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

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

  1. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Here is the entire problem with Mr. Salsa's beautiful make up of his argument. He completely neglects to see that when salseros refere to groups as cliquish is because of an attitude and not that they have similar characteristics, be it physical or mental, that pulls them together. Otherwise, we say, they like to hang out in a group, hence, eliminating all the tags that come with being a exclusive because of physical or mental characteristics group.

    He completely overlooks what everyone in the salsa world speaks of. ATTITUDE! We aren't talking about a bunch of friends who are together and the aura of the group says, anyone can come up to us, join us or ask us to dance. We are talking about a group of people who say “We are unapproachable!”

    We are talking about groups that sadly in salsa, is formed by top dawgs, not the people that can't dance, but those that can. Those very same people that say no to everyone else except those that belong to the group itself. It is an aura that is completely negative. His point would be very well presented, and I would completely agree, if he was just talking about the natural tendency humans have to grouping with like individuals and how, someone, can become part of such group. But that isn't the case with cliques in salsa, so to that I don’t agree, to his human behavior observation, I agree. However, I can't look at human interactions in salsa without seeing the cause and effect of a displayed attitude.

    Last week, in my fav spot, a group of cliquish people walked in for the first time. People started talking about how the Alpha Dawgs were giving everyone that came around bad looks, and how everyone else felt left out. Well, I saw that some of them were wearing sneakers so I thought they were just there to hang out, and weren’t really there to dance but to chill with friends. I said, fine they don’t want to be bothered they just want to be with friends, I’m cool with that. But then they changed to dance shoes, and, guess what, they said no to everyone, girl or guy, who approached the group, except one of the best dancers in NY City...

    I thought people were making a big deal, so I went over and asked the Alpha Male if I could have a dance with the lady he was with. He was shocked and looked at me like I had 3 ears. Aside from his repertoire being bigger than my, I am a way better dancer than he is. Well, she said No, I am resting, as soon as the song started; she got up and danced with another of the guys in the group. Next song I did the same to another girl, No, I'm leaving now. The song goes on, she dances for the next 30 minutes with one of the guys, then sits back for a rest and on to dance again. I ask again, one last time to another girl in the group, NO, I am tired, I am resting, next song come get me, when I go to her, she say no again, yet grabs another guy and dances with him a few songs.

    Mr. Doc is confusing the natural grouping together of people with the attitude of what we refer to in the salsa world as CLIQUES. Not one and the same. Cliques in salsa are held together by the best dancers in NY City, and the arrogant attitude some of these guys have trickle downs to those in the group that look up to them. Eventually making them look like Cliques of a$$e$ instead of a group of people enjoying the music and dancing, without consciously or unconsciously making their group seem like Gods gift to dancing.

    It isn't about how they treat those they know, but those they don't know, and to those they are plainly mean to say the least.

    Remember, that we aren’t talking about people who naturally group together, but the attitude that defines the group. That is the Salsa Clique that everyone comes to dislike.
  2. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Hola Boriken! 8)

    There's no doubt that the story you tell is a disturbing one--but it doesn't really negate what he says in the article. As you point out, there are plenty of groups that are exclusive and cliquish. But he doesn't claim there aren't any cliques in the dance world. Rather, he says that many groups that people call cliques are simply groups of friends:

    What you say, again is:

    But in saying that, you're assuming that every time someone refers to a group as a clique, it must be one. You're not considering that many people may perceive groups as cliques just because they won't do anything to be part of it. Not everyone goes up and asks, like you do. And not everyone is living in NYC, dealing with the dance scene there. Do all dancers really agree on what is a group and what is a clique? Do all people in the dance community really think in exactly the same way? Does nobody ever for their own reasons feel excluded and blame someone else for being so?

    There's no doubt that what you're talking about in NYC is rather foolish and exclusivist, but easy assumptions about a group's exclusivity can be just an excuse to stay detached--and what he's saying to the hundreds of other dancers, thousands, nationwide, in places like Cleveland or Milwaukee or Nashville is take some responsibility before you label a group a clique, and don't just assume that because people in a particular club aren't all over you the first couple of times you walk in, that they're exclusive or stuck-up. They may just not know whether you're going to come back.

    Yes, what you describe in your story is inexcusably rude. The Alpha Dawgs did you say? Don't even get me started on that concept--the alpha male of a dog pack is not exclusivist or aggressive at all. Rather he's so confident that he's generally the friendliest most outgoing dog of the bunch. Just don't try to hurt anyone under his protection. The dodginess that you describe is more indicative of a profound fear of subversion, an eventuality that never enters the true alpha dog's mind.

