Salsa > Why one should learn patterns

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by lundasalsa, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Re: Thoughts from a newbie...

    Welcome ElSereno,
    I really like what you have said here, for me it crystallizes the whole discussion. There are many things I had never thought physically possible until I learned them in a pattern.
  2. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    Re: Thoughts from a newbie...

    Welcome to DF, ElSereno! :D

    Yes, I know what you are talking about... when you get really good connection with your partner through dance -- the sort of connection Boriken talks about in many threads -- moves are irrelevant. The connection, and the music, takes you through the journey of dance, where you may use learned patterns, create a move on the fly, or even do nothing but the basic, swaying in each other's arms... it doesn't matter. Focus on the journey, reach out to connect and let the music move you rather than seeing dance as a series of prescribed patterns strung together. I think that's the point Boriken was trying to make.

    Something I wrote in another thread on pattern dancing:
  3. foursquare

    foursquare New Member

    This seems to be a popular opinion, but it raises a question for me: Is dancing patterns (or any memorized sequence of moves) ever considered dance in and of itself? Ballet is the example that pops into my mind. As far as I know (and my knowledge is limited, correct me if I'm wrong,) there is no opportunity in a ballet to "feel" the music and do your own thing and improvise.

  4. ElSereno

    ElSereno New Member

    This is a bit like the discussion between classical music and jazz. To me it's not what you do but how you do it. So one ballet dancer can be performing the same choreography as another, yet their expression is completely different. Otherwise, all ballet woul be the same, it wouldn't matter who was doing it, as long as they got the moves correct. But this is clearly not the case

    In salsa and other freer dances, of course, expression is partly through improvising the form itself. But even in these dances, no two people will do the same move in exactly the same way.
  5. blue

    blue New Member

    Oh yeah, even in partner dancing. Here for instance, some "folk dancers" actually dance choreographies that were made during 19th century. Every move is decided before hand. It is dancing - but it is not what we usually mean by social dancing.
  6. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Well, thank you! I'm sure SD will love the comment as he truly is a wise man! :mrgreen:

    Anyhow... continuing on dancing as patterns, the question brought forth by foursquare... As ElSereno, ahhhhh, isn't it beautiful to see the sereno in a cool morning over a field of grass. :) lovely, alluded to... the best example I see that separates the dance from choreography is when we see groups perform. For some unknown reason there always seems to be one dancer that is truly dancing the choreography, that person isn't just performing the sequence of moves, that person is truly dancing. To me the distinction between dancing and auto-pilot robotic dancing, even if doing solely patterns, is the emotional connection that the person exudes, as well as project towards the partner and crowd. That connection that makes the dancer’s inner most feelings blend with the music, one where the dancer is so into the music that the patterns are second thought to how alive this person looks within the music. A world where the separate entity becomes omnipresent, now that is dancing!

    Next time we have a chance to watch a performance, don't look at the moves, but stare at the face of the dancers. There is usually one that is so into the music that looking at the face alone makes us feel as if we are dancing right along. It makes our bodies jerk, our souls want to dance, it makes us forget we are in a crowded room full of smelly dancers... to me that makes the distinction between dancing and jumping through patterns like mice in a flood. The smell of sweat, oh wait, sorry, the end didn’t come out right. :p
  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    :oops: :oops: :oops:
  8. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    God, if you guys only knew that English is my second language and I have to look up the meanings of the more proficient sentences here. I'm like :shock: , now what does that mean?

    It happens time and time again, there was a time where I truly believed that salseros where a bunch of air-heads, but since I came to this site... it has proven otherwise...

    I believe that the capability for all possible creativity is innate, not to just one person but to all. I believe that outside forces act as the trigger to that creativity. Some don't need the trigger others do.

    Since we are humans and living in a physical representation of the meta-physical we can only use matter to express those thoughts into action, into reality... causing us to either create "new" movements in the physical world, or use moves already there. Which leads to exactly what you said, all art is in some form a copy of previous... for to exercise thought into material manifestation we must use what is physically available, and those means could have possibly been already created.

    Creation of ideas are the union of the meta-physical to the physical, to translate them into physical we must use what is physically present, hence all of that to agree with you in expression of the soul onto reality...

    The only way to express the self isn't per imposed patterns or moves, but rather the message carried out, feelings from the soul to the physical. Those are our only true expressions.... all imposed action/beleif has never and will never be ours, they will always belong to someone else, even if they feel as if ours...

    I can't stand when I hear a person saying that they have to learn more patterns to express themselves better. Express what? The moves say nothing about you but rather the person that created them! Want the move to express your inner feelings, then apply what they mean to your heart an soul onto the pattern, then you'll be telling others what your inner feelings want to express; self expression baby... it is in the form of the message carried out not the body's potrait of taught moves... the body's copied ideas from someone else will always be just that; someone else.
  9. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Personally, in ballet, I feel self expression is there. There is quite a bit more technicalities of the dance but self expression is still there...Boriken, says it well below....

    Again, well said. :)
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    You know that I agree with you boriken, but i also understand the analogy that knowing more moves is like having a broader vocabulary... making it easier to express some things.
  11. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Yeap... eloquence... someone once told me the more you know the better, crap, I'm so mad! the more I know the less I feel I know. :(
  12. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Boriken, correct me if I'm wrong but what I hear you saying is:
    Don't let the "moves" be the "sum" of your dancing. Sure, there is a place where you have to start and learn how to get from here to there. Like a baby beginning to walk. Once they have the walking down, then it's just done and the "symantecs" of it is not really thought of again. Their walk just becomes their walk. No?
  13. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    I can say that I've always been a "pattern dancer" until very recently. I would get so caught up trying to remember moves...(wait, no, another CBL after the hammerlock? ack!)...that I rarely would just let go and feel the music.

