Salsa > Salsa issue...

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by squirrel, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    I have a problem and I am not sure I know how to solve it...
    Let me tell you that in my city there are around 200 Salsa dancers... about 2/3 females...
    I am a Salsa instructor and have been dancing for more than 3 years... Salsa is not very developed in Romania and I am one of the best female dancers.
    Still, guys do not invite me... Not even the most advanced ones!
    There are about 20 good or acceptable leaders... and I dance with 2-3!!!
    I have a partner (the school belongs to both of us) and I enjoy very much dancing with him... still, I find it annoying that I cannot dance with anybody else...
    I tried and invited some of the leaders, and they danced with me, but they didn't invite me back! I mean, for instance, last night I danced with my partner, one foreigner I invited (on merengue, on Salsa he preferred his own partner - I don't understand these people! You go to a foreign country and dance with your own partner! I would try anybody else to see what it feels like... Gosh... :evil: :evil: ) and one guy (intermediate and not my kind of leader) who invited me...
    I know I look bored sometimes when I dance with some of them... but it is because they are boring! And it's not only my opinion...
    They know some moves and that's the only thing they do! As if the music is not playing for them.
    One advanced leader almost never invites me (unless he has something to prove), another one invites me once per evening (if he does it at all - he prefers to dance with the beginners only... God knows why!), another one doesn't speak to me anymore (don't wanna discuss why - ego problems) and another one danced with me last time looking after another woman and got on my nerves!
    The so-and-so dancers are really annoying (most of them) 'cause they think they're so good and still are afraid of me, they dance with beginners to look macho...
    The beginners hardly ever dance with me (unless they're my students and I invite them)...
    So most of the times when my partner is dancing with somebody else I choose between sitting down, doing shines (gets boring after a while) and inviting girls!
    So, any suggestions?!
  2. Sonia in Aalborg

    Sonia in Aalborg New Member

    Hi Raluca!
    Jeez, I just posted a thread with a similar kind of problem although the biggest difference is that I'm at the opposite end of the learning curve as compared to you! :) :oops: Which means I really can't offer any constructive input but just wanted to say that I hope you find a way out. I've noticed this really advanced dancer at my salsatek too who is asked to dance only by her partner (the dance teacher). Maybe I should ask her for some feedback. All the best again! :)
  3. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Thanks for the input, Sonia! If you know her and are willing to ask... thank you!
    I really don't know what to do! Maybe it's the fact that I look bored with some of them! But I don't understand the others! I enjoy dancing with them! And I smile and make eye contact!
    And I also noticed that some of the few who invite me try their simplest moves on me... the others try their hardest moves and apologize if they think they blew it!
  4. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    In a follow-heavy scene like yours (and mine), it's very common that women have to do a good deal of asking guys to get enough dances. Even though I'm not advanced like you, if I didn't ask guys, I'd end up sitting out more than half the night. It's worse for advanced followers and instructors of course.

    Don't let that get to you... There's nothing wrong with women asking men to dance. This is the 21st century!

    Do guys say "no" when you ask? Do they look as if they dance with you reluctantly out of politeness? If so, then perhaps you need to think why. Otherwise, just keep asking!

    Hmm, this is not good. I mean, looking bored. If the partner doesn't exactly set you on fire, you can still play with the music, right? The follower can spice up a dance by her playfulness and musicality. A dance need not be boring just because the leader's repertoire is limited. You may well be right that the guys are boring, but the problem is, onlookers -- not just the guy you are dancing with -- can also see you look bored when dancing. That makes them think: "Raluca won't enjoy dancing with me unless I've got loads of cool moves. I'm not (yet) good enough for her." So that way you are making things worse for yourself. I must confess I hate dancing with instructors who don't seem to enjoy dancing with people who are not as advanced as they are. You may not mean it, but it comes across as snobbism.

    This is hardly surprising. When I was a beginner, I was scared of all good dancers and only danced with them when they asked me. The only one I would ask was my own teacher. I am grateful to advanced dancers and instructors who were patient enough to keep asking me to dance and nurtured me as a dancer. As an instructor, you are doing a great service to your local scene by asking beginners to dance. Don't forget -- it's not just about your enjoyment now; it's also about developing your scene so you can reap the reward in the future.

