Swing Discussion Boards > Swing vs Salza

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Black Sheep, Apr 6, 2003.

  1. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Mumbo Jumbo,
    Last week I read a commentary on Margie Kate's forum accusing 'Salsa as killing the Swing scene'. It is obvious to anyone attending both dance Venues that the Salsa dancers significantly outnumber the Swing dancers, and the disparity is increasing all the time. This trend, however can be reversed or at least curtailed. My humble solution is given below.
    First, a bit of Salsa history: When the Mambo was introduced into New York by the massive immigration of Puerto Ricans after WW II, Arthur Murray found a way of simplifying the dance by changing the rhythm so the dancers accented the down beat instead of the up beat. Today the Salsa is actually the Arthur Murray version of the Mambo. Again, do not trivialize this difference of accenting the down beat instead of the up beat. If you truly dance the Mambo, then you know THE RHYTHM changes the mood of the dance considerably. So that's how the Mambo became corrupted and simplified into the Salsa.
    Now to understand why the Salsa is increasing in popularity, probably at the expense of Swing, there are two reasons that I propose: One is the increasing Latin population here in Southern California, dancers who are nurtured in the Latin rhythms. And the second reason I proffer, is the relative ease in learning Salsa compared to learning Swing. Just as Arthur Murray simplified the Lindy Hop into the West Cast Swing, he simplified the Mambo into what is now called the Salsa.
    How can we improve the vitality of the Swing dancing crowd and increase the Swing dancing population?
    Here are two steps that I would take if I ran a Venue:
    1) I'd hire competent teachers, who concentrated on the few basic steps with a focus on techniques of leading, syncopated rhythm, and footwork (placement). Make certain new comers 'get it' before they hit the street!
    2) Since Salsa dancers outnumber Swing dancers by the MANY thousands, I would do what was necessary to attract Salsa dancers. How? Throw in a few Mambo records along with the Bal, Charleston and Shag recordings during the Swing band's intermission. Do not change to a Latin Band as one of last week's commentators envisioned. It would help if the good dancers sacrificed a couple of dances during the evening with strangers.
    Salsa Venues are attracting dancers away from Swing Venues, why not do a little proselytizing?


    See you at Suzy Q's this Friday,

    Black Sheep
  2. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    You're looking at it all wrong...

    I hate to start out any post with such a negative comment, but this is being looked at totally wrong.

    I myself am a Salsa dancer. Why? I simply enjoy it, I love it, and how I feel when I'm dancing is something that's difficult to explain.

    A general rule in marketing is that you can NOT fall in love with your product, no matter how great it is. You MUST fall in love with your MARKET.

    You see, a lot of people don't realize that pushing your "product" to the masses without them really wanting it, is completely counterproductive.

    Now, this is the same situation here. You cannot push on the masses what you feel is something that brings you so much pleasure, even if it is the best dance in the world. It just doesn't work like that.

    I agree that if what you are after is more exposure to do creative things that will help you out, but thinking in terms of "Let's see how many salsa dancers we can convert" or vice versa, is going to lead no where fast.

    The hardest thing in the world to do is "sell" something to someone who doesn't want it to begin with. I don't care how much you're in the publics face, it just doesn't work.

    My suggestion is this:

    If you want to hold the "Us against Them" mentality, hey this is America and you're free to do so. But if you want to be successful, just ask what the people want. It's that simple. Find out what they want and give it to them. Realize that it really isn't about Salsa or Swing or having to choose between the two...it's about what the people in your area want.

    You can try to swim against the current, but you will tire out eventually...

    Hope this helps...
  3. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    I think Fernando makes some good points here, and there are distinctions that needs to be made between being a fan and being a promoter. Obviously a good promoter is something of a fan (otherwise their something of a hypocrite in promoting something they don’t actually think is of value), but promoting is about providing what people want. Certainly some degree of educating people, regarding the product in question, is entailed – and tastes can be influenced accordingly. On the whole, however, promotion is about catering to the consumer base.

    As far as the other side of the picture is concerned, personal taste is just that, personal. You don’t try to get classical music aficionados excited about rap, or vice versa, so why make such a big deal about salsa and swing? The music is very different and some people will like one, some the other, some both -- and many, many more, neither. Aside from the musical component (which is, of course, massive!), the manner of relating to one’s partner is also markedly different. WCS probably comes the closest to salsa but the two are still discrete forms. Just as with musical preference, some people will like one, or the other, or both, or none. The people who love lindy love lindy, those who love WCS love WCS, etc., etc. Certainly tastes and preferences may change over time, but I just don’t get the point, or even the undergirding mentality, of trying to convince someone that their tastes could be better.

    Just my two cents…or is that pesos?

  4. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    To those who disagree,
    I believe I overstated my case in the Commentary, 'Salsa vs. Swing', and a few responses to that commentary have served me some humble pie, which I deservedly accept.
    Controversy, no matter what the subject, is still the beginning of the creative progress. Differences of opinion are a healthy sign of cultural vitality. If I disagree with a person, I am not attacking or demeaning their character; I'm just disagreeing, period. And I have had my share of wrong thinking and regretful comments. But controversies are still better than mass group sheep-like thinking and behavior.
    How does this relate to Swing vs. Salsa? My true feelings about dancing is, I prefer a variety of dances when I go to a venue. And in my attempt to get Swing venues to play a few Mambos, I wrote that commentary, 'Swing vs. Salsa', that had the appearance of which Fernando Cruz so eloquently described in his commentary:
    " A general rule in marketing is that you can NOT fall in love with your product, no matter how great it is. You MUST fall in love with your MARKET.
    "You see, a lot of people don't realize that pushing your "product" to the masses without them really wanting it, is completely counterproductive."
    So I needed that Fernando 'exchange of opinion's to help clarify and improve my commentaries.
    I invite anyone to log onto my Web Page Lindy by Lanza for a little dance history of the 1950's in Hollywood with dozens of vintage dance photos of that era that you can download for your collection.

    Black Sheep
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2017
  5. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Fair enough...its not like any of us are anything more then human :wink:

    I see where you're coming from. For me, personally, however, when I go out salsa dancing I am going out salsa dancing! I don't even want merengues and cha chas, just salsa, salsa, and more salsa. But, then again, I truly am a salsaholic. ...And this is just my preference!

    Just as an interesting follow up to my salsaholicism, when I go to ballroom dances I do like a variety and mostly prefer for them not to play salsa—the setting usually doesn’t have the right “vibe” and there are rarely any club/street style salseras to really enjoy the music/dance with. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still probably dance them (it is salsa after all!) but, since I’m at a ballroom dance, I’d just as soon do more ballroom dancing. When I need my salsa “fix”, I’m heading elsewhere!
  6. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    I completely understand Black Sheep's point. I too like to listen to a variation of music. For me though, it's more Merengue, Bachata, and Salsa...

    I also agree with you and that differences of opinion are what make progress. We all learn from each other...
  7. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    I read a post from Yehoodi, a Lindy Hop discussion board expressing concern over this very same thing.

    Swing/Salsa - I love em' both. :D
  8. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I hear ya.
    I love to dance "and that's all I have to say about that".
    (note the Forest Gump avatar)
    Furthermore, dancing "is like a box of chocolates."
  9. Liz076

    Liz076 New Member

    8) Around my college, we actually try to intertwine swing and salsa. That way the two types can get to know one another. I think it helps everyone. People get moves off each other and the venues get more patrons. I enjoy both. :lol:
  10. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    ...and I think that is great. As long as people show up to dance and have a good time, it's great. What's the difference between combining Salsa and Merengue with combining Salsa with Swing?

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