Salsa > Why do I panic on the dance floor ...

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by road2graciousness, May 1, 2006.

  1. road2graciousness

    road2graciousness New Member

    ... when I'm dancing with really advanced followers.

    OK, maybe 'panic' is too strong a word here; it's more a feeling of anxiety, the strength of which is in direct proportion to my partner's dancing ability.

    If I'm dancing with an improver or intermediate level dancer, I feel really great and have a fantastic time, get loads of compliments on my lead etc. When I'm dancing with 'only just' advanced followers, I feel OK-ish, I may have a great dance, or I may start to feel a tiny bit anxious etc.

    I was dancing with an extremely advanced level follower at the weekend, and I just completely lost it (i.e. repeating the same 3 moves, with a few basics in-between). I have to say, even though my performance was crap, she was very complimentary, extremely gracious and encouraging.

    So why does this happen? Does this only happen to me? Why do I start to feel anxious with a really good follower? How can I stop it? How do I start to relax more and feel?
  2. englezul

    englezul New Member

    This used to happen to me too when I was dancing with somone that I knew was really out of my **lead**. Not so much anymore because I improved alot lately and blanking out is not and option anymore. What I notice is happening now is that if I dance with a very advanced follower ( for example ones that I commonly see dancing with the best dancers in Toronto ) I'm somewhat low energy; I wil not try improvise on the music which is something I love to do ( and I always do with the followers that I commonly dance with ) I will not fool around, basically I will not do anything extra. But I'm not concerned about it, I know that time will fix this, as my confidence and level of comfort will grow with practicing, expanding my dancing "repertoire", and why not "maturing".

    Ironic is that every time my confidence went to the next level, was one of the times when I danced with advanced followers who gave me very specific compliments about my lead, things that I had actually paid attention to and worked on.

    I say ironic because that feeling of anxiousness can stop you from asking them to dance, when in fact it is the only way to get to the next level of skill and also to gain confidence.

    And even more ironic is the fact that I know all this and yet...I don't always act accordingly. But what can I do....I'm shy :raisebro:.
  3. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    I share your feelings... It is tought to improvise with advanced dancers.. I don't blank out or anything, I continue to dance a wide variety of patterns with advanced followers, but I'm more cautious and enjoy myself less because of this..

    I'm also not good at shines and try to avoid free shining... The better followers like to shine and like to be allowed to shine. This causes me further anxiety... :)
  4. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    From what I read on this and other salsa forums, I think it's quite common.
    When you feel the follower is "much better than you", you feel you have to perform, you feel you are somehow being tested, as if it's a dance exam to grade you against other leads or something. To forget the level difference, relax and dance with confidence is a skill in itself.

    I (as a follower) also get the same -- or at least similar -- feeling of anxiety when I ask good leaders to dance. My way of overcoming that feeling is to choose a song I like to ask a good leader so that I can focus on enjoying dancing to that song rather than dancing well to impress the guy.

    Answer: T-stance (and variations thereof, e.g., one-hand hold, crossbody hold...). She shines. You watch ;).
  5. AzureDreamer

    AzureDreamer New Member

    Its also worth keeping in mind that a lot of the best "dancers" are not very good at following. Followers who spend a lot of time doing "routines" (or even classes) may have very good style... but with choreography, they don't need to follow, they can just memorize it. She might not be as "advanced" as she looks like... you could very well be better than she is!

    or she could just be having a bad day. Even great dancers have off nights.
  6. road2graciousness

    road2graciousness New Member

    Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Some 'advanced' followers, feel like they're just going to go off and do their own thing, regardless of what the lead does. It's like they're not trying to 'feel' me, or connect with me. To my way of thinking, it's the most important thing, connecting with the partner and moving in response WITH them. I think improver and intermediate level dancers often do this quite well (or at least, they bring out the best in me).

