Salsa > Salsa & sex

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by brujo, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. brujo

    brujo New Member

    I'll throw this one in the mix. When I started dancing, it was all about the way the dancing feels. You did moves and everything, but the idea of 'showing off the woman' was never introduced. You just went out with your friends and danced, doing fun stuff to try to get the girls to smile.

    When I started taking lessons, everyone was talking about 'showing off the girl'. And the moves that people were learning became flashy and complicated. There was really no connection to speak of, and the music is forsaken for the sake of high technicality and patterns. Sometimes when I dance with a latin or non-studio girl, all that seductive / flirty energy comes out without being downright sleazy. There can be great intense eye contact, and within the moves, there will be the nice little touches we both add in to make it fun. When you dance with a studiohead, however, all that magic seems to be lost, there is almost no eye contact, and she will always seem to be counting the steps in her head while not giving any feedback or eye contact back.
     
  2. vey

    vey New Member

    I've heard this phrase (that salsa is about 'showing off the girl') quite a few times as well :!:

    What do you think, guys, does it seem like a wrong message altogether, since it implies the presence of spectators/on-lookers, and, moreover, it implies putting on a show for them :?:

    Or is there a grain of truth in it (e.g. suggesting leaders not to concentrate solely on themselves) :?:
     
  3. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    My experiences are similar to yours, Brujo.

    When I first started to dance there were no formal classes or studios (they were for Ballroom only) for salsa. It was a fun street dance shared by Latinos (some can dance better than others, but we all had fun) & the few of us who became part of the clan.

    Some salsa clubs did little informal 'class' thingies before the bands went on. That was the extend of it. We went dancing because we love the music & the fun atmosphere. The seduction side of salsa was a known factor & we love it. It was like a license to flirt :lol: without getting in trouble. Things could only go as far as anyone allowed them.

    Things were cool until studios realised money could be made from salsa. All of a sudden all the flash moves got imported (mainly from USA), 'elite' students were produced who eventually turned into 'elite' dancers. They make a scene on the dance floor and all of a sudden more people got aspired to be that way.......

    Then you get this current gymnasium style salsa at all the clubs. All of a sudden it's more important to impress the crowd, nevermind about the feeling of the person you are dancing with! Seduction...? Who has time?
    If you make me look good let's meet here same time next week for more.. :roll: ! The dance floor became a showcase of all the classes/workshops one had invested in.....!

    I am not saying this current system is wrong. But clearly, some essential elements of salsa (as we knew it) had been misplaced/forgotten/never taught. 'Studioheads' are not aware (or not interested) in all the multiple layer of this dance as a lifestyle. For most, it's a great medium to show-off in a socially accepted manner, nothing more.

    Only through communicating are we going to improve this situation. Forums such as this one is an excellent place to start. Get talking, exchange ideas/experiences. Interact and dance (really DANCE) with each other. We can't bring the good old days back (and do we really want to, anyway?), but we can creat a better future, so people don't miss anything (least of all, fun!).

    This way, salsa is still sexy :p !
     
  4. vey

    vey New Member

    I think I know exactly what you guys mean. But please do not dismiss us, studioheads, altogether :lol: we might still come around.
    My first few times out dancing salsa (without taking any lessons) I was feeling SO GREAT, relaxed and happy like a puppy :lol: But when I started taking classes, I realized the enormity of my undertaking and I lost that feeling that I had during my first salsa dancing, I started sacrificing some of the eyecontact/connection while concentrating on move/step execution etc, but now, after a few month of intensive lessons, websurfing and, of course, DANCEFORUMING, I've developed a certain understanding, a feeling rather, of priority of human contact over steps and techniques and I am ready to come back. :lol:
    Watch out, here I come :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:
     
  5. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    IT'S HOT IN HERE :twisted: :p :p :shock: :p :D :banana:

    Growing up I remember salsa (as danced by the adults around me at the time) as a sexy dance. Then, many years later I took dance lessons and wondered - why isn't it all that great - (merengue lessons were even worse - the dancing REALLY sucked - no connection, just pretzels and turns). Yeah, I had guys tell me - girls LOVE spins "it's what they do in the clubs". I spin but don't care to be spinning myself to the floor (sarcasm). Something's definitely lost. However, I don't want a man I barely know to c'mon to me so to speak so I'll take the spins to start off with. There is a narrow line between dancing sexy and dancing inappropriately (groping).
     
