Salsa > Why getting on the balls?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Imbrace, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member

    In the basic steps, some instructors get on the heals and some on the balls like this. What does this have to do with balance, style or techniques?
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    By "getting " on the ball of foot, do you mean as a first contact?.. if so, that is correct ,BUT, a very flat footed approach. lowering to whole foot in quick fashion. The speed of the dance does not require foot rise, and, the point of " ball" should really read " inside edge of Ball/ whole foot" ( the way that Cuban mortion ) is applied.

    And, there are occasions when a "heel " is used, but normally not present in foundation work.

    in addition, Cuban style Casino, is often presented as a normal walking action with a heel lead( even, some say also, in Son ).
  3. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member


    You mean the inside edge of the ball first, and then quickly the rest of the foot. Is that what you call 'very flat footed approach'? And is its goal to facilitate the Cuban and hip motion?
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Exactly...but, NEVER the weight ,to the outside edge .Weight dis-placement in " dance " is critical to execution ,of how we move; the key is to be always "on " balance .
    Even with heel leads, the transference to a central position, is equally important .

    Correct "Pitch " and "Poise ", will normally address those problems that ,may arise thru incorrect weight dis-placement .
  5. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Video made me cringe. The leader was very clear to articulate that the forward rock is a "ball". Then they take the camera angle to the back and the dude executing the basic clearly does a heel. o_O WHY would they not notice that before they out the video out?
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    It´s neither style nor technique. Simple bad didactic. The students will bounce in theire knees later on, ugly.
  7. vit

    vit Active Member

    Guy on the video is Seaon Bristol "The stylist". Actually one of well known salsa instructors, I have several of his dvds (although I didn't study much of the content there). According to his biography I found on one website, he was born in Guyana, learned mambo/salsa in NY from Eddie Torres (who said he was very talented) and some others, then moved to LA

    As about his dancing, yeah, he has his own a bit specific style. But it's how it is in salsa anyway - many people have own style. Most salsa dancers didn't complain about his footwork which, unlike in ballroom latin, most of them don't find important, but about his feminine look. Salsa is a blend of various genres, some of them latin and some of them non latin (WCS for instance). His dancing is a bit backpoised, could be an influence of the west coast, or just his personal preference, I don't know. Even my dancing became more backpoised after I learned WCS, while it was earlier influenced by my ballroom background, but girls don't complain about that at all. Consequence of that is more "pull-type" leading, like in wcs.

    However, his movement is quite smooth, so I don't believe that his students would tend to develop bounce in their knees, which btw happens to many ballroom latin dancers when they try to dance salsa, at least in my area ... salsa is different dance than latin and unlike latin is dominantly social dancing, so way of thinking is just different

    As about Larinda's notice, camera reveals that he makes the fwd break step on the ball, but preceding step is actually on the heel first, probably because most salsa dancers make this step longer that the break step, so it's not unusual to see this (me included) and it's making zero percentage of impression your follower is getting about your dancing in salsa. They are interested in how nicely you are leading them. Do you step on the balls, heels or even able to levitate they don't care
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Vit., most of what you wrote , is a non sequitor.
    First, ET " says ".. well talent has little or nothing to do with "teaching ".

    2nd.. people dont complain about bad F/work.. of course they dont ! How could they make that distinction, about which they have either never been taught ,and or corrected.

    3rd..The inclusion of variations from other genres ,does NOT mean that ,the technique should remain as applicable to the genre from which they were adapted .

    You then contradict yourself, by saying "latin is different from other dance ". And ,THATS the reason why, as i have said many times before, technique from other genres, does not always apply .

    Making excuses for teaching poor techn. does not absolve the "teacher ? " .
  9. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, I'm not defending him. But, to me, he doesn't look like an example of a bad salsa teacher - it's mostly like that. Just like international ballroom latin lost most it had in common with latin roots, it's happening with international salsa as well this way or another. So, nobody actually cares to step over the ball, but they all call the dance they are dancing salsa
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Maybe in your neck of the woods.. but.. I can assure you, there are teachers around who do care , but, there also are dancers " who discovered ( suddenly:rolleyes: ) that they knew how to teach .

