Salsa > why is salsa so hard for me??

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

  1. dancin/dj

    dancin/dj Member

    No i did not miss the point, i can read very well thank u. you said(if you go to lessons you'll lose something that is inate etc) you just swithced hit amigo, pleaseeeee.
  2. casasalsa

    casasalsa New Member

    Hi Guys, im new to the forum, and DID NOT read through all pages, but i read alot......if somebody seems to have a hard tim learning salsa, you can talk about taking classes, or not taking classes all day, but the issue in 99% of people (latin or not) is timing.....or better said......"musical comfort" i have been teaching for years and i specialize in this area. Think about it, why would you be uncomfortable, or get frustrated with salsa? ESPECIALLY wif you can dance other styles of music......? Salsa is the hardes genre of music to understand becasue of the clave, .......and once people understand timing....not just 123.567...but how to find and FEEL the the one, how to find clave in tumbao, campana, cascara, ect. and can interpret that through dance....i have NEVER seen a student have a hard time learning the dance, and my school sees about 200 salsa student per week. hope my info is conclusion is to go find someone that specializes in timing and learn EVERYTHING about it.......and watch how easy it is to learn salsa..... =)
  3. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    Its so fun when you relax. Making it out to be very complicated in your head makes it impossible to do much less enjoy.
  4. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    Sorry casasalsa, your wrong. To be good at salsa is to be good at dance.
    My daughter is a pro. salsa dancer (among many other partnered dances) and doesn't know a clave from a wart on her finger. She does know timing and that's what it's all about.
    Learn the tech. and learn how to count. That is the advise I would offer. Once you learn that, dancing to the music will come naturally. Bless you wonderwomen. :>)
    Make it simple, not complicated.
  5. casasalsa

    casasalsa New Member

    barrefly, i can respect your opinion, but i guarantee you that if we are trying to give helpful advise, your is not that.....just cause you can find the One, doesnt mean your great at timing, im not even saying that your daughter dances of time, but if she really is a pro, she understands clave, and if not, thats the next thing that would make her a better dancer.....i think too many people make dancing salsa about counting, and then they wonder why they hit that ceiling that everyone hates.....i would put money that the advise here is a timing/musical comfort issue, not a counting and tech issue.....the tech is not very hard when you can concentrate on it,....but if all you do is count, then your constantly multi-tasking when you instead of letting loose, and focusing on the dance, your suggesting counting AND thinking about tech.....but when your COMPLETELY in check with salsa timing (not just finding one, but where is clave based on everything from tumbao, capana, all the way to cascara) you have no need to count anymore....and i think too little people realize that.....just my 2 cents =) BTW, im sure you daughter is an amazing dancer........i just want you to see my point being given to a beginner salsa dancer.....thats all
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Is ANYONE going to mention " Rhythm " ???.. dance is NOT only about timing.. its about HOW we use the musical passages.. the rhythmical interpretation of music.. one can be on time and OFF rhythm ( most common misuse of music ).

    ALL genres that use music as their "tool" of expression , need to be as aware of the construction of music, as they are about all the other aspects...

    And... learning "timing " , does not necessarily facilitate ease of learning HOW to dance.. it only implies one understands the " bar " structure..( even that is very complex, with the many different Son, Cumbia,and Guajira etc, applications )

    These musical adaptions can, and should , change the way we dance..
  7. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    And that implies what ??.... Convenience .. Price.. Location...

    Volume is not necessarily a guarantee of quality.. I,m not saying your situation is devoid of that, only that one should never infer that classes that are large in number, always gets the best results. On the contrary, they seldom tend to stress the more finer points of partnership in dance.

    Routines ( as they call them ) are usually the order of the day..
  8. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Good points here. Dancing "on time" is one thing, dancing truly to the rhythm is another. My own knowledge of latin rhythms is limited and I am trying to know more - but as I understand it, clave is like the heartbeat of salsa - without it, the soul isn't there, is that true?

