Ballroom vs Street/club Salsa

#23
latindia said:
Thanks for the responses!

Alemana, your post was really useful. It was great to read about the history and different styles of salsa. In particular, as usual, Boriken's posts are as intense and informative as ever!

BB, thanks for your post too, but unfortunately, that 6-page thread seems to have a simple summary: 'Ballroom salsa sucks', but doesn't elaborate why or what the differences are.

However, over the past few weeks of reading posts on salsaforums.com and here, I have gathered a few ideas which I will present here. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about this. I did not grow up in a culture/area of the world where ballroom or partner dancing was a part of daily life, so there seem to be some fundamental assumptions which I am missing.

* Difference in style: There seems to be stylistic differences between ballroom and street salsa, however, that alone is not the bone of contention here. Salser@s seem quite comfortable with different styles in general (LA/NY/Cuban...), so it does not seem consistent that one specific physical style should rile everyone up so. Some people say that Mambo on2=ballroom dancing...I'm not sure that's the only difference, it seems deeper than that.

* Differences in 'culture': There might be cultural differences between Latin American and 'North American/Euro' cultures that underlie the difference. Salsa is obviously a representation of Latin American culture, way of life etc and salsa practitioners resent a more North American/European ballroom influence. Again, I'm not quite sure what these influences might be, but it does seem like a factor.

* Difference in philosophy: 'Street/club' salsa dancers are mostly those who have picked up their skills by virtue of being Latino, and/or having family friends teach them and honing skills mostly in the 'real world' of clubs. They look down upon people who take 'ballroom' salsa lessons in dance studios and stick only to those styles, arguing that it is not 'real' salsa as it lacks certain intangible factors (spontaneity, sabor, flava...). 'Ballroom' salsa lessons start with a lot of patterns, and obviously dance is more than the sum of moves and patterns. So a ballroom dancer is not respected until (s)he has broken out of the regimented patterns, understandably enough.

* Latino vs non-Latino: Some of these above debates boil down to Latino vs non-Latino, indirectly. See the 'Prejudice against salseros' thread. There might be some truth to it...to some extent. Most non-Latinos would learn salsa by taking lessons at a dance studio, which would amount to 'ballroom' salsa, I suppose? (For instance, I dunno how I could learn otherwise. I have no Latino family/male friends). So, they would face some resistance from street/club dancers at the beginning. This is understandable and acceptable, you have to prove yourself in the real world and adapt your classroom skills, just like in anything else. But there seems to be a concern among some of it becoming unhealthy discrimination against non-Latinos in the spirit of 'You did not live in this culture...so your dancing can never have the same <name your intangible thing>'.
:shock: I don't understand how anyone could reach these conclusions based on reading ALL the aold threads, because it's been discussed at great length

read them again. Actually try googling for articles by dance instructors on salsa styles
 
#24
latindia said:
tacad said:
we dance what we call salsa, but it is very tamed down from what's in the clubs.
Define 'tame', please, in this context. what would count as 'not tame'?

--
Raj
Bear in mind that this is now my own little world of ballroom dancing in LA.
The complex moves (the pretzel stuff) are missing. It is less sexy. There are almost no dancers that are willing to be romantically passionate during the dance as I've described in other threads. Bottom line is that the dancers at the dances I go to are just not as interested in salsa the way they are into the other dances. So they are not as good at it. To be extremely honest I'm a little unsure how the better trained ballroom dancers look in salsa. Good American Style Ballroom dancers in LA are like nomads. They move around and don't congregate in one place.
 

Josh

Active Member
#25
itorres said:
As I see it there are different aspects that define a real "Style".
1. Basic step pattern
2. Timing of the basic
3. Movement - Slot, rotating, CBL based
4. Overall style or character - smooth, sharp, loose or with more "sabor"
5. Dance move preference - double hold turns, dips, lifts, etc.