    Sometimes, the follower is just too good for me, and even though she's responding to my lead, it's just turned to mush (because I feel intimidated, and this need to perform to a certain standard), and she can't very well follow 'mush' can she?

    Then again, maybe my lead is just too soft and gentle? I often think of advanced followers (and leads) as being more explosive and dynamic in their movement. I wonder if that's a mis-conception on my part?

    I will have to keep going and persever. I do notice though, as time goes by, the level of follower I feel happy dancing with is slowly going up.
  7. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    You're definitely not alone... this feeling hits all who dance with more advanced dancers, and especially leads since they're, well, leading. Improvement and experience will be the best thing to cure this. I agree with another poster who said that the problem is low energy... you get nervous, and then are afraid to experiment, and have low intensity... but don't worry, just keep improving and try to have as much energy as you can.

    On a side note, in line with another poster, a lot of advanced leads like a more firm lead, whereas others prefer a much lighter touch... the best we leads can do is find out and adapt. I was dancing with a 'name' dancer last week, and she preferred a much more firm and "no-nonsense" lead than I'm used to giving, almost rough. But other top dancers like a softer lead... I much prefer the girls who feel lighter.. :cool:
  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I do light touch. I hate doing more. I want to make the follower listen as I listen to her. This is why I enjoy dancing sa;sa with some AT dancers. They know about this "listening" aspect.
  9. Sabor

    Sabor New Member

    given everything else is equal (more or less) .. i think its all in the heart/mind.. technicals aside (cause thats just simply practice) all i can say is .. love

    love what u do and love how u do it .. and extend this to whoever you dance with.. see confidence can only begotten with love.. dont force it.. just open up to it.. let the rythme soak you're bones .. connect your rythm to hers and let it flow to the music.. the simplest move there will be just that much more.. magical..
  10. road2graciousness

    road2graciousness New Member

    WOW, what an awesome post. Thank you Sabor. It's defo where I want to end up, and where I'm aiming for, but I'm not quite there yet!

    It was really great what Sagitta and Josh said too. Thanks guys, it's really very insirational what you're all saying, and reassuring too (that I'm going in the right direction, trying to keep it soft, light, flowing and sensual - which is how I love to dance).

    I sometimes get a little bit confused about this though. I mean; softness, loving, sensual, with a sense of flow and oneness, feels great to me, but are those not female characteristics? I mean, it's not really very masculine is it?
  11. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    You can rely on the fact you are a man to supply the masculine aspects I reckon. I never worry about whether I'm dancing manly or not, I am smelly, bulky, ugly, hairy and clumsy enough that I won't be mistaken for a woman :)

    Heh, ran on a little there... what I mean is softness is not the same as being a wet lettuce, sensual is not the same a yeilding... it is perfectly possible to be sensual in a masculine way.

    For me my style and my treatment of the follower changes with the follower and with the music. If it's gentle music and a little slip of a girl with a good sensitive follow, we can dance with the lightest of touches. If it's one of the "bomb-proof" follows who I know likes to be flung around a bit, then it gets more... adversarial... still highly sensual and still sensitive to the follower, but with more of a sort of "oh boy, we're both lucky I'm holding back!" kind of vibe...

    Even in the gentlest of dances there is the fact you smell like a man and have big hands (probably!).

    The partner you're dancing with will judge you by the clarity of the lead and whether you make her feel safe and relaxed dancing with you. People watching will judge you by how much she's smiling, and also by any styling you do. Styling is the aspect where you can do "masculine" moves without messing up the partner chemistry: "punching" with a free hand, adjusting hat, collar, etc, other accents like stamping or hitting a pose.

    But yeah, don't get hung up on whether you're being masculine or not, unless you start getting asked to dance by guys of course, then maybe the sequinned hotpants were a mistake after all!
  12. alemana

    alemana New Member

    nicely said. i could give a rat's knat how masculine you are. i dance with dozens of guys regularly and they fall all over the spectrum. some of the gay ones are way more masculine. i just don't care about that stuff, really - if everyone were the same, little cookie-cutter bullfighter types, i'd be bored silly.

