Salsa > Off-beat: am I being paranoid?

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

  1. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    The same happens to me, it drives me nuts when I take a class and the instructor wants me to learn all the patterns so I can become "better", I look at those around me that know more moves yet I'm still waiting for the better in them.

    I can't stand this attitude of self gratification as coming from the progress of that which we physically do! I must not settle for 30K, I have to make 100 Million to be deemed a success! This entire societal rules of the body being the worth of life dirve me crazy! It isn't enough that I'm having blast, enjoying the song to a "max", now I'm asked to be "better"by society's standards, to learn more, to compete so others can see how good I am! So I can have a fulfilled ego as to how far I've gotten, as if really my self worth and satisfaction is going to come from anything I physically do... PLeeeze!!!! I don't see life as other's do, don't try to impose your ways on me.

    I'm dancing for me, to enjoy myself, to seek a different reality. The last thing I will ever do is follow because my isntructor has followed too and believes that by following he can lead others... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH To show me the light! To see what I don't see...

    yeap, this topic realy hits home!
  2. vey

    vey New Member

    I agree. Baby, just stay on-beat: on1, on2, on5, whatever, or at least make an effort , that's often enough, just show me that you're trying to respect the music and your partner.
  3. vey

    vey New Member

    And yet another good one from Boriken :notworth:

    IMO, too often salsa is used by people instead of being understood.
    People are using it (as they do it with so many things in their lives) to satisfy their petty needs, to feed their hungry egos, to suppress their insecurities. Little they know that if they open up to it, salsa will give them so much (but not in the way they are expecting...)

    Competing, showing off... it may be natural and primal for humans, we have to prove that we're alpha male/female, salsero/salsera but aren't we, ultimately, trying to convince ourselves? So it all boils down to how well a person knows himself, how much he is in touch with an inner self. Until a person at least attempts to address these questions, he doesn't "know thy self ", doesn't know what he/she has and, instinctively, trying to grab more (attention, love, sex, whatever).
    Until a person knows what he has, he doesn't know what he can give and how to be generous....

    OK, I think I'm slowly wandering off topic... but I've been thinking about this stuff a lot lately (lot's of time on my hands since my toe is broken and I can't go out and dance... :wink: )
  4. tj

    tj New Member

    Ouch, so that was the final result, huh? Sorry to hear that, that sucks.

    (Well, like you said, more time to spend on DF!)
  5. vey

    vey New Member

    Thanks, tj! And yes, it does suck :( but may be I'll learn smth, I was too obssesed with going out...
  6. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Let me take a sec to second TJs thoughts!!!

    hope you get better son vey!
  7. gypsylatina

    gypsylatina New Member

    This thread brings up a dilemma I have...

    I have never taken a dance class and I have no idea if I dance On1 or On2. Right now, I hear the music and I go with what I hear and I do my best to follow whoever I'm dancing with. I feel like I'm on beat but I can't tell you which beat. Sometimes I feel really motivated to sign up for a class. I would love to learn about the patterns/turns I read about. I might be doing them but I don't know... The thing is, I worry that I may not have fun dancing anymore. Will I get too caught up in the technicalities? Will I focus too much on what I didn't exectue properly or ....?

    Do you see my dilemma :(
  8. vey

    vey New Member

    Thank you, boriken.
  9. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    There is no reason (aside from thinking it to a reality) why you have to stop enjoying yourself because you are learning to dance Mambo, well, more of. You can be serious when you want to, then when the music is on, you go back to, I just want to enjoy myself regardless of!!!

    be yourself out there, let the music guide you and the dilemma will never turn into reality. If you dwell on the dilemma and you let it get to you, chances are that it will become reality... once reality then you'll truly be living it and hateing it!

    Concentrate on you when you dance, even after you learn the moves, the you that will be sought will not de dependant on the moves you've been taught, but rather joy for the music. Concentrate on the music and how you feel within it... the moves, they are mere details in the entire joy of things.
  10. tj

    tj New Member

    I like what Boriken said, and agree with the philosophy of it all.

    On a pragmatic note, how about this:

    What are most of the dancers like when you go out? Are most of them taking classes or are they not? If they are, then taking a class or two would certainly help you understand them better. If they aren't, then taking classes might interfere as your teachers will attempt to tell you that there's a certain way to perform the steps/dance (which leads into all the rest of these discussions).