    I've seen barrefly's daughter's video (he posted them here), and yes, she is technically excellent and on time, and yes, you can become a pro based on that - but when you see people do latin dancing with a true feeling for the music, the rhythm and culture, it's a whole other thing, even when the steps are very simple.
  9. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    I very much agree with tangotime, having a sense of where the music going is very important with improvised dancing. To feel whan a hit is coming, to know when a musical phrase has ended so that you always know where to find the count, to know musical structure so that you may know were to place your shine etc. Both my kids have an amazing sense of rythym and sense of where the music is going since their very early years in dance. It's the technical/academic aspects of rythym and timing that can be rather difficult to learn, but for most new/older dancers, they are not interested in getting that deep into r/t. For them, it shouldn't matter what instruments are being played in the music or what music it is for that matter. It is about feeling and understanding(becoming one with) the music. It is also about using one's body in a rythymic fashion and being able to respond with one's body to the music. The body becomes an instrument in dance.

    I am telling you from experience casasalsa, you must learn to walk before you learn to run and the best way to learn to walk is to simply just do it. Don't over analyze it.

    jennyisdancing hit on something about my daughter. She is very correct in one sense. However, you must take into account that she was only 14 in the clip. She/we considered her training very important at that stage. The dancers that the OP are refering to are not like my daughter. They haven't had formal dance training since they were 2 1/2 years old. This makes my point even more valid. Teach such dancers how to count, teach them tech., teach them patterns, teach them some tricks and shines and put some music on and have them dance. This is the quickest way to get a new salsero(a) out there dancing on the social floor. They will figure out what to do with the clave on their own. (or what to do with any musical accent for that matter)
    The best instructors in L.A. use this approach, so I can't be too off base.

    If by chance their are some very serious dancers out there that want to be the best,
    they may have to put aside their musical expression with dance while they learn the technical aspects of dance. This will take a very long time. (My daughter is still learning). Once they have achieved technical profiency, then they can explore artistry, musicality and expression. My daughter is just at that point with her salsa, but with her b/l and argentine tango, she is still learning her technique.

    Added:casasalsa writes:
    Yes casasalsa, I think you may be correct. However, one learns to count so that they don't have to count. Once you understand timing/rythym, it takes a back seat in the brain.
    In the words of the immortal jazz great, Charlie Parker...
    “You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.”
  10. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    I had to add this....but felt it should be a new post.

    Of all the great salsa dancers in L.A. that my daughter has danced with, it is the ones without any formal training that she enjoys most. I appoligize for implying that one needs a great deal of formal training to be a great salsa dancer. I meant that such training is required to be a great dancer, but salsa is a very unique form of dance.
    Johnny Vazquez is an amazing salsa dancer, but as a dancer in general, he is not.

    If you want to be a great salsa dancer, then "shut up and start dancing". :>)
  11. casasalsa

    casasalsa New Member

    Tangotime, Rhythm is exactly what im talking about....what it timing? finding the "1"? in my eyes, its having an amazing understanding of EVERYTHING in the percussive section of salsa.....i think we are kind of on the same page about it

    my mention to the amount of students we handle was in place to let you know im not a private teacher that thinks he knows everything, i teach every day, full time, this is what i do for a living, so my feedback is from experience.....BTW, we give top notch instruction...i just think you have 1 thing backwards now, learning tech 1st is in my opinion, the WORST thing we can advise to the poster of the subject......let me ask you:

    how does one bacome TRULEY comfortable in dance...and in this subject ...SALSA? what makes the person that feels that they can dance most other things.....feel like they SUCK, or are not upto par with salsa? tech? i dont think so,.... its comfort, and the only way to build that is by understanding rhythm, not by learning a tech side of dance....if you do that, you will learn the dance, and be that person that always says "MAN, ive been dancing for sooo long, and i feel like im missing something, ....why cant i dance like that guy/girl?"...i see it ALL OF THE TIME. if you can add 2 plus 2, how do you fix it? by telling him "just add it, ju keep trying to add", or by explaining how it works? i know what it feels like to SUCK at dancing, ....because i was never a dancer as a young maybe you dont understand what it takes to move past the problem, but i do...... and i feel VERY strong about trying to help people in this type of situation....i hope it doesnt sound harsh....i am just VERY passionate about this area of dance =)

    one counts so that they dont have to? that is the mistake soooooooo many people make....thats why a person that learns like that learns to dance ...lets say....On1, and feels LOST On2 or On3.....because they turn into a one trick pony...a UNIVERSAL dancer dances all with ease because they realize its not about numbers, its about feeling certain aspects of the song......a person that dances on1 listens to something COMLETELY different that an On2 Dancer....or should i say,....and avid dancer.