  6. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    I always thought that "showing off the girl" meant making the girl look good. What a paradox - from what I see posted, it sounds like it's really about the guy showing off, period.

    At a East Coast Swing/Lindy Christmas party recently, we had a salsa performance - they did dance quite sexy (not necessarily due to connection but due to overt guy going down moves/viceversa and also had multiple spins as well. One of the guys in my group who is an experienced Lindy and West Coast Swing dancer said in all seriousness "I could never be a salsa dancer. You'd have to be arrogant and really like to show off". That perception alone sure keeps potential dancers (with better attitudes) from joining in.
     
  7. brujo

    brujo New Member

    This is what bothers me the most about the perception of salsa being sexy. People keep having this idea that it is sexy, but with that connotation, also a magnet for the sleazy dirty old men type. Sure I can dance sexy, but most of the time I stick with playful or funny unless I know the girl well and can relax with her ( all acording to the music of course ).
     
  8. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    But isn't this a key to the problems that we seem to be talking about? Since when can't sexy be playful and funny? How often, when looking at all of those lists about desired mate/partner characteristics, is "funny," or "sense of humor" near the top of the list... especially when you ask women! So why wouldn't that translate into dance as well?
     
  9. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    This is exactly what this means Dancegal, no mistake on your part!

    I think where this gets out of hand is in the implementation. To me what this means is that, first and foremost, I take care of her. It means that I don't put her in awkward positions. It means that I don't lead her in moves above her ability. It means that, whatever else, I don't lead things that make her feel less good about herself or her dancing. These, to me, are the very basics of "showing off the girl."

    Beyond this basis, however, I want her to walk away from the dance feeling good about herself and her dancing . . . the real point of "showing off the girl." She is unlikely to do this if she feels like an idiot or feels like you are going to make her look like an idiot. So I lead HER, not moves or patterns. Do I do moves/patterns? Sure, of course I do... but they are not what I am leading. I am dancing with a woman, not a piece of dance equipment. So I touch her the way I would touch a woman. And I communicate with her the way I would communicate with a woman. This, to me, is "showing off the girl." Leading her, and not patterns. Making sure that she looks good, not that I do.

    Just my opinion...
     
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    SG… you bring up an important point. Confidence.* It is very, very hard (if even possible) to be sexy without it! Sure, we’ve all seen those trying to be sexy…be it in dress or demeanor. But they usually fail (and often miserably at that). Why? Precisely because they are trying. I think the same thing happens with dancing. How often have we seen newer dancers (usually women) who know that their hips are supposed to “go” and trying to move their hips? It does not look good (or sexy!).

    So yes, SG, it may take a little time to gain enough confidence to be able to let one’s dancing to be sexy. The only point I want to stress is that such confidence is possible regardless of “level.” Someone may only dance a basic step, but the question is still if they do so with confidence? What this means is that confidence is not dependent on level. Doing what you do well (not just a subjective assessment!), and then knowing that you do it well, gives rise to confidence…and that opens up the space for sensuality.


    * I think a typical mistake, both on the dance floor and in life, is substituting arrogance for confidence – someone who is confident feels no need to act confident after all. I think arrogance in place of confidence well explains many of the dynamics and situations that we’re all complaining about.
     
  11. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    I haven't read all the posts to catch up yet, but seems like I'm seeing 'studio' dancers painted with a broad stroke. I know plenty of studio dancers that have sabor and don't show off just for the hell of it. I also know street dancers that are blatant show offs so lets steer clear of that road.
     
  12. brujo

    brujo New Member


    The word mambo comes from the Ñañigo dialect spoken in Cuba. It probably has no real meaning, but occurs in the phrase "abrecuto y guiri mambo" ("open your eyes and listen") used to open Cuban song contests. In the Bantu language of West Africa, mambo means "conversation with the gods" and in nearby Haiti, a Mambo is a voodoo priestess.

    [http://www.laventure.net/tourist/prez_bio.htm]


    To distill salsa into nothing but a mating ritual is an excellent idea. This way, we don't have to teach each other about the intricacies of the dance. We can just have studio lessons on vacunaos and pelt our entire dances with pelvic thrusts. Surely nobody is interested in anything but sex based on the bulk of North American beer commercials. Better yet, let's market salsa like beer ~> Salsa: the king of dances. Salsa : Go get some cross body leads.

    In fact, when you dance salsa, you are just horny. You know the Puerto Rican grandmothers shaking to salsa in the kitchen? They are just waiting for a handsome mailman to jump in and get it on to the raw, saultry rhythms of Hector Lavoe. Viva Salsa Romantica!
     
