Salsa > Salsa Timing and Feeling the Beat

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Shan, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Shan

    Shan New Member

    I am quite new to Dancing. I've only taken salsa for 1 month and have never really danced. I'm also quite stiff and awkward in general. Because of my relative inexpereince or maybe my natural lack of talent, I'm finding it difficult to identify the count in salsa music. I can generally pickup the beat in pop music, but salsa music seems a little too fast and too complicated for me. I can pick up 1 sometimes when its obvious, but generally im kinda lost.

    I try to keep count when i'm dancing in class, but dancing leading doing spins and keeping count is a little difficult all at once so i lose the count after a while and for there on i'm lost.

    a more experience friend of mine keeps telling me dance in public all the time but i a little apprehensive about screwing up in public, especially when i'm sober.

    So, I'd like to know if there are any effective techniques or exercises to help me keep count better, which dont involve dancing in public (Dancing in class is fine)?
  2. blackswan

    blackswan Member

    Play it on headphones at home and just do the basic, while counting out loud. It's simple, and you may feel silly at first, but it will sink in.
  3. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    Google for salsa clave. Try dancing to that.
  4. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    1 month isn't long, you've only just started. Give it time :)
    Shan likes this.
  5. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    You shouldn't be worrying about spins and fancy moves at this point - just focus on the basic fundamentals.
    Shan and Angel HI like this.
  6. Shan

    Shan New Member

    I've been taught a left turn, right turn and copa. Basically i've been trying mix these up. So nothing fancy.
    Angel HI likes this.
  7. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    I would recommend that you start with salsa music where it is relatively easy to hear the beat and practice your basic step to those songs. You can ask your teacher for recommendations, but songs that I have often used in beginner classes that I think are a good start are Micaela by Sonora Carruseles and songs from Pedro Conga's Eso Me Gusta CD (Eso Me Gusta, Donde Estas, and Regresa especially). In addition to practicing the basic step you can also march the 1-2-3, 5-6-7 in place and then around the room, seeing how much you can travel and change direction without getting lost. Counting out loud as you're doing this can be helpful, but try not counting as well. If even this is a challenge, ask your teacher if you can record a video of them dancing the basic to part of a simple song (or even clips from a few different songs) and mirror your instructor as you watch and listen to the video at home. You may want to do this in the context of a private lesson unless your instructor volunteers to do it for free after a class.

    Above all, listen to the music a lot and move to it a lot. There is no shortcut to doing this. It may be hit or miss at first, but your body will figure it out with time, attention, and effort. Hang in there!

    Oh, and you may also be interested in Don Baarns' Music for Dancers video series. Highly recommended for learning about pulse, groove, counting, etc. Here is a link to a playlist of all of the videos in that series:
    Shan and Jag75 like this.
  8. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Salsa timing is difficult! Not only are there several different timings and rhythms, there are different styles of salsa. All of this can be quite confusing. You have been dancing a very short time. Give yourself a break, and more time.

    In the meantime, here might be a couple of helpful thoughts. Joy's post is correct; there are many programs out there that might be helpful (many listed here on the DF; seek them out). Also, here's a start;
    1. Find a relatively slow and easy to hear salsa. Try to find the beat... 12345678
    2. Try to find the basic 'Salsa' dance beat... 123 567;
    3. If you are advanced enough, try to find the clave rhythm... 245 78 (if not, no worries at this point)

    PM coming. Hope it helps.

    Shan likes this.
  9. Shan

    Shan New Member

    Thanks a lot. I will follow your recommendation and get back to you in a few days.
    Joy In Motion likes this.
  10. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    Just a quick correction re clave - it's 1-2&-4, 6-7, and also 2-3, 5-6&-8. The & represents a half beat. The rhythm can be represented loosely as pa--pa--pa---pa-pa, pa--pa--pa---pa-pa.

    In general really familiarise yourself with the cowbell and conga first though :)
    Shan likes this.
  11. Shan

    Shan New Member

    what about the montuno? I can pick up the piano quite easily.
  12. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    The montuno generally emphasises the 1 but I wouldn't rely on it as a primary percussive reference...
    Shan likes this.
  13. Shan

    Shan New Member

    Thank. I'll do that.
  14. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    The app Salsa Rhythm is fantastic for breaking down the different instruments and becoming familiar with the counts - I'd recommend getting today if you can :)
    Shan likes this.
  15. longpham

    longpham New Member

    my english is not good. So i can't understand full yours. hic hic
  16. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    the 1st.. rumba clave ( 3/2) 2nd son ( 2/3 ).. the most popular in use today. A lot of old school mambo used rumba.

    And, the Piano is frequently a good source for distinction .
  17. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Was making a more general reference, but, of course, this is right. Merci

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