Salsa > why is salsa so hard for me??

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by esther87, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. esther87

    esther87 New Member

    I don't know why salsa brings out the worst in me. I thought I knew how to dance it until I realized I had it all wrong. Im really good at dancing... duranguense, nortenas, cumbia (sonidero and guaracha),bachata... i guess mostly mexican stuff..but if Im really good at dancing cumbia (with complex turns and footwork).. why is salsa so different? I think I got it all wrong. I need to learn. help?
  2. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

  3. Hey and welcome!

    Learning to dance Salsa or any dance or learning any skill for that matter, takes time and dedication.
    Salsa is very free in the way that you can do anything - Lead and Follow any step and move, any partner, etc....But you still have to learn how! And you need to have solid fundamentals to do it. Many Salsa moves actually are the same move but done with different hand hold or styling.

    So I suggest to you to take private lessons if you are really serious about learning.

  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Perhaps you're stuck in thinking that you should be able to tweak one of the other dances to work for salsa, when it's its own dance? I don't know. I'm just reaching.
  5. basicarita

    basicarita Member

    esther87, you didn't say where you're located, but it may be either

    1) a rhythmic issue (the people in your new salsa dance scene -- LA, for example -- dance "on the 1", where you're used to more syncopated dances and starting "on 2"), or

    2) you're used to individual dances (isn't cumbia danced in the round sometimes, instead of always being a partner dance?) and need practice partnering with people.

    As a jazz and modern dancer, I know I had trouble with #2. Learning to follow and/or lead has its own set of issues as far as dance goes. Just guessing here.
  6. esther87

    esther87 New Member

    thanks guys.. im located in chicago. to be honest i have no clue on what beat i dance on but i do know how to follow. there are pauses in salsa and i dont know when and where to do them or when the count even starts. i used to implement cumbia into the salsa i danced but then i paid closer attention to the real salseros and realized what i did didnt match them. so what are some starting tips?
  7. Seems like you just thought you can dance Salsa without having any instruction in it?

  8. esther87

    esther87 New Member

    the thing is that most hispanic dances dont require lessons. unless they are traditional dances. thats why salsa dumbfounded me so much. the turns and partner work in other stuff i know is just an aquired skill from well...just dancing. but salsa intrigues me so much i wanna get to know it.
  9. well i am here to let you know... YOU NEED LESSONS girl

  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Not entirely true... in fact, many of my students ( in the States ) were Hispanics.. there is a myth that is perpetuated that because one is Latino it automatically "opens doors ", that are not available to other cultures.

    Of course, if one is raised in a country which plays predominantly Cuban based rhythms ( like PR, Cuba, Colmb. etc ) then your exposure to the foundational aspects, are much greater than in others..

    Being skilled in any given dance does not automatically translate to other dances, even within the same genre.. take some classes at basic level..

    Y para.. buena suerte..
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member


    hi ester, so I´m right, that is what I meant with

    You can cope this with..

    a) choosing a better leader, that pushes you right into the rhythm (may be in close hold for a better frame),
    b) to prapple around on your own with the rythmic structurs of Salsa (that is the way I would prefer)
    c) have A private with a teacher, you do not need to start anew.

    But you should find out, which Salsa style you want to dance, bc. they do the break (rebote, rock step) on beat 1, 2, or 3, depending on where the dancers come from. And the pause varies, too. Salsa has a 8/4 measure, thats totally different from Duranguense or Cumbia.

  12. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    ???.. You are confusing the issue...

    its a 4 / 4 time sign. based upon a 2 bar basic structure...

    For the poster.. be careful with the " pause " issues.. the leader will dictate the transitions from fwd and back basic movement ( and all else, come to that ).. you need to determine what style is most prevalent in the places you wish to dance.. then.. learn accordingly.

    ( incidentally, there are some Cumbia passages included in certain styles of music; one e.g.may be found in some music from Colombia Salsa bands )
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Sorry, you are right! Let me try again: the basic structure starts after 8 beats from the beginning again.
  14. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I have a good friend who's Hispanic and she grew up listening to salsa music, and doing salsa and other latin dances. But she tells me it's an informal and much simpler style compared to the things people learn in a studio. She's had to take salsa lessons to be able to do it at a good level. I'm not Hispanic so I had to learn it from the beginning.

    As far as the counts in the music, if they do salsa "on 1" in your area, then you count it 1-2-3.....5-6-7.
    For the lady, that means you step back with your right foot on "1", in place with the left on "2", and close with the right on "3". You pause (don't step anywhere) on "4". Then step forward with the left foot on "5", in place with the right on "6", and close with the left on "7". Pause on "8" and repeat.
  15. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    They don't require lessons for you probably because you had exposure to them growing up, but correct me if I'm wrong. You can't learn ANYthing without "lessons"--your "lessons" were your experience with them in traditional settings. Saying that dancing doesn't require training is like saying learning a language doesn't--for your native language it doesn't because you grew up with it, but learning a new language sure does!
  16. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Exactly the right analogy Josh. One can learn a new language via immersion studies vs. formal lessons, but one still must learn. That said, the style of salsa being danced in many popular US salsa clubs these days is not the informal family/backyard/street style, so those experiences alone do not suffice. So while I disagree with Leonid that one *must* have lessons (which really depends on what one wants out of dancing), salsa is definitely not something one can just "pick up" (in particular, and depending on one's previous experiences, the timing and connection techniques can be rather different from some other dance genres).
  17. gracie

    gracie Active Member

    Why not get an instructional video to study and then go to a few group lessons. Ask a dancer that you admire to recommend one.
  18. soplo

    soplo New Member

    Most of the students at my studio are Hispanics including myself. I'm probably one of the most advanced student in salsa. Last week I was dancing salsa with a beginning salsa student (mexican women) and she was a mess. Then the next song was a cumbia and we continued dancing and I was a mess and she was amazing. :D I wish dancing one dance could automatically help at another one but from personal experience it doesn't. The dance background and upbringing will help speed the learning process. I'm sure with a little formal training you will be amazing.
  19. esther87

    esther87 New Member

    u are so right. hispanics more or less just learn the informal ways to dance. so now that im taking a closer look... im like wow. i like it. thanks for the breakdown on the steps!!
  20. esther87

    esther87 New Member

    u are absolutely right. my music is kind of like the language a grew up with. in my case both Spanish and English. But I am more than willing to learn from who ever is willing to teach

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