    And ,its not only Footwork that, often comes into question .
    By the way, i dont dispute they are dancing salsa, just going thru the motions in many cases, not even understanding basic concepts ( NOT their fault ) .
  11. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, I have visited various salsa congresses, met people from all over the world, was observing their dancing, and that's my impression. I'm talking about young people dancing now, not about generation from a decade or two ago ... I understand there was much more point on using part of the foot that was for various reasons correct in salsa, but things change, in many cases in not most optimal direction

    In many cases it just starts with good dancers having a good technique that want have their own style, so they change something, for instance their poise more backwards and step to heels sometimes like this guy (and even he is slightly older school, at least 5-10 years). Then other people that are not that good start copying them. These days with thousands of youtube clips it spreads over the world in a matter of days ... but, unlike in competitive dancing, there are no judges here to penalize that behaviour, in many cases it's just the opposite - girls like that it's different, as long it feels good. That's how influences from other genres are mixing with salsa, and also other dances like kizomba becoming a part of salsa parties ... but we were already discussing these things on SF. I'm not saying that I'm approving or disappoving it, I'm just observing it happening and trying to understand why. Of course, there are always people who don't want to go with the flow but ... it doesn't change much
  12. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Theres no dis-agreement on the current scene, the question ( that I responded to ) is WHY, and answered in my last post. Im not referring to those who have never taken formal instruction ( why would they ? they already know everything:rolleyes: ). But to condescend to why standards are low, then the answer is 2 fold..many dont care ( thats OK ) and poor teaching.
    You may defend his technique all day long,
    but as a pro, Im sorry ,
    its just poor dancing.

    By the way, did he not say one thing, and then dance another ?... the old " dont do as i do ,do as I say " .
  13. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well I agree with you and I didn't say I like him (otherwise I would probably spend some time studying his DVDs). Hard to judge about the quality of his teaching even from this clip. He is certainly not top level dancer although he is not that bad either
    Saying one thing and dancing another - I faced this with every single teacher including pros in ballroom and in every instructional DVD ... and there are things in official ballroom books nobody is dancing exactly that way but nobody revised the books either ... so it's nothing especially new
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    In B/room , there are some techniques that, are well established, and, to remember, the books are essentially a guide ,to foundation work and principles .

    And yes, there sometiimes are dis-agreements in the Pro ranks ,on the hows, whys and wheres, but a general concensus ,is to be found in most of the lower levels of figures ( i.e. Br. and Silver ) .
  15. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member

  16. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member

    By now 3 of you have already confirmed they noticed him stepping on heal. Excuce me, I just could not see it. Could you tell me exactly which step?

    I also search youtube for his social dancing and whenever possible I paid attention to his footwork. I did not like his dancing style and poor masculinity by the way. This is off topic, though.

    Do you wanna send them to me? ;)
  17. vit

    vit Active Member

    My bad. Larinda made that notice and I checked the video briefly, but it's actually another guy stepping on the heel before the forward break (on 7). But he sometimes indeed steps over the heel after the back break (on 6), like at position 7:52, and sometimes on the flat foot on that beat. Checked entire video and can't find other errors. However, on the DVDs, he is backpoised in some moves due to the connection type and is stepping over the heel from time to time, but that's what many people do in salsa ...
  18. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I get it if they do it. I get if their posture and poise dictate it. I get it that they may feel good their followers. I am sure there are tons of reasons the use a heel step. (not heal step)

    But at least do what you say and say what you do. And if you ask your friends to be in your video... make sure they are actually doing what you are trying to convey, say, and teach also!
  19. Imbrace

    Imbrace Member

    Yeah .. I doubted my own eyes :) .. but also he's method applies to stem 1 & 5 not 7.

    I'll give him another excuse for 7:52 as he was obviously excited .. consider it a tiny shine or something.
  20. Jag75

    Jag75 Active Member

    It's true that good technique requires a salsa dancer to step correctly. It's inexcusable for a salsa instructor to not exercise proper technique throughout when demonstrating and teaching a salsa move. If you look at Oliver Pineda (I know I reference him a lot - but there's very little fault in his dancing) he never deviates from exercising proper technique when teaching. Not only that, but his obsession with doing everything "right" and in drilling basic techniques ad nauseum are what makes him 6 time World champion.

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