Salsa > Who learns faster?... The men or the women?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Guarachero, May 13, 2005.

  1. Guarachero

    Guarachero New Member

    Women are constantly asked to dance, while guys who are learning may dance once or every now and then in a club.

    His learning is generally reduced to time spent at the academy. It all depends on whether he goes and dances whether he knows or not. I know some snobby advanced girls who don’t like to dance with beginners.

    And for some reason, to learn Salsa one has to dance. It’s not like Merengue, Punta and Bachata that you can observe and learn.

    On the other hand, girls can dance all night long, especially if they are cute.

    What are your impressions?
    Ladies: how long did it take you to learn?
    Same question for guys.
  2. pr

    pr New Member

    I think this webpage describes the situation very well:
    :arrow: Beginners hell
    (The link has also been posted somewhere else at DF I think.)
  3. Guarachero

    Guarachero New Member


    I have come across many of those recommendations. Those, some times, are expert opinions. But how long it took you to learn? You probably have your own opinion and experiences. Don't you? :wink:
  4. alemana

    alemana New Member

    this is a boring and sort of pointless question.
  5. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Judging from the delta-time, you probably didn't follow the link (and assuming you hadn't read it before). One main point the article makes is that the guys have about four times as much stuff to do and hence to learn how to do than the women do (22 items to her 5, if I remember correctly). Plus, he has to understand enough of her moves (or have received enough instruction to fake it) to know when and how to lead her. Plus he has to develop the right feel and touch to be able to turn and move her smoothly and without muscling (most beginning guys seem to start out applying brute force which the girls hate; I was fortunate to have had aikido training years before so I bypassed the brute-force stage altogether). Plus he has to know some moves and how to lead them. Plus, in a club, he has to know enough floor-craft to maneuver about safely and to protect his partner. He has to have a grasp of all that (or should, or would want to) before he can go out dancing in clubs.

    For the girl's part, she has to know the basic rhythm/steps and how to survive a turn and how to give sufficient connection (a really big issue with beginning WCS follows) and some inkling of how to figure out what her partner probably wants to her to do (most of which should work itself out provided he knows how to lead it effectively). With that, she can go out dancing.

    So, the girl only needs a fairly minimal amount of training and practice before she is competent enought to start to go out and gain practical experience, whereas the guy needs a lot more training before he can become minimally competent. Plus, with more pressure to perform being placed on him as the leader, he needs to have also built up a fair amount of confidence.

    So, as a rule, girls learn a lot faster than guys do and reach the point of being able to go out and dance passably than guys do. I have also seen exceptions: guys who go right out there almost immediately, even if it's the first dance they've learned, and girls who just never quite seem to get it. But for the most part, the general rule holds.

    Personally, although I started with salsa, I had to quit it for four years after a few months of instruction (no known intermediate classes in our area at that time). After having returned to it for a few months (3 months last summer after a four-year absense, interrupted by divorce, now having returned to it again a couple months ago), I've done a couple studio practice parties and tried a couple dances at a local salsa club (brutal, extremely crowded floor) -- and I've indirectly practiced salsa by dancing cha-cha, which I've largely faked with salsa moves.

    Most of my dancing has been in swing (both WCS and Lindy/ECS), in which case I had done WCS for 8 months followed by Lindy for almost a year before I dared to venture out for open dancing (I've been learning Lindy now for nearly 2.5 years). Most guys seem to need at least a few months before they'll brave it; guess I'm much more lacking in self-confidence.

    Oh, and the other side of the coin: she learns faster while he will often gets so frustrated that he quits while still a beginner, but if he sticks it out then he can excel over time because he has learned to work harder and stick with it no matter how tough it gets, whereas as soon as it starts getting harder and she has to apply herself to advance then she'll be more likely to quit, because she hasn't had to learn stick-to-it-tiveness like he had to. I believe that this is supported by the general observation that there tend to be more women than men in beginning classes (other factors in play here as well, of course -- it seems easier to get beginning women in through the door than guys) and lower-intermediate, and more men than women in the higher-intermediate and advanced classes.
  6. Guarachero

    Guarachero New Member


    Thanks for the philosophical analysis and thanks to some others in this forum for their hate and ignorance. I’ve learnt some things here that it may be useful in dealing with new Salseros. For, has anyone wonder how is it that same people who just started in Salsa dance, know best over those of us who grew up in it?

