Salsa > Why would people dance NY style?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by brujo, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    :D :D :D :D .... You go Girl!!! :D :D :D :D

    I hope you have a blast in class, get down like never before... WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPA!! Thanks for the kind words.
  2. TheArchon

    TheArchon New Member

    Where i live, the only style studied and danced, is the L.A style (i think, back and foward, style in the moves), i dont even know what mambo is... and i think i do know some colombian(very close, step in the place, and also steps to the side as in cha cha).

    But i do like the L.A style, and i wonder why no one teaches other styles :roll: :?: and i dont think it has anything to do with the shape of the room...

    They also teaches alot of Rueda here, but i hate it, i want to decide how my dance partner here.

    Sorry for any spelling mistakes, i've just returned from a dancing party...
  3. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Take a look at this link. It showcases some of the most talented Mambo dancers in New York. Take a look at Galleries 1,2, &3. Enjoy!
  4. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Can you be talking about bachata here? If you are interested there is a thread on this in our forums. Click on the link below:

    what is bachata?
  5. TheArchon

    TheArchon New Member

    Thnks for your explaination, I didn't really see much diffrent from mambo to the LA style, all the LA style elements, are the same as mambo, mybe you can put some elements in LA style with step number four(like hold then fast spin). i guess i mix the styles, but its fun that way, it gives you more moves.

    Whats the NY style btw?
  6. brujo

    brujo New Member


    You seem to group all the benefits of dancing and associate it with your style. There is a great difference between choosing to dance and choosing to dance new york style. Choosing to lead better, social dancers wanting to persue more, followers being helped by the leader, bla bla bla all relate to dancing in general, it shouldn't matter if I chose mambo or polka.

    I have been taking lessons about 3 times a week in this style for about a year. I understand the focus of it. The highly sophisticated technique that is needed. The double spins, the hand flicks, the difference between dancing on 1 and on 2, bla, bla, bla. There are clubs in Toronto where this style is predominant, and I have danced with dancers of this style here. I have also danced with people from New York, Detroit, etc. I believe I have a firm grasp for what the style calls for.

    But Mambo is still mambo. A dance that grew up in the ultimate big city. The epitome of north american attitude. A city that has the reputation of being snobby and rude even in its own country. Ever hear the song plastico by Willie Colon and Ruben Blades. Mambo is latin dance that has gone through the plastico filter and cultural sensitivities of new york city.

    You look at merengue and bachata and dismiss them because they are simple dances. You look at perreo and despelote and laugh at it, who would want to do dances like that, it's not mambo. You think that complex patterns can only be complicated because of the amount of movement you can cram into one or two eight beats. You add direction changes and double spins to a pattern and call it complicated because of the amount of bodily control that it requires.

    Sure Mambo has flash. I have danced with women who I felt absolutely no connection with, and have people tell me afterwards that we looked great together. But when salseras tell me laugh and say, 'cool, simple salsa' when I don't do double spins during slow songs, it breaks my heart.

    Dancing is not about making someone dance. True. Is not about physically shifting them from spot to spot. Correct. But do you trully believe that dancing is dancing only when you conform to certain movements approved by Eddie Torres into his curriculum and that a person that doesn't move forward and back to the rhythm on the 2 beat is a bad dancer?

    I believe that mambo is really nice. It is packed with moves that can fill up a million instructional videos. You can integrate hip hop and whatever to it. It requires great skill. Bravo, more power to you. But ultimately, I believe that a person that was raised within a dancing community in Cuba or Colombia will come to the mambo scene and be completely turned off by it.

    Ever seen the movie 'Y tu Mama tambien'? There is a great scene in it where a grandmother is dancing by herself inside a kitchen, where the rest of the family is preparing a meal inside the restaurant. This is the essence of dancing in latin america, not something that you can only do after taking a bunch of lessons, learning to lead with your body, have a pair of really nice shoes, and is restricted to the confines of a hardwood dance floor.

    I look at casino rueda, it is a community event where you get to dance with everyone. A complicated pattern in rueda might involve body control and understanding of how the arms bend, but it also involves being able to stay in the right kind of spots, one move that extends over several bars of music, a level of complexity that you don't get in the one on one dance of New York Style.
  7. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Brujo there is no difference between dancing and choosing a way to dance. But there is a difference between moving ala. Freestyle, and dancing to a beat.

