you please upload it in youtube?

    I'm not sure if PHPBB forums allows <embed> tags. Anyway, try uploading it to youtube and then embed.
  5. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    It's not my video and since it's long, I have to suspect it's too large for YouTube in its current state. That said, I'll contact the person who created it and see if she can get it up there.
  6. claws

    claws New Member


    Thanks again for this video. I loved this video so much that, I couldn't keep myself from watching it again and again.

    IMO the best part of the video is the people dancing in the club. Look at the happiness on the faces of those dancers, OMG!! they just forgot the world and dancing out there.

    I'm a noob, one thing I don't understand is how are these ladies & men dancing together. I mean, that dance is not a pre coreographed one. They didn't practice it together. Even then they are dancing continuously in flow. How come? Is it the leader that decides the next step or the follower? Even then, someone decides the next step, but how do they communicate with each other? How does the partner know, what is the next step?
  7. claws

    claws New Member

    Long?? its 10 min only right? I download this video and I can see only 10 min. Is there more in this video?
  8. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    Salsa is a lead and follow dance, and they work together to create a unique dance every time. Just like two people can know English and have a complete conversation without planning, dancing is similar. The lead communicates specific moves with hand/body placement, and the follow responds.

    If you speak French and I only speak English, it's a pretty simple conversation that isn't very interesting. It may be just hand signals. If we both know French (or another common language) we can have a great conversation the first time we meet.

    The dancers in those shots all know the common language. The lead raises her hand at a certain point, and she knows a spin is about to happen. Or he moves out of her way, and at the proper time she is gentle pulled and she has a pretty good idea what he is starting. She adds her part of the conversation, and he picks up where she leaves off (just like a verbal conversation). They go back and forth with different parts of the conversation.

    Behind the scenes there are a set of unwritten "guidelines" that the more advanced dancers have learned over time.

    It's all about knowing the dance language, and then you can have dance conversations just like we all do everyday with our voice. Most of the people in the clips have danced a few years, and most have heard the music before.

    Anybody can learn the language, and it's not real complicated. Everybody who learns it tends to have a great time, because it's a real time conversation, without any words.

    Sometimes it's magic and you can see it on their faces.
  9. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    I might be wrong on this... I know there is a 10 GB limit on the clip size, and I thought I remembed it being much longer than that. She shot the documentary with the mindset of getting it on a cable TV show (I can't remember which one she said), and I think it's shot in higher def.

    Again, I was thinking she put it on that site because it blew the YouTube file size limit. I'll have to double-check, and I suspect she can convert it to a format that would look great on YouTube, but not be so large.

    If anybody knows more, send me private mail because while I'm a technology guy, I haven't invested much time in video related issues.
  10. claws

    claws New Member

    oh.. I see. Then it needs lot of practice right?

    I'm new to salsa. I know only few moves (about 10-15). While practicing, we always decide up on a sequence of these moves and dance in that sequence. we build random sequence and practice. Now, after reading your reply. I feel I should stop this thing immediately and start dancing without any sequence. Am I right? Any more tips for learning this salsa dancer's language?

    Now, one more doubt is does `leader` decides the next move? Is lady/follower just a puppet, dancing what `leader` want leader wants her to dance?

    I was reading somewhere on (I couldn't find the link to refer here), that follower should always wait for lead and shouldn't rush up.
    this also means the same thing, lady/follower is just a puppet dancing according to `leaders` wish. So, why is this communication one way?

    Intuitively Does this make `leaders` better choreographers than `followers`?
  11. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    It's only one way communication if the lead is immature or doesn't understand the larger picture. Many think of it as the leader is the frame, the follower is the picture. They work together to form a unique, exciting picture, that together is much more interesting than either the picture or frame alone. A great frame draws focus to the picture, but without it the picture is less.

    He leads moves that make her feel great, and indirectly that makes him look great.

    It's common for new people to think lead/follow means "master/slave" or "master/puppet", but that is totally missing the point.

    Consider it an interactive conversation: I can lead the conversation by asking you a question. If I'm a good communicator, I listen to your answer and then respond with something that makes sense. If I'm a bad conversationalist, I ignore your response and just say what I want to say next, and sometimes I hardly let you get a word or express your point of view. A good conversation can have a leader, but that doesn't mean the other person is not essential to the creative process.

    In the dance, a good lead will shape the dance, AND both partners take into account the music playing. The moves/dance are a visual expression of the music.

    In a conversation, you and I might decide we are going to talk about a specific subject, but deciding exactly what I will say in advance doesn't work, because I don't know your exact responses.