    Good by
  7. dTas

    dTas New Member

    with almost any dance i would say that women pick up the beginning points faster than men.

    like DWise1 said, men have more "responsibilities" to learn but aside from that... i've noticed that men have a tendancy to be "less-rhythmic" than women. it just takes men longer to pick up the "feeling" of the music (in general).

    men can pickup the technical pieces of dancing fairly quickly; the beat, the lead, etc) but its like women are hard coded to automatically "feel" music.

    this is just generally speaking of couse, there are always exceptions. some men might feel the music quite easily where some women have a hard time getting in touch with music. but i've noticed that mostly its the other way around.
  8. gte692h

    gte692h Member

    Re: Salsa

    guarachero, relax man ! your question is very relevant to me, the chicks will never get it ;) I started salsa a year and 9 months ago. before that, i had never danced in my life, so it has been an incredible time for me. i am still in the process of learning - i am pretty smooth, and i have good technique. i'm at a stage where i listen to the music well, i can detect the breaks, and i have very productive freestyle sessions. i dance consciously now, which means i see my body as an object, a tool, it moves on command. i'm good at feeling the music, and on good days, i can generate some great connection with my partners.

    But it's still tough mentally. confidence fluctuates. some weeks, i have incredible, incredible dances - women have given me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek at the end of the dance. but some other days, i don't know why, but i'm down, and i send out negative vibes, sometimes i forget everything except the basic step. those are the lows, when women are looking away, really bored, just waiting for the song to end.

    its a new aspect of my dance, i guess i am constantly learning. but i am a long way off from when i started - because back then i would walk into clubs after paying cover, and then leave in 5 minutes because i was so nervous ! so in that sense, the high and low points, i can manage a lot better.

    but in terms pure technique, it took me a year and half to get the technique down, and be competent. But it seems to me that a lot of the battle for the guys, is also mental.

    also, the concept of guys spending a lot of time in the studio to learn, as opposed to the clubs is a new concept. i went to the clubs the first day i learnt salsa. it was very difficult, but there is no other way except to jump in head on.
  9. Ron Obvious

    Ron Obvious New Member

    I've been dancing about a year, with clubbing semi-weekly and classes 4-12 hrs a week. I also have the ups and downs as described earlier, the best part being when women come and ask me how I did some particular move, while on a bad day I still tend to loose the rhythm.

    I would say I'm now competent in the way that I can dance at least one or two songs without having to repeat moves too much. That's the minimum level I think, besides being capable of staying on rhythm (which I can't do all the time, my problem being that I occasionally tend to switch to dance on 2 instead of 1, or contratempo or son as we call it here).

    Now I've realised that it's much more important to learn the moves well instead of just knowing many. You can just dance the basic step over and over if you do it well. And then there's that whole part of knowing to mopve your body in a cuban way (isolating movements). For example shaking your shoulders - probably takes half a year in itself.

    Having myself a martial arts background I think there are two important things to say: stay on rhythm and learn the basic step well.
  10. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Re: Salsa

    Ditto that. Relax. People stop taking things personally.
  11. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Hi guys, IMO the time is so relative - in my own case, when I'm over in London for business, I salsa EVERY night, classes and club as much as I can. At home, I get to dance 3 nights/week (of which 2 are ballroom / Latin, the other 1 salsa) and also for much shorter periods (not because of the studios and the clubs here - they operate very well, because of personal circumstances...) and I can feel the difference in my dancing after a two-week cram period in London very very clearly.

    My point is: steps and routines you can learn in the studio, off DVDs, off clips, etc., but you need time on the club floor to really dance - that's the only way you get confidence, learn to lead different followers, get in tune with the music and tempos and breaks, get in tune with different partners' tempraments on the floor, etc, etc... much more than the qualification, it's the on-the-job experience that really counts! (OK a few guys are natural and pick it up quickly, but in general guys have to spend that time on the floor to become experienced.)