    I started watching some Cuban guys dance in the past few months...noticing how they played with the music...but the formal moves they used were small in number...but beautiful when done and so enjoyable to watch!

    The main joy in my little breakthrough that I was so eagerly posting about was that I finally just said "to hell with these damn patterns!" and starting doing all kinds of things. There was just something about the band that night...and the energy of the group, the band felt it and said how much they enjoyed watching everyone dance.

    I got many compliments on "how I expressed the music in my dancing"...and I was like wait...are you talking to me? And when I was able to do this with my partner...that's when I realized I was finally DANCING Salsa...and not just stepping to the beat. :D

    Ok, now I'm late for my dentist appointment for writing this...I'll get you for this Boriken...I just couldnt' resist! :lol:

  14. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Don't despair my friend... moves, like vocabulary, are just one mode of communication out of many. In both instances there are also many other ways to express one's self.
  15. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Re: Thoughts from a newbie...

    Yup! :wink: btw, welcome to the DF. :)
  16. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    That sums it up pretty well! Don't allow the self to be the sum of what we consciously know! Be more, reach for more, see no limits, know the self! By more I never mean physically, but rather...

    Dance with so much of your inner feelings that 2 moves will describe to pin point accuracy the exact same feelings that a thousand will; Passion!feel it, be it; SALSA!

    If salsa was a woman, guys, sorry, she'd be all mine!!!! No sharing here!!!! lol Not even with you and the chocalate dip sabor, nor SD and the purple hat, youngsta and his sassy hips, SG and his flirty itanlianess. :tongue:

    BTW.. just noticed your quote. :D :D :oops:
  17. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Yup! You rock Dude. :D
  18. rails

    rails New Member

    I think patterns are examples. They show you possibilities. I don't think they're necessarily something that has to come off. You can do them exactly as you learned them or you can do variations of them or you can take pieces of different patterns and put them together in new ways.

    I do patterns just as I learned them all the time and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Of course, I do them in my own way. We all do, whether we're trying to be unique or not.
  19. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    That's a good point rails...I had much more I wanted to say on the subject but I was running late for the dentist. Now I'm back and still high on novacaine (wheeeeeeeeee!) and getting my teeth drilled for 2 hours gave me a lot of time to think about this more. :? :lol:

    I see patterns as one piece of the Salsa (or any dance) puzzle, but not the only piece. Its just one of several core fundamentals such as frame, techniques, interpreting the music, staying with your partner, etc.

    I think the reason many people get disappointed with patterns is that most schools and teachers do not go beyond this. They will show you the moves, and may say "follow the clave and find your own style " but the emphasis on this is very weak. So if you want to learn the deeper aspects of the dance, then just take a styling workshop! :roll:

    But patterns and other fundamentals like frame are very important. When I was out the other night I danced with a girl that had really sensual body awareness...but knew next to nothing about Salsa or partner dancing. I'd watch her with some guys and they were having fun...but not doing Salsa! I danced with her and couldn't connect since she wanted to do the funky chicken and I wanted to do Mambo. If she'd taken some lessons and blended that with her body awareness...yes...she'd be a great Salsa dancer.

    The one amazing person I danced with had both. She knew about frame and timing...could follow most of my moves...and had a beautiful way she expressed the music on her own. All of this came together for both of us...and made dancing with her pure joy. :bouncy:

    Just for humors sake, I'll site an example of how my Salsa dancing used to be like, compared to how its starting to feel now:


    Start in closed position, forward and back basic. Back break to inside turn, whoo hoo here comes some side steps! Hmm, this is boring, I know...I'll trick her and do a CBL from side basic as its not commonly done! lets do some more basic...yes now my pattern from class. Yes here it goes...whee hammerlock, copa, can't remember the rest...humm...damn stepped on her toes...she's looking bored...I know I'll do a CBL from the waist...ack...she's never done that one before...ok then how about some more BASICS? :roll: :lol:

    (Keep in mind, I'd be focused on doing what I've learned in class...I was missing what the music was telling me...and I didn't realize how much until I made that breakthrough)

    Now, here's an example of what I was doing the other night:

    Start in closed position...wait until I feel the music...ahh...just going to shake my shoulders a bit until my partners energy is there too. Ok...some basic steps here...give my partner a smile...shake the shoulders a bit more...giggle a bit as she does it in return. Hey, look, she's smiling...whoa...I really feel her now...what a rush! What to do now...I don't know...I'll just look into her eyes and add some extra steps along with the music...ahh...keep that connection going with my partner...whoa this girl is really starting to get wild! The drummer is making his congas speak and I bet I'm looking pretty funny now...but I don't care who's watching anymore. My hands slowly release my partner...I look deeply into her eyes and smile from the heart...lift off, we have lift off! I have no idea what's going on now...I'm so focused on her and in the moment...we're dancing as one person...yes...where's the chocolate dip...! :p :together:

    Yikes...and I didn't have any NO2 either! :lol: :lol:

  20. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    :eyebrow: :wink: :lol:

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