    But the fact that there are cliques does not mean that everything people call a clique is one. If A is a clique, and B is people complaining about cliques, the syllogism "if A then B" works. "If B then A" does not. In my view, the best advice in the dance world in general is still to tell people to work to be included rather than complain about being on the outside. One can complain about the way other people behave and never change them. What are you gonna do about these people who refuse to dance with you? You live in NY--you know what we say in Brooklyn. The filter won't allow it, but you know what we say. For anyone else writing to you and saying, "I feel like the club I'm going to is exclusive," what would your first advice be? Do everything that you can to break in. Just like you yourself did in NY. And if they're still exclusive, then give em the good ole Bronx cheer. You can't change em. But yourself you can control.

  3. fashionlady

    fashionlady New Member

    I"m not suppose to be one DF right now as i have a drawing to finish for class tomorrow but what can I say???? DF is irresistable!!! :wink:
    I just want to say that as a young lady, I wish guys would spend less time ogling me and more time talking to me or asking me to dance. I get this everywhere I go for the most part. Guys, don't feel intimidated and just be friendly! I had this problem in high school too. So my advice to guys is to just ask the lady to dance, because even the most stunning women want to dance, NOT to just sit and get stared at by guys not dancing. (Speaking of which, what's up with these guys who go and stand around the dance floor but NEVER dance??? Seems like a waste of money to me. You can save the gas money and you can buy the same liquor for cheaper in a store to drink at home)
    So to sum up, women go to clubs to dance, therefore they expect to be asked to dance! :shock: Makes sense, Yes?
  4. dancin/dj

    dancin/dj Member

    also well said,sadly this happens in phila&nj in salsa boriken-and w/ the hustle crowd from ny &phila :cry:
  5. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Yes, people have different views of what I refer to as clique. However, there is a mentality that comes with what I call clique that despite what he says he never cared to tackle, one of which, I have gotten grief over by NY City dancers. Because they see nothing wrong with being exclusive with an attitude of superiority and I do. An attitude that they don’t see, but anyone looking can see... In my opinion he was talking about the very same thing as I, for Clique in NY City as a dancer isn't seen as very good... But if he doesn't....

    I compare cliques to gangs, there is just an attitude that goes along with being in a gang that I don’t want any culture to be part of. What good would it be for me to tell my kid, if you want to be in the Bloods, then you have to work hard to be in it. Go kill people, steal, do drugs, hangout where they hangout so you can become more like them, then part? Great advice, I’m talking about a mentality and he is talking about the obvious grouping of like minded people.

    that makes me think we he is talking about the same cliques I speak of.

    However, lets tackle the generaly in case he doesn't mean the same as I.

    The rest not covered on the general is what I’m referring to. The very same thing the he cares not to address, the part of salsa that Dancers themselves don’t want to speak of, and who refuse to say that there is one. Yet, everyone sees it, but them because they are the ones in the group, how can I explain to someone who confuses confidence with self supremacy that they aren’t one and the same?

    It is obvious that the best way to feel included is to be part of a group... He is talking about people grouping together, yet mention nothing about the groups that are together for exclusion purposes, kind of like the segregation of races. To white America in the 60s it was fine because to them it was always the mentality they belonged to, however, that wasn’t the case for the latinos and the blacks. They were outside looking in, they never wanted to be part of the group, what they wanted was to get rid of a mentality of supremacy, the wanted to walk into the place and not feel like they didn’t belong just because they weren’t white. The problem is attitudes, not the grouping of like-minded individuals, but attitudes. That is the problem, not the fact that humans group together.

    We shouldn’t care if someone is coming back again, what should matter is that they are there for the same reason you and I, to dance. When someone emits a bad vibe they just do, If it looks like a dog, walks like a dog, and barks like a dog, then it is a dog. I make no assumptions until I have had the time to interact with them… That is what he should concentrate on, not telling us the obvious to everyone, we are going to hang out with people that are like us.

    I know a dancer who is relatively unknown in NY City. Yet, Not any one dancer in NY City labeled top dawg can touch him. I was wondering why no one knew of him, yet he was by far head-over-heels better than any one social dancer in a NY City dance floor. Well, when you belong to his group, you don’t dance outside the group. You don’t ask people outside the group to dance. You don’t dance with anyone but those he deems in the level you are at. He even tells his students no to frequent NY City clubs. Now, that is an extreme case, but when you are in the salsa scene like I am, and see what I call “clique” in action you too would feel like they are bringing the energy of the place down. For it isn’t about belonging to a group but the deterioration of scene. That is what they do. They segregate themselves so much that from one clique, 2 form, then 3, then the people who keep the club alive stop going because they just don’t like the energy in the place.