    Same with the partner dance: The lead starts the conversation, hopefully reflecting some aspect of the music. The follow responds to that lead, but adds her feel to the moves, based on the lead and the music. There are some guidelines about when the lead does his thing and when the follower has the focus. The follow does roughly what the lead wants, but adds her own style and feel to the move, sometimes inspiring the lead to go into a different direction. They work together AND follow the music.

    In a great dance, they feed off each other, just like a conversation between two intense lovers.

    In the beginning many do learn sequences, but that would be like learning "see spot run", "see spot jump". Those are great ways to get started, and you have to walk before you run, but the sequences are decided by the lead in real time, and the more mature ones can mix and match as needed.

    Yes, it takes lots of practice to become fluent, just like most 6 year olds aren't masters at communications, even though may know lots of words. They have to build their vocabulary before they can master communications, but just having a large vocabulary doesn't automatically make me a great writer, speaker or communicator.

    The mature dancers combine a set of skills, and while the lead has a huge influence over the dance, it's nothing without a great follow. The best follows make average leads look much better (and vis-versa).

    They work as a team and that's part of the joy when it works.

    Maybe... Some leads don't pay attention to their partners or the music, so they are not good choreographers. Followers can be great choreographers, because they may do a better job seeing the bigger picture (the partners and the music).
  12. TrulyMadlyAmanda

    TrulyMadlyAmanda New Member

    hi claws, i'm here at your service, as per your PM request. ;)

    i think don's right, salsa dance is like a language, and like a conversation, should be improvised. but like when you're learning a language, it can be useful to practice with ready-prepared 'phrases' to help you learn how the 'words' fit together. if we say a language has words, grammar, pronunciation, intonation, expression etc, salsa dance is made up of similar elements too.

    words = moves. a simple cross-body move might take 8 counts to do. you will then end up in a position maybe different to how you started. so you add another move, and end up in another different starting position for the next move and so on. with experience, you'll easily & quickly know what moves you know from each starting position and be able to choose the best one to fit the music. with time, you'll be able to make up your own new move on the spot, as the music inspires you.

    meanwhile, your instructor might show you a readymade 'sentence' (pattern) made up of 8 'words' (moves). some people call a salsa dancer who only ever repeats patterns, without adapting the moves to fit the music 'a pattern monkey', lol. it's like someone who learns english from a phrasebook and can only say "where is the bank" and "i am going to the shop"....they dont know how to say "i'm going to the bank", because they dont understand how the individual bits fit together. but it really is as simple as "ok, our hands are here, what move do i know that starts with them there? i dont know, ok then , what moves do i know to change hand positions? etc, etc"

    the heart of leading is the 'pronounciation' the connection - without your body being able to tell the follower where to go, and hers being able to understand you, you cant do any moves. there's a lot of info about this in the 'frame' thread of salsaforums.

    the 'grammar' would be style....without good posture and sound basic technique, the dance is clumsy and graceless.

    'expressiveness' would be styling - this is what makes your dancing individual and is another way, apart from moves, to interpret the music. it's things like rolling your hips, putting in a little flick of the foot 'combing' your hair with your hand....these are quicker and easier to adapt to the music, because they are usually shorter and done individually rather than in a couple.

    like in a conversation, it's basic politeness to look at your partner, make eye contact, read their body language to see if they're enjoying the topic of conversation and change if not, smile, etc etc...

    followers arent just the leader's puppet in salsa (though i think too many leaders wish they were ;):rolleyes:). followers can express the music through their style and their styling. advanced leaders are able to sense when a follower wants space and or time to style and give it to her. really great leaders can follow her unspoken suggestion for moves too, making it a much more equal partnership. :rocker:

    hope any of that helps and sorry if it sounded a bit 'teachy'!
  13. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    Right on! An excellent response and I totally agree. (And I agree with what I snipped out... I just removed some stuff to make this message shorter...)

    While we can provide outlines on the board, it's dramatically easier to find a quality instructor in your area and have them show you the details in addition to explaining them.

    When you watch the dancers in the clip, you'll now realize the actual dances were real-time conversations rather than totally pre-planned. We all have phrases we like when talking. Both leads and follows have sets of moves they've developed over time, and they tend to find their way into their dancing, even though they didn't directly plan them in advance.

    As you mature you even see moves from famous dancers, being done by someone else... Which is similar to finding yourself saying something your Mom used to say when you were a kid. Over time your own personality shows through your dancing...

    Let us know how it's going as you progress!

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