"How long have you been dancing?"

#21
this goes back to something we were talking about in another thread, that is how little the musicality/expression aspects are actually taught (for various reasons.)

i have also found (GROSS GENERALIZATION ALERT) that non-Americans approach and verbalize their dancing with MUCH more feelings-orientated language than Americans do. We Americans tend to approach things like engineers: it's a rational problem, i can solve it with study, observation and lots of practice, it's an issue of getting enough information and putting it into correct practice, etc. This is part of the addiction to patterns that you find in salsa here.

The non-Americans I have known in the dance world, both in salsa and elsewhere, tend to talk immediately about how the music makes them feel, what they were feeling when they were dancing, how they feel when they dance with *me,* etc. Feeling feeling feeling. It's a very different mindset.

(/gross generalization alert)
 
#22
btw my favorite thing to do is give compliments to ANYone especially leaders when I notice an improvement or I just enjoy a dance, or perforamnce, or whatever. But I'm very specific about what I liked, and people LOVE this because it shows sincerity and actually caring or paying attention

I hardly ever pay cliched compliments maybe cos I got tired of recieving them ;)
 
#24
Absolutely. AS you may remember, I had a partner with whom I had to end things... but he was ALWAYS talking about feeling, and I was always talking about studying and practising. He would laugh at me because he couldn't fathom "studying" dance. He kept telling me that balance is "here"... pointing to the middle of me right below my ribcage, he told me to just relax and let the music take me, he would laugh when I wanted to learn "steps". The other teacher I love always tells me to stop thinking and start feeling, and always speaks in "feel" terms too. I totally know what you mean. I agree with you for the most part, alemana.
 
#25
alemana said:
i have also found (GROSS GENERALIZATION ALERT) that non-Americans approach and verbalize their dancing with MUCH more feelings-orientated language than Americans do. We Americans tend to approach things like engineers: it's a rational problem, i can solve it with study, observation and lots of practice
also get the question "Where are you from?" a lot. Now this is a great question because it reveals that individual's influence, cultural or otherwise.
I like it because it shows that we can't take credit for everything, somethings are just gifts of nature (or nuture) to enjoy
 
#26
We will have been dancing for 5 years next month. It seems to be more enjoyable each year. Part of that, may be the improved ability to dance in a variety of conditions and having learned how to pick dances, we will enjoy.. We are always learning new things and it is as challenging as ever. We have numerous friends who are past the 5 year mark and still enjoying dancing a lot.
 
#27
amo_dile_que_no said:
I've been asked the question several times. I think it's asked for a couple of reasons. Some people are new to salsa and they see someone who they think is good (of course it's all relative) and they are curious how long it took to get to that level. It is frustrating when you're first learning and what really turns us on to salsa, besides the great music, is the dancing. People are naturally anxious to look and feel like they belong on the floor. I think it is a compliment and it's sincere.

I think the other reason, that as fellow travelers on this road, we are just curious as to how long others have felt the passion that we feel for salsa. I think it is more out of a feeling of camaraderie.
I agree with all of that. I can't remember ever feeling like somebody asked me that type of question out of competitiveness or spite. Perhaps they did, but I just never noticed it.

However, there are some times when I feel like I should be much more skilled when I say I started taking lessons seriously about 5 1/2 years ago. (Plus I learned the basic step several years before that, although I didn't get serious about it.) I mean, Frankie Martinez and Alex Da Silva should be downloading Internet clips of me by now, shouldn't they??? :roll: :? On the other hand, I still have a lot of fun dancing and several women who like dancing with me, so overall I'm pretty happy about where I am on the dance journey....
 
#28
Big10 said:
On the other hand, I still have a lot of fun dancing and several women who like dancing with me, so overall I'm pretty happy about where I am on the dance journey....
That really is what it's all about, having fun. I don't think there is a greater feeling than when you feel like you both had a good time dancing together. That's why I love to dance and as long as there are some ladies around who enjoy dancing with me, I'm happy. Unfortunately, one of my very favorite dance partners will be moving away soon. We have a nice connection on the dance floor and I'm going to miss it. But alas, all things must pass. I hate that.
 
#29
In the ballroom world, I always thought of "how long have you been dancing" as a good way to start a conversation. Also, if a woman says she's pretty new, I'll know not to lead any of the stuff I just learned in my last lesson!

It never occurred to me that anyone might be annoyed by what I thought of as an ice-breaking question. I guess I'll have to start using something else, like "what's your favorite dance," or something like that.

BTW, my lw and I have been taking lessons since last July. We've learned a tiny bit of salsa but have never used it outside the studio. We frequently attend non-studio ballroom events, however.