    You have pointed it out! These guys only think they are alpha dogs. The fear that their territory will be overtaken by someone better only leads to the kind of arrogance these cliques, I speak of, display, and Doc Salsa has forgotten to mention. Simply speaking of groups of people that gather together because of similar likes. I’m not interested in friends who hangout together, I’m interested in those who have no special interest in salsa but to be disruptive. That I want to change, let me hear something from him that deals with the negative side of salsa, how to get ride of it. Not the obvious to all of us that the best way to fit in is to work your way in.

    So yes, while the best way to go is to work your way in to feel included, however that has never been the issue, my issue is the same attitudes you just said are foolish. For the problem isn’t about inclusion, or groups of people, but the negative vibes they bring to the salsa scene. For I very well know that I belong the clique of Salsa dancers, yet, my attitude is different. The issues isn’t as simple as being included to a group, the issues is the attitude that mean spirited people bring to Salsa. And the reason I don’t agree with what he says, it is simply that he is telling me and pointing something I already know, yet, doesn’t care to speak of the things that deteriorate any culture. I disagree because when he says cliques I think of the very same things he refuses to speak of when he says generally.

    What good is it for me to hear a politician telling me that the best way to get a job is too look for one? We all know that, that is beside the point. I want to hear what is going to happen, and what we could do to make more jobs for people. That is the real issue, the members of a culture telling us what we already know, instead of tackling the problems the culture is having. Lets hear what we can do to break an attitude that everyone knows some salseros have. Lets ask him what he thinks we should do about those attitudes, not what how we can become part of a group. If you come here to NY City and go to a club and the person going with you describes it as cliquish, then you surely will experience what I here speak of. For having a club having the Tag of cliquish is doomed for failure, and failure to a club because of attitudes is yet another usdeserved hit salsa takes.
  6. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I must also mention that I do agree with your statments... To be part of the dance scene overall we have to take the necessary steps as dancers and do what it takes to make it in the "clique" of Dancers around the world. God, that sounds like a cult.
  7. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Well said Boriken, well said. I think the author should have spoken of both sides as well. Good and bad. This happens in the Orlando area as well, even within the schools. So his general statement of "work your way up" to the ultimate clique doesn't sit well with me at all. The other side to that is it becomes a vicious cycle. Begining salsa dancers may take this as just being part of the game. Not that they aren't smart people but just that they may think it's order of things particularly when they are in the smaller group that's just learning the ropes.
  8. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Okay, now I hear you! You're saying the article is cowardly, because he misrepresents the issue and that the whole thing is a disingenuous defense of some of the most exclusivist circles in the salsa world. Sorry I didn't follow that the first time around; what you say here makes complete sense to me. :D


  9. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Especially when said gentlemen form a wall blocking the seated ladies from the sight of the dancing gentlemen, so those who would ask them to dance can't even see them to begin with, eh, fashionlady? :wink:
  10. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I take it you have met CapricornDancer personally then, GR :wink: ?

    *I am kinda the female version of that*
  11. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Or perhaps a manifestation thereof. 8)
  12. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Well here, there are groups of people who dance together and then there are the "cliques".

    The first, are friends who just naturally feel more comfortable dancing amongst themselves because they have common interests or just plainly know each other better. They are open to dancing with other people and are nice people. I would say generally their dance level is around intermediate. They don´t in any way make others feel excluded.

    OK, now the cliques. As a group, I would definitely say they intimidate other salseros/as, not because of their dance level but what they do with it. Their attitude on and off the dance floor is very obvious to everyone around them. Their flashy moves, nose turned up, their superiority attitude... Yes, generally they´re very snobish and stuck up. Nevertheless, and to be honest, I´m not as intimidated by them as I used to be. Recently I´ve been dancing with some of these cliquish salseras and learnt that some of them are actually really nice people. One of them recently has been asking me to dance a lot, on average twice per night (which is two times more than I ask her). She smiles during the dance and seems to be enjoying herself. We dance really well together. I asked another of these cliques (also from her group) for the first time about two weeks ago. I heard the Africando song "Sey" come on and I just had to dance. She was the closest girl around so I just asked her without thinking. I had admired her dancing ability from afar for some time but never had the courage to ask her. When we started dancing, she seemed to be very nervous, I beleive it was because she had never danced with me and was outside her comfort zone. The dance went really well, she smiled ocasionally and I felt really good afterwards. I´ve seen her 2 or 3 times after that but haven´t danced with again (I´ve been waiting for a good song to come on). On Saturday, I asked another clique (also from the their group) and she told me "Umm, I´m kinda tired actually...well OK". We danced but I felt she was dancing for herself and for everyone else except for me. She had a snobish attidude and didn´t look at me during the entire song. I got the impression that she thought she was doing me a favour...
    Anyway, some of these cliques are actually really nice people. Others are just plain snobish and stuckup. I think we tend to label all cliques as snobish and conceited while only some of them are...