    jennyisdancing, yes, without clave, salsa is not salsa, thats why its soooo importand to understand it beyond numbers =)
  12. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    casasalsa, I hope you are not implying that I am pushing "Technique" in open salsa classes. I am saying the opposite, make it as easy to the students as possible.

    However, having an internal clock going is very important even at the early stages of salsa (or any dance) training. It not only frames the movements they learn, but helps a dancers get back into their sequences if they have messed up. That applies to on1/on2 or on whatever. I don't understand why you keep refering to the "1" beat for timing. You could just as well pick up your timing on the "6" beat if you dropped a beat or 2. A good sense of timing, (why instructors count the steps) a familurarity with body movement (through teaching moves/patterns and shines) and the ability to remember choreo. (always learning new choreo....moves,shines and patterns for salsa..../practice/and experience) is how one learns salsa. That is what most L.A. teachers try to teach their students. My daughter just happens to take it further by also getting a lot of tech. training and learning other forms of dance. Tech. is very important in other dance forms such as B/L and Argentine Tango. This has helped her with her timing, her body movement and her ability to pick up choreo. +5 times faster than a typical dance student without a high degree of formal training. It is really pretty darn simple. Classes that emphasive dancing on the clave (or other instruments) just seem like a gimmick to me.

    That may be true, and chacha isn't chacha without the 4and1 accent, but it isn't the instrument that defines's the accents. You don't have to teach a dancers music theory, (strong/weak beats etc.) or which instruments in a salsa band plays such accents for them to recognize such accents. Just teach them salsa (the way most L.A. teachers do...) and it will miraculously happen.

    I think Leonid hit it on the head. (must be because he is also B/L trained LOL).
  13. casasalsa

    casasalsa New Member

    i keep refering to the "one" because thats the only part of salsa, from your explanation that you truley understand.....everything else is "fill in the blanks"....through repetition of this, you will build a sense of timing, not not at its highest level.....thats all im saying.

    if you think teaching clave is a gimmick......this is what you should work on...i am COMPLETELY on your side that people teach dancing clave wrong, because the percussive section of salsa plays "in clave" so you dont hear the ba, ba, ba,, so you must learn HOW TO FIND the clave, and then you can dance to it....and if you have never done this....your missing out on th real feel behind salsa...but either way, learning AT LEAST how to find it and groove to it in your own way is a gift on its own......

    and about cha cha....what accent is there on 1? assuming your talking about the 8&1 or the 4&5 tumbao helps you FALL INTO the beat....and nothing is accented on 1....unless the tumbao player is playing hard core even THAT is more felt than curious.....what are yo talking about...maybe im misunderstanding
  14. teotjunk

    teotjunk Member

  15. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    ..."you" as in me, or people in general?

    I'll tell you what I do know. The really good (social) on1 dancers that I have seen (I assume that you teach on2, but the same should apply)......may not always dance on1 during an entire dance. They may switch to on5..on3 or whatever, before returning to on1. This is because they are very proficient dancers and are versatile with their musical timing. They hear the clave, the tumbao and everything else that is going on in the music. It is not something they were taught, it is something they learned to feel with their ears and their body. Because of their skill in timing, they developed their rythym and musicality. It starts with timing.

    If your 200 students are happy with your classes, good for them.

    It is apparent that you dance "salsa" chacha. This is from
    International Latin (Chacha)
    128 beats per minute
    Basic Rhythm:
    2, 3, 4&1, 2, 3, 4&1 (accent on count 1)
    Music Style:
    Medium-tempo Latin music.

