What else can salsa borrow from the Dancesport world?

Cool, a video of ballroom dancing that you like--I'm happy! ;-)
Okay, I'm not anti-ballroom! I just don't like the hypersexed Latin aesthetic with all the growling and spitting and posing, and I get turned off when the movements don't match the music (as they don't in comps with a random assignment of routines to songs). :p This vid doesn't have either of those problems at all though, the musicality is actually a big plus.

I think the cleanness is due to several things, but primarily due to the fact that to top ballroom dancers, dancing is quite literally their life, and they work on their dancing almost literally all the time. There may be a few top salsa dancers who dance 8-12 hour days, but not nearly close to the percentage of ballroom dancers who do. Even very dedicated top salsa dancers often make money doing other things, because the salsa market is quite small because it's one dance, and so they necessarily spend less time dancing.
So top ballroom dancers can actually make a living from dancing (not coaching/teaching but strictly competing/performing)?

Also, the concept of "clean" dancing, and in particular clean footwork, is not really stressed in the salsa community as much, as you said above. After all, it's primarily a social dance, and being technically perfect is not a very high priority.
I think people appreciate it when it's there, but it's definitely not taught to social dancers (at least that I've seen). One would think that performers would be more aware though.

That's very surprising...! If he said straighten the leg after you put some weight on it, then he would be perfectly consistent with traditional Rhythm technique, though even in the competitive Rhythm world, it's quite outdated even there. I find it impossible to do a salsa basic while landing on a straight leg, and can't even really do it slowly... are you sure he didn't straighten the leg after the weight came onto it (at least partially)... ?
I'm pretty sure, because I was surprised myself (as you note it's rather an unnatural movement) and I made him repeat himself and go over it. Anyway, he did a bunch of other things I didn't like and I'm not going back. I miss my old teacher. :(
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
So top ballroom dancers can actually make a living from dancing (not coaching/teaching but strictly competing/performing)?


I think people appreciate it when it's there, but it's definitely not taught to social dancers (at least that I've seen). One would think that performers would be more aware though.
World class competitors ( top 6 ) are in constant demand all over the world-- the annual earnings of some, are more than many Drs make .-
Consider $ 200 plus for a 45 min private lesson--- performances can go as high as $ 2-3 thousand for a 5 dance show ( plus ALL expenses )which is usually a weekly event .

As much as not teaching techn. to social dancers , its been stated before -- many of the salsa teachers (?) have little or no formal dance training, and are ill equipped to define basic structure let alone advanced work .
Much of it is " monkey see-- monkey do " type teaching .

My classes ( and I,m sure there are many more ) always include basic technique and music education ( and I dont mean 123- 567 !!! )

Street dancing can still retain its " earthiness " if the application of techn. is applied to fundamentals .
 
That's a great video. Definitely agree on the cleanliness, musicality, and attitude shown here as something salsa people could learn from. Of course these are top ballroom dancers; the vast majority of ballroom dancers don't look much like these two, just like the vast majority of salser@s don't look like Frankie Martinez and Nancy Ortiz.

That said, I do notice that top ballroom dancers are noticeably cleaner and sharper than even the best salsa performers. I have wondered whether there is actually a tradeoff between cleanliness and 'flavor' or whether it's just the case that ballroom dancers tend to work more on the former and salser@s on the latter (each perhaps to the neglect of the complementary skill).
<Snip>.
The top ballroom dancers train more like jazz and ballet dancers. Those styles emphasize very clean technique, with extreme control (a positive in my mind). But it's a different feel than street dancers and very few can cross-over between the two.

I've notice the ESPN top dancers are getting closer to a ballroom feel, and they also cross-train other dances and put in similar effort, because you can't dance like that without extensive training/practice.

Over time I see more and more salsa dancers upgrading their technical skills, and that will effect the dance over time. 10 years ago few guys could spin, now it's normal for guys to do doubles or triples, using techniques borrowed from traditional dances.

