Salsa > Should styling be taught if......

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by salsachinita, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I am by no means an expert ddancer, but I'd love to watch someone try to use same styling in ny salsa cumbia and bolero. Suspect it'd give me some amusement and help me feel better about my dancing. ;)
  2. noobster

    noobster Member

    I dunno, I like it when people bring in elements from other dances.

    One young woman who had trained in flamenco always used to do the twisty wrists and hands, which looked beautiful. I like the ballet arms on certain turns as well. And women who have done belly dance bring in amazing isolations.

    I think as long as the dancer is listening to the music and incorporating elements that are in tune with it and are appropriately timed, she tends to look nice.

    The overstyling problem is a different one - it looks bad precisely because the dancer is not listening to the music, just repeating a pattern she has learnt.

    The problem Andresito discusses is also partially a problem of not-listening.
    If you open your ears to the timba you realize there's no way you can do ETon2 to that music; it feels awful.

    But also there's a point after which you can only do what you know. I don't know what you can expect from someone who has not been exposed to multiple styles of dance and music. Of course they are only going to dance what they know. I wonder if I would feel so strongly that it's impossible to dance on2 to timba if I had never been exposed to Cuban-style dancing.
  3. Andresito

    Andresito Member

    I think you are right there and my opinion was not considering this aspect.

    I grew up listening, watching people dance and dancing different styles of latin music. So even if I am no expert I know how a style of music has to be danced, to follow the traditions and styles.

    Moreover music is composed and played to be danced in some way.

    Colombians for example do very few turns but they have a much more swinging style and more complex footwork. Colombian salsa is then faster and more percussive ( Fruko y sus Tesos, Joe Arroyo, etc ) with a lot of cumbia influence.

    Cubans dance in circle spots with a lot of energy and a tension-release dynamic in moves where partners are closer, that is reflected by Cuban music as timba and charanga for example, fast and plenty of energy.

    NY and LA styles are latin dances mixed with other styles like hustle and WCS and involve daincing in line with a more flowy feel and much more "styling" while he lady is "travelling" the line... this is favored by the slower and mellower Puerto Rican and NY salsa.

    Bolero is a romantic dance, that is done without patterns, to dance cheek to cheek and take the girl to a promenade, something similar to the waltz in some sense, so the music is much slower...

    Rumba guaguanco is a ritual mating dance and his much more body movement and dancing in parallel with the partner, no turns or styling involved.


    But it is true. The students can only do what they have learned. But I think is also this what is lacking.

    Some teachers teach them just the technical part of the equation. much less they teach musicality, history of the music, cultural background etc.. etc.. off course maybe this is to ask way too much for a $10 lesson.

    I have even saw some couples doing CBL and spins on a merengue..... what more can I say...
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

  5. kayak

    kayak Active Member

  6. gtdaniel

    gtdaniel New Member

    I'm not sure if styling should be taught in an absolute beginners class, but my friend and I are going to be teaching for our university club in the fall, and we decided that we are going to introduce ladies styling early. From our observations in classes both at our school and in the area...ladies tend to fall out of the classes because they do not have as much to keep them occupied as guys do. Once you get past the first few lessons, most ladies will understand their part to the basic steps, while it will take guys longer to get used to the footwork, timing, and lead all combined. In order to keep the ladies challenged and interested, we hope to add styling elements to these basic steps so that guys and ladies are more on equal footing with regards to how much they have to take in. I've discussed this with a few teacher friends and it seems to be a good idea, but I always welcome other input.
  7. noobster

    noobster Member

    Obviously a Cubana with no ballet training is not going to do ballet arms. And yes, her earthy style is more 'authentic' and closer to the roots than the ethereal lines you'll get from a ballerina learning salsa.

    But I still think that's ok. It's part of the evolution of the dance. Nothing is static. You can't take a dance out of its social context, transport it to the other side of the world, and expect it to look exactly the same. It's going to become something different. But it can still look lovely.

    Uh-huh! ;)
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

  9. Andresito

    Andresito Member

  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Fully understood-- but we have to talk about todays construction, and by stating that there are no " basic " steps, can be very misleading.ALL things have a basis . If not-- we would be standing still !

    Also to use waltz as an e.g., is virtually a dance non sequitor . The construction ,the rhythm ( 3/ 4) plus a travelling dance , really bears no comparison. Slow, in and of itself , is non descriptive as to style or content .

