"Cuban Motion": Ballroom vs. Social

#41
I disagree with this completely. Just because someone chooses not to learn or study the dance in an academic way through a studio doesn't mean they are lazy. Latinos who learn the dance through their families and social networks are not lazy. It is simply a mode of transmission, and often the goal is different. And actually, the statement that they "try to imitate moves" seems more characteristic of studio dancers than street dancers. Street dancers are less interested in a codified set of moves than studio dancers are. And "skilled" is very relative. Studio dancers may be skilled in learning specific things that have been agreed upon by the studio, but oftentimes they lack the quality of movement, musicality, and unique personal expression. There are many street dancers who understand how their body works much better than studio dancers do. Don't confuse formal training with effective training, meaningful life experience, and self-awareness and knowledge.
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It would be more accurate to say that they see their (studio dancers') dancing as more often that not being lacking in style, expression, connection, musicality, quality of movement, etc. They see a bunch of moves without the context that would make them truly fit the dance. They also see "learned" techniques that are for the sake of technique only and don't have a direct bearing on the dancer's actual style and smoothness. .... If it's technique only, what's the point and where's the dance?

So it is not a matter of jealousy at all. The street dancers' point of view that I am referring to reflects deep love of certain values in the dance.


I should add to this that most Latinos are thrilled when they see a studio or ballroom dancer who is able to combine their formal training in technique with good connection, musicality, and Latin movement. So it is not so much a dislike of the studio/ballroom aesthetic altogether but one that fully embodies those intangible qualities that make the dance(s) so beautiful.
Joy in Motion, you hit the nail on the head! This is exactly what I would have liked to express but I would probably not be able to explain it as eloquently as you do.

I am a street salsa dancer but I also love to watch ballroom dancing and I have a lot of respect for ballroom dancers!!! However, when it comes to ballroom mambo, I am always really disappointed. I cannot judge the technique but I am sure these ballroom mambo dancers have all the right technique down. However, it looks like the technique always gets in the way of the dance. It usually looks learned and the moves are hard and very technical. The smiles are also trained and often exaggerated and artificial. They dance with the music, but not in the music (and a total no go for me is when they dance to pop music instead of real mambo music). The "natural" component, the fluidity and what Latinos call "sabor" are missing. They do not "breathe" mambo and that is always so visible (an example is Joanna Zacharevicz).

Compare some of the elegant greats of the salsa world, e. g. Felipe Polanco, Tito Ortos, Jhesus Aponte, Stacey Lopez, or Oliver Pineda. Many of them are also professionally trained dancers (not ballroom trained) and have their technique down.
Here is an example of what I mean. Felipe's dance partner is just all musicality, sabor, fluidity and everything else: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrqRzI4f7jI

However, when they "combine their formal training in technique with good connection, musicality, and Latin movement", they look fabulous!

For example, I LOVE to watch Yulia Zagoruychenko, no matter what she dances!!! She really has "it"! She is a ballroom dancer, but she oozes musicality, hotness, fluidity, all the above, and more.

And many years ago I saw a couple from the professional cabaret division dance mambo. That was phantastic! She was Latina and that was obvious. Her (ballroom) mambo was so hot!!! Unfortunately I cannot remember her name.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#43
How do they dance Salsa in Alaska?
Interestingly, there are huge latino communities in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. Of course, there are others, and I only mention these 2 because they are the largest.

They refer to their style as Urban. In this, they acknowledge that there are many different styles; PR, Dominican, Colombian, NY, LA, Miami, BR, etc. The freestyle blending of these styles is what they call Urban, and most others call street style simply because it doesn't fit uniquely into either 1 particular styling.

Also, you must know that this type of dancing is not unique to AK. I am only responding to the question of what do they dance/call it.
 
#44
Hmm. It seems that the definitions of "Street Salsa" depends on what street you are on. Some of what has been described here as street salsa does not match what I see in the US west coast. Cuban Casino, LA Style Salsa, NYC Style Salsa, Columbian Salsa are all different, if related.
How do they dance Salsa in Alaska?
I agree with Angel HI that there is a mix of various styles. And we do have a much bigger Latino community than most people would think...

Despite the fact that I'm not very anonymous, I don't mind sharing my personal viewpoint on our local scene...

We formerly had a couple of good salsa instructors here in Anchorage, and the community of non-Latino salsa dancers who learned through instruction was pretty good and developing nicely. Unfortunately, one at a time the three instructors who I believe were pretty good for the community ended up leaving or phasing out of the scene one by one. There is a new studio now that has been teaching L.A. style for the past couple of years. I find the musicality, connection, improvisation, quality of movement, roots of the dance, teaching ability, etc. to be lacking, but they are still very new and I hope they continue to grow and seek more understanding in these areas. There is definitely more of a separation between them and the Latino community than there was with the previous instructors, so it's almost like there are two different communities that tend to go on different nights. Again, it reminds me of the following Salsa Forums discussion: http://www.salsaforums.com/showthread.php?t=13842&highlight=salsa+soldiers. I did participate in that discussion and outlined the reasons I prefer the Latino crowd when it comes to dancing. I do enjoy learned patterns, but I find the sacrifice in musicality, connection, etc. to not be worth it to me in this new community. With the lack of these qualities I tend to find a less hospitable atmosphere overall as well - whether this is actually correlated or just imagined by me is open to debate. There are a lot of regular dancers from the previous community that stopped going reguarly as the atmosphere and dancing values changed with time, and the ones I have spoken to have cited the same reasons I have just listed. But there are also a lot of new dancers that have started up and seem to enjoy what they are doing.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#47
Wow. I find the idea of separate norteamericano and latino salsa dance scenes kind of strange. In Northern California, we always sought out the clubs where the latinos hung out, expecting to find the best music and dancing there. While I haven't gone out of my way to explore the salsa scene in the Seattle area, what I've seen so far looks kind of like west coast swing danced to salsa music (ugh).
 
#48
Wow. I find the idea of separate norteamericano and latino salsa dance scenes kind of strange. In Northern California, we always sought out the clubs where the latinos hung out, expecting to find the best music and dancing there. While I haven't gone out of my way to explore the salsa scene in the Seattle area, what I've seen so far looks kind of like west coast swing danced to salsa music (ugh).
Yikes!
 
#49
Wow. I find the idea of separate norteamericano and latino salsa dance scenes kind of strange. In Northern California, we always sought out the clubs where the latinos hung out, expecting to find the best music and dancing there. While I haven't gone out of my way to explore the salsa scene in the Seattle area, what I've seen so far looks kind of like west coast swing danced to salsa music (ugh).
Well, they dance in the same club, sometimes on the same night but there is a definite difference in one night vs. the other. Formerly there was more interaction between the two crowds because the instructors and dancers were more aligned in terms of musicality and quality of movement and so there was more mutual appreciation. Now, not as much. Formerly I would say our community was more like Portland because the dance was more social and musical in nature in terms of those who learned formerly. Now I do think it is becoming more like in Seattle in terms of more performance-type social dancing. Again, it comes to a difference in dancing culture/values. Perhaps others find this to be a good change; I think some parts are potentially beneficial but on the whole I prefer the previous.
 

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