    You make it sound like that's a bad thing!?!? :shock:

  11. vey

    vey New Member

    I think I've already mentioned it somewhere earlier in this thread that a good follow is likely to be on-beat as long as her leader is on beat, so you might be doing perfectly fine, gypsylatina. :)
    We had quite a few discussions about how to find the beat here in DF. To name a few, check out:

    How do you keep on time?
    Why is 3/2 easier for me than 2/3?
    (Shoot... I still can't figure out how to link the name of the topic to the address without address showing........ :shock: :oops: )
    Since you're a follower you do not really have to worry about patterns and turns, you're just following... But classes covering ladies styling might be fun! Just do not sign up for a series of classes, if you're afraid you won't like it, find a place where you can pay by an hour, that way you don't have to commit... Just a thought :wink:
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    There are many of those who grew up learning to dance and never heard of the on1 on2 on3 on4 nonsense. They look at you as if you were crazy because when they were small they learnt simply by copying others and listening to the music. Nothing wrong with not doing classes. AS tj said they can help and they may not. Perhaps you should try one or two out and see what difference it makes?
  13. vey

    vey New Member

    Oh my goodness, I didn't mean it that way :shock: , nothing is wrong with a good doze of obsession/addiction that makes your hands shake until you get your fix :wink:
  14. Big10

    Big10 Member

    I definitely understand your point, but I wanted to give a brief defense [​IMG] on behalf of some of us who feel a difference between the 1 and the 5....with emphasis on "feel."

    Actually, I have never been given any explanation by any Salsa instructor about the difference between the 1 and the 5 -- it's just something I picked up after listening to Salsa music over and over and over again, while practicing by myself at home. In doing so, I think I developed some "ear-body coordination" (if there is such a thing) such that my feet and body recognize being in a certain place when the music reaches 1, 3, 5, or whatever. The music flows up and down (in my layman's terms) during each 8-count, and my body reacts to that.

    That's particularly helpful in executing moves where the guy (me) is turning/spinning, so that I end up in the right place at the right time without having to count my way through it, or without thinking about the numbers at all. That also makes it easier to enhance dramatic moves, because so many musical accents "hit" on the 1. The sensation is so intense now, that I sometimes do have to mentally count the numbers if my partner and I go off the 1 and have gotten "stuck" on3 or on5. :oops: I have a couple of casual dance partners who seem to "feel" the same thing, including one who will hold up 5 fingers to get me back on track when she notices that we've slipped to the 5. :lol:

    I said all that just to explain that the 1 & 5 issue is not necessarily about being condescending toward other dancers. Some of us simply feel the beat and the melody much more strongly that way. (I think that's also a reason why I haven't adapted to dancing "on2" as easily, since I don't feel the 2/6 breaks as much.) Because of the way I "feel" the dance movements, my personal aesthetic preference is to see it done that way, too. However, I would never tell another dancer that he or she is "wrong" for feeling the music a different way. I've seen people whom I consider to be top-notch dancers dance on the 2, 3, 5, 6, and/or 7, so I know that the most important thing is simply returning to the same place (generally speaking) after every 8 beats.
  15. dancin_feet

    dancin_feet New Member

    As a follow, if I'm dancing with a lead who goes off beat I'll go with them for a couple of moves to see if they correct it themselves. If not I'll gently try to pull them back onto time. If that still doesn't work we'll usually end up stepping on each other anyway, lending to a brief pause where we can start on beat again.

    Doesn't matter how hard I try, I just cannot dance off beat! It just feels wrong.
  16. gypsylatina

    gypsylatina New Member

    Thank you Boriken, TJ, Vey and Sagitta! You've all made some excellent points. But you are always in the habit of doing that :)

    I think my wanting to take classes has more to do with wanting a point of reference. I am one of those that grew up learning to dance merengue, salsa, etc. It's a part of my culture. So when I read all the terminology and discussions of different styles, it's foreign to me. It's rather intriguing...

    Maybe what I need to do is go to one of these congresses where a lot of you DFers will attend and then you can educate me :D It would be very cool to actually see some of you in action. One of these days...

    Meanwhile, I think I will look into a styling class... You know, see what I can see :)

    Again, thank you!!!!
  17. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    No doubt! I understand what you mean totally and respect it... drives me nuts if the person is advanced but respect it...