  13. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    And obviously that's exactly what I meant, right? :roll:
     
  14. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Boy SD, :notworth: :notworth: :notworth: :notworth: :notworth: , I truly enjoyed those posts.

    What makes salsa so sexy is the same problem that attracts sleaze balls to the salsa world. Lets face it, if salsa wasn’t sexy, we wouldn’t be speaking of it on this thread. Salsa is such a sexy dance that it brings those individuals who are there just to dawg the ladies, hence, causing the ladies to be on the offensive all the time. How many times haven’t we seen those fast spinners looking down at the girls chest of back side in hopes their dress can come up a little higher to take a look. There needs to be no touching nor sensual dancing for a person to feel uncomfortable or violated by someone else.

    Many, Many, Many men and women can’t differentiate between being sensual, and being sleazy. Too many times I’ve danced with women who have literally raped me on the dance floor. I’ve been grabbed in certain places where I shouldn’t have, I’ve been told things I should have, I’ve been forcefully pulled to touch things I don’t want to touch. I’ve had just about every move a person can sleazily make to another done to me. For God’s sake, I’ve had women I don’t know from a fly on the wall come out of a spin with their mouth open ready to slap a wet one on my lips. Thank Goodness that my Lady Love laughs it off. There is a thin line between appropriate and inappropriate, what is allowed with your love mate isn’t necessarily with the person down the street. So, where do we as dancers, draw the line between what is sensually allowed and what is taken as a sleazy on the dancefloor?

    Lastly, because I am dancing sexy it doesn’t mean that there is any kind of further implications than a dance. This truly seems an impossible measure for some individuals to understand. I see it as, those folks who you smile to passing by on the street and they automatically picture you in their next sexual escapade. All from an insignificant to you human behavior, but obviously misinterpreted by the other person, there is just no way to get away from those individuals whose raging hormones don’t let them think correctly. If they are found on the street chances are that a sample population matching exactly what is on the street will be found on the dancefloor. The only way I see the girls protecting themselves, is to be on the offensive all the time, even if the few smooth/sensual male dancers have to suffer until they have proven it as a style rather than a dawging behavior.
     
  15. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    I absolutely agree here, SD :D !

    Too many people cross the fine line between confidence & arrogance :roll: !
     
  16. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Woah... praise indeed from our resident wordsmith! :notworth:

    Thanks Boriken! :D
     
  17. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah... this is definitely one of those appearance vs. substance items that seems to go awry far too often, isn't it?
     
  18. To the extent that fast salsa dancing is or can be sexy, I think it has more to do with a common energy between the two than any other similarities. It has more to do with intensity, with getting into a certain zone. It's not a matter of speed itself being sexy, but the energy can be similar to the energy of sex, even if I prefer sex--the whole process--at a stretched out, leisurely pace. I'm not interested in the dancing being a realistic, representational, portrait of sex; I'm interested in it being a more formalized abstract expression of sexual energy, or maybe some energy even more basic than that.

    I do like sensual salsa dancing, when it's done with taste. Different people will have different ideas of what that means. I am not personally comfortable with being extremely theatrical in my dancing, so play-acting a lot of flirting doesn't work well for me. And I definitely don't like overly raunchy moves. I actually had one instructor in a workshop teach a move in which we were instructed to dramatize the fact that we were "checking out" our partner's breasts and @ss. (This is how the teacher described it.) I'm not saying that I don't look at women's bodies in this way, and I'm not so pure that if your showing flesh, I'm not going to look. No way. But I am not interested in dramatizing that.
     
  19. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    I bet that technique sure took lots of DANCE skill (SARCASM!!) :evil: :shock: . The types of instructors as described above sure help propagate the sleaze balls coming into the scene. It's turned me off somewhat towards the dance. I'd be crazy (as a single female) to dare go into a club solo. Experiences like Boriken described earlier are a real turnoff. I feel WAY safer with the swing crowd, even during blues dances which are by nature sensual. I just hope that my future SO will want to salsa. It's sad to have to be on your guard about this, but it's simply something women end up having to do :( .
     
  20. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Dancegal's comments got me thinking... is it also different at different clubs where you all live? Here there are clubs where you know you'll get the meat market scene and others where you know it's mostly dance. Of course there are some guys on the prowl in the second set of clubs as well, but a woman could show up by herself at this second set of locations and still have a good not of (only) dancing.
     

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