Salsa > Who Dances with Whom? -Human Nature at Work

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by peachexploration, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    From the Article Overcoming Some Fears Of Social Dancing - How To Get More Partners - Tough Talk For A Tough World
    - by "Doc Salsa" Himself, Steve Shaw

    Most people most of the time choose their partners for 2 reasons: 1) ability to dance at their level and in their style, 2) and friendship. And within the dance community, these two often go together: one's dancer friends usually dance at a similar level and in a similar style. By the way, this is also true in other dances like hustle and swing, and in sports and many activities where a skill is involved. If you play basketball or tennis, you usually play and hangout with friends of a similar level of ability. Whether this is right or wrong, fair or unfair, the fact is that it's just human nature. Generally, it's not "cliquish or stuck-up", it's just people naturally congregating together who enjoy and share a similar level and style of dancing, and a friendship involving shared views.

    For those who feel excluded, I would simply say that if you work your way up in terms of your dancing skills and style, and you hold similar views and make friends, most of these so-called "cliques" can eventually become the groups you congregate in, if that's what you wish. You can also find out what studio they go to or come from, and then go take classes there. This way, you become friends with them in classes and learn their particular style, and hang out with them at the socials or clubs. My point here is that they are not really "cliques" in the sense of being exclusionary, but rather people congregating together around shared skills and interests which, incidentally, is called "The Right To Free Association" in our U.S. Constitution.

    What do you guys think? Agree? Disagree? Why?
  2. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Hence a clique... Isn't that the term for a gouping of people... that is with the addition of exclusion because of any given characteristic, whether it is physical or mental.

    He basically tried to pass the right of preference as means to say that there isn't such a thing as a clique but people of different preferences who group together... Hmmmm.... CLIQUE CLIQUE. I don't see the 2 to be anything alike.
  3. jon

    jon Member

    I generally agree. One additional grouping factor he doesn't touch on is age range (though to a degree this translates into "shared views" due to a greater likelihood of common cultural background). The age factor doesn't go away simply by becoming a better dancer.
  4. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i think there's a difference when the commonality is something that each person can choose and/or change (like their views or beliefs or hobbies) vs. their ability vs. a physical characteristic (race/height/etc.). in the first case if you don't share that interest/world view, you're likely to be bored or in conflitc (not have fun) anyway, and in the second case, it's flat out prejudice. in the third case, i can see it as a conscious choice to maximize their own enjoyment (however that's derived).

    whenever a recreational activity is interactive, the facility of each participant has an impact on the ability to reach a goal - mutual enjoyment and working together smoothly. maybe in softball you can hide a weak player in right field or behind the plate as a catcher. but you can't do that in a sport like volleyball - or a casino rueda. when one person just doesn't have the ability/experience, no one else has any fun either.
  5. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Yeah Boriken, there are a couple of things that bother me with this:

    ....For those who feel excluded, I would simply say that if you work your way up in terms of your dancing skills and style, and you hold similar views and make friends, most of these so-called "cliques" can eventually become the groups you congregate in, if that's what you wish....

    Nothing wrong with choosing who your associates are but a "clique" usually institutes mistreatment of another because you are not a member. I've have a few experiences where no matter how close my views were to the Salsa Cliques, I still would not have been accepted. So why should you want to work your way up into something like that?


    ...they are not really "cliques" in the sense of being exclusionary, but rather people congregating together around shared skills and interests which, incidentally, is called "The Right To Free Association" in our U.S. Constitution.

    Not being "cliques" in the sense of being exclusionary? hmm...Again, nothing wrong with choosing your associates but I don't know.... :? maybe he should have used another word to better describe what he's trying to say. :?
  6. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I do agree with him that for you not to feel excluded then become part of the clique itself. hehe... Yeap, if you don't want to see a clique become part of it. That sould solve the problem of cliques. It always looks better from the inside looking out.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I don't want to be unnecessarily picky here, but why does he assume that, if you feel left out, you are the one who has to work your way up? Maybe you're at a higher skill level than people in the clique, and that's why you're being excluded.