I like the clip and the attitude they have...
 
10 years ago few guys could spin, now it's normal for guys to do doubles or triples, using techniques borrowed from traditional dances.
...or using techniques they got second/third hand from attending specific spinning classes. ;)

With some, I personally believe that they have miniature roller balls inserted in the bottom of their shoes! :lol:
 
...or using techniques they got second/third hand from attending specific spinning classes. ;)

<spin>
Yea, many of the street dancers take pride that they "never took lessons" when instead they use the second/third hand methods and learn more from trial and error, rather than leveraging the accumulated knowledge from the past.

The problem with that approach is the salsa dancers often lack the depth that the ballroom/jazz dancers have with spinning. I see so many guys who can "do" a triple, but their finish is inconsistent and they can only do it one way.

The other thing is the top ballroom dancers are not afraid to use coaches. They approach it more like professional athletes, where having a coach is the norm. The best athletes (and dancers) know that an outside perspective is extremely valuable at the high end, and they also make a huge positive difference as you are growing.

The coaches rarely perform at the same level as the dancer (at the high end), but they still provide perspective that is very rare for a performer evaluating their own work. Great musicians have producers, world class athletes have coaches and dancers would be well served by getting some quality coaching.
 
Nobody placing in the salsa *competition* circuit can be called a street dancer.
Not to nitpick, but the salsa elite are not street.
I totally agree if you are talking about things like the ESPN salsa competition or similar. And the overall level of salsa at the competitive level is going up dramatically over the last few years and the best are stealing pages from the play books of the ballroom dancers (as they should).

I guess it also depends on who you consider the Salsa elite. On the competitive circuit you are right, that level is no longer the people with their roots in street salsa.

The best competitive Salsa dancers are getting coaching, cross-training other dances and bringing a much stronger technical training to the table. That is relatively new.

We are on the same page and your clarification is valid.
 
Nobody placing in the salsa *competition* circuit can be called a street dancer.
Not to nitpick, but the salsa elite are not street.
I totally agree if you are talking about things like the ESPN salsa competition or similar. And the overall level of salsa at the competitive level is going up dramatically over the last few years and the best are stealing pages from the play books of the ballroom dancers (as they should).

I guess it also depends on who you consider the Salsa elite. On the competitive circuit you are right, that level is no longer the people with their roots in street salsa.

The best competitive Salsa dancers are getting coaching, cross-training other dances and bringing a much stronger technical training to the table. That is relatively new.
Remind me... how is *street* defined?

I think that the "Nobody placing in the salsa *competition* circuit can be called a street dancer. Not to nitpick, but the salsa elite are not street." is case dependent. The level of some competitions is very high yet, you would I would still call them *street* even when there are dips, tricks and twirl the girl like a baton type moves in it.

For instance, Johnny Vazquez when he first started out and winning competitions, I would have considered him *street*. Oliver Pineda, when he first started doing salsa competitions (and winning), I would never have considered him *street*. Both of them are "elite" today. There are some 'top' salsa teachers in the UK who I would still consider as *street* and others I would not put into that category because it is obvious to me that they are doing independent training.
 
Remind me... how is *street* defined?

I think that the "Nobody placing in the salsa *competition* circuit can be called a street dancer. Not to nitpick, but the salsa elite are not street." is case dependent. The level of some competitions is very high yet, you would I would still call them *street* even when there are dips, tricks and twirl the girl like a baton type moves in it.

For instance, Johnny Vazquez when he first started out and winning competitions, I would have considered him *street*. Oliver Pineda, when he first started doing salsa competitions (and winning), I would never have considered him *street*. Both of them are "elite" today. There are some 'top' salsa teachers in the UK who I would still consider as *street* and others I would not put into that category because it is obvious to me that they are doing independent training.
"Street" is not exactly a "one-size fits all" term, and I agree on Johnny Vasquez starting in the street category. (I haven't seen him compete in a few years... I don't believe he does anymore but since he's in Europe and I'm in the States, I could simply be ignorant.)

