Is Salsa turning into a circus?


Well-Known Member
NZ Girl said:
The rules from the Edie Torres competition wrap it up in a nutshell and I hope this is the way of salsa for the future.

Is it fair to say that Acrobataholism does for Salsa – what Ferrari’s do for Men? Make up for lack of…

I just love this no hate-mail Policy - and to any Ferrari owners out there - I would just like to say “How you doing?” :wink:
Then you gotta stay here. (re-no-hate mail policy)

Well put. To some it is about showing their ability, and to some it is about exercise. I've heard many say they do dance for exercise. To these not doing all these things means that they lose the reason why they do it. If you don't know much about dance it is easy to be tricked into thinking that is what you are there for...It is hard to find people out there who know how to do salsa technically and yet don't go all out. For those of us who dance the way you suggest perhaps we should be careful how we dance. When I dance as I'm talking about here...simply...elegantly all the followers come to me and say you are so restful, they even search me out after being spun all over the place, and say they just want to enjoy and the music and dance. When I trick them they often say know a lot etc etc...But if are connected...? Then it does not matter what we my comments are about the unconnected dances.
I think the "circus" effect of the Mayan is there because it is a COMPETITION. These dancers go there to compete with each other for the attention and approval of the audience. These are some of the finest dancers in the world, almost all of them can be and are also instructors and they have years of dancing experience. I've seen many of them dance salsa socially - they are really connected with their partners, they unite with the music completely and you can feel the emotion in the music expressed in the their moves. They don't do any fancy stuff and sometimes they just hug and do simple basic movements as if they are dancing a blues...

The problem is that they can all dance like that but they will not stand out in a competition. To win they have to conquer the audience with something spectacular, something that is original and difficult to perform. For example it will be really hard to win such a competition if you just go out there and dance cuban style for fun. Therefore they have to do all these acrobatics and all. For the same reason they also include elements from other dance styles.

I don't know where all this is going to but I know that what happens is a natural evolution. Just don't do any somersaults in the dance club :wink:
first of all .. its a competition and different standards are apllied.. dont mix comps with social..

second.. salsa is what u make of it as long as u can lead and follow to its variety beats/ritmos..

on1 on2 on3 .. LA/NY/CUBA/PR etc.. its all diffferent 'SALSA' forms of dance.. all with their good or bad.. and i have a taste for all of them and its a very fullfilling realization for me.. i can dance anywhere and i can have fun anywhere.. lucky me :p
I'm a little confused.

I somewhat understand the statement of salsa being what a person makes it, which I rather read as, self-expression becomes what a person makes it to be.

If I were to use salsa to mean what a person makes it to be, then it would mean that I could sit on a chair not move, then get up and say, Wow, now that is dancing Salsa! It sure as heck is dancing to the person, but not the dance Mambo.

Let's say a painter asks me to create a painting. After I'm finished doing my thing, I come to him and hand him a CD. He puts in the computer and it busts out with music.

He comes to me and says Javier, I asked you to paint something for me. Why didn’t you? I say, dude, what are you talking about. I did! Painting is what I make it out to be. To which he says, I understand you Javier, but to paint you actually need a canvas with some utensils that put some kind of colors on the canvas, which is what then self-expression through painting becomes. I still refuse to believe him and say, hey, Painting is evolving, accept it! Painting is still what I want it to be! If I wish, I could just grab the canvas, the paint and stroke the air in front of the canvas and create painting, accept it! Evolution! Kind of like the aerials shows…

While salsa is self expression, there are some basic guidelines to dancing it, to which self-expression needs to use. The canvas becomes the body and the music the tools of color. Through the use of the music, how can I make the canvas (body) express what it is that I'm feeling. However, if I have the canvas and the music, but I chose to simply forget about the music (utensils) and create an audio CD, how is that painting? If there is a cease in the use of the music, then I’m not really dancing with the given tools. Rather self expressing without a need to use any guidelines of the art form. Which is good intention, however, it can no longer be called the specific art form, rather something else. Ego-art!

The key element here is the music. I can not create a painting by throwing water on the canvas, nor creating a music CD. I must use the music and create self expression with out ever creating something that stops using the original utensil to paint the master-piece.

