Salsa > Women who move their hands too much question

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by dcnewbee, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. africana

    africana New Member

    I was addressing the ensuing discussions about arm versus body motion which were not quite the case for salsa, and not suprising by mostly non-exclusive salsa dancers. I was not addressing the original post till later in my post ;)

    I'd be the first to agree that a lot of arm/hand motion taught out there is extraneous sometimes awkward/mechanical looking, and I tend to stay away from some of it, but I don't agree that it's all supppsed to result from body movement
  2. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    This sounds like trying to borrow the ballroom techniques and force it onto salsa. Are you a ballroom dancer by any chance? I don't think I've seen any good salsa dancers doing what you are describing.
  3. macha

    macha New Member

    Does that mean I'm out of the closet now? :p :lol:
  4. africana

    africana New Member

    wow Pebbles and I on the same page?? :shock: that's a scary thought :lol:
  5. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I am not talking about isolating arms from feet. I'm saying that arm movement comes from the CORE of your body, not from mechanics of movement.

    I really think that if you were in a group class and the instructor told you to move your arms independent of 'footwork' that he was addressing another, more basic concept, that is usually seen in 'untrained' dancers (now, don't get crazy from this statement - untrained doesn't mean bad, it means someone who is not taught as a dancer but as a 'salsa dancer' and it could be anyone taught as a 'polka dancer' or 'ballroom dancer' - learning a pattern and then replicating it does not mean you're trained....)

    Isolation means the ability to move body parts indepenednetly... such as the 'figure 8' hip action moving when the upper body does NOT move, or the action of contrabody (your left side twists toward your right). Isolating footwork from arms is talked about when beginners tend to move their left arm when the left foot moves, etc. It's the first step toward understanding BODY isolation.

    Sorry to be so 'teacherly' here but I can't explain it any other way.

    Plus, there really is no difference between a salsa dancer and any other good dancer. There IS a difference between a BAD salsa dancer and a good Salsa dancer - and that is the principles of dance (center, balance, body isolation, use of neg space, etc) being applied.

    Too often, 'good' dancing is unrecognized due to the VIEWER... they don't see things like balance because when dancing is done well, it looks 'easy' or 'natural'. To look like that takes a lot more than you'd think.

    end of lesson LOL>. Sorry for the 'preaching'...
  6. saludas

    saludas New Member

    EVERY good Salsa dancer does what I describe. Every one.

    It sounnds like I'm describing something alien only because you might be thinking that for some reason 'ballroom', 'salsa', 'ballet', 'modern', etc are in some ways not related. I am describing the common thread....
  7. africana

    africana New Member

    this discussion took off on a big tangent, so I won't quote anymore statements, becuase no one here is advocating bad dancing whether it's ballroom salsa or whatever (so I'm gonna ignore the 'preachings').

    The topic is for dcnewbee is to figure how to lead these hard to lead follows with the extraneous arm motions, so anyone else with helpful advice?
  8. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I agree that no one is certainly not advocating bad dancing... but I really think this thread is very informative and should be read. The good advice here is to learn dance from a body perspective, and if it encourages someone to do that then it is well worth the read.

    The OBVIOUS answers to the original question might be comical ("if it's someone you don't wanna dance with, then do XXX) but honestly, don't you agree that discussing dance is more valuable than discussing social ettiquitte? Both discussions have their place, but I always thought that this forum would be more inclined to discuss the longer term information sharing than the short term social issue. Perhaps it'll inspire the questioner to see WHY the person was just wiggling her arms.... rather than see the situation as if it was akin to 'what do I do when my follower spills her drink on my shoes'... ps that's a joke.....LOL./...
  9. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    'figure 8' is ballroom hip movement. Salsa dancers move hips side to side. If you watch people dance at salsa congress, club etc, you can pick out the ballroom dancer in a crowd in a heart beat, because the way they move their hips. If you are doing contrabody and isolation like what you describe, not only would your salsa look "different", but it is also going to mess up all the lead&follow for advanced turn patterns. Ballroom technique has its place in ballroom, but blindly applying it to other dances don't work.
  10. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I disagree. It looks like a figure 8 in salsa too. it just feels like you're moving from side to side but you're forgetting that your body is also moving forward and backwards, for instance, as well. If you looked at it from above (for example) you'd see your hips move in space in a figure 8 pattern, due to the fact that your body is also moving.

    If in reality, your hips only moved from side to side, you would never move forward or backwards....
  11. dTas

    dTas New Member

    i'm with Saludas on this one

    i've seen many salsa dancers and the ones that look the best to me are the ones dancing from their core.

    i know of the "hip side to side" action that Pebbles is talking about and i don't like it. the body does not look balanced at all and the dancer looks "drunk" not strong or in control.
  12. africana

    africana New Member

    please understand that I'm in no way trying to squelch fruitful discussion, but I'm watching confusion pile upon confusion when the answers could be simpler

    As much as I agree with comments on arm, body movement and technique, the problem is that they don't all apply to the problem posed by the OP.

    I just chose to ignore the sub-remarks that make it look like other people commenting aren't concerned or aware of certain technique or the study of "dancerly" motion simply because of styling choices which may not be connected to footwork or whatever else
  13. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    Really? Of the various salsa congresses I went to and the top instructors I watched and danced with, they didn't dance the way you were describing. Which good salsa dancers are you referring to?
  14. tacad

    tacad New Member

    EDIT: Ahh, never mind. If someone cares to start another thread on the hijack I'll throw in my limited knowledge. It's a nice discussion because the participants are knowledgeable, reasonable, and civil. :)
  15. africana

    africana New Member

    hey this post is crucial, it's important that it happened in class as opposed to club setting where you can't really address the issue.

