Salsa > So how many salsa moves (patterns) do you know???

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by ChicagoSalsero, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. ChicagoSalsero

    ChicagoSalsero New Member

    Hello people, so I’m new to this website and I’m currently taking intermediate salsa classes, so I’m fairly new to salsa as well.
    I have been only dancing for a couple of months and I have been adding patterns as my dancing improves. My plan is just to master about 10 or so patterns and just stick with them, I don’t want to take classes forever or become a pro, I just want to enjoy salsa but have a few moves so that my dancing is not boring as it was at first when I started to dance. When I first started to dance, I basically just knew the basic step and the right turn for the ladies followed by my right turn pattern. Now I’ve just learned the cross over lead with a few turn options, and now I’m learning the in/out moves.

    So I am curious to know specially from the guys; how many salsa patters does the average salsa dancer knows???? Do you repeat patterns in a song?

    And for the ladies, do you expect your guy to know many dance patters???, is it Ok if he repeats a couple of patterns during a song?? Do you think is boring to dance with a guy if he only knows a few moves??

  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Remember.. its the QUALITY of what you dance...NOt the quantity
    ajiboyet likes this.
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    If you know 10 patterns, that's plenty. Guys who only have been dancing a few months, often know less than that. They definitely repeat patterns and I certainly expect that. It's not boring if the guy has a nice, warm personality, a clear lead, and good rhythm; that makes it fun. Focus on those things more than patterns. :)
  4. sambagirl

    sambagirl Member

    As a follower, I'd expect some patterns to repeat. What thrills me is what Jenny says above, plus musicality -- are you listening to the music? Can you hear a highlight or stop coming and and can you find some way to reflect it in your leading? What annoys me more than anything, in any social dance, is a leader hell bent on doing a particular sequence of patterns regardless of what is going on in the music, in the space around us, in how well we are connected, etc. It won't matter how many patterns he knows if what he's doing is built around displaying the patterns he knows, rather than dancing to the music with me.
    ajiboyet likes this.
  5. sambagirl

    sambagirl Member

    But I should add that if a leader is clearly a beginner, I am just happy to dance with him and explore this strange new world with him. Sometimes dancing with beginners is more fun than anything else.
  6. bafonso

    bafonso New Member

  7. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    Amen, Sambagirl!

    I agree that the majority of dancers can only fit a certain number of patterns into their repertoire before they start forgetting or phasing out the ones that fit their bodies and personalities less than newer ones they may be learning. I would say ten patterns is great, and you can always do variations of those patterns (through different arms, combinations, etc.). I would say focus on a few at a time until you feel like you're outgrowing them or are up for a challenge. At that point, definitely feel free to search out some new stuff. As long as you are not bored with your dancing, your partners won't be either.

    I loved Sambagirl's post because musicality absolutely makes the difference. If someone were to ask me to judge two different leaders, the number of patterns they can execute in a given song would not be my first, second, or even third consideration in offering an opinion. There are leaders who throw every pattern they can think of at you, but they are so disconnected from the music that you feel like some turning robot who has no say in the dance. The patterns you do need to serve the music and your partner.

    So my top three most important qualities in an enjoyable dancer (leader or follower)...

    Connection. Musicality. Character.

    You can't express these without a degree of technique or level of competence in body mechanics and movement of course, but having these qualities will also attract the kind of dancers that you want to dance with.
  8. lebowski

    lebowski New Member

    Good to know because I am the greenest of newbs!
  9. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    If I reviewed everything I'd supposedly learned over the years, probably 10-20 or more. How m any do I actually use? 3-5 in any one night. And most of them arne't that complicated, pretty low level steps. But even so, dancing with pro from another studio at a social a few weeks ago, she couldn't stop talking to both my pros and some of our mutual friends about how good I was getting.

    SO it's certainly not just about the steps. :)
  10. I like this post.

    As a pro, I know tons of moves from beginner to advanced level. And I try to mix em up, yes I will repeat moves at times, its no biggie...