Comparing Painting and audio CDs is how far off aerial self expression gets away from Salsa dancing. However, because an uneducated audience and dancers call it self-expression through background music, I mean salsa, it is deemed evolution.

Note that while I can go around and merengue while calling it salsa, it by no means indicates that I am dancing Salsa. Hmmm, I can even call it salsa dancing when I’m jogging with some music on. Yeah, I’m jogging on beat! Why can’t it be salsa evolution as well?

Random self-expression and self-expression through a basic set of principles aren’t synonyms.
smooth_criminal said:
OK then - is a quadruple spin performed by Francisco Vasquez an ego-art or is it an interpretation of salsa :wink:
I love that term "ego-art"
And great post earlier by the way :D

Like I said, everything is for show, for "wow look how good I am at blah.." including quadruple spins that match the music

Actually I remember last summer, my first trip to the circus ever in my life, I was so amazed at the many great feats I saw. And guess what? They were mostly done to music, even the gymnist/acrobats followed tempo and timed their big moves to climaxes and bursts in the music.

so it's not so bad if salsa is like a circus, cos acrobats have musicality too :p
(sorry I'm just being a devil's advocate here :twisted: )
SDsalsaguy said:
smooth_criminal said:
OK then - is a quadruple spin performed by Francisco Vasquez an ego-art or is it an interpretation of salsa :wink:
Depends on the music, no? :wink:
Indeed, it all depends on the music. There are moments that I sit back and see how some folks do an aerial display or multiple spins so in tune with the aura of the music that all I can say is, WOW! That’s dancing!

Also, the difference is displayed not in what is done but how it’s done. By the how, it is meant the attitude with which the move is performed. An attitude founded on the soul skips the ego and turns the person’s attitude into a confident and gorgeous display of dedication through the years, and that is self-less! Anything done not because we can, rather because it rose from deep within is priceless... It's a thin line between love and hate, I mean, “Snob-estry” and Self-less Maestry...

If we dance salsa to become enlightened ego’s then we’ve missed the point. To skip ego-art into self-less art, the utensils must be used. Sadly, because we are doing Mambo we must adhere to the use of Colors, a brush and canvas, with that in mind, the music tells our emotions what, when, how, and why , at which point the body transforms into what it is that is felt.

Note that desire is what causes a person to seek the ego. It might be perceived as a good thing, but when misapplied then, Huston we have a problem.
africana said:
so it's not so bad if salsa is like a circus, cos acrobats have musicality too :p
Musicality isn't limited to dancing. It can be found in anything with do. Musicality is a part of a dancer’s lexicon that implies Harmony. Any performed move dependant on a second variable (the music) is “judged” on harmony. If the clowns got off harmony with the move (using dance terminology) it can be concluded that their musicality was off.

Harmony isn't limited to salsa, nor dancing. It goes for anything and everything. Think about it for a second, let say you are on a relay team, for you guys to exchange the baton, the two individuals must be in harmony with one another during that period, otherwise it can cost them dearly.

In all, when thinking of Musicality think of harmony. Think on how well the action being taken, meshes to a second variable. If you find that your CBL during a romantic song is a little too crisp, too sharp for the accents of the music, then adjusting a tad bit might give that smoothness the song calls for, therefore, harmony to the song.
yeah, in this case, especially.

anyway i am in the camp of people who don't have a lot of interest in the SUPER EXXXTREME AERIAL INSANE COMPETITION-STYLE SALSA, but if other folks want to pursue it... rock on. there are worse things they could be doing with their time. the scene in new york is *so* vibrant and *so* full of all kinds of wonderful dancing that i don't feel terribly threatened by the circus salsa cropping up here and there.

i think it's probably lowest in popularity in places like NYC, in any case.


New Member
I am not a fan of any social dancing where
1) It is dangerous to the people doing the moves or the people around them
2) It is hard for the people around the dancers to judge how much space they are going to take.
3) The dancers invade other dancers dance space

If you follow those guidelines you can do somersaults on the floor for all I care. just keep them tight.
Keep Stretching Borikensalsero :kissme:

I love the painting analogy! Sounds like NY’ers know their stuff.

SUPER EXXXTREME AERIAL INSANE COMPETITION_STYLE SALSA – I wonder what would happen if we spiked their drinks with Ritalin?

