Salsa > Off-beat: am I being paranoid?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by vey, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. vey

    vey New Member

    I know that we've already covered off-beat dancing in

    Off-the-beat leader ( )

    Help me, I'm off beat! ( )

    OK, I am not an "on-beat angel" myself, I' ve been known to loose it here and there and I do find certain songs more difficult than the others,
    but am I being paranoid or that's the reality of salsa dancing - dance floors and advanced classes are flooded with off-beat dancers :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

    And I am not talking about "struggling beginners" here but people who are dancing for some time and have a number of patterns, turns and combinations under their belt.

    I do realise that the only realistic practical advice (unless the "off-beat dancers" are your friends) is to suck it up for a few minutes and move on but lately I feel that I have to suck it up for a better part of the evening. I even stopped considering guys who switch from on1 to on2 and back several times during a song as "off-beat" - they are at list on some kind of beat :wink:

    So I am asking you guys: do you believe that there is such a thing as an "off-beat conspiracy" :?: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Giggle. A conspiracy? :roll: Maybe. *shrug* I do think that a lot of off-beat people never realize that they're not doing it "right." If they did, they'd be on their way to becoming on-beat people.

    An example. Ballroom, sorry, but it mostly applies, since it's mambo versus salsa. I was dancing with a former teacher of mine once who had several years of teaching experience under his belt. In the middle of a mambo, he switched back and forth from on-2 to on-1 and then back to on-2. When I acted confused and asked innocently, "what beat are we dancing on?" he said, " On2, of course. It's a mambo." Then , as if to reassure me, he said,"Don't worry. You were following me." LOL. That's why I was worried. I was following him on2, on1 and on2 again. I think a lot of people who think they know, have no clue. :?
  3. vey

    vey New Member

    Exactly. I don't know about others but I whould appreciate if someone lets me know that I have spinach stuck in my teeth...
    Personally, I do not have nearly enough experience to go around pointing out to people that they are off-beat but I think it would be great if experienced dancers would drop more hints here and there instead off sucking it up and then avoiding the "off-beaters".
    I would prefer to get my ego damaged a bit in order to become a better dancer...
  4. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Off beat conspiracy. Hahahahahaha. :lol: No, just alot of instructors not emphasizing the importance or the individual dancer not caring of rhythm and timing while dancing. Good grief! :roll: Salsa is not just abouts spins and dips. Unfortunately, I've seen alot of this from instructors and students and it just aggravates me to no end. Forget the moves, dips and spins. Find the rhythm for goodness sake. :? If you care to call yourself an advanced dancer, at least get the basics. This is one instance why levels fall short of the truth. Your labeled level means nothing if it doesn't show on the dance floor. Can you tell this is one of my pet peeves. :wink:
  5. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    :? I'm starting to think that, too......

    Especially when this on2 thingie is getting a largely on1 city, people who attempt to do on2 (usually those with more experience)tend to get off beat :roll: ..........
  6. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    I see it all the time too! The crazy thing is that is the very FIRST thing everyone should master...timing!
  7. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Well, then I guess I still don't know how to dance. :? :(
  8. Danoo

    Danoo New Member

    yeah i mess up timing sometimes
    i just lead into shines then get back on beat
    hardly noone realises :lol:
  9. Vin

    Vin New Member

    I am one of those switchers, on1-->on2. I don't think you are being paranoid. I have met lots of different types of dancers and the fact of the matter is there are many people that have no concept of the music they are trying to dance to.
    I think you should take it easy on us guys who are switching. To tell you the truth I have no problem staying with on2 if the follow stays, that is not meant to be a statement about follows just a statement about a stage of development that a leader who is switching goes through. A few weeks ago I could not stay on2 even with a great on2 follow,this was another stage of development.
    The other people, those that seriously have no concept whatsoever of what they are listening to, well I think that unless they ask for input you should grin and bear it and just not dance with them as much, scenes tend to self correct those terribly off-beat dancers in the end.

