Want more of a 'conversation' and not just 'going through the moves'...

Hey everyone,

I'm a pretty good salsa dancer but am wondering how to have more of a 'conversation' with my partner when dancing... I kow quite a few moves, have good timing, etc. but it just seems like I am dancing with myself sometimes - I know there must be little things I can do to make each dance different (I already look the woman in the eyes, smile, maybe say a few words, etc.) but it always seems like I am just leading the same type moves with every woman and except for the fact that every woman's dance style is different (so dancing with each woman feels different) it really seems like I am just going through the motions and not making a 'connection' somehow... I am NOT trying to pick up woman, or want anything sexual... I just want more of a dance 'conversation' instead of just 'going through the moves'




Well-Known Member
.. I just want more of a dance 'conversation' instead of just 'going through the moves'
A dancer´s development isn´t just a linear process. From my experience, plateaus alternate with turbulent periods. And of course sometimes it seems as the process is standing still or changing agonizingly slow.

Sometimes cognate dances may help. Have you tried Chacha? Son? Bolero? Danzon? Cubaton? Vals criollo?
Exploring new ways of expressing yourself musically is a great way to start a conversation. Different qualities of movement, different rhythms, interesting ways of interpreting the basics based on what the music is doing... that would be difficult for many women to ignore.

It also helps to be a people-watcher (in a respectful, non-creepy way of course): See which leaders women seem to respond to and try to identify when they respond the most, then see if you can incorporate some of those qualities into your own dancing in a way that fits your personality.
Hey everyone,

I'm a pretty good salsa dancer but am wondering how to have more of a 'conversation' with my partner when dancing
I have two suggestions.

Throw an unexpected move on her. But, of course, first check that step-wise it is doable. I am a lead, and sometimes ladies take the small freedom they have and throw an unexpected step on me, for example, by doing two or three turns while I was intending to lead one. I adapt.

Dance a long waltz or foxtrot, in closed hold only, in a crowded hall. If you don't get the conversation running, you will crash into somebody, so the conversation will come in automatically. Its level will increase, perhaps from low in the beginning to high at the end if you are lucky.
I think having better "conversation" with a partner often comes from knowing that person better. In the sense, a friendship...which leads to a better connection. Meeting up in groups and talking and getting to know about another person's likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses both on the floor and off will help you.

I used to be a catalyst getting my local group of 20-somethings together off the dance floor. We'd often do dinner before (or late night after) a dance, giving us time to mingle and form relationships.
The best workshop I had in this was with Edie the Salsafreak from the USA and Peter Fige, a Hungarian who lives in Germany . I bought their DVD, I have also seen clips online. The best thing is not to rush from one figure to another. Slow down, look at your partner, smile at your partner. Take an 8 beat to do body waves or chest pumps or a sway or a foot sweep. Use the breaks in the music. When you see an exhibition dance it is often the stop and do something funny or sexy that gets the applause, not the complex turn pattern. In both Cuban and CB on 1 I lead a sombrero then 8 beats of front mambo (tap down tap down, tap down tap down) followed by a cross body, as an interlude. Combs over your head and your partner's head while doing the basic, and hand tosses and catches are conversational as you flick your eyes up playfully. Some shines are solo showing off, but if you can alternate and mirror you are doing call and response, which is what clave is, and the basis of Afro-Cuban music. A forthright lady once gave me some helpful criticism that my dance with her had been good when I faced her, but lost connection when I went at an angle. I found an article on what is called flashlighting. Imagine that you and your partner have a bicycle lamp strapped to the front of your chests. You should aim your light beam at your partners light most of the time. When you have to open out in eg. a cross- body lead , the beams should intersect in an isoceles triangle as much as possible. I tried it and it helps both easier leading and feels more together. Keep moves where you face away eg. A lo Cubano at a maximum of 16 beats and keep smiling over your shoulder. The very fact that you ask the question shows that you care about entertaining your partner. Happy dancing.

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