    I dance the style, but I prefer dancing power2, I find it more suitable for my goals as a dancer. I find that Eddie Torres on2 style doesn’t mold to the areas of dancing that I stress. Talking to me about fancy footwork and moves is like talking to a conservationist about saving Mother Nature, but blaming the earth instead of the people. I agree with you in most of your statements about the style, however, I don’t credit such behavior to the style, but to the people. A style has nothing to do with what a person does with it. I cannot and will never fault NY City style for the feelings that you have over how people dance it; it isn’t its fault. Blaming the style is like blaming the car for the driver loosing control of it. What you see is the fault of the people who think spinning like a top is dancing. You said it yourself; yet don’t look behind the style (Plastico By Ruben). Not what is there for them to do, but the people. Those who think that a 100 shine steps is dancing. I am an advocate against that kind of thinking. It goes for just about every dance, not just NY Style on2. I say it to the on1 dancers, I say it to the rueda dancers, I say it to the Power2 dancers, I say it to just about everyone. Fancy footwork, lots of complicated spins isn’t dancing, it doesn’t matter what style a person dances, if there is no connection between the dancers/music/ and the self there is no dancing. All there can be is an illusion, the illusion that instructors pass down from student to student to at the end have what you complain about. But again, don’t blame the game, blame the player and only to a degree. How can anyone know of something he never knows exists. In a world were a person is limited by that around him, many will never be able to think outside the norm.

    If you understood the focus you would be complaining about the people and what they teach. Not the style. It is about what you are being taught that you complain. Not the style. You are being taught all the things that your heart tells you it doesn’t want to do. Listen to it, and let your instructor know where he is lacking. If you feel the same way, it is most likely that your instructor is passing it down the same belief to everyone as well. He mistakes the look of the dance for what its supposed to do. Hence, limiting the dancer within of every student, yet call it NY Style because he teaches the steps associated with it. Again, the player not the game. It isn’t what the style calls for Brujo, but the music. The style calls for nothing that isn’t within the music. That is the dancer’s job to screw up.

    Mambo is what people make it brujo, not what the style is. Without the people to make it look like an extension of themselves, there is no complaining about the dance. Hence, why it looks the way it does to you. If you see me dance, you will see a totally different view of mambo. I choose to use mambo as a manifestation of what I’m about in the innerself. Not what Plastico is, with shine patterns/high skill combo patterns, ect. An object/style/ect can not have meaning without a mind to evaluate it.

    I dismiss any dance that doesn’t make me shake. The same reason I am more attracted to brunets, over blonds is the same way I choose mambo over bachata and merengue. I’m sure you also find a color more appealing than others, yet don’t say you choose one over the other because of simplicity. That some thing is simple has nothing to do with how it makes someone feel.

    The word complicated is dependant on thinking. Spinning a 100x isn’t difficult, neither is directional change. What I deem complicated is expressing the soul, not spinning, shine patterns, nor directional change. That a less skilled dancer sees it complicated only means that the mind is not ready, but eventually will be and no longer will it see complicated.

    Brjuo, you are dancing with people who don’t know what dancing is about. Don’t get mad at them because you know better. I’ve gone through the same, and why I’ve chosen to speak against that kind of mentality. I find nothing appealing with spinning a million times, doing highly skilled patterns, nor shines. I refuse to do them, no matter whom I’m dancing with. But, don’t blame the style, but the person. Maybe you can hope to show them what you see, not fight against what they see.

    I’m against everyone who teaches dancers not to be themselves on the dance floor. Had I been for a curriculum I’d be all for Isaac’s thinking. It doesn’t matter what dance, whether it is tango/hip hop/merengue, I don’t care who/what/how someone teaches patterns or steps. I care how they guide the person to become themselves on the dancefloor. That I care to Mambo to express my inner-self has nothing to do with the means of doing it. Everyone that moves is a good dancer, but ultimately I believe anyone who makes their calling to be a dancer and doesn’t reach his innerself in the art form is a bad dancer, regardless what style or type of dance they choose.

    The essence of dancing in latin America is what each person makes it. Not what a movie paints it to be. For as many scenes a movie paints I can show you a real life latin family who stresses that dancing is the devils work. It has to do with up bringing; we can’t categorize an entire nation on a single movie or what our friends say. But again, there is a huge difference between dancing for fun and the passion for which the dancer seeks an art form that a person who merely dances for fun can never see.

