Salsa > Off-beat: am I being paranoid?

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

  1. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    a descarga...
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thanks. My brain is fried from sleeping in newly-painted house fumes for a couple weeks. :oops: :lol:
  3. Swingolder

    Swingolder New Member

    I know it would help for me to listen to more music. I put it on at work and try to pay attention to the different sounds. Then, some of my part-time student employees start groaning about my music choice and I compromise and we listen to old rock and roll.

    And I do appreciate the df. I probably would not have even attempted salsa if I hadn't been reading how much you all love it.
  4. aragonh

    aragonh New Member

    Hey I do that!!

    But I do it on purpose and I let my partner know in advance.
    (I hold 1 finger up to say where switching to on1 and 2 fingers to say were going to on2)

    However, I only do this with advance-advance dancers. Its fun to do as some people have different styles for these beats.

    For everyone else, I stay on just one beat (usually on1 for beginners). No need to confuse them futher. its also a good idea to dance to their level. SO that means no complicated moves or shines (shines tend to confuse the followers as they are usually looking at your feet)

    If beginners dont feel comfortable with salsa, well you can kiss the salsa movement goodbye!!
  5. tj

    tj New Member

    Truer words have never been said!
  6. aragonh

    aragonh New Member

    Thanx for the compliment, TJ! :D
  7. Big10

    Big10 Member

    Please don't get discouraged! (Well, maybe a little discouragement is okay, since it forces you to learn -- but you know what I mean :wink: I think this thread is mainly a place to vent about dancers who should know better because they've been dancing awhile -- not beginners, since we all were beginners at one time!

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm truly thankful for all the Salseras who put up with me over the years and didn't walk off the floor in the middle of a song while I was getting off beat or screwing up moves in the process of learning. The main difference now is that, when I screw up a move, I'm better at getting back on beat and faking like "I meant to do that." 8)

    I can't promise you that everybody in a Salsa club will be patient with you, but the inconsiderate people are not worth worrying about anyway. :roll: Chalk it up to "experience," and move on. Just keep plugging away and you'll be consistently on-beat sooner than you think....and once you're there, always remember to help the people coming up behind you.....
  8. vey

    vey New Member

    Oops, was busy the whole day and missed all the action on this thread :)
    Thanks for not tearing me apart, clave :) That's exactly what I meant by saying that off-beatness of leaders presents more of a problem.

    Well, let's just say that it happens A LOT. And I'm not picky - if you happen to loose it and have to catch up or slow down - it's fine; or if you're on1 dancer learning on2 you're bound to slip-up all the time (at least I do!)- that's fine too. IMHO there're too many people who have been dancing for a while and execute or are learning how to execute advanced level moves and combinations but are off-beat and are oblivious of the fact.
    I'm really happy to hear that situation is much better in LA, 'cause I'm definitely not moving to NY since, according to Boriken, they have the same "off-beatness" problem there as we do in chicago :(
  9. vey

    vey New Member

    thanks for quoting my initial post - god forbid, I did not mean to critisize any beginners and discourage them from learning in their own way and at their own pace.

    dear, don't worry, you'll learn just fine, especially since you already have swing experience - you're very well familiar with the whole concept of leading and following. To understand and learn how to follow was the most difficult part for me...
  10. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    In a word, yes :?

    Apart from the on1-on2 switch thing (which is not a problem in my scene where there are very few dancers trying on2), I've observed three patterns.

    On5 instead of on1:
    Very common. This often happens when the song has a short measure (single bar of 4 beats rather than 2 bars/8 beats in the measure). If you keep stepping the same way when this happens, what was the 1 at the start of the song becomes the 5. Musical leaders get back on beat by pausing or adding a transition step. Many leaders don't.

    Move not completed in time:
    Either the follower or the leader is late executing and completing a move and falls behind. I've certainly done this from time to time :oops:, and some leaders seem to go off beat when this happens rather than filling in the time and starting from the 1 again.

    Leader hurrying:
    When doing a complicated (or long) sequence of moves, the leader is so busy thinking about completing the move he starts hurrying and going ahead of the beat. The follower can sometimes compensate by deliberately waiting and moving on time instead of when led, but with a very strong lead this is not always possible.

    Of course, there is another case -- of not hearing the beat. Beginners generally seem to find it harder to hear the beat in salsa music simply because they are not used to it's complex rhythm pattern. This shouldn't be a problem for advanced dancers though... :? Having said that, there are songs in which the beat is not very clear especially in the intro.
  11. Swingolder

    Swingolder New Member

    Thanks to all (alvaro, peachexploration,pygmalion, cist) for the encouraging words. You are right , vey, there is a difference between learning a NEW dance and learning my FIRST dance. A lot does carry over. I have my next salsa lesson this weekend (from a great teacher) and then I hope to be able to take to the floor.
  12. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I'm so mean, I have to be fair to them. I must say that all advanced dancers here in NY City can really keep beat, to a point where it is flawless, but since NY City is "show-off" town, they get so excited to show off their bestest stuff and take the beat second to the move... I'm positive if people where to care less for the move, they'd all be on beat all of the time.
  13. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Boriken's statement really nails it. Unfortunately, I think you will find this everywhere you go. It's certainly prevalent in my area. Quite a few dancers only care for the newest move and not the real beauty of Salsa which permeates from and through the music. Why even play Salsa music if you're not going to dance to it? :? That's why to me, it's so important to take time out and really listen to the music. Really "hear", "feel" and "study" what the music is saying to you. Forgive me if I sound like I'm bashing others. I really don't mean it that way. It's just one of my pet peeves. :wink: :p This is really my motivation behind this thread :arrow: What Musical Instrument Moves You Emotionally
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Amen, peach. I think it's human nature that makes folks want to conquer tough moves. They just need to listen to the music, as you say. Moves come later, but the music has to come first.
  15. TheLetterJ