    Or maybe you're too pretty and the girls in the clique don't want you anywhere near their men. Or maybe you're new and you just haven't been accepted yet. There are a billion reasons why people exclude each other. I think that's a fact of life.

    I do think the author was right, though, in saying that people of similar backgrounds, levels of dance experience and style tend to flock together naturally. :? I don't know what you can do about that, but I tell you one thing. I'm not going to go take lessons at a new dance studio just to be accepted by some cliquish folk. I just hang around the edges, and make friends with the friendly people. There are usually some of them, too. 8)
  8. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    Great thread, PeachE.......totally relevant to what I've been thinking about.

    Very true. In my view though, it's not neccessary working your way up, but rather working your way in (at least get closer).

    It's very easy to 'dismiss' the clique when one feels left out, then goes to form his/her own clique......cycle goes on. Then you end up with all these little cliques that don't associate with each other (kinda like high school...?). Hey, salsa is a social thing.....! Havn't we forgotten to be sociable :roll: ?

    So, I thought to myself, if dance style/abilty is the dividing point, why not try to follow what the other folks are doing, just for curiosity (instead of saying "our style is better" or "who do they think they are?" etc).....? I might learn something :wink: ! Whether I 'fit' the clique is of little importance at this point, as I've always got my friends around.

    This approach seems to work, eventhough it can be tough sometimes...

    Me neither. Not a good enough reason.

    Yep. Out of every clique, there is at least one approachable person. Start from them.
  9. mhgroove

    mhgroove New Member

    Who dances with whom?-Human Nature at work

    This is an interesting thread...because this speaks to basics of human nature. People by nature are social creatures and we need interaction amongst one another in order feel like they belong. Those cliques! I agree that people will hang with those who are on the same level, background, experience, or whatever. Still, I believe one of great things about salsa dancing and most Latin dancing is you have to interact with the opposite sex and learn to communicate with your partner. I must admit I'm a loner by nature and the friends I have I had for at least 10 years or more. But, now that I've become a salsa dancer I have learned to come out of my shell and accept it's okay to be sociable at that level without looking a deep connection. So I write don't worry about the cliques and just enjoy the dancing and the right people will gravitate to you.
  10. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    Interesting article. I consider myself a rugged individualist and I have no desire to be in any clique...I'm there to dance and meet people, if they are nice and friendly then I will interact with them. If not, I don't waste any time trying to impress need to.

    I think many people join such groups out of fear or peer pressure...and those that stay in their close knit inner circles really miss out on meeting new people and being a part of the community. That means everyone...not just a select few!

    I got into dancing because I knew nothing about was something new and different and it has transformed my life, so I want to experience all of it...not just one small part.

    Being everywhere and nowhere has its advantages. :wink:
  11. ShyDancer

    ShyDancer New Member

    Im very much like scorpionguy with this one.

    I have no desire at all to be in any group or clique. Thats just not me, never has been actually, not even in school when cliques are rife, I went back and forth from ever group , no one seemed to mind.

    Im a "you get what you see- take it or leave it" kinda girl. Fitting in doesnt really matter to me.

    Having said that though...where I go doenst seem to have any cliques. I guess we are all just really great ppl! :D
  12. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Good for you ShyDancer. I admire people like that. :)
  13. Jack

    Jack New Member

    I tend to like dancing with a practice partner who is my level or higher. I have 2 women I dance with now as partner's.
    Personality has to be there # 1 in my book.
    And to have fun, thats what Im in to the whole deal for anyway,
    I am still somewhat intimidated by the superlative Salsera, but you know the next time I hit a club I'm going for it!
  14. pelao

    pelao New Member

    Well, in dancing skills, I just go to clubs where I know people dance good (my style - more traditional i guess, if theres such a thing) - so thats usually not an issue to me.

    I admit, I look for a good looking gal, and/or any gal who is willing to have fun dancing. When I go out clubbin, sometimes while there, I wanna dance with any gal - as long as they can dance; other times, I choose a pretty one - but once again, she should be able to dance. It depends on my mood really. It dun matter who it is, I'll dance wit people I don't know, cause its okay to do things like this.
  15. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    I'm gonna get really picky here....