    Ladies, IMO pick that up much quicker and easier - I guess a) they have less things to concentrate on (as mentioned before) b) as they progress from intermediate to advanced more experienced guys ask them to dance more... ladies can dance "above" their level much easier, and c) it's probably in their genes!! It's amazing how much faster most ladies shoot through intermediate level than most guys.
  12. tacad

    tacad New Member

    So far, women.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm too lazy to read the rest of this thread, so I'll add my vote to yours, tacad. At least at the beginning stages, women, hands down, IMO. 8)
  14. pr

    pr New Member

    Just wait until we men come to the exponential part of our learning curve! (I am probably there already.) :D :D ;) ;)
    From beginner's hell by Edie "The salsa freak":
  15. Lucretia

    Lucretia New Member

    I agree in this BUT I have a few objections to some of you about what we girls need to learn before we are able to dance with the great guys.

    First of all many girls don't know HOW to follow. Or we are not sensitive enough to follow complicated steps&patterns (this last ting is for sure for all newbies). Many of you believe we just have to is not simple beacuse:

    - If it is a pattern/step/twist/turn we never have done before we react to slow. We loose the beat and that is not good for the confidence.

    (This can be measured in scientific tests...I guess noone have tested a salsadancer yet but they have tested reaction time in other kinds of activities. If you have done a thing before you make it quicker next time. If you have done it several times teh reactiontime impoves a lot)

    - If it is a pattern/step/twist/turn we never have done we might have so much trouble with following the guy that we loose the footwork. Very often I had the wrong foot in the floor when I was expected to spin or do a break forward/backward. These mistakes very often results in a stumbling and/or loosing the beat.

    For example....those patterns where a girl is supposed to walk around the guy and sometimes make a turn or a spin must start with a step forward with right foot NOT a step backward which is the usual (on 1 cuban). If you fail in this you will not have time to complete the pattern. Sometimes you stumble over the guy or spin into his back or front. Or simply loose the beat when you try catching up.

    The ability to choose footwork (mostly unconsiously) is trained by classes and more dance. Without it you cannot dance with good leaders.

    I guess many girls you believe are born great followers have danced other social dances before (this was the case in the class where I started up anyhow). The sensivity must very often be trained. We girls are not used to take orders (not any more :wink: )

    Anyhow I'm very happy I'm not the leader. I don't have to plan the dance ...I don't have to take care of the floorcraft....etc etc as many of you have written above. But it is not a simple thing to follow....try it yourself!

  16. tacad

    tacad New Member

    I was at a salsa club least night. It was pretty funny. I danced with a woman
    who when I would lift her arm had no idea I wanted her to turn. Neither direction worked. So then she started to lead herself through various turns. :wink: And so I decided to follow her. I figure I got it about half the time. :wink:
  17. Lucretia

    Lucretia New Member

    I forgot one of the hardest thing about following - leave over the control to a a person who might be a complete stranger:
    - A person you know nothing about - neither his dancing ability or intentions (or personality)
    - A person who perhaps don't bother about cooperation, teamwork & floorcraft.
    - A person who perhaps want to show off and give himself an egotrip instead of supporting the girl.
    - A person who don't have the same feelings & ideas about rythm, beat and timing.

    (And all the time you are expected to follow, do the right steps, look sexy and be happy.... :lol: :lol: :lol: )

    These are hard things to manage. But you will with help of practice and a lot of will.

  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hehe! :lol:
  19. tacad

    tacad New Member

  20. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Dance in close position and then execute followers right turn: quick quick raise hand to left, and with right hand on her back spin her around. Basic and repeat. Basic and repeat. She may get it!! :twisted: :) I can get anyone to do a followers right turn - that is turn around and get back into the basic.

    Followers left turn in two hand hold with both pairs of hands clasped together. Turn yourself as well. No choice here. She has to move with you. With both hands and then a lead of your backs rolling off each cannot get much clearer than that.
    :cheers: :)

    Of course I wouldn't do this if the lady expresses a clear dislike to firm leading. Instead I may ask her if she would like to lead. I do this by pausing and switching footwork and hand positions. I tell her go ahead and lead. If she applies to the negative I act puzzled and say that is what I though she wanted as she seems to be able to lead herself well through all her turns without following me. You want to lead, go ahead. Same response for ladies who start giving me suggestions what to do. I simply switch and say if you want to do moves lead. :twisted: :)

    Depends on my mood. I guess. After leading a class I'm in a very assertive mood, so my responses right now flow from that. :wink: :)

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