Salsa > Salsa Tug of War

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by MapleLeaf Salsero, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member


    First of all I would just like to say that this is an exceptional Dance Forum. I consider it to be the best on the Net not only because of the useful topics being discussed, but also because of the level of interest and knowledge of the people who participate in the threads.

    I would like to know if anyone can help me with a problem I have when I dance salsa. Here goes…

    I dance LA style and have a fairly light lead. With some girls (usually beginners), I find myself literally being pulled towards them at about 100 miles per hour. For instance, I sometimes lead the lady in a simple turn and as she completes her turn, I do a turn in front of her. While I’m turning I sense a strong pull from her which throws me completely off balance. This is very irritating. I don’t like being thrust to floor in a middle of a dance. My idea of dancing is that it should be light and smooth, not some kind of tug of war game.

    Can anyone give me advice on this? It is probably my fault, I may be doing something wrong. :?

    Thanks and regards,
  2. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Hi ML Salsero. Welcome to the DF. I'm a follower so I'll let the leaders help you out. :D Just wanted to say welcome!
  3. The first thing that popped into my head is that maybe your partners are anticipating that you are going to lead something else, and so they are pulling you into what they think you are about to do. But if this is happening with more than one or two partners, then it's more likely to be something you are doing, and I don't know what to tell you.

    Maybe your followers are expecting to be turned a second time? Are you getting your hand(s) above your own head in time for your turn?
  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Hi MapleLeaf Salsero... and welcome to the Forums! :D

    And thanks for the appreciative review of the DF!!! :D :D :D

    As far as your question, this is also one of those "I can't be sure without seeing it" items :)() but I'll try to give it a shot. First off, you should be keeping your partner as close to you, as she turns, as you possibly can... this will mean that, when you then turn, you are close to her as well. Second, if possible get her as far around as you can before starting your own turn... all the more important with newer followers. Third, make sure you are turning under your own arm, not hers or your connection... either of which will create a pull that she is likely to exacerbate. Fourth, make sure you complete your turn before the next "1" count, and as early in the "7-8" count as you can (personally I do my entire turn on the 7 here)... otherwise she'll be initiating her own back rock on the 1, adding to pulling you off axis, before you've finished settling (all the more of a problem with some beginners who dance strictly to the music and don't yet wait to be lead).

    Aside from all of this, also keep in mind that you just may not be able to pull this off with all beginners... :?

    Whatever else, don't sacrifice your commitment to leading as lightly as necessary just in order to execute something that may be beyond the current capabilities of a given partner.

    Hope some of this proves helpful! :D Best of luck and keep us posted, ok?

    P.S. Your name, avatar, & location combo through me off... I really didn't expect Portugal form a MapleLeaf! :shock: :lol:
  5. SDsalsaguy's ideas are very good. I wish I had thought of more of those points. The distance thing should have been obvious.
  6. xstasy

    xstasy New Member

    Welcome Mapleleaf,

    From a chic's perspective, i can point out some problems I've had with guys (perhaps you can relate to one of them...)

    * Guy is much bigger than me- what tends to happen if he is not very smooth is that he holds onto my hand while turning and I am unable to reach out to his hold, hence, causing me to pull on his hand- making us both feel off beat. Possible solution- let her go while you do your turn and pick her up again upon completion.

    * Arms are extended too much- when extending I've been told I should extend as far as my arm will go without completely straightening it- keeping my elbow bent- at times I or the guy will fully extend an arm and a huge space is left between us causing too strong a spring action & taking too much time to close the gap. Solution-also extend your arm less- dont allow it to straighten out, leaving less of a gap between you & your partner.

    * Hand grip- if you notice your partner has too strong a hold on your hands (i've done this when i get nervous- depending too much on his grip for fear of i dont know what) loosen her grip- even before you start dancing or after you've noticed- show her how she should hold you- believe me- i'd still be breaking men's hand bones if i had not been told (repeatedly) to loosen my grip. A way-too-strong hold can cause tons of problems- including tugs that can throw you off balance, beat, even the standing position

    I'm sure i will think of more scenarios once I've posted this- so I will keep you..."posted" as they come up....
  7. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Welcome to the forums MapelLeaf Salsero,
    I too second the distance thingy thingy. At times a dancer gets off beat and tries to pull a spin before they should. For example, spinning on the 5 as a male before getting to the 6. By the 5 the lady should have just finished her spin, and the male is prepping for his turn. If you spin on the 5 when the 6 hits a beginner follower is likely to back step and pull you with her in attempts to keep the connection. It is a good practice, for those moves where both dancers aren’t spinning at the same time, for the leader to wait until the follower is done spinning.

    The times when I’ve felt pulled it has been because I have either gotten too far from the girl, before, or during the spin, the girl takes too large of a back step, and has neglected to let go of my hand, or the girl is the wild type who can’t wait for you to finish before she is gone. What I have done to solve the problem is not have any kind of grip to the lady when I do an under arm spin. I’ll keep 2 fingers pointing up against her palm and spin that way. This way I am not depending on her to spin and will prevent her from throwing me off balance for whatever reason. Usually before I do an under arm spin, I tap the girl letting her know that I’m going to do my thing and for her not to go anywhere.
  8. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Hi Guys!

    Thanks for all the great advice!

    I had never realized there could be so many possible causes. Anyways, this weekend I went out dancing and tried to apply some of this advice on the girls that usually pulled me. I discovered what my problem was.

    Advice: Stay close to your partner
    I realized that my turns weren’t consistent. At the beginning of the night, when my body is a little “stiffer”, I tend to stray away from my partner which causes a pulling effect. Only after I’m warmed up do I manage to do the turns closer.
    Advice: Turn under your arms
    This was my main problem. I was not turning under my arms but hers and mine. After realizing this, I tried locking my arms during turns in a comfortable position for me and her and realized that she would no longer pull me towards her because she sensed a stiffness in my arms. It worked! Yes!!!

    The height difference, I had never thought of that!! Interesting…

    Girl takes too large of a step backwards
    Some of the girls did this which caused the pulling effect. However after I locked my arms, they instinctively took smaller steps because they sensed the stiffness in my arms.

    P.S. SDsalsaguy, I’m from Portugal but lived in Canada when I was younger. This is why I chose the maple leaf avatar (and besides my favourite hockey team was the Toronto maple leafs :) ).

  9. looyenyeo

    looyenyeo New Member

    I think the posts that precede this one have covered the main issues, verified by the feedback.

    If I may add this consideration: when you turn yourself, you should ensure that the hand you're turning under (assuming a high-handhold) stays still relative to your partner, not yourself. This is called a neutral turn. Otherwise your partner could misconstrue the forces transmitted through your hold as a lead.

    You can read more about it in:

    Although the content targets merengue, the principles are equally valid with any flavour of salsa.

    Hope this helps,

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