So what do you consider the difference between Street and Ballroom?
I think this is a very good list of characteristics in defining a 'style' of dance ... it seems to me that #4 is the most determining factor that differentiates "Ballroom" from "Street" salsa. Salsa learned in a dance class with private instruction often focuses on sharpness of movements (does "there IS a hold on the 4 and 8!" sound familiar?) whereas street (shouldn't this really be called "club"--I mean, how many turns can one do on asphalt/concrete? :wink: ) seems to be more fluid. Does this seem to be a reasonable observation, or am I off?
 
#26
Josh said:
itorres said:
As I see it there are different aspects that define a real "Style".
1. Basic step pattern
2. Timing of the basic
3. Movement - Slot, rotating, CBL based
4. Overall style or character - smooth, sharp, loose or with more "sabor"
5. Dance move preference - double hold turns, dips, lifts, etc.

So what do you consider the difference between Street and Ballroom?
I think this is a very good list of characteristics in defining a 'style' of dance ... it seems to me that #4 is the most determining factor that differentiates "Ballroom" from "Street" salsa. Salsa learned in a dance class with private instruction often focuses on sharpness of movements (does "there IS a hold on the 4 and 8!" sound familiar?) whereas street (shouldn't this really be called "club"--I mean, how many turns can one do on asphalt/concrete? :wink: ) seems to be more fluid. Does this seem to be a reasonable observation, or am I off?
Thanks for praising the list. My goal is to eventually gather info and create a chart which defines styles according to these and possibly other factors. Names and definitions of styles are thrown about without accuracy.

Implicitly in your second sentence you reinforce my notion that people are differentiating Street Salsa as one picked up without much formal training and Ballroom as one learned in a studio.

Definitely the word "Club" is widely used.

I'm not sure if one is more fluid than the other. I guess it depends on the individual dancer's style. Additionally I would expect the trained dancer (Ballroom?) to be more fluid because of the beeter technique in footwork, leading and such. So he would have better "weapons" at his disposal, it's a matter of using them.

Another useful device for defining style is reaching a consensus about which dancers/videos/teachers represent a style more accurately. A benchmark if you will...so we can compare and contrast. :)
 
#28
alemana said:
what's the goal of the chart? or should i take that question to the "engineers and dancing" thread? :)
:)
The goal of the chart is accurately describing styles and summarizing the information gathered to use as a reference for people who want to learn what a particular style is and looks like.

It sounds overly technical perhaps, but it's the only way to clarify this. As I said before, people all over the world say this style is this and that and cannot describe it accurately. Then someone posts and describes "X" Style and then many take that as an accurate description without knowing where the info came from and propagate it all over. :shock:

We need more accurate descriptions than "it's more formal", "it follows the ballroom etiquette", "it's more tamed down", etc.

In any discipline, it is the nature of people to want to classify and apply labels to describe complex things (like dance styles). So it's essential to understand what characteristics are similar or different between so-called styles.

There are strict technical differences between "Salsa styles" which are more objective, and there are other regional/stylistic differences in attitude, feeling, move selection and such (subjective).

For example, the primary technical difference between styles I feel is Basic step pattern and timing.
- Power 2 and On 1 have the same step pattern, but different timing.
- On 1 and ET 2 have the same timing, but different pattern.
- LA style and Cuban and Columbian have the same On 1 timing, but different step patterns.
- Puerto Rico Style (still not sure what that is and I live in PR :) ) can be danced On 1 and On 2. We switch between the two depending on our partner and we dance with the same moves, attitude, etc. So we can't say PR style depends on whether it is On 1 or On 2.

So in these cases, we need to specify what makes the difference.
 
#31
itorres said:
The goal of the chart is accurately describing styles and summarizing the information gathered to use as a reference for people who want to learn what a particular style is and looks like.
Some Cubans dance on 3. (Have tried that)

What is called N.Y. style in my town is danced on 1.

The rules and style change everyday.

There is so much inspiration, borrowing and implementing
from other styles.

You need to get down to the different dance schools
and clubs to sample the major style there.
Then call it “club name” vintage 2005.
Next year will be different.