    The reality is this --ALL dances performed today, bear little or no resemblance to the original-- thats a given .

    Musical scores, dictated by taste, have changed dramatically in all the genres . Have personally been dealing with this, from the student level, thru to my prof level, for more yrs than you care to know about .

    There are far more students who read these posts, than the more " educated ", in the intracasies of music and dance. I believe it is important, where possible, to be specific when "laying " down factual information.

    I should add-- there is no one who attempts to retain authenticity in their "latin " dances, than do I. ( I gave up on Intern. latin many, many yrs ago. )
  11. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Very true tt--people who claim that they teach or dance "authentic" versions of dances in general do no such thing--unless someone has been around at the time dances were in their infant stages, then how can they make such a claim? (Actually TT I know you are quite up in years and you were around for such things--I'm speaking about younger generations such as mine)

    Something I want to say about being "authentic"-- The word carries in general a positive connotation... but as dances evolve drastically in a matter of years or even months (for competitive latin, look at 15 years ago versus now--wow), we have to ask the question, is being "authentic" necessarily "better"? In some cases, for me, yes. But when I look at "authentic" versions of many dances, when compared with how they're danced today, I have to answer a resounding "no"!--I do NOT like the authentic versions better. Now, this will differ from person-to-person of course. But there seems to be some social norm that says "authentic is better" and so people who believe they're being authentic feel somehow more dignified dancing that way, and those who do not are put on (or sometimes put themselves on) a lower echelon of dancers, because it's not "authentic." (Is the "authentic" construction of a Model T Ford vehicle better than today's more reliable, fuel efficient, faster, sleeker versions?--maybe to some, but not to me)

    I personally like changes made to salsa and especially modern ballroom dancing as well. I can be just as true to the music, my partner, the soul of the dance, and its roots without dancing it the same way it was danced half a century ago.
  12. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Josh--- am mostly, in complete agreement with you.

    The musical evolution has certainly made an impact, that set up the new paradigm.

    When I say that I teach " authentic ", my inference is more towards the style ( cuban hold for e.g. ) and using " son " within the structure of what I teach .
    Musical education from the forties and fifties, with pachanga and charanga as stimuli, is always high on my agenda .

    And last, but by no means least, trying to get people to understand the structure, of the musical genre , and apply that knowledge to THEIR interpretation, of the dance.

    As you are well aware, the majority of people in classes, are looking for " instant " dancing, with 25 spins and a neck drop.

    I taught in your neck of the woods ( on and off )for close to thirty yrs. Know exactly what you have to contend with .
  13. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    Interesting thoughts, but the Model T analogy doesn't hold - an authentic model T does not have the accoutrements of a modern Ford but if you're claiming it's a model T then the original is better.

    I think the word authentic is as much about the correct naming of a dance or a move than it is about the move itself. Part of the authenticity crisis in salsa is that some thing salsa is really mambo, some think it's cumbia, some think it's casino... and since they all want to claim the name salsa there's an irresolvable polychotamy (like a dichotomy only with more than two sides. yes I made the word up. it's not authentic.)

    I think the word authentic is bandied about so much by commercially-interested people because it's a slander-free way of slightly implying that all your competition are frauds. However, the word is meaningless unless it's understood the exact original form to which the authenticity is claimed.

    What's the opposite of authenticity? If it's pretense, then there is a way for everyone to dance authentically - to do what they feel, when they feel it, without trying to imitate someone else. Then you ARE the origin and the authority for your own movements.
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

  15. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Yes sweavie, but I wasn't claiming that a modern car IS a Model T--I was claiming that IMO, a modern car is better than a Model T. I don't care if a dance style is termed authentic, new age, throwback, modern, or whatever--my point was that simply labeling something as authentic does not, in my opinion, make it any better, more desirable to look at, or more desirable to learn. Just like a food that has the "original recipe" may not taste as good to the consumer if, in his opinion, changes to the original recipe made the food taste better. Now don't go debunking my second analogy! :wink:
  16. tj

    tj New Member

    Back to the pizza analogy again, I see! ;)
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Does he have a pizza parlor ?
  18. tj

    tj New Member

    Yes, but it's not authentic! :tongue: :wink:
  19. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Can we go on the road with this act ??
  20. tj

    tj New Member

    Yes, we can borrow Josh's Model T. :)

Share This Page