    In salsa chacha, pretty much anything goes, but with int. latin chacha, it is counted 4&1. Without sounding ignorant...perhaps Leonid (or someone else) could explain why.
    However, my point is, is that the chacha accent is easily recognizable. Any accent can be recognizable if you learn to feel and listen to the music. Knowing what to do when we hear such accents is what training is all about. We don't train to hear the music, (that's easy) we train to know what to do with the music. (much more difficult).
  16. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    teotjunk, just get a good ballroom/latin teacher and you won't have to worry about ear training. It will come naturally. I promise.
  17. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    I would agree with this to a certain extent. I never had ANY trouble with timing from day one. Yet it took me at least two years before I became really comfortable playing with the music in my dancing. I think the reason many have the problem you describe is that there are certain body functions which must take hold before one can physically have the "musical comfort" you describe--for example, posture and stillness of the 'center', foot and ankle strength, and leg action. As these are developed, the rhythm and musical comfort can develop with them.
  18. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    Josh, ...2 yrs,....that's pretty darn quick. Of course, you are an experienced dancer and you are an adult. Alas, Missy is just starting to play with the music. (After 4 yrs of salsa instruction). She has got tons of dance knowledge in her head that she can play with, once (if) she learns to pull it out of her head and put it in her dance.
    Added: I just want to say how important it is for a dancer to have such an ability to improvise (play with the music). One can see the difference between a strickly technical dancer and an artistic dancer (with the same technical profiency) even at the pro. level. With a technical dancer routines can look rehearsed, with and artistic dancer they make a choreographed routine look fresh and spontanious.
    Thankyou Josh for mentioning this. This falls under what I call "technique" that I mention. My daughter was recently passed on for a tryout with a youth champ. because there was a technical aspect of latin dancing she did not seem to posess in her demo clip. (speed)
    She lost out on someone that was technically better than her and settled for someone that is not as technically profecient as she. Good/proper technique does help you with your dancing. (Correct?)
    Both my daughter and her partner are working on thier tech., but good tech. doesn't happen overnight.
  19. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Well it seemed like forever at the time! :) I danced a LOT in those first 2 years of dancing, and certainly felt more comfortable after the next 2 years, and so on--so it's not like I was "good" or anything, I just felt more at ease and less tied to specific timing, steps, and footwork. I was still not very good, nor am I currently an expert at salsa.

    For solo dancing, listening to the rhythms in the music is the key to being free. For partnering, it's understanding the roles of yourself and your partner and focusing on the connection, so that you know how to do your job in the partnership.

    As someone once said (I forget who now), it's nailing the technique that really FREES the dancer to express himself or herself. It's as if we have chains and shackles and want to move, but we simply aren't able to until we free ourselves by improving technique, shed the chains, and then we can really *dance*.
  20. casasalsa

    casasalsa New Member

    Basic Rhythm:
    2, 3, 4&1, 2, 3, 4&1 (accent on count 1) <<<<<<<<<<that is the steps one takes, not the rhythm of the song.......we can sit here and play every instrument in cha-cha-cha, and there is technically NO accent on 1...its more felt than heard...... your confusing sequence of steps, and rhythm.

    We don't train to hear the music, (that's easy) we train to know what to do with the music. (much more difficult).<<<<<<<<I TRULY dont want to sound rude, ...but this is in effort to prove something to the person that originally posted this thread, but i bet you if i played wouldn't know what to do with it...but you say that training to hear music is easy, ...and for most, its least salsa is not....BECAUSE of clave. This is not meant to start an argument, just to prove a point....... Let me emphasize that this is not for people that dont have an issue with the dance.....its for people that do.......many find learning salsa EASY!!! but i feel that MANY MORE find it HARD. and i want to give solid advise to those people, because i was once one of those people, and i didnt see a HUGE shift in my dance until i made the commitement to learn this stuff.....and AFTER i was confortable, the dance came easy and i have NEVER had anyone follow my advise, and REALLY DO THE WORK, and not see a MASSIVE change in how fast the learned the dance proceeding the learnings.

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