    Yes I admit it, I am a salsa-anarchist.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I hope you're right. :wink:
  11. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    The thing here is that anyone with the same attitude is likely to seek the very feedback that would help correct the problem. I think that the issue is that we all get different things out of dancing -- and often lots of things at that -- and, for some, dancing is more ego driven than anything else. In such cases prioritization of dance over ego is antithetical to their very involvement in/with dance. Very sad, but also true... :(
  12. vey

    vey New Member

    Good point, SD.
    I guess I'm projecting too much of myself and my approach to dancing on other people who are there for all sorts of other reasons...
  13. tj

    tj New Member

    Hmm, I'm struggling a bit with this currently.

    It mostly has to do with a large percentage of the local scene being On2, and me being an On1 dancer. And while my lead and sense of timing is good, I'm finding a significant amount of timing issues that I never experienced back in Seattle & Denver.

    For the most part, I'm just ignoring that this is going on, but I must admit, that I enjoy the dances where we're both on the same timing, more than the ones where we're not on the same beat.

    But I dunno about telling her that she's offbeat - I don't find it appropriate to be giving advice/instructions on the dance floor even when I think she's wrong...
  14. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Here in NY City is widely admitted (behind the scenes at least) that most social dancers are off beat, hence, the very cream of the crop dancers, especially followers, as it seems that “off-beatness” is more of problem amongst leaders, do not enjoy going out dancing where they are tugged all over the place by people who can't keep beat.

    You can actually see it if you sit back and watch, leaders tend to concentrate so much on the last thing they should be (the pattern) and lead it regardless of anything.

    The other night I was talking to a beginner that asked me, “why if x and y dancers (talking about a bunch of guys labeled advanced) are advanced, they can’t lead me? Another of ladies asked, “how come there are only 2 people (the instructor and pointed to me) who can dance on beat? (of all the dancers at this particular venue that night), why are they are in the advanced class?

    My answer was, leaders tend to get very excited; the music creates so much emotion in them that they can’t handle it. They feel the music and search for what they have been taught Salsa is (patterns), they then dig in and come up with a philosophy of salsa as the programmatic creation of patterns, and push that idea onto the follower (regardless of skill level, for if they aren’t doing what they are taught they aren’t dancing, eventually think of salsa as more patterns, and since they are in an advance class, they think they know more than you and might likely want to show you so.

    Although it is a common practice to say the male is the frame, the woman the painting, a person that is thinking what of next, can’t and will not, match frame with painting, eventually turning a ought to be masterpiece into the work of a novice…

    It isn’t until, us men, as leaders understand salsa and the connection of two dancers that we will learn to stay on beat and truly dance with the follower.

    Another follow then proceeded to ask why I was able to dance with everyone in the class, even with the ladies who can’t dance. I told her that a sign of maturity in the music is dancing to the level of the less skilled partner. That I dance according to my partner, not how many patterns I can make anyone do, that to me to dance, we both have to have fun, and that she will not have fun if I drag her around for 4 minutes.

    She then got really upset and said she didn’t like dancing with the other guys because they try to spin her 3, 4 times when she hasn’t even finished her first spin. I smiled and told her to be patient that soon they’ll stop being so excited about dancing and learn to lead, not to get discouraged that it happens to all of us, we want to program the moves as we are told, instead of feeling the music…

    In all, it is the belief in salsa that we must create more and more patterns, backed by hard to control feelings, that cause new leaders with little knowledge of the dance to dance by themselves even if with the partner, ending up in the off-beatness and pattern dancers... at least to my opinion.
  15. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    One strategy that I have is to partner dance but do something that will calm me down. For instance in merengue I like to turn. Not many like to turn so now and then I turn and turn and turn myself flirting with my partner until I calm down. Another thing I do is do the basic but go crazy with my feet for 10-15 seconds. Does wonders. :wink: :)
  16. vey

    vey New Member

    I absolutely agree (and all the leaders out there are welcome to jump in and tear me apart :wink: ).
    And the reason for that is not that guys have inferior sense of rhythm (god forbid :shock: ) but that since leaders are choreographing the dance they are supposed to lead each and every move on-beat, therefore off-beatness of the leaders presents more of a problem.

