Salsa > Want a dance, not a lesson

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by dancedude314, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Blaxican

    Blaxican New Member

    I would take that experience wad it up like the trash that it was and shoot her into the basket.
    My advice to you is simple: Just keep dancing. In time, you will develop your own style. Perfect your craft. I've danced with followers who may have had some issues, but in social dancing i just make it work. I am not saying i am a Salsa god and i have issues sometimes dancing more advanced follows. I sometimes get nervous dancing with a "star" i have never danced with like Magna Gopal, Azucena Perez,etc. In the end, I do what I can do within my arsenal to make it a good dance, and you should too.
  2. Catarina

    Catarina New Member

    Just wanted to chime in to say that getting unsolicited constructive criticism mid-dance is no fun, whether they are a good dancer or not. maybe she considers herself a good dancer, but is lacking in the social graces of social dancing and as such is not necessarily the most reliable source of information (what do i know though- maybe she is!?) ... don't let her comments in 3 minutes' time worry you too much about your form or your lead. as others have said, let your instructor do that.
  3. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Two different points. First, like everyone else I agree that the conduct in question is shameful. Period.

    Second, and separately, is your descriptions of your leading. On a CBL, for instance, I would not agree with using your left arm to "pull" the follow. But is that specifically what your teacher meant (vs., something they were saying in one particular instance)? If so it demonstrates a fairly flawed understanding (or at least vocabulary) of good lead/follow. Still doesn't excuse the unsolicited on-the-dance-floor-lesson though!
  4. dancedude314

    dancedude314 New Member

    I miss-spoke a bit when I first described how I do a CBL from open facing position. I later on elaborated on this. I'm used to DO-ing the move, not writing about it, so it's easy for me to be sloppy in the description. However, I certainly am instructed to pull a little bit with my left hand at the beginning in order to bring her foot forward. The right arm goes across her body to prevent her from continuing her forward motion during the slow beat. Then I use might right arm with a bit of support from my left to turn her 180 degrees.

    This is how I've been taught to do it for almost a year by a dance teacher whose opinion I have no reason to distrust. (She's been dancing her entire life, and is a sight to behold on the dance floor.)
  5. dosvueltas

    dosvueltas New Member

    I have to disagree slightly.

    When you're actually on the dancefloor on the middle of the dance, it's rude. UNLESS you're doing something stupid and dangerous, in which case for safety it's perfectly justifiable for the lady to tell you at the instant. For instance I see lots of idiocy when it comes to forcing moves, turning women without removing the thumb to allow free swivel, hammerlock moves, and being so out of time the lady is tugged and yanked uncomfortably, and so on. In these cases I wish MORE women would tell guys ON THE SPOT not to do these things.

    Out of the dance though, if someone sees a couple practising, and they are either befuddled, confused, and most of all, dangerous, I find it a moral obligation to at least try to give a pointer or two. Of course, done delicately, diplomatically, and nicely. This is a no-brainer for me when it compromises safety of the follower.

    When I was starting out and fumbling right in front of advanced dancers, who either just ignored me, rolled their eyes or outright laughed, and none of them lifted a finger when they could have easily pointed out that ONE thing I was doing wrong. I never forgot that experience.

    ONE pointer, ONE correction from an experienced dancer can be like a key that unlocks many sequential doors. Many a time, an experienced dancer has given me a key tip that, once applied, immediately helped MANY things fall in place. Now that I've reached a higher level, I try to do the same, especially when it involved safety.

    A lot depends on the ego of the recipient in these off-dancefloor cases. If it's taken well, I've made a small contribution to the development of a dancer. If it's taken badly, I don't do it anymore and just sit back and wait for the inevitable to happen.

    It has never failed to happen.
  6. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Well, I'm glad you're confident that you're doing it correctly, but.... still.... while I rarely say anything in salsa is WRONG, what you're doing could be done better by keeping your right arm bent. Your right arm needn't be crossed in front of her to keep her back. Pressure from your core, and through your arms and hands, keeps her back. If you have to "block" her with your right arm, then something's wrong there. You can open up on 3 (on1), provide appropriate compression, and with a halfway-decent follower, keep her there, without ever straightening the right arm or blocking her with it. For that matter, you can do the same thing with only a L-to-R hand hold, dropping the R-to-L connection completely. In fact, if you straighten your right arm, this should signal her to open up to her right a bit, and would signal many ladies that a turn is ahead--not what you intend.

    In addition, keeping separate "tracks" for your right and left arms (and, consequently, hers) in an open facing position with no turn done yet (except your 1/4 turn), as in your case, is a much cleaner look, and less pretzel-like than what you're describing. I'll try to post a picture of what I think you're describing later tonight and what I would do in the same situation. Again, none of this is trying to knock your teacher, because we all have different levels of expertise, styles, and opinions--just trying to make life easier.
  7. dancedude314

    dancedude314 New Member

    Well, I happen to like the "pretzel-ish" way to do the CBL. I know I don't absolutely have to do it this way. To be honest, I feel capable of leading a CBL with just the right or left arm from open facing position. However, the "pretzel" CBL was the first one I was taught. I think it looks good, and I enjoy doing it.

    I don't want to get into a debate about whether people *should* do a pretzel style CBL. That's an issue of personal taste--not an issue that we can resolve by pure thought alone.
  8. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Well, good for you--nobody's telling you to do it otherwise, just giving some feedback on that way versus others. Like you said, you like the way it looks, and you enjoy it--now, as long as SHE does as well, then it's all good bro.
  9. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    If this salsera is advanced, or has had instruction from other instructors, her comments may have some merit.