    We can train anyone to do complex moves, how about just letting the soul go? If it was that easy maybe a few people would have figured it out by now that it isn’t about complication but unity with the music and your partner. I don’t care to see, who does the most complicated pattern during a social dance. All I care to know what unity with the music, your partner, yourself a person can achieve. For every dance has a complicated move. If a person can’t do ONE move that extends over sever bars, then they aren’t really all that skilled dancers are they? Skill, brujo, skill, not the dance, nor the pattern, but the person. Dancing is about the people, not the style, nor type of dance, but the people.
  8. brujo

    brujo New Member

    You are completely missing my point.

    What that scenes paints to me is the essence of dancing in Latin America. It is deeply engrained in the everyday life of the people. As such, it has the same sense of humor, the same warmth and the same relaxed attitud towards life. Not the defensive vibe that latino culture tries to protect in North America. A cuban teacher of mine explained once that she took all our mistakes personally because for her, dance is something personal and sacred. They work, they eat, and they dance. It is part of life. Not just fun, but an expression of the culture and beliefs.

    I am speaking against both the stylistic aspects of New York style and the philosophy propagated by its instructors in videos, workshops and students. Are you even aware of how toxic this style is to foreign dance scenes? I am sure you can see it in your own scene.

    The style gains popularity because it has been systematically broken down and geared towards teaching. Within a few months, students of the style gain the mastery of technique and begin to dance with multiple turns and flash. Other dancers in the scene take notice, seek out the same instructors and the professional and acrobatic version of the dance is spread. People don't seek out the dancers that have soul or groove to the music because they don't stand out. Soon enough, the native dancers stop going to the clubs, they can't get enough dances. The teachers of the older styles lose their students, or are forced to adapt to the new style. They drop out of the scene. Soon enough, the new york philosophy has infected the entire scene. New dancers don't ever get exposed to the multiple dimensions of the dance, when they go to lessons, they are taught the form of the dance, but never the essence.

    The new york philosophy is fast food salsa. It looks great, almost like the real thing, but has absolutely no nutritional value.
  9. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Indeed, I have missed your point, I apologize for that, and you are correct. Music in Latin American is pretty much a lifestyle.

    Indeed I see it everyday, however, I do not put down the hard work that these people have done to achieve the skill level they have, I instead try to teach that mixing philosophies from the old and the new yields to even more excitement in their dance. It is toxic because it stands out, it brings forth a measure that other styles don’t, the problem, just like anything else, is over-indulgence, not the style, but the thinking of those who do it.

    This is where money took over, the United States is a showy society, we want everything yesterday hence the philosophy of its biggest city finds its way to its native dance. However, within that society there are people like you and I who see differently and try to campaign, not against someone’s thinking but to introduce new ideas and hope that this new form of thinking becomes part of them and eventually show in their dance.

    Remember that it is one philosophy of dancing mambo in NY City, not the entire philosophy, for had it been that way I too would belong to it. NY City latin community is made out of every latin ethnicity, so how can I say that NY City Style is a one minded monster? Brujo, when you are taught to do something, a given way, for 25 years, do you think that you can change that over night? Nope, all you can hope for is for someone to introduce you new things.

    NY City style is like the fast and slow salsa songs. I can’t get mad that fast songs are wild, I must take them and love them for what they are, then love the slower ones just like I love the fast ones, with one heart. The fast speed part of the NY City Style is directed to those songs. How can there be anything wrong with it when the style goes so well with fast salsa? If salsa music has many flavors, then there ought to be a million and one styles to dance it, to which none is better than the other, but surely one style more pleasing than the next to each individual. True mastery of a dance comes when the person can transcend all the philosophies and barriers and break through and dance every song with all the love and connection they can muster, regardless of style.

    The battle over best is waged by the ego. We seek to elevate our status by putting those things we don’t do, or aren’t good at, or simply don’t like, down. Once we accomplish so, our thinking becomes supreme and ego feels better. You are wasting energy advocating the negative in a form that has none. What best suits you and me, is to show the other side of salsa that many new dancers don’t know about. Hence, what you need to display through your dance is your philosophy. Once you do this, and do it well, people will follow. Don’t worry that NY City dancers stand out and the control a given local scene, worry about how your energy and dancing will root just as strong as well in that local scene. Then and only then can you demonstrate your side of dancing.