    Keep inviting girls if no men are available... as my local scene is follower-heavy, I really appreciate it when women who can lead ask me to dance. And I have danced with some wonderful female leads, who can make you melt on the dancefloor!
  5. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Well, I don't have a problem with asking them! Really, I don't! But sometimes they just sit down and I'm next to them and still I don't get asked!
    About being bored... I know it looks awful, especially for an instructor... but it's just my face! And if I play with the music I get the :shock: look!
    I saw how it looks when you're bored on the face of a friend last night! She enjoys dancing with my partner and whenever he asks her she's smiling all over! But when others ask her, she never says no and daances as if she's sooooooooooooooooo bored! It's funny!
    The thing is I use the "frozen smile" - my version of trying to smile while bored... :( I guess it looks horrible!
    I am trying to control it... but it's hard! And again, it's not necessarily the no of moves they know, it's the "thinking part" that makes it bad! I get those "She's an intructor, I gotta be good, God I suck, What to do next?!" looks... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
    They apologize even if I make a mistake! And I usually tell them "I made the mistake, sorry!"... I don't want to be considered a snob, but the truth is they do not want to learn! Some started to attend my classes and I get the :shock: :shock: :shock: looks when I talk about proper technique and proper leading and proper basic step! Some never come back!
    And then they invite me and push and pull and think they're great!
  6. tj

    tj New Member

    You could always do what most Instructor/Advanced dancers seem to do. Form a performance group/dance troupe...
  7. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    :) tj, let me tell you the following:
    - I currently teach in a club, 3 nights per week... it's d@rn near impossible to find another place... we've tried... I should rent a space and make a studio... but I have only about 15-20 students, meaning I make around Euro 200 a month... the rent for a suitable dance studio is around Euro 600...
    - I have a day job... most dancers I know do... those who don't are students... it'd be hard to find people and train them just 'cause I'm bored...
    - Salsa troops are hardly ever required for shows... here the fashion is house music...! To find people, train them and tell them it's for nothing... :( there are very few people sharing the same passion as I am... :(
  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    How about a leader's perspective.

    I dance with everyone. But when people look bored I don't dance with them. Why would I bore you when I can dance with those who enjoy my dancing? Yes, I can improve by doing this, but I'm dancing for pleasure as well, my pleasure, so my dances with the bored advanced dancers will be limited.

    Okay I'm a beginner and people see me often enough that they may wonder why I'm not getting any better. However, they don't know my history. This time last year I was petrified to dance because I didn't know how to to start moving according to the rhythmn of the music, and still it's tough for me sometimes. :(

    I do simple and few moves because I'm trying to learn musicality. I'm trying to listen to the music and respond to it. Perhaps others first learn moves, tons of moves, and then a couple years down the road they realize they are not dancing to a metronome. I loathe doing moves for the sake of doing moves, just as you get bored with those who do only a few moves. Where does that leave us? We don't dance with each other, and I dance with those who will enjoy the few moves that I do - the beginners.

    I dance with beginners and I see the delight on their faces. I do besito and el dos, the sweetheart and xbl. The thrill that I give them makes my dance and makes theirs.

    Now this is for salsa. For cha cha and bachata and merengue I'm fine. I have enough moves and often am reasonable confident to do a variety that I can keep the advanced follower from getting that bored look, respond to the music, and enjoy myself.

    My 2 cents or 3.
  9. Vin

    Vin New Member

    I know that being a lead it is different but I am in a lead heavy scene, note to self, visit Bucharest.
    Anyways Squirrel, I know someone who has some similar issues, she is a great dancer, extremely attractive yet she hardly ever gets dances. In my opinion it is because she often times just looks extremely bored when she is dancing. It wouldn't be so bad but when she dances with certain people she tends to come alive.
    I used to have this same problem as well, I have done two things (subconsciously) to combat this:
    listen to more and more salsa music. As I listen to more and more of it becomes easier to appreciate it. Then I can get the enjoyment purely from listening to a great song.
    Flirt alot more, I hate to say this in a public forum like this but looking back it seems like the amount I flirt with my partner during a dance is inversely proportional to how much I would enjoy the dance without the flirting.
    With your students you have to remember that you are the instructor, in some sense you have a salsa superiority over them. I don't care how good I am, the person who places themselves up there as the instructor is intimidating because you are always going to think they are judging your dancing.
    With the other advanced dancers, I would chalk those up to personality conflicts rather than any sort of dance related issue. I sometimes shy away from dancing with someone who has a boyfreind or partner, especially if the boyfriend or partner glares at me when we dance.