    I see salseros give mini-lessons to budding salseras on the dance floor all the time, at the clubs. It wouldn't surprise me if some dozen-or-more salseros in this salsera's past decided to give her a mini-lesson on the dance floor, or offer her a "private lessson". Next time, you should ask her for a "private lesson" :).
  10. Sabor

    Sabor New Member

    i always say to listen to 'advice' 'opinion' or 'lesson' if u wana call it that way.. it all depends on how its said and when.. an instructor is not necessarily right by the way.. actually i saw many who should take classes all the way from the beginning.. nevertheless, its always prudent to be open to anything different.. cause, u really never know in this form of art..

    its good to listen and think .. if she is right, then she done u good.. if she is wrong.. then, so what?.. i know people are touchy and dont like to be told what or how to do things differently.. but, if u are a person who is not easily intimidated and sure of yourself .. u will always gain no matter the experience
  11. dancedude314

    dancedude314 New Member

    Nah, I think that woman was full of it. Dance instructors may not be infallible but given the option, I'd listen to the instructor who had been dancing for 30-40 years over the random dancer that shows up to a club.
  12. tj

    tj New Member

    Lol, you know... you were the one asking for people's opinions of whether she was right or not, weren't you?
  13. dancedude314

    dancedude314 New Member

    The main thing I was asking about was the business with the hips. A lot of the replies I got were of the nature "maybe she had something valuable to say even if though it conflicts with what you learned." I'm aware of that, but taken by itself, this is not very helpful advice.
  14. Roo

    Roo New Member

    Just another thought on the side of what others were saying about safety... Though many "random dancers" at a club can be full of ****, as your partner they can feel what it feels to be connected and moving with you, which - if your instructor is also a guy and doesn't ever follow with you, he may not be able to point out something a partner could feel (though many can get it visually).
  15. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member


    Last paragraph: "I also wanted to know what people had to say about her comments, since, as annoying as she was, she may have had valuable information to give. The problem is, I don't know how to sort that information out, since, as I said, some of her comments contradicted those of my (highly qualified) instructor. For example, do I, as a man, have to worry about generating too much hip motion from toe-heel movements?"

    Given that most of your post before this quote was about the lady and what she did and you ask the hip question as an example..."as to how you determine how to sort information out" it is extremely misleading. Reading what you said I definitely thought that you were asking about how to weigh people's opinions, and the value of the advice you were given so far.

    Darn it!!! oh...welll.....
  16. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Well, we can't see your hips! So how can we tell ;) ?

    If you had just wanted to complain about a rude dancer lecturing you on the dance floor, you'd have gotten nothing but support.

    But if you ask for technical advice on DF, you're going to get some!
  17. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    Dancedude, the way to take ALL advice is with a pinch of salt. Even of the instructor you are paying for that advice. If you are now insecure about your wiggle, ask more people (but as waltzgirl points out, people who can see your hips!) ... when you have the advice of 10 people, you will have an idea of who was talking nonsense and who seems to have a clue. There's no hurry to resolve all conflicting ideas, take your time, seek to accommodate every opinion until you eventually build up a picture that is complete enough for you to reject some elements.
  18. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    I don't get unsolictated advice anymore. When I did, I didn't like it. Some people don't realise that dancing socially is different than being in class. Dah.
  19. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    Hip motion generated by toe-heel movements can be exaggerated or subtle. If you are doing the same movement as your female instructor, it may look too much simply because you are a man. Also, there may be a slight difference between ballroom hip motion and street salsa hip motion, and your hip motion may appear more ballroom-y (I don't know ballroom so I could be totally off the mark). And hip motion (particularly on a man) can look unnatural if the motion stops at the waist with no ribcage/shoulder motion to go with it.

    Or maybe the girl was talking rubbish. There's no way of telling if she had a point without looking at how you dance...

    As for the "teaching on the dancefloor" thing, I hate it when guys do it, but I still listen to all the advice I get (unless the guy giving it is *clearly* clueless). I try and adopt what they say and see if it helps. Some pieces of the on-dancefloor advice I received in the past have proved to be very useful.
  20. azzey

    azzey Member

    She may have been. Regardless, it is not your instructor who is on the floor dancing with the woman. It is you. Is there not a chance you may have only part of the picture? (i.e. that part given only by words)

    Having been dancing now for just over 5 years I still actively listen with my body to beginners and dancers of all levels in terms of how they react to my leading and then make adjustments on-the-fly and learn from it. Adaptation is one of the fundamental leading & following skills for good social dancing.

    A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to dance with 20 of the hottest professional dancers in the world. I could feel they all had different expectations in terms of leading & following, connection, how things should be done etc. Which one was correct? ALL OF THEM! Each dance required major adaptation on both our parts. It's those who fail to be flexible and adapt who fail to communicate.

    Every now and then a beginner-know-it-all might try to verbally teach me something (without realising I'm trying hard to dance at their level and without having seen me dance with someone my level), however I try hard to smile, listen and see what she's got.. feedback is hard to find unless you pay for private lessons. Friends will not often tell you straight. So take advantage while you can. Soon they may be too intimidated by your status to give you open and honest feedback!

    Btw, the dance floor is for dancing! That's why it's called a dance floor. It's hard enough getting a groove on to the music and a good conversation with your partner without them interrupting you all the time. If someone wants to show me/me to show them something lets take it off the floor to the side after the dance. Learning to follow a bit is useful as you can always respond by suggesting she demonstrate by leading and you follow. Following is fun and relaxing!

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