Salsa > 'quiet hands' vs ....

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Swing Learner, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Swing Learner

    Swing Learner Member

    I've been taking beginning salsa lessons from two instructors.

    Both instructors teach Leaders to have 'quiet hands', meaning that we are to reserve significant/dramatic hand movements for leading moves.

    But, I've noticed (as has my dance partner) a few seemingly experienced dancers who do a lot of 'styling' with their hands, apart from leading.

    By 'styling', I mean the hands go significantly left-right or in vertical circles.

    I hope I'm making sense.

    Followers who have been taught by 'quiet hands' instructors tell me that they find 'lively hands' to be confusing and distracting.

    Is 'quiet hands' universally taught, or is there a school of 'lively hands' as well?
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Stay with them !!..

    A lot of this stems from Intern style latin .

    Monkey see ,monkey do...
    Swing Learner and Jag75 like this.
  3. Swing Learner

    Swing Learner Member

    Thanks, tangotime.
  4. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    Dancers who move their hands unnecessarily have developed bad habits. It's true that there should be no activity from a non-leading hand.
  5. Swing Learner

    Swing Learner Member

    Thanks, Jag75.
  6. SoAndSo

    SoAndSo New Member

    Many Salsa teachers are mediocre dancers themselves.
    Often times decent show dancers - where styling is very important - but more often than not just people who felt called to make money out of their hobby or saw a good chance to get into some newbies panties.
    Many neither speak the local language really fluently, nor have the mental training, to analyze and explain complex concepts. For them "teaching" often just means "showing stuff to repeat", not "helping to understand" and the ones good in repeating seemingly start faster.
    As a result there is a culture of bad leading and overstyling.

    In social dancing every movement has it's sense and styling is of secondary value.
    This hand styling I know to be a cargocult like behavior originating in at least 4 different sources:

    a) Cuban dancing is much more about the body, than the feet. Copying this is very difficult, so people fake it with moving their arms instead. Many rather uneducated dancers as a result actually think, that arm movement is a key element to Cuban body movement.
    While this is epidemic with midlevel Cuban style dancers, some line dancers adapted it too.

    b) Some very good leaders can do insane things with changing of arm and hand tensions, which from the outside looks like moving hands. When people try to adapt their style without really understanding, what they do, they do things that look alike. And by "more is better" they just start to move their hands around.

    c) Very many teachers teach the hand move as the leading action, not the exchange of tensions. It's about ignorance, laziness and financial interest. And within this hand move there is a lot of focus on the right and beautiful execution which, when done right, does the necessary tension changes as a side effect. But lacking this understanding, the beautiful execution becomes the goal.

    d) crappy arm tension. Some people are not controlling their arm movement themselves. This often is combined with frame free dancing primarily in open hold. Some guys rationalize this as "light lead" - again as a misunderstood concept as they think light to mean the complete lack of communicative tension.

    Experienced dancers ... well. They are often times firm believers in their cargo cult and this can prevent them from realizing their error completely. This conviction to be competent and the fact, that they often stay around very long without any verbalized opposition, can make them seem competent. They might be "experienced", but they have not learned from it.

    So for starters your teachers are correct. Learn the basics and when they are set, you can work on the tension games etc.
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  7. Swing Learner

    Swing Learner Member

    Thank you for the detailed reply, SoAndSo. Your post even expanded my vocabulary.
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    These 2 paras. sum up many of the so called "super " stars in congresses .
    The usual excuse that people give when I have stated that ,seldom do we see ( from all accounts ) classes geared to refine techniques, because the classes would not attract students.

    That response, is indicative of how students have been conditioned by their "teachers ? ", that more, as in variety , is better than less.

    I have taught some "experienced " teachers in the UK in recent times, that did not know what a Clave was !!! :eek:.. and don't get me started on the music that they use..

    And I do, by and large, agree with your post..
    Swing Learner likes this.
  9. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Y'know, I never thought about this, but... you're right, and I can remember times in the past when I rationalized it this way myself. Something to think about.
  10. charlottekitty

    charlottekitty New Member

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