-IJ
 
#30
Whenever I've asked anyone how long they have been dancing, it's been to a) start a conversation when I couldn't think of anything else, b) give myself a reality check when I'm comparing myself (not favorably) to a really advanced dancer, or c) to help me imagine where I *might* be in the future, especially if I'm feeling stuck. It really is information I'm looking for, for my own purposes, not a backhanded reflection on the person I'm asking.

Sometimes when dancing with an obvious just beginning student, when there isn't much I can objectively compliment them on, I will ask how long they've been dancing, so I can say "Wow, you are doing great for only a month" or whatever. That's usually true.

Otherwise, I wouldn't ask it as a lead-in to a compliment. Even though I doubt it's meant that way, I can see that it could come off as implying that time spent is all it takes to be good, or take away from the compliment by suggesting that of course you're going to be good after all that time. But I really don't think most people would intend it that way, especially if they are non- or beginning dancers. If they have no idea what goes into becoming a good dancer, time is all they can ask about.
 

MacMoto

Active Member
#31
I think it's a question usually asked by beginners. I used to ask it all the time when I was a beginner. When people ask me that question, they are usually beginners. Yes it's a compliment of a sort, since people don't usually ask that question if they didn't think you danced well, but I think it's main purpose is reassurance. When you are a beginner, watching good dancers can be demoralising; you feel they must have danced all their life, and that you'd never get as good as them. It's very hard to believe they were beginners once, only a few years ago. Knowing how long those divas have been dancing gives you hope ("maybe I can be like her in x years' time if I work hard at it"). The truth is that you may never be like these people (as africana says, there are things that cannot be learned), but at least having an idea of a time frame helps your motivation.
 
#32
MacMoto said:
The truth is that you may never be like these people
Well that has happened to me a few times. I watch someone for a while and I end up thinking "I wanna dance just like that" even though I know that will not happen. But hey, they'll probably won't ever dance like me either :p
 
#33
i kind of love it when i hear that someone has been dancing a 'really long' time (to me, anything more than 5 yrs) because it makes me feel like i'll be interested in this for a while yet, and since right now i love it to a degree that suggests obsession, this heartens me.

i WANT to be obsessed for five more years. i'm glad it's not that unusual.
 
#35
BugBear said:
Well that has happened to me a few times. I watch someone for a while and I end up thinking "I wanna dance just like that" even though I know that will not happen. But hey, they'll probably won't ever dance like me either :p
I like that :)

good points Mac, yes it seems to motivate
although I've heard the "you like you've been dnacing all your life" even with I had been dancing less than 2/3 months, which was far from the truth. salsa was my first dance (not even hip hop which many assume)
 
#36
I used to ask this question to very good leads, and most of them would say, oh just a short time, or I just started. I think it was a cultural communication thing because I'm 99% sure all of them had been dancing in their mothers' wombs. But their answers taught me not to ask because I'm not going to get an honest response anyways. Just enjoy the dance, talk about other things. I've been dancing for 1 year, 9 months. So relatively speaking, I suck. I was good as a beginner, but as an intermediate, I'm way behind. I think the longer I dance, the harder I am on myself, and expect more.
 
#37
Hello,
That's really funny because I've seen the same thing. When I first started dancing, I chatted with a guy who (at the time) looked pretty impressive. When I asked him how long he'd been dancing, he said "about three months."
Later his frequent partner told me he'd been dancing for several years.

I took this as he was trying to show off and intimidate others. Sort of like the kid who aces the exam and tells everyone he only studied 15 minutes, when he spent hours studying.
 
#38
alemana said:
i kind of love it when i hear that someone has been dancing a 'really long' time (to me, anything more than 5 yrs) because it makes me feel like i'll be interested in this for a while yet, and since right now i love it to a degree that suggests obsession, this heartens me.

i WANT to be obsessed for five more years. i'm glad it's not that unusual.
that's true
 
#39
elgrancombo said:
Hello,
That's really funny because I've seen the same thing. When I first started dancing, I chatted with a guy who (at the time) looked pretty impressive. When I asked him how long he'd been dancing, he said "about three months."
Later his frequent partner told me he'd been dancing for several years.

I took this as he was trying to show off and intimidate others. Sort of like the kid who aces the exam and tells everyone he only studied 15 minutes, when he spent hours studying.
LOL that's really silly. but it's proves that someone else does find it annoying cos people ask and then go "oh that makes sense of course..."
And usually it's a comment about how i feel the music, so a few time I've shrugged and say something like "well [sorry to dissapoint you but] I've been dancing [feeling the music] like this since i started dancing. it's just the music tells me what to do..."

I guess that pulls out the assurance rug from under them, too bad :arrow:
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#40
to cornutt

thanks for giving me the best laugh Ive had today !!! -- change from all the serious stuff-- and to the guy who thinks five yrs is a long time -- Ive been teaching for 55 yrs not to mention dancing before that--and Im just getting warmed up !!!!!!!!!
 

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