He didn't start with ballroom or jazz training, although along the way he adopted some of their principles.

I see street dancers as decendents of the Afro-Cuban dancers, compared to those who cross-train jazz, ballroom and/or ballet dances. (I call those "traditional" dances, but that term is weak, I'm searching for something better...)

Afro-Cuban based, street salsa is a very different feel compared to someone who cross-trains in traditional dance. I don't see the street dancers working on spotting and because AC dancing wasn't born on wood floors, few of them spin like today's competitive dancers.

Most of the higher end spinning techniques come from jazz & ballet dancers, where it's taught as a science and then art is added on later. Luis Vasquez is an example of a guy who started street, but today his spins are modified piroettes (spelling?). (His ex-wife Joby has a jazz/ballet background, and I can see her influence in his spin techniques.)

Street dancers start with what works for them and the people around them, rather than finding the traditional methods that have been taught for 50 years or more for other dances. (NOTHING wrong with that approach.)

Most elite competitions these days include judges who have a traditional dance background, and they deduct points if you don't spot well, spin on your toes and/or point your toes as your feet leave the floor, since that is considered "correct" in the traditional dances.

I've seen some street dancers who do amazing spins on their heels, but that would NOT be considered valid technique at most competitions. (You can always find a few exceptional people who break any specific rule.)

Don't think I believe one is "better" than the other, I see them as different and in my mind the ultimate dancers decide which feel they want, based on the music, their partners and the situation.

The term "street" is fluid, and my definition may not fit every situation or dancer. Today there is such cross-over, with salsa being influenced by hip-hop, jazz, ballroom and other dances, that all the percise definitions/terms become interesting because the art morphs over time.
 
Nobody placing in the salsa *competition* circuit can be called a street dancer.
Not to nitpick, but the salsa elite are not street.
true and a lot of them took or take ballroom classes , pilates,jazz& tap,martial arts & some went to big name theater arts folks to learn how to do fancy lifts ...
 
"Street" is not exactly a "one-size fits all" term, and I agree on Johnny Vasquez starting in the street category. (I haven't seen him compete in a few years... I don't believe he does anymore but since he's in Europe and I'm in the States, I could simply be ignorant.)

He didn't start with ballroom or jazz training, although along the way he adopted some of their principles.
To me, it comes across in his later dancing/choreography that he has been doing other dancing training. I do not believe he is competing here in Europe but... could be wrong (I am not a groupie, therefore can't say for sure ;)).

Josie Neglia and Terryl, Enio Cordero (sp) partner are a couple of other names I wanted to originally mention as non-street, IMO.
 
To me, it comes across in his later dancing/choreography that he has been doing other dancing training. I do not believe he is competing here in Europe but... could be wrong (I am not a groupie, therefore can't say for sure ;)).

Josie Neglia and Terryl, Enio Cordero (sp) partner are a couple of other names I wanted to originally mention as non-street, IMO.
You have that right, those three names all have extensive cross-training and they look the way they do mostly because they like their style.

I've seen Josie in some LA clubs in the last six months, and she looked very street on one dance (when her lead and the song happend to be more cuban influenced) and looked very refined, non-street with a different lead/tune.

I'm impressed by her range, and that is consistent with many of the long time dancers. She did a excellent job of enhancing and reflecting her partners feel.

People often believe trained dancers only dance one way, and base their like/dislike after seeing a few dances. Those dances, with those partners may or may not reflect their complete range.

Terryl & Enio are amazing, and their dance reflects their background and extensive cross-training with ballroom, swing and other dances. Enio's brother is one of those world-class swing/ballroom competition winners, and Enio is not far behind. I agree that Enio would not be considered street, but I suspect if he decided, it would take him a short time to adopt that feel.
 

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