    I think if you know about 10-20 moves that's a good start. However your attitude of I don't want to take lessons forever or know more than 10 moves, isn't ideal for becoming a good leader/dancer in the long run.

    Because there is much more to dancing than learning a few DANCE MOVES.
    You will need to learn exactly how to lead all these moves, how to mix them up so they can flow, and how to make sure you do it all to the timing of the music.

    As for moves, here is my best advice of how to learn new salsa moves
    .... Learn how to get into different endings from the same move. This may seem confusing. All I mean is that you need to learn 3 different endings to a "Hammerlock turn" for example OR 3 different endings to a "Cross body lead inside turn", etc...

    This will make your life much easier when you are trying to mix it up in social dance event. You may know only 10 moves, but with 3 endings to each move = 30 moves!

  11. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    If you want to learn patterns, move to L.A. There are many pattern junkies here. My daughter's ex-partner is probably one of the best. She danced with him this last weekend and I a swear to god, he did not repeat the same pattern twice. Of course, patterns do get old after awhile, hence....ex-partner. However, it does make a good show on the dance floor, in a novelty sort of way.
    ajiboyet likes this.
  12. sebi

    sebi New Member

    as tangotiem said, its all about quality, not quantity.
    But aniway, i knowabout 40, from very easy to master
  13. Kpacota

    Kpacota New Member

  14. salsaflix

    salsaflix New Member

    I'll second this again. Sometimes a follower will react positively to a move, or on rare occasions complement it, but doing something musically is much more likely to get a positive reaction. I wouldn't worry about 'only 10 moves' - a teacher of mine used to say its better to do 6 moves well than 60 badly!
    SDsalsaguy likes this.
  15. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    Fifteen thousand eight hundred and ninety six.


    But I definitely believe that it's important to learn to lead and be musical. I've danced in a couple of places, and here's what I've found out - a lot of salsa "communities" are closed communities, at least here. The people take lessons together and dance together, so they all know the same set of figures. So the men never really learn to LEAD, because everybody knows what's coming up. So the men struggle a bit when they dance with total strangers, or people from other places.

    For example, imagine someone bumps you from behind just as you start to lead a cross body lead, and all of a sudden there's someone at the place where your lady is supposed to end up. You should be able to stop the lady at 90 degrees or maybe more, instead of just going on to do a 180 and colliding.

    Or this place I went recently where the rueda dancers can be quite...ehm...physical to others. The moment the rueda formed next to me, I led the lady I was dancing with away, using cross body leads only, turning a little more than normal.

    The cross body lead is probably one of the first things you learn. But knowing and understanding how to control something THAT simple will make your social dancing better, even at a beginner level.

    Salsa is DEFINITELY much more than a bunch of steps. I like to think salsa is the Latino equivalent of street hip hop dancing. It's not a bunch of steps any more than street hip hop is a set bunch of steps.
  16. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    As Baryshnikov once said more generally: “dancing is what happens between the steps.”
    ajiboyet likes this.
  17. regis

    regis Active Member

    as you learn more steps than what people around you know you will find it hard to use those anyway. A good dancer will be able to follow you as long as you lead it well but not evryone is so intuitive and will only be able to follow what they know.
  18. learntodance

    learntodance New Member

    If you know around 10/15 paterns it is ok but remember that salsa entails also acceleration because it is based on Afro Cuban rhytm and percussions, so be ready and fit to go faster sometimes.
  19. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    Related question: what constitutes a figure? I've seen someone demonstrate a "single" figure that lasted well over one minute of moderate-speed salsa music.
  20. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    A " figure" is a variation that normally will use up 1 bar of music, or 2.
    Beyond that, they are "sequences" or " groups ".
    There also are "pre-cedes " and "follows " , or, if you will ,entries and exits . Those are not part of the figure one is doing, but, the means of getting in and out of, that specific variation ( another name for a figure ) .

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