Is 5 patterns really enough?

#1
I attended a Salsa bootcamp recently. There, in 4 hours we have learned 5 patterns:

basic
follow's underarm right turn
cross body lead
right side pass with travelling turns
shoulder check (aka shoulder catch, aka stop-n-go)

Instructor made a claim that these 5 moves are enough to dance socially, and demonstrated 30 seconds of dance using those patterns; except they added a lot of styling to those moves, so that evyr cross body lead appeared very different (e.g. throwing a lead's turn in there).

Here is my question for y'all. Can you really provide adequate amount of entertainment to a beginner-level lady by using these 5 moves, in there basic form with no extra styling that I don't know? Or should I learn 5 variations of each move before I invite women I don't know to avoid getting on a do-not-dance-with list?
 
#3
Would somebody be up for a challenge to make a video of 1 salsa song limited to those 5 moves? Let's through Suzie-Q and Mambo shines in there too. However, no fancy styling. I really hope it is true, but it doesn't feel real until I see it. Please.
 

Jag75

Active Member
#4
Would somebody be up for a challenge to make a video of 1 salsa song limited to those 5 moves? Let's through Suzie-Q and Mambo shines in there too. However, no fancy styling. I really hope it is true, but it doesn't feel real until I see it. Please.
Why do you think women want fancy styling?
 
#5
When I am dancing with a beginner lady, I often limit the steps to Basic, Underarm Turn right, shoulder check (checked left turn), crossbody lead, and then maybe a 1.5 turn to the right in a right side pass. It really is enough. And just a further comment...

Not to brag or anything, but I am pretty popular when I show up to a dance, but the point I want to make is I dance a lot of basic level steps. But after 24 years of dancing, the execution of those steps is very, very good. Even when dancing with a higher level partner, there is no great need to ramp up the difficulty level of the steps. That usually comes as a result of dancing together many times, and we both get a good feel for each other.

But those basics steps are the building blocks. There is so much to the usage of body weight, connections, amounts of turn, expression, truly feeling your partner's every move (not just your own), etc. Immerse yourself in these steps and over time they will give back so much!
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#6
There's this one lady locally, a perpetual beginner because she won't take lessons, who prefers the salsa clubs after they get super crowded because there's no room to do anything elaborate. My salsa is relatively simple, I'm not a "salsero" whatever that is exactly and I don't go to the salsa clubs myself. It's pretty much the basic and crossbody lead with some patterns I've adapted from rumba that work well with most ladies, even the inexperienced ones. Not much more than what DanceMentor does. For me, that's good enough given that the studios at which I social dance play one or two salsas in an evening. I have no urge to lead the lady in continuous spins just to show off.
 
#7
There is even a teacher I see sometimes that does one advanced pattern after the next. He is really talented, but there is no "light and shade" to his dancing.

I can certainly do some advanced patterns, but I also try to follow the music so there is a flow to the steps so they fit the music playing. This is another characteristic to a good dancer... musicality. I think it one of the last things people get.

There is also what I call "presence". Even when someone is doing very little, you can't keep your eyes of them. There is that certain Je Ne Sais Quoi! :) It takes time to develop that too. Hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.
 
#8
One of the most important thing when you dance is your posture (frame) no matter what moves you are doing.

I remember when I just started salsa (after doing ballroom for many years) I knew just two moves - basic and crossbody lead. And I was way more popular than the guy next to me who was doing (or more precisely -trying to do) crazy hand moves and turns but without any frame.

You can actually do quite a lot with these 5 moves as you can combine them in different hand position variations because the technique stays the same. For example - try to do a basic turn with your right hand (as I assume you learned it with the classic left) and then ''stop and go'' right after that this time with your right hand wrapping around lady's shoulder. So now you already have 4 moves instead of just two.

Then you could do the basic turn with both hands (which will leave you in quite a tangled position) then do a ''stop and go'' with your left hand going over lady's head (like the original stop and go) and leave your right on the lady's closest shoulder. And now you have 6 different moves already from the original two.

And so on... so on...

Try experimenting by changing hands - just remember that technique stays the same whichever way you are holding/turning the lady ;)
 
#9
When I am dancing with a beginner lady, I often limit the steps to Basic, Underarm Turn right, shoulder check (checked left turn), crossbody lead, and then maybe a 1.5 turn to the right in a right side pass. It really is enough. And just a further comment...
Thank you! Took me 3 weeks to get this simple answer.
 
#13
So, how has your dancing been progressing in the meantime? Have you taken some lessons, or classes, or gone to some social dances????
Weekly: 1.5 hrs of private lessons, 1 social dance, 1.5 hrs of practice with a partner, 2 hrs of group lessons, and try to practice by myself 1hr/day.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#15
But, I care much, much more about how a leader feels than how a leader looks.
There is an irony there. Most male dancers, pick potential partners on looks/style, which frequently does not match their ability .

Ladies do have the opportunity, to reject a past experience with a poor lead. Men, may be more shallow, by dancing with someone, whose only attraction is looks , not ability..
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#16
Weekly: 1.5 hrs of private lessons, 1 social dance, 1.5 hrs of practice with a partner, 2 hrs of group lessons, and try to practice by myself 1hr/day.
The social aspect, if poss., needs to be increased 3 fold. There are no quick fixes in social dancing, and the best method to fast track. is to dance socially 2/3 times weekly .
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#17
There is an irony there. Most male dancers, pick potential partners on looks/style, which frequently does not match their ability .

Ladies do have the opportunity, to reject a past experience with a poor lead. Men, may be more shallow, by dancing with someone, whose only attraction is looks , not ability..
How would you characterize the dancing ability of the shallow male dancer, in general? As compared to the non-shallow male dancers who will dance with most anyone.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#18
How would you characterize the dancing ability of the shallow male dancer, in general? As compared to the non-shallow male dancers who will dance with most anyone.
As to abilities; unable to keep on time, poor frame, and , literally "throwing" the partner into some variations.

Ex... I had a PR lady friend ,with whom I danced with on occasion.

She got asked to dance by a younger male latino ,who had a good variety. Half way thru the song, she walked off the floor, which prompted me to ask why. Her response " I got tired of being thrown around " .

I knew his teacher , and pretty much most of his students did the same thing, ( as did he ) .

It's never easy to know how anyone dances , until you actually dance with them ( even Pros )..
 
#20
This is a good question .... the more patterns the better. I suspect a lot of us here have heard or have seen Super Mario aka Million Moves Mario at a salsa congress. He seems to have a lot of patterns and he can mix it up really really well and thus his celebrity status
 

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