Salsa > Why do people enjoy salsa dancing so much?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Charli, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    Again, I don't mean to imply the existence of the dance is a fad but the increased popularity. Consider a the American football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been around since 1933. They are regularly featured in the sports section of all the local, and most regional, newspapers. Games are nearly always sold out and even the cheapest of seats sell for a minimum of $60 from the box office. Nearly everyone who lives in Philadelphia is aware of the Eagles and has probably seen a game on TV.

    Then, in 2008, the Eagles win their divisional playoffs and wind up in the conference championship. Suddenly, the whole city is filled with Eagles fans Everyone knows the players, everyone has plans for game day, everyone has Eagles paraphernalia. Go Eagles! They lose the championship, however. Many of those rabid followers may watch the Superbowl, but hardly with the same enthusiasm. Some will come back to watch the new season, but most will drift away, and within a year or two popularity will be down to pre-division playoff levels.

    This is a fad. The Eagles, and Eagles culture, existed before the fad and continue to exist afterward. The fad refers purely to the nearly-universal surge in popularity. The fact it is a surge does not negate the team's validity. You can see similar surges in many other areas, and cultural movements, including art, fashion, and yes dance, are particularly susceptible. A fad is measured not by the core adherents of its subject, but by those who jump on the bandwagon.

    At the height of what I refer to as the salsa fad, salsa was everywhere. Most nightclubs began putting a salsa night into their mix - a still popular form of scheduling but hardly as ubiquitous as it was but a few years ago. Salsa spin-offs were extremely popular, such as salsa-based exercise classes. There were excuses to feature salsa dancers in movies and dance performances. None of these are bad things but they are signs of a mainstream flirtation with salsa and, as the mainstream moves on, they are left behind, all without affecting the long-term viability or integrity of salsa as a dance or culture.

    I'm interested in examining studio inquiries not as a way of gauging the strength of the salsa community but of measuring mainstream interest. If you pull Joe Bagofdoughnuts and Susie Creamcheese off the street and tell them they need to learn to dance, they'll probably look in the phone book or search Google for dance lessons and end up calling a ballroom studio. Whether they actually take lessons there is irrelevant; they begin their search at such a studio. Most couples rarely progress beyond that initial inquiry, but that initial inquiry will record the interest in salsa, and records of such inquiries can reveal a mainstream interest in a particulra dance.

    Perhaps I should stop saying "fad" as it implies superficiality. "Trend" might be better. Regardless, this is not intended to be an attack on the salsa community. I believe the salsa community has done a wonderful job making dance accessible and attractive to the popular culture, and though I believe it will end up being a temporary thing, that is because popular culture has an incredibly brief attention span. Those who have come to love the dance will remain behind.
  2. dancin/dj

    dancin/dj Member

    Im from philly area too, many years ago i wrote it"s a fad pretty much in the same vein that you wrote,many salseros did not like what i said(I was also part of the salsa scence at its height here in philly& south jersey) Its a fad to me in the sense that its a hot dance and was sold well around here, but most people came and went and the die hards are more latinos, than non latinos- which is a fad for some of them and for many others they grew up with it in there households as far as the music goes so that"s NOT a fad, but the dancing part all kinds of latinos jumped on the band wagon, just like any other race would who started the music and dance - ethnic pride sure who would not? of course, anyway its calming down here and in other parts of the world, that normal , time will tell( we wont be here-if salsa has the stamima of waltz, or ballroom in its total package, swing dancing has died down from 10 years ago when it was super hot in philly .
  3. bas

    bas New Member

    Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification.
  4. bas

    bas New Member

    And thanks to you as well for the extra clarification. I somehow managed to read Wolfgang's reply before I read your's but as soon as I had I realized this must have been what you meant as well. I'm just going to claim the 'second language' excuse card once again ;-)

    Good point. I might have reasoned too much from my own perspective here as I tend to narrow my searches down as much as possible before calling for info.

    No argument from me there. Heck, given the fact that I have ADHD I'm probably a poster boy for brief attention spans so I don't think I'm even allowed to disagree :)

    True as it is with so many things. As a kid I did ballroom dancing (international standard and international latin) and I the dances I liked back then I still enjoy now, even though I have forgotten most of the steps (I should really start taking lessons again but somehow there are not enough hours in a day to do all the things I 'should' do)
  5. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    For those looking for a 'workout' dance, I'd suggest Samba, Polka, Viennese Waltz or CW Swing/Jitterbug.
    All of those will make Salsa look downright sleepy.
  6. bas

    bas New Member

    From various websites:

    • The tempo of salsa music is typically 180 to 210 beats per minute"

