A way to dance with a beginner

#1
When I dance with somebody who is very new to Salsa, doesn't even know the basic footwork.

What I've been doing is to begin with few bars of basic only (B).
Then do UAT every 3-6 basics.
Then do CBL every 3-6 basics.
Then single or double turn right-side-pass (RSP).
Then should catch (SC).

So it looks something like:
Bx10
UAT Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times
CBL Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times
RSP Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times
SC Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times

then mix all the moves with ample basics in between.

Is this the best strategy (in concept) for breaking in somebody completely new. I realize that every case is unique, but in general, is it better to repeat each move few times, or should I start mixing different patterns as I add them. E.g. (with plenty of basics in between):
UAT UAT UAT CBL UAT CBL UAT RSP CBL UAT CBL RSP UAT CS CBL RSP CBL CS UAT etc.

I don't have a problem with the way I'm doing it now, just thought I'd ask for ideas and suggestions.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#4
There is no cookie-cutter approach to dancing with a newby. It depends on the newby. Also, it depends a great deal on your own skill level.

I will sometimes, as a self challenge, ask a newby to dance the salsa. I can usually get away with it with a minimum of teaching. If the lady is struggling with the basic, I'm not going to lead something more complicated. Often leading a few more repetitions of the basic will allow her to "get in the groove", and then I will start more complicated patterns, turning the basic slightly and CBL, and then getting more complex if she can handle it.

I remember one lady I knew to be a talented follow, as we started dancing she was protesting that she didn't know how -- but her feet did. Within a few measures I started in with the full set of patterns I knew how to lead.

Let me repeat: There is no cookie-cutter approach to dancing with a newby. It depends on the newby. Also, it depends a great deal on your own skill level. If you're still struggling executing a pattern with someone who's taken the class, then you're not ready to take on a newby.
 

ralf

Active Member
#5
Why isn't a teacher teaching the new student?
Could have been someone dragged to a social by a friend. I see that fairly regularly at swing dances, and half the time they miss the pre-social intro lesson because the dancing friend doesn't think ahead.... So for those with absolutely no dance experience, I handle it much as already outlined by Ticolora and Snapdancer: single-stepped ECS basics until they're in the groove, then gradually add in one move at a time, always guided by how they've handled previous moves.
 
#9
Haven't you learned to improvise, yet, ticolora? Do not repeat, invent, combine, alter, change, instead. And, although you do not like salsa music, it's all about the music, not about the moves.
I'm doing plenty of basics to help the follow "get in a groove". Not sure if I want to "invent and improvise" with a brand new follow who is having problems with a basic.

I don't understand how to "dance to the music" when all I have is basic and UAT. Please elaborate, I'm sure I'm missing something big here (again) :)
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#11
I'm doing plenty of basics to help the follow "get in a groove". Not sure if I want to "invent and improvise" with a brand new follow who is having problems with a basic.

I don't understand how to "dance to the music" when all I have is basic and UAT. Please elaborate, I'm sure I'm missing something big here (again) :)
Just as RiseNFall did with her "like", I'm endorsing the approach in your first paragraph.

As far as "dancing to the music", if you continue with your dancing it will come in time. I believe that artistry requires a solid understanding of the media. For example, a perfectly staged and composed photograph is worthless if the exposure settings aren't correct. In dancing, true artistry requires a solid knowledge of and ability to use technique.

For now, given your experience level, focus on keeping on beat, having proper posture, footwork, and connection with your partner. Once you have a level of mastery of those, you'll have some spare bandwidth to use for "dancing to the music". Give it time.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#12
Basically what the others have said. I would start with lots of basics, then add one pattern. Depending on how it goes, I'll repeat it a couple more times to build her confidence. If she seems to pick up really fast, then I might try one more. You just have to read her. If you throw a bunch of moves at her, you'll likely scare her off forever unless she's an amazing natural follower. If you keep it very simple, she'll walk away feeling good about it.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#13
Haven't you learned to improvise, yet, ticolora? Do not repeat, invent.. instead...
..Not sure if I want to "invent and improvise" with a brand new follow who is having problems with a basic.
Thats the problem, you rely on her basic, instead of yours. She must not know the basic, but you have to lead it properly!

I don't understand how to "dance to the music" when all I have is basic and UAT. Please elaborate, I'm sure I'm missing something big here..
You´ve already got plenty feedback and answers here on DF: it's not about the number of figures, but about the execution of every single one. You can perform the CBL in 200 hundred different ways, emphasizing different notes and moves according to the music or the singer. The music is the key, not the move or figure. There are a lot of latinos around who actually know any figures, but they dance excellently.
 
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#14
I also commend you for not ignoring someone new to dance but instead, invite them with open arms and actually spend time trying to show them the joys of salsa :)
 
#15
Thank you @Mia. This brings up a question: I have heard that a woman can benefit from dancing from a better lead, but a man does not benefit from dancing a better follow (not my words).

I believe that dancing with a new follow requires better lead, than dancing with a follow of my own level. So, I believe that by dancing with a beginner level follows - it improves my lead skills.

Does this make sense? Or am I off again?
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#16
I disagree. There are things a beginner lead can learn by dancing with an advanced follow. Quality of movement, timing, musicality. If she's a good follower with other people but not you, the problem is probably you. You can test newer patterns and gain confidence until you try it on someone more novice.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#17
Oh, absolutely. When I was a beginner, I found it very beneficial to dance with advanced follows. As Jennifer says, if you're a beginning lead dancing with an advanced follow, and she doesn't follow something, then you can be sure you screwed it up. :D Seriously, I remember the first time I danced with an advanced follow and it was "Oh, this is what it is supposed to feel like". It gave me good reference points for how to go about connection and communication, and the confidence to know that I could actually do this dancing thing if I worked at it.
 
#18
Few times I somehow got myself into dancing with follows way above my level. Maybe it's my Eastern-European appearance, or my outfit that makes women think I am any good (maybe I should loose tights). But those experiences were not not illuminating at all. It felt like going on a bike ride with bikers gang, on a bicycle :) Maybe you only get benefits from dancing with higher level follows when you are at least within their league?
 

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