  13. fashionlady

    fashionlady New Member

    Now how on earth did you know that!!! You must be reading my mind, Genesius. :roll: :wink:
  14. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    no need to be sorry, we are exchanging ideas/thoughts, I'm just not all that clear when I write the 10 page rants... But, yes, I think he is playing the tuck game because of who he is in the NY City Salsa scene... and his article does seem to mount a defense against the exclusivists...

    Even when I understand that the world has all types of people, and because of that salsa will have all types of people, I just get so sad to see that some folks just rather be plain mean to other people.

    In general, when you break a person out of their clique, they have no choice but to be themselves, which we ultimately find out that they are indeed very nice people... But then, why the attitude in the clique? Who are they protecting? From what?
  15. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Mean people definitely suck! But alas! American meanness seems to run right alongside American generosity--though I'd better stop before I start getting political! :wink:
  16. tj

    tj New Member

    Top notch posts, Boriken... you really have the exclusivist aspect of the dance scene pegged. It's sad that it exists, but it does, regardless of how/what people try to gloss over. It's even worse when people you're friends with act this way towards other friends of yours.

    I think they're protecting their own egos (and insecurities), and trying to assert their own pecking order in the salsa scene as well as their own little group.

    I got quite the story for you... There is a dancer who is the "star student" of an instructor. The story has it that one must ask this particular instructor for permission first, before asking the student for a dance. (disclaimer: this is a 2nd hand story)

    This exclusivity thing only works if everyone buys into it. If you're in a clique, then when you choose to dance with outsiders, it'll break down the exclusivity. In fact, although I belong to an exclusive little clique (mostly cuz we'll do things together outside the scene), I usually just excuse myself and go dance elsewhere on the floor, leaving the snobbishness behind.

    What I notice about some of these cliques: they're highly competitive with each other. In fact, some of them are just outright jealous of each other. They'll brag about their experiences dancing with others, and try to incite/challenge each other about who is the better follow/lead, etc.

    Kinda sad, really. And if any of us find ourselves in such a situation, one must ask if this is what is important about dancing? I think it's pretty obvious it's not.

    I have nothing to prove with my dancing, and so, I just detach myself from this aspect of my particular clique. But to claim that exclusivity doesn't exist is a joke. It does, and the key is to figure out who is this way, and who is merely shy.
  17. d nice

    d nice New Member

    There is a difference between groups of friends and cliques. The fact that they may both be about the same dance level and may be of similar style isn't surprising but that has nothing ot do with whether someone is part of a clique.

    We all have social circles we belong to, on and off the floor. These social circles can certainly appear to be cliques... especially if they are a tight knit group of friends or are more skilled.

    I dance with anyone and everyone... but I hang out with my friends at dances. I dance more with them than anyone else. I don't feel any special need to associate with people in a dance club that I wouldn't associate with outside of it. This doesn't make me and my group of friends a clique... despite my skill level and our friendship. It makes us normal. We will embrace anyone into our circle of friends that fits. If you don't fit we won't associate with you. I go out to have fun with my friends, not make people with self-doubt or infiority complexes feel comfortable about themselves. That is what therapy and a booming pharmacutical industry are for.

    THere are real cliques out there, but you shouldn't assume that everyone who hangs out togetehr at a dance and is good is part of one. The biggest clique in my local scene is full of intermediate non-flashy dancers. The advanced flashy dancers here are the ones that are the friendliest... but I'm constantly hearing how we are exclusive and won't dance with anyone but our friends... and when I psu h them and hold them accountable for their statements the truth comes out. They never asked any of us to dance, they were too intimidated. Instead they asked other newbies and wall-flowers to dance. Sure enough when I tell them to go ask one of my group, the person says yes, no coaching or introduction or anything else that would have shown influence on my part.

    Cliques exist. No doubt. Whether the author is part of a clique or not, I'll leave that to the people who actually are part of the NYC scene and interact with him on a regular basis, but the article is correct. One individuals assumptions based on internal issues instead of direct interaction is biased and unfair.
  18. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Nope, he isn't part of a clique, he actually flies solo most of the time... He is rather friendly to be honest.

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