    Where I am at we have a much smaller dance community, I do teach sometimes, although I am phasing myself out of it. Another peice of advice that I have started implementing is to try and make my partner feel like they are the best dancer out there when they are with you. I know it may seem fake but rather than looking at it that way, just concentrate on those aspects of dancing with them that you do enjoy.
  10. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Guys, it's interesting what you are saying...
    You know, the girls never get bored with me when I invite them! Hmmm... maybe it's my attitude!
    Not with all guys, with some ... others have different problems :)
    Hmmm... but the reality is I AM BORED! What can I do to change it?
    Listening to more Salsa doesn't help, I listen ONLY to Salsa! Cannot listen more than I do!
    I know I was a beginner myself... and I probably bored a couple of leaders... the thing is I cannot flirt! I mean, unless I am attracted to the guy... and I am not attracted to any of them!
    I know it just puts them off when they see the bored look they get vs the glitter in my eyes and smile I offer my partner (or other advanced or not boring beginners...).
    Still I am very bad at pretending! I never could! One can read my face a mile away!
  11. tj

    tj New Member

    There are solutions to problems of no studio – it’s possible one of the other dancers will have a suitable spot or you could do your practices at the club you teach. It’s being done by a troupe in Seattle, for example.

    But this is getting off track…

    Bottom line is to have both you and your partner go out of your way to invite others closer into your social circle. How you actually do so is up to you. I’ve made great friends with some of the other dancers by just inviting people along for a bite to eat after dancing. We’ve had get togethers outside of dancing, too. Picnics, volleyball, getting together and playing board games or watching a movie together.
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I know the solution for our salsa dances raluca!! :idea: I'll dance as a follower and that way you get to dance with a guy and not get bored! :wink:
  13. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    :D Squirrel, TJ may be onto something. I think you should really consider doing a dance troupe. Not required for shows in your area? Consider creating your own shows. Self promotion may be the key. Throw this idea at your students, you may be surprised at their response. Money wise, maybe you can even meet them halfway. At the club where you're teaching the classes, maybe you can work something out with promotion for events. These are just a few ideas. I know it may not be easy, but please consider. You'd be surprised at how quickly people will begin to beat down your door to be inside your circle, not to mention more students later on. Best wishes...... :D :D
  14. Lita_rulez

    Lita_rulez New Member

    OK, throw in 2 extra "0" and you basicaly got the dance scene of my dreams ;)

    Well, if you are one of the very best dancer, that is understandable. I for one have not invited a follow for months at the begining. She is in one of the dancer I fel in love with when I saw her dance, hence I did not dare invite her, I was afraid I would boar her with my pety dancing...

    She did invite me 2 or 3 times over the course of 3 months, but I never invited her back. Not because I did not enjoy dancing with her, but simply because I felt she was so far beyond my reach that the few "mercy" dances she offered me were already more than I diserved (and could nervously withold without breaking down).

    Then someday, she actually burst out towards me like "And why the hell did I do to you that you never invite me whereas you allways invite other girls ? Do you not enjoy dancing with me ?"

    We have been apart for a while (a few months actually) and got to meet again on the dancefloor over a month and a half ago. Well, every time we do end up in the same venue, I do invite her (except last time, she did get to me before I saw her :p ) and I really enjoy dancing with her (though sometimes it still happens to me to forget I am supposed to be dancing with her and I'll just stop and look at her).

    But you see, it is not that I did not enjoy the dances we did when she invited me, it is just that I felt those dances were sort of "pitty dances" or "confidence growth dances"... Well, the kind of dance you give a beginner because you should dance with beginners, not because you want cthem to ask you back.