    If off-beatness of a follower intereferes with a dance, IMHO, it is more indicative of her poor following skills rather than her off-beatness, since even if a follower has a poor sense of rhythm, by following properly she can stay on-beat (or close enough :wink: ) throughout most of the dance...

    A funny thing - that's when I tend to get off beat - when the leader imposes an endless sequence of complicated patterns and continious spins that my body goes in a state of panic and I'm so overwhelmed that I can't even hear the music (if you ask me afterwards what song was playing, I wouldn't be able to answer).

    Ditto. It looks like it all goes back to our perpetual topic of what is salsa and how it should be taught :D
  17. clave

    clave New Member

    No need for the "tearing apart" part, as a lead I can vouch that it's a rare follow who can throw a good lead off the beat. Being a musician I developed very strong "beat correction" long before I started dancing. These days just about the only times that I miss a beat are when I try to push a follow through something too advanced for her level--my fault entirely; in those instances a drawn-out basic or an exagerrated xbl are usually sufficient to reset things back to normal within the next eight-count.

    Although, truth be told, I do know a few ladies who just couldn't be lead on-beat. This usually requires a combination of 1) the inability to hear the beat, and 2) severe back-leading. Notice that I used past tense: I'm guessing that this condition goes away spontaneously with time through either more exposure to salsa (fixing 1) or learning how to relax and feel the lead (fixing 2). It's a lot more common to find ladies who are good at 2) but bad at 1), which manifests itself as completely unexpected behavior when either of us is facing away from the other.

    But I noticed another very funny phenomenon. I occasionally dance with very, very advanced follows who practice on2 most of the time, and their following me on1 seems absolutely blissful from my end, then at the end they give me an apology along the lines "I'm sorry, I really suck on1!" :shock: Not knowing many of these ladies well I haven't been able to figure out whether what this really means is "oh would you please learn to lead on2 already!" or "I wasn't able to throw in my fancy on2 styling so I felt inadequate." Probably a little bit of both...

    Now, about off-beat leads, I actually wasn't aware that the situation is as dire as depicted in this thread. I do spend time watching people dance (skimming new moves, eh?:wink:) and my general feeling is that most couples (most as in seven out of ten) in my neck of the woods are either on 1 or on 5 most of the time, with occasional slip-ups. The rest are usually beginners, with an occasional hopeless case. So, when
    did you mean flooded as in "I occasionally find a person who can stay on1 for an entire song" or as in "almost half the people I dance with slip up from time to time?" If it's the former perhaps you should consider moving to LA? :D
  18. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I think the problem with "advance" dancers is forcing moves the ladies can't do, or they can't do... It seems as if the music and the beat where the last thing on their minds... at least so it seems...

    Here in NY City it is a common complain... that guys care more about the move than staying on beat.

    Perhaps it seems bigger as we get more advance, at which time there are less things to complain about, so when it happens, it is made out more than it is.. :?
  19. Pat

    Pat New Member

    Apart from off-beat leaders, I do know a few follows that are hard to lead on beat. They are always a tad ahead of the beat. Then you get this funny dynamic going, where a not-so-sure-of-himself leader thinks he's off beat and tries to catch up with the follower, which throws them both completely off beat.
    Yeah, depending on the song, I might be one of those leaders :-/
  20. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Those two quotes are right on! I think too many instructors let students get through their classes without learning enough about timing......and perhaps because some instructors don't know enough about it themselves. :?

    I can think of two local instructors (one is male and one is female) whose timing is consistently off, unfortunately.

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