    TheLetterJ New Member

    I remember when I started out salsa dancing that I would be able to stay on1 mostly, and occasionally slipping, but would correct myself again soon enough. These days I'm 99% on-beat, except for the occasional trip or slip on either person. To practice my timing, I listen to salsa music often with my headphones at work.

    I haven't attempted to dance on2 salsa much, but have concentrated very hard to dance on2 to cha-cha (cha-cha on the 4&1). What I don't understand is how someone likes to switch from on1 to on2 during the same song. I thought most songs consistently feel like a on1 or on2 not switching in and out.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yup. Some songs consistently accentuate the one or the two, so they're obviously intended for on1 or on2. But some songs don't have an obvious accent. With those songs , it can be anything goes! :wink: It helps if you've played an instrument before or know how to read music. 4/4 timing is 4/4 timing, pretty much. So you can dance whatever you like, if you can count it. 8)
  17. dancin_feet

    dancin_feet New Member

    Being on beat to me is an essential part of good dancing. Now while beginners are still trying to work all of this out, in conjuction with steps, a little technique, etc, to me it is OK to be off beat. Even social dancers it's not a crime to be off beat, everyone has an aspect of their dancing they have to work on.

    The problem I have with off beat dancers is when they sit exams and pass, despite the fact that during the exam they were off beat for almost 50% of the time. If you are sitting a dancing exam, a fundamental skill is to recognise the beat and stay with it most of the time. IMO this should be worked on as a priority before any technique is introduced.

    Recently I had a group lesson with one other guy who was at the time at the same level as me (I have recently passed another exam). Because there are only a couple of us at that level, my instructor alternates whether the group is aimed at me or him. This one week, we worked on the beat and rhythum. This guy could only find the emphasised beats in the music and had no idea how to isolate a "1" beat to know how musical phrasing worked. I knew he had a problem with timing, but I honestly had no idea his level of understanding of music was so low. I just don't understand how he has gotten halfway through bronze without this knowledge.

    Just last week we were working on a Tango move where the specific movement was a slow for the man, but a quick quick for the lady. He could not understand this and demanded to know whether it was a slow or a quick. He could not comprehend that a slow takes up the same time space as quick quick.

    Sorry for the rant but this is a pet peeve of mine. Timing doesn't have to be perfect, everyone slips up from time to time. But when it is constant, why bother having the music playing at all?

    By the way, since this is a salsa thread I should own up to my salsa dancing being constantly off beat, especially faster salsas. But then I'm only an occasional social salsa dancer, not taking exams in it. Maybe if I had more practice ........ :twisted:
  18. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    This is true. When that happens and you've been dancing/listening/studying long enough, your body will let you know. You'll just "feel" it. :) Don't have to think about it anymore. Brain shuts down and everything else takes over. I love it when that happens. :D
  19. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I've got to get this off my chest as it is driving me nuts!!!!

    I was dancing last night after class and since I don't particularly give 2 cents worth about whether I should step forward on the 6 or back on the 2, I was chilling...

    Then this look of petrifaction took over the girl, she put her fingers over her mouth and simply said, OMG, we are dancing wrong! Everyone is going one way but us!

    It drives me nuts because we aren’t putting on a darn show for anyone! We are social dancing! I don’t see what this hang-up over the 1 and the 5 is!!!!! As a social dancer the last thing you should worry about is who say what about dancing! Stop being told how to follow/dance and just do it!

    It drives nuts to see advanced salseros who can’t dance or do their patterns correct if the don’t do so starting on the 1 forward. It makes me feel like telling them to “Shut up and dance”.

    That is my pet peeve for today! Dancers who are so uptight that they can’t relax enough to enjoy the dance, those who see dancing as only one possible correct way!

    I blame the instructors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ve had only 1 instructor who could care less which way she was going… However, she did teach the “proper” way, but did stress that when you have fun, you have it which ever way! That it doesn’t matter whether you go forward or backwards on the 1 what matter is that you have fun!

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m tired of the folks that believe the sign of an advance salsero is to change with the music, as if the entire world didn’t notice that the song changed but them! PLEEEEEEZ… to me that is just another person blindly following what they are told!

    Ahhh, that made me feel a little better... :?
  20. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Unfortunately, that's society's misconception. :? They only think that we take Salsa classes in order to compete in the future or put on a show, not just for the joy of social dancing. If we're not careful, that can shadow our thinking as well. As teachers and as students. :( Many people who know I've taken classes always ask when am I going to compete or think I should prove to them what I've learned. As if their opinion of my dancing matters. :roll:

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