I am coming to NY!!!
Vin said:
I am not a fan of any social dancing where
1) It is dangerous to the people doing the moves or the people around them
2) It is hard for the people around the dancers to judge how much space they are going to take.
3) The dancers invade other dancers dance space

If you follow those guidelines you can do somersaults on the floor for all I care. just keep them tight.

there's also a difference between how one likes to dance and what one has a taste for or can appreciate even if its not how they do it or would do it.. hope that made sense.
africana said:
So no, salsa isn't turning into a circus, it has always been one.
I am not so sure about that. Certainly, there were always people who put on a show. But that is not what I would call the circus. I used to enjoy seeing good dancers (I still do), even when they put on a show. The keyword here is not "show" but "good".
From my perspective, salsa started to become a circus after the first two congresos in Puerto Rico. I am not against congresos, I think it is a great thing that the best dancers and all those salsa lovers can come together and share their passion, see great dancing and learn new moves. I thought then that it was a wonderful thing. But with the congresos salsa has become so commercial and so competitive. Too many people think they are the big shots, although they are not when compared to what we all have seen now. Many of them are terrible dancers, kick everybody around them and are just ridiculous.

Before the "congreso movement" I did not think that salsa was a circus. It was more that people got together and had fun together, not only in Germany where I started with salsa, also in Puerto Rico or other places I went. But now, almost wherever you go, it is all about competition and about "look how great I am". That takes out the "fun ambiente" that used to be in salsa places.

By the way, spins have never impressed me, acrobatics in salsa neither. Yes, acrobatics impress me in rock'n'roll dancing, which I love to watch and which I did before salsa. But in my opinion those moves do not belong into salsa, although I don't mind a few in shows.

It is still a great joy for me to see *good* dancers. But to be a good dancer you do not have to do acrobatics nor 4-6 spins in a row. Actually, for me, that takes out the elegance and makes the dance hectic. I have seen many shows in the past years, at the Puerto Rico congreso and other events, but those shows are not always what impresses one the most. One of the most impressive dances I saw was several years ago in Puerto Rico in El Trópico in Rio Piedras. There was a couple who danced a cha cha cha, all without putting on any kind of show or trying to impress anybody, but what a delight to look at, so smooth and so much harmony, I was all in awe, and not only me, everybody applauded afterwards. I still recognize the lady, I sometimes see her around at the clubs in PR. She is a wonderful dancer but she does not look as good with anybody else as with her cha cha cha partner. That was before the time of shines, multiple spins etc. and it is still one of the most impressive dances I have seen because it was elegance and harmony, just wonderful.
for me ive become tired of all the tricks. they were impressive to me when i was an improver/intermediate but im tired of it now, and for me i dont know maybe its just me but i think a dance competition and a show are different, a show allows more artistic licence to do different things because it is a show, but a DANCE competition to me should have some dancing in me crazy... I get tired of hearing 20 seconds of songs and then rewind noises and sound effects, i like to hear at least half the song and even the whole song so that there is some interpretation of the music instead of weaving the sound effects around what you are doing. For me you should perform to the music not make the music perform for you.

I found the amateur clips more interesting and enjoyable to watch, i like LA style salsa, infact i think every style of salsa has its place and if there is a neckdrop in there then thats fine im not against outlawing all tricks but there is such a thing as moderation. Things are getting closer and closer to latin american style dancing (not that theres anything wrong with that, but its a different style of dance and its not salsa) I didnt see any "sabor" unfortunately :(
SalseraLaura said:
Things are getting closer and closer to latin american style dancing (not that theres anything wrong with that, but its a different style of dance and its not salsa) I didnt see any "sabor" unfortunately :(
Exactly! especially the mayans - I just took a look at the clips someone posted and I couldn't one guy who was close to winning was in the comp because I've seen him dance in person twice and he cannot stay on beat how much more have sabor LOLOLOL and their music had the word "sabor" in it HAHAH!

I still admire most of those guys, they paved the way for many of us to know what salsa is, but man the level of awe is long gone for me. Maybe that's why people will come up with new things to wow us, right? And the circus continues...I dont mind it as long as they keep the shows on stage
its kind of a vicious circle really beause most of those guys can probably really dance but they know that they wont win the mayan that way so they put all that stuff into their routines and it perpetuates the cycle because ppl measure their routines off last years etc.

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