    "clarity of lead" is what gets me going - not the style of the lead per se.
  13. englezul

    englezul New Member

    Reading this made me think of Jayson Molina. Watching perform with his partener is like watching two women trying to outdo eachother. Especially that head whip thing that he (over)does all the time. That creeps me out in ways that 8 legged creatures will never be able to. I saw him dancing socially and he looked really good, although the word goes he's so rough it's easier to lead that guy than follow him; but every time he performs this Dr. Hyde Molina starts peering out.

    For example watch this performance of him with another guy doing some footwork, you can easily notice he is more feminine just from the way he moves his head and arms.

    Speaking of feminine and masculine on the dance floor my take on it is everybody should act his role. Namely leader -> masculine and follower -> feminine. Now characterizing what is "masculine" as opposed to "feminine" I can't do, but I know when I see it :p. From my own experience all the followers that I enjoy watching dance in a seductive feminine way and the leaders I find inspirational dance in a seductive masculine way. Everybody plays his role. IMO the interaction between the parteners should look like they are trying in an equal measure to seduce eachother. I know there are dancers who don't care if their partener is well dressed or not, or masculine or feminine or not, they just want to dance. But that makes for two people dance solo with the exception that they're physically connected through hands. There has to be connection, attraction, and excitement otherwise it will not look good.
  14. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say this - the followers who expect a 'rough' lead and do not follow well enough with soft 'cues' are not very good followers. Yes there are degrees of 'sensitivity' among followers that might legitimately range from almost nothing to very rough, but both ends of the spectrum makes for a poor follower. There is no right sensitivity setting, but it's best to stay in the middle of the sensitivity spectrum :)
  15. englezul

    englezul New Member

    Yes because roughness implies tension, tension comes from lack of control, lack of control damages the connection which can turn a dance into crap. If I have to be rough, it means the follower does not respond fast enough to maintain the connection, lags behind and needs my force to keep in touch with the flow of the music. I hate that.
  16. alemana

    alemana New Member

    wow GREAT clip, YEEE HAW i got some great ideas and inspiration from that. my only critique is that it's a bit too long considering the choreography, which was similar in nature throughout the piece - but really, considering that i'm like eight zillion years from being able to sustain footwork like that for that length of time, i'm going to shut my pie-hole about it and just applaud.
  17. alemana

    alemana New Member

    i'm sending that link to all my salsa peeps now... thanks for posting it.
  18. icering

    icering New Member

    I am sure that happens with most people, I know it happens with me, you see when you are dancing with someone of the same level youfell like your in control but when you know someone is way better you don't want to look stupid or have them think you can't dance well or you don't want to feel like you are giving a bad dance. But thats what creates the very thing most people fear. So like someone said above, just do what like to do, because you can't get better at anything playing (in this case dancing) with someone who you are better than, the only way your gonna get to the advanced level is by dancing with advanced people.
  19. africana

    africana New Member

    wow such strong reactions from a non-homophobe hmmm...And so many objectionable statements, at least from a follower's perspectives (and probably from any serious dancer's perspective).
    And if you say you hate watching non-sexualized dances then why watch these dancers?? and this mindset is not even consistent with enjoying watching two men dance, i guess that makes you gay :rolleyes:

    btw i've danced with JM several times and never felt like I needed him to be more "manly" or like I was less able to be as sexy as I wanted. He's one of the few famous leads I have actually enjoyed dancing chachacha with - and given how picky I am about chachachas, that's saying a lot
  20. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    I have a different view on this. I expect dancers to be themselves. If you are masculine type of person, be masculine. And if you are feminine, be feminine. The point is - be natural. I like to see guys who are following act masculine when they are following (yet be really graceful and allow themselves to be lead), and I like to see women act feminine in their lead (unless their personality dictates them to act differently).

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