    Now that is wayyyyyy beyond me !
    I mean, what the hell is the purpose of traveling for dancing if you are going to take your partner with you and dance with him/her the whole time ??

    I went to the LA congress, with a group of 30 some french dancers. We stayed there for 5 days. Over that persiod of time, I have dance with 6 french follow, amongst wich 4 of them I had never danced with, and do not even live in Paris so I'm not going to dance with them back home anyways.

    The rest of the time (which probably adds up to... well, suffice to say I did not sit out a lot during the socials) I danced with as many different follow as I could, and this is probably the most enriching part of a congress, the one that makes your salsa level take a giant leap !!!

    Well, you could try and change your outfit.
    Very tight pants, very low waist, thong way up...

    Don't know if it is going to improve your dance evening, but it surely will brighten it for a few guys out there :twisted:


    OK, I'll let myself out...
  15. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Sorry I couldn't help more Raluca, next time I am in Romania I will dance with you, a salsa, I would never want to waste a dance by dancing a merengue with a fellow salsa addict.
  16. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Since you are a teacher, maybe you can help solve the problem by training your male students to be the kind of leaders you and other women want to dance with. You might even go so far as to ask them what they think they would need to learn in order to enjoy and feel confident dancing with advanced followers in addition to other beginners. Obviously it will be a while before your students start to feel like advanced dancers to you... but if you can help shape some good attitudes and start them on the path to the necessary skills now, maybe that will pay off as they (and the local dance scene in general) mature.
  17. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Squirrel, even if you are bored with the guys' leads, try as the others suggested, play with the music, play with the whole thing! One guy I know who is an excellent dancer tells me "I have only been dancing for 2 weeks" :lol: I know that he is lying, he knows that I know that he is lying :lol: but it makes us laugh, we relax and then we dance.

    Are there any "props" around that you can use? For instance, if you are dancing near the tables, break out into shines and then pretend to drum on them. If the guy laughs, and he enjoys the dance, chances are he will want more 8)

    Are you sure that some of the guys are not thinking - oh, oh. She has a boyfriend? A friend used to be asked loads of times and then when she met her boyfriend who is also a salsa dancer, the offers to dance dried up faster than a well :?
  18. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    I'd say at least in salsa, you can dance shines and still look pretty darn good. So dance shines and imagine your perfect partner is opposite you.

    Other than that... I guess your post has made me a bit more sensitive in asking instructors to dance occasionally too. It is a bit intimidating, but then again, I guess as a leader of a group, I intimidate a fair number of people too. :)
  19. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Just a wild idea that might work or might just be awkward: since you have a regular partner who perhaps also goes to the same event, perhaps you could enlist his help by having him casually mention to other guys how much you love to dance...
  20. tj

    tj New Member

    There have been nights in the past where the ratio was way off (and in my favor)....

    What tends to happen is that my favorite dancers get a lot more of my attention. Likewise, I know that they'll still give me a lot of attention when the ratio is in their favor.

    I don't know if I've ever experienced a scene as skewed as Bucharest's. But I get the feeling the same thing happens. People have their favorites, and stick to them.

    And it's ok to be honest that one is unchallenged by another dancer or doesn't have the greatest of times dancing with him/her. But this does result in good dancers not getting their fair amount of dancing. I'm in the camp that I'd rather dance with an Intermediate or Beginner that's having a blast than an Advanced who's bored. Why would I possibly want to waste my time and energy with a follow who's got a poor attitude when I dance with her? Especially when I can get a lot more enthusiasm from other dancers? Dancing shouldn't be about me having to prove my ability to my partner - it should be about us building a beautiful movement to the music together. (Boriken is the master about describing this....)

    So how do you solve problems like this (the scene being imbalanced)?

    Obvious answer #1: Travel!

    Answer #2: Become friends with the other good dancers.

    Answer #3: Make a beginner into an intermediate, an intermediate into an advanced dancer. S/he will remember who got them up to speed.

    Answer #4: Work on styling/musicality/flava within your partner's dancing.

    Answer #5: Have a big event and put your city on the "salsa map". It'll attract visiting salser@s who are in town. Or better yet, they're making a trip just to check out the scene.

    And if all this still doesn't work? Well, it's time for a break...

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