    He doesn't call groups "cliques." His whole point in the article is that what other people sometimes look at as "cliques" are really natural gatherings of like-minded people who feel comfortable hanging together. Those who look at such groups as "cliquish" (so the argument goes if I'm understanding it correctly) really just see them as "cliquish" because they feel excluded.

    Which brings him to the main point of his article--if you feel excluded, then do something about it. Attend classes, introduce yourself, don't count on other people to take you in. This, I think, is very good advice for people who are trying to break into a dance scene.

    He's not telling people who are part of a group that they shouldn't reach out to newcomers. He's simply saying to the newcomers that it's not the responsibility of people in the group to make them feel welcome. It may be good policy, or good for group dynamics, or good for the club, for people in the established groups to proactively welcome newcomers, but it's not a responsibility.

    There are many people at the salsa club I visit on the weekend. I don't have the time to go meet every new person who walks in the door; many people come once and then you never see them again. I'll try to dance with at least two or three new people once a night. But yeah, I want to dance with my friends. Yeah, I want to try things on the floor with people I've practiced with earlier in the week.

    So I completely agree with what he has to say--if you want to be part of a group, make yourself part of the group. Don't stand outside feeling hard-done-by and call the group a clique. Friendships are formed from common experiences--often people in these groups don't even get to hang out unless they're at the salsa club, so of course they gather and talk.

    Some groups do remain exclusive and resist attempts of newcomers to penetrate them. Their loss--often I've found, again at the club I go to, the impenetrable groups are younger people who really don't know much about dancing and who hang together for "safety."

    Incidentally, the best leads at my club are generally single guys who don't really hang out in groups, but who stalk the periphery like leopards watching the gazelle, grabbing people and pulling them onto the floor for a good ten or twelve minutes and generally leaving their "prey" (often some of the shy ladies who remain in their protective groups) as sweaty and cathartically drained as if they've just made wild passionate love, going, "Wow--that was kind of fun!"
  16. Sabor

    Sabor New Member

    sometimes i even dance with a chair .. so long as its a female one :lol: :lol:

    i'll dance with whomever i feel would be interesting to dance with.. its not about a certain charactersitic i look for .. there are many things i enjoy in a partner .. i just follow my impulse and it has rarely let me down :wink:
  17. dancin/dj

    dancin/dj Member

    wellllllllllllllll said :)
  18. Jack

    Jack New Member

    I have been dancing with the not as attractive women for 2 reasons, 1 they want to dance more , and 2 my confidence level is not there yet.
    Even though I know a fair amount I feel more comfortable dacning wiht a woman I know from one of the classes, has anyone else been in this canoe?
  19. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Honestly, I ask people to dance based on whether they seem fun to dance with. That could be because they're a lot better than me, or because our dancing styles really mesh, or because they're happy to learn. But what's attractive to me is knows how to move and knows who she is.

    But still, the salsa club for me is not a dating service. As attractive as I do find some of the women there when I'm dancing with them, there are so many other factors in compatibility--emotional, logistical, sense of humorical, shared life goalsical--that I'm honestly not thinking about anything other than just this dance. That takes the pressure right off, because I'm not worrying about "Is she impressed with me? Does she find me funny? Does she like the same things I do?" I know that she'll like dancing with me, so that's all I worry about--having as good a time on the floor as we can given our mutual skill levels.

    And incidentally, I don't think it's about having all this fabulous experience. I'm relatively new to salsa and I only really know about fourteen or fifteen patterns. But I lead them well. And even if you only know basic, cross-body lead, and a couple of turns, if you lead them well you are in a good position to show some of these attractive newcomers a good time on the floor. My suggestion, if you want to ask someone to dance, for heaven's sake, ask! Don't be intimidated by how attractive she is. She's probably just as eager for a good dance as you are.
  20. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    So what about the people you see ALL the time but strangely have never danced with? Anyone up to explaining their belief on why it happens? I danced with a girl Fri night that I've seen at the clubs for over a year, and it was great. She seemed to be just as confused as I about why we've never danced together before.

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