    It is just that it is one more rule to adhere to, one that as you have noticed prevents us from doing something because we are back waiting/thinking for it to come around, which means the brain is processing, the brain is judging fit, resulting in feels better because of pre-judging by the mind... when we get comfy it will be invisible as to when we do the things we do, for it will be the same as doing it on the 5, we'll feel the difference but jump on it no matter what, and compenstate accordingly.. That is if we don't judge it, if we judge it, it will always feel weird, out of whack, out of place. Once it becomes instint, we adapt and the worry of being on time or doing something at a given beat ends, for we are so into the music that the feel is then and there as soon as the music is... We don't even have to be ready for it to happen, it just happens....

    The one becomes just as good as the 5, there will be no distinction between when to end or where to start, for we know when the music ends and when it begings... the end and beginning will be the same, circle like.

    I have no problems when I see dancers trying to learn it really well, my issue comes truly from seeing advanced salseros not knowing when to strat or end moves simply because the song is on the 1 or 5... The get lost as if the songs changed, as if there werent the same beats to a measure... That means we are thinking too much, we have become adapt to one way and can't break from it. It is limits...

    I can't ever say that it is wrong, I do say that it is very limiting. :shock:
  18. Big10

    Big10 Member

    I will concede that it is slightly limiting, but I really do believe that feeling the 1 has freed up my dancing as a whole. Rather than thinking too much, to the contrary, once I get "locked" into the 1 at the beginning of a song, I stop thinking about the numbers and then just react to the music from that point on. Syncopating has become much easier and more freewheeling, now that I'm comfortable slipping back into the 1 and remaining onbeat with my partner. I also pick up the musical accents much better, which is another huge benefit of staying on the 1 (and which has resulted in positive feedback from several of my partners).

    So, after the song has started, the counting or "thinking" becomes an issue only if I feel a disconnect between my steps and the 1 (either as a result of my faulty execution or if the band changes on its own). I try not to disrupt my partner's rhythm more than once during any given song, though -- in which case I will "give up" and deal with the 3 or 5 or wherever we happen to be.
  19. clave

    clave New Member

    Oh, but you are! You are always putting on a show for your partner. Dancing by the "rules" you seem to despise so is to me a sign of respect for the person willing to spend her precious time in your embrace and follow your every whim. If she's willing to pay money for classes so she could follow you better, is it too much to ask that you yourself improve your dancing by adhering to social norms in your scene and at the level you're striving for?

    You seem to have lost track of what "social" means. Your style sounds more like "selfish dancing", as in "I don't care what anyone else thinks as long as I'm tripping". When one of your friends is about to go to China, do you tell them "Stop being told how to speak chinese and just do it?"

    Do not presume that people are having "fun" just by being in your presence. I truly couldn't care less about spending time with most of the salseras I dance with. I derive most of my salsa pleasure from dancing in tune with the music, in tune with my partner, and from challenging the both of us. I become friends with perhaps one in twenty people in the scene, about the same as in every other walk of life. Those I become friends with I'll have fun with no matter how well or how badly they can dance. The remaining 19 out of 20 I'm there only to dance with, period; the way these others get to have "fun" with me is through my being a better dancer. After an entire lifetime of music education, and after almost two years of regular dancing, I am still discovering layers and layers of what one has to master on the path to becoming a truly superb social dancer. Do not belittle this desire for personal growth some people have, or you'll end up getting blacklisted by those salseras who are busy leaving you in the dust as we type these words.

    On the contrary, I find that my finding the distinction between the 1 and the 5 is a tremendously liberating feeling. It means that I've got the beat down so well that I can feel such slight nuances! Most salsa songs have lyrics that fit into eight-measures, so I can pattern my moves so they sing along with the song. But wait, it gets better! How about the songs that have a four-measure thrown in in a couple of places? If I can stop the follow coming out of a spin so that we break on 1 again after such a sneaky switch, now *that* gets a smile almost every time. And how about those silences after a percussive shower? If I could only get us both to freeze in perfect synchrony with the music... Limiting? Hardly! Challenging? For sure!
  20. alvaro

    alvaro New Member

    Remark: I don't think anybody said that not being able to tell the difference between 1 and 5 was a good thing. Being able to identify the musical phrase is good. Period.
    Question: why is it so important to break forward (leader) on one? Why would it be wrong to break back on 1? Why is it such a big deal?

    And please, dont confuse things. I hate it when i can't tell the 1 from the 5. But in the same way that i think it is bad to loose track of the musical phrase i also think it would be bad not being able to start my dance phrases in any direction i want.

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