    • [FONT=arial,helvetica]POLKA MUSIC (100 - 135 bpm)[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial,helvetica]Polkas are a good practice speed for Beginners or "relaxed dancers" from 100-110
    (Garth Brooks "Neon Moon" at 105 bpm)
    [FONT=arial,helvetica]a perfect speed for experienced dancers from 110-120
    (George Strait's "Amarillo By Morning" at 117 bpm)
    [FONT=arial,helvetica]exercise at 120-126
    (Suzy Bogguss' "I Want to be a Cowboy's Sweetheart at 126 bpm)
    [FONT=arial,helvetica]heavy breathing from 126-135
    (Brooks and Dunn's "My Maria" at 129 bpm and
    Charlie Daniel's "Devil Went Down to Georgia" at 135 bpm)
    [FONT=arial,helvetica]and sheer stupidity above that
    (The "Orange Blossom Special" is 177 bpm. Now that isn’t fast, that’s ridiculous !) *

    • [FONT=arial,helvetica]SWING MUSIC[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial,helvetica] Jitterbug/Lindy (132 - 150 bpm)[/FONT]

    • Viennese Waltz music (such as the well-known "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss Junior) is typically in the range of 120-180 bpm.

    Seems like Salsa has got them all beat on BPM so I guess it all depends on what kind of steps you end up doing. That said, in my opinion, you can get a good workout from any and all of them.
  7. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    bas, first of all, welcome to DF!!

    As you said, any dance done well is likely to give the dancer a bit of a workout... however, tempo has very little to do with it.

    At beginner levels of dancing, the faster dances will win in this area, because the person just has to move more. The fact that the person is not doing it well may actually contribute to the workout achieved, or at least the sweat produced, since the dancer's movement is not efficient and lots of effort is wasted.

    But dances that move more would tend to produce more of a workout, IMO, and slower dances require very controlled movement. Slow foxtrot is probably the dance that makes me sweat the most. Viennese waltz may be fast, but it's the most relaxed of all the ballroom dances.

    Done at a high level of energy, all the dances can be a good workout, and salsa/mambo is no different!
  8. bas

    bas New Member

    I just realized I've been rude in my eagerness to reply... Thanks for the welcome everyone!
  9. bas

    bas New Member

    This is actually a very good point. For a cardiovascular workout (which is the first thing that came to mind for me) high RPM is likely to work better. However, if we look at workouts in general then slow, controlled movements definitely do a lot for muscle building/toning.
  10. Welcome to DF. I have to disagree with this statement. Slow, controlled movements [with appropriate amount of resistance] is a method to anearobic exercises and does more for muscle buidling/toning. But without the proper resistance, it is an aerobic exercise that burns more fat.
  11. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Isn't that what he said?
  12. bas

    bas New Member

    It's what I meant, not what I said :)

    I didn't mention 'resistance' but that's because I always add resistance when I do slow, controlled movements. So even though it is implied for me it is not implied for everybody.
  13. taylor1990

    taylor1990 New Member

    Salsa is probably my favorite dance, but it doesn't mean I don't enjoy the other dances. It's just the community I grew up in I think. I'm white, but I happen to always become friends with latin people. I would see my friends doing the latin dances that they grew up with and I wanted to do it with them. I involved myself in the latin dances so much, especially Salsa, because of my friends. People love to dance, and depending on where you are and who you're around, you'll fall in love with different dances.
  14. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    More like 120-200.

    And it is of course much more than just the bpm that can make a particular dance an exercise. Compare collegiate shag to pure balboa for example. They are both danced to fast jazz/swing music, but shag is much much more demanding.
  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Beg to differ.. Balboa was originally danced to a med. tempo ( I chor. a formation to Green Onions in 62 ). it was on our (A/M ) gold level syllabus ( W.Coast ) .
  16. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    The point was not the original tempo of these dances, but that Pure bal and Collegiate shag can be danced to much of the same music, but shag is much more exhausting than bal.
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    No.. what you said was .. they can both be danced to "fast " swing music.

    Having lived and taught in the south ( states ) for many yrs in and around Shag "country", i can assure you, its not danced to fast tempos .Med type blues is very common
  18. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Just search for collegiate shag on youtube, and you'll find plenty of examples of the dance being danced to fast swing music.

    The first hit, for example, is around 240bpm.

    And the first I found when searchin for Balboa dance (to avoid hits on rocky balboa, balboa island etc.) was around 220 bpm.

    So as I said, they both can be danced to fast swing music.
  19. CyberKnight

    CyberKnight New Member

    You think this is a new fad?
  20. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    Huh. How'd we veer off to a swing discussion? ;)

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