My 2 cent
 
#34
alemana said:
what's the goal of the chart? or should i take that question to the "engineers and dancing" thread? :)
I answered your "what's the goal of the chart?" question.
But I didin't understand the "or should i take that question to the "engineers and dancing" thread?"
I thought it was sarcasm. :roll:

Then I didn't understand...
alemana said:
oh. i thought maybe you were interested in it.
I thought, interested in what :?: Don't tell me the engineers thread is a real thread? Holy cow, it is! :shock: (and I found it quite interesting, too. There are others out there like me. There's a place to vent! :) )

So, sorry for the misunderstanding... :oops:
 
#35
what i meant was: the desire to taxonomize the messy world of salsa is something some people feel and some don't. you clearly do, and i was trying to get to the "why" of that.
 

Josh

Active Member
#36
itorres said:
I'm not sure if one is more fluid than the other. I guess it depends on the individual dancer's style. Additionally I would expect the trained dancer (Ballroom?) to be more fluid because of the beeter technique in footwork, leading and such. So he would have better "weapons" at his disposal, it's a matter of using them.
I'm not using "fluid" in the sense of "looks better" ... when I say "fluid" I am trying to convey less pause on the 4 and 8 counts, less sharpness, etc. Again, I could be totally wrong, but when I see those who have been trained, the dancing sometimes appears more precise, sharp.

The only illustration I can think of (maybe not a good one) is a car changing lanes quickly versus slowly--a low-to-the-ground sports car which does a fast lane change looks tight, balanced, in control, sharp. A car which changes lanes slowly looks more at ease, relaxed, and the movement is, in some ways, more natural looking. Neither is better or worse, they are just different and appeal to different tastes. Make sense?
 
#37
Josh said:
I'm not using "fluid" in the sense of "looks better" ... when I say "fluid" I am trying to convey less pause on the 4 and 8 counts, less sharpness, etc. Again, I could be totally wrong, but when I see those who have been trained, the dancing sometimes appears more precise, sharp.
... Make sense?
Ok, I get it. The key word is "precise". I believe the illusion is caused by trained dancers accurately stepping on the beats they should eg. 1-2-3, 5-6-7 or whatever. Then you see a more defined pause on 4 and 8.
Many untrained dancers are not aware of the beats on which they should be stepping on. Their steps sort of blend together to the point it might take you a while to figure out what pattern and timing they're using.

I often see them get into just an overall feeling of "going forward, going back" but the footwork is not there. There are many untrained dancers that know 357 turns and combinations, can lead them, look stylish enough but just standing there while leading turns without moving their feet until the combination is over and they need to start the basic again.
 

Josh

Active Member
#38
itorres said:
Ok, I get it. The key word is "precise". I believe the illusion is caused by trained dancers accurately stepping on the beats they should eg. 1-2-3, 5-6-7 or whatever. Then you see a more defined pause on 4 and 8.
Many untrained dancers are not aware of the beats on which they should be stepping on. Their steps sort of blend together to the point it might take you a while to figure out what pattern and timing they're using.
Exactly what I was trying to say! Thanks for clarifying my confusing description...
 
#39
Josh said:
itorres said:
Ok, I get it. The key word is "precise". I believe the illusion is caused by trained dancers accurately stepping on the beats they should eg. 1-2-3, 5-6-7 or whatever. Then you see a more defined pause on 4 and 8.
Many untrained dancers are not aware of the beats on which they should be stepping on. Their steps sort of blend together to the point it might take you a while to figure out what pattern and timing they're using.
Exactly what I was trying to say! Thanks for clarifying my confusing description...
I don't it...so you guys are saying a trained dancer is NOT fluid i.e. the steps are more defined and trained dancer=ballroom, but the untrained aka hunched over street dancer blends sloppy footowkr together is thus IS fluid??

all kinds of fallacies here and many other statements on this thread...grr
 

Dance Ads