    So ask the female teacher or lady assitant to demonstrate what the follower's arm should be doing. but try to be subtle about it, maybe ask instead how to establish connection or what kind of tension or resistance to have in the arm, so it doesn't look like you're ratting out your partner ;)
  16. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    I am just joining in now but have read all the posts on this thread. I know what you mean about the over-aggresive hand movements. These are beginning salsa dancers and they need time, practice and proper instruction, that's all. I am leading several beginning ladies these days and I see it. I try to give proper tension in the arms and the hold and break them of this habit. It can be easily corrected. (Same with the "Charleston Bounce"!)
  17. Alias

    Alias Member

    On the "Women who move their hands too much question":

    There is this thing sometimes in Cuban Casino, when doing some basic steps face to face with parallel hand holds, of communicating the rhythm and the basic body movement that the follower should have through little circles with your hands (each one holding a follower's hand), all this going with your own body movement, and in fact this doesn't happen when doing moves.

    I don't do it because I'm against the idea of communicating rhythm through the hand holds (the equivalent in some swing dance would be to have this little up and down movement with your hand hold to emphasize the rhythm), the basic rhythm is a too simplistic information that you don't have to transmit to the follower, as some said this would be a kind of noise preventing some more subtile information for leading (or even the leading modulation upon the music).

    So I don't do it but I have also experimented sometimes in Cuban Casino classes some followers doing it themselves forcing my hands to follow, this is a kind of backleading and is not sign of a good follower, this may be a matter of habit (if the others leaders are doing it so they are used to move their hands that way) or in class the follower may backlead thinking this is the one right way and a way to help the poor leader not good enough to do it himself (whereas my point of view is that backleading doesn't help the leader who has to learn to lead and experiment through natural reactions to his actions).

    What do I do? I let them do (I lighten my hands and let it go), I'm not going to fight (blocking my hands to stop their movement for instance), anyway this is just for a short while and then you rotate partner.

    This movement doesn't seem to exist in "Cross-Body-Lead Slotted Salsa" (LA1, P2, ET2) as that wouldn't be consistent with the general way of leading (I think), and the lady styling with the free arm is another subject (there is no hand hold then).
    Maybe this is one case where knowing the kind of salsa we're talking about could help, as there are some differences.

    This is what I can say with my own experience and at my level (advanced class level already done, but not yet the more advanced salsa dancer in social), unlike some other poster (saludas) I don't claim to be the ultimate expert.
  18. Alias

    Alias Member

    Unlike some other poster, I don't claim to be the ultimate expert having analysed all the body movements in details and sure to hold the absolute truth and how the good dancers should do (as I believe in the freedom of dancing and in various possible techniques, then no one way to do but many), further more one is convinced of one thing and a year later with more experience can have another point of view so don't think to hold the absolute truth.

    Sorry but after reading this thread, I was a bit annoyed by the behaviour of someone considering a poster with another point of view as being a beginner (or intermediate) who would of course agree with him after getting more advanced instruction.
  19. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Sorry to ruffle your feathers - but we actually agree!

    What does 'beginner' and 'intermediate' mean to you? For example, if the curve of learning is a year, then you may be an intermediate dancer - compared to others who've danced as 'long' as you have - at one year. If the curve of learning is ten years, then even the most advanced dancer after one year is still a relative beginner.

    Most people think they're 'getting it' after a few years... and then, they stop, and have the epiphany that dance education takes a l-o-n-g time... and a few years is NOTHING in the scheme of things.

    One of the many wise things that my coaches said was that perception changes over time and knowledge gained. This is why you listen to people with more experience. They are the advanced ones... and their perspective is much more long-sighted than someone who, for instance, has only been dancing a short time (like the person who started this thread) or for someone who only has studied one technique, or one dance.

    Dance is, as you mentioned in your post, about body movement. I also agree that simply moving hands, or arms, does not transmit a dancerly lead. I do feel that this is a beginner's problem, and that as the beginner learns that (for instance) a 'dance frame' no matter what expression used (Salsa, or even a Pas De Deux) is necessary for this to be a partner dance rather than a sort of fancy freestyle dance done to music counted as whatever.

    The definition of beginner can be applied, for instance, to myself, even though in some circles I might be considered very advanced. I have no problem with that. The problem is when people define their dance ability and level based on their immediate surroundings. At that point, somebody in an 'intermediate' Salsa class thinks he is no longer a beginner, and sometimes even aspires to 'teach'.

    It's all about perspective.

    Also, I think this question should have been answered as a dance question, not a 'salsa' question. Salsa is an 'expression'. It does not contain movement specific only to some preordained 'Salsa' technique or root foundation. I cannot think of any movement that is so specific to Salsa that it does not exist in any other dance form. Additionally, I think that the lack of understanding of the use of your limbs vis-a-vis your body is a basic definition of beginner in virtually ANY dance technique.
  20. macha

    macha New Member

    That sounds really grade school. :lol:

    One of those "SOMEBODY is upset with another guy for imparting knowledge," things. Could just say "Wow, Alias is sure pissy with some guy (forget who, otherwise I'd name drop) for what he said."

    So, "unlike somebody", I was woken early and am really typographically froggy today. I should probably go do something about that. :D

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