    The nutritional value of the dance isn’t what others think of it but that which the person doing it gets out of it. I can dance NY City style forever and guarantee you most people dancing any style will never get the same nutrition value as I have from that style. It is a matter of what I can get out of something not what something does or doesn’t offer me. Like Americans say, because you went to college it doesn’t mean you got an education. It is about the people not the style.

    That is the difference between your philosophy and mine; you are concerned with how it looks rather than how it makes people feel. There is nothing you do that will make you feel better than anything I do. Regardless of how happy you become, for the simple reason that my happiness is mine and yours will never be mine.
  10. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Brujo, I don't know if I am understanding correctly but it seems to me that you are basically saying that ny style dancers take themselves too seriously. Am I correct?
    If this is what you are saying then in no matter what kind of dancing you are talking about there will be dancers that take themselves and there dancing too seriously. In fact, among women(who I dance with more frequently than men) I have found more that dance the cumbia style or Rueda style that take it too seriously and they are usually not as willing to improvise as those that dance in the slot.
    I took two beginner classes last year, one from a NY style dancer and one from a rueda style dancer. I would definitely say the Rueda style teacher was a better dancer but the NY Style class was thouroughly more enjoyable. Why, because in the NY style class he wasn't trying to make us into professional dancers, he just wanted to make sure we could go to a party and enjoy ourselves. The Rueda style teacher made it almost ballroom like with strict instruction on how each part of our body should move to which rhythm in the music, she was trying to make clones of us.
    I am not saying NY Style is better than any other style, some people simply prefer it maybe due to a bad instructor experience.
  11. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Yeh, Brujo I know exactly what you mean! I used to feel embarrassed when this happened to me so I would start leading double and triple spins to make her happy. It would however break my heart because I was dancing for "her" and not for the spectators. I guess she enjoys being in the spotlight...

    One time, this made me so angry that I intentionly lead extremely fast and complicated patterns non-stop till the end of the song. I´m talking about 5 spins, CBL with double inside turn, another 5 spins (you get the picture). At the end, I asked her, "How was that?" She looked at me completely red, still dizzy from my imposed torture, and said nothing...

    I don´t usually do this, but for some reason that day I felt like it. I think it was a good learning experience for her. 8)
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Dancing is a partnership. If she likes double spins etc I will do some, but if I won't make that the whole dance!! If I don't feel that the music calls for it why should I spend the whole dance doing it? I have an alternative to what Mapleleaf said he has done. I've deliberately danced half a song without a move, just doing the basic, or even better, just dance doing leader-only moves: leader turns, spins, left turn, right turn... Imagine the frustration taking it to the other extreme? Having said all this I don't believe that I have practiced this!! As a beginner, perhaps I couldn't do much! As an intermediate beginner I've done a bit to play with people whom I know, but that's about it. :)
  13. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    And, an experience she deserved. I hate when people think dancing is a time for insults. Serves her right. Bet she'll think twice before doing that again. :lol:
  14. dragon3085

    dragon3085 New Member

    A better question is why do so many people care what other style people dance. Dancing should be fun and if you enjoy dancing on the 1 dance on the one, if you like dancing on 2 dance on 2. But don't knock other people because they don't dance like you. I have witnessed first hand dancer segregate based on who danced on what, and I'm thinking to myself that there has to be more pressing matters in the world to care about than what beat someone I'm not even dancing with is on. Why does it matter? If your dancing on 2 and I'm on 1 right next to you nobody is gonna die- the sun will still rise. All that really should matter is that us and our respective partners are having fun.

  15. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Peachexploration, thanks for the support. I don´t usually do this but at the time I felt I had to. She wasn´t understanding my dialect. She was robbing me of what I most like in dancing...
  16. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    I couldn't have said it any better. :D
  17. dragon3085

    dragon3085 New Member

    Of course having said that, knowing how to dance on 2 and other ways only increase the number of potential partners. ITs not real usefull here in San Antonio because we all tend to dance on one, but when I was in Charolette folks dance mainly on 2 since I know both, I was able to adapt fairly easy. Also some music, like Spanish Harlem Orchestra's makes you want to move on the two.

  18. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    That's very true. I think Boriken also eluded to that at some point in another thread. (Boriken, correct me if wrong. :oops: ) But you're right. It's about the music speaking to you. There's a line in a movie that goes something like ...."it's the music, the music tells me how to dance..." Anyway, welcome to DF, Pat. Nice to have you here! :D
  19. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Said by Chayanne's character in Dance with Me
  20. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Very true, very very true.... It is about what the music tells us to do... :banana:

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