Why is Musicality So Hard/Rare to Find in Salsa?

I think maybe, some people are missing what his intentions are, when in a " performance " role.

In context of displaying the influences of the various native rhythms,-- bambuco, gauganco, etc.. on the current vogue, of dance and style, then I believe he achieves that end.

Having said that, " style " in a dance context, is very subjective , and I find nothing wrong, with being iconoclastic.
When anyone places themselves in a public forum-- be prepared to have detractors .
well said tangotime(when anyone places themselfs in a public form etc)
 
pacion your so cool and wise, diciamo in italiano complementi. im sure you understand that.....on a side note(frankie manning is the man) as the young used too say, he"s wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy cooooooooooollllllll.
 
Any chance of getting this thread back on topic? :confused: Anyway....

What's sorta funny about the way that this thread has degenerated is that I'm not a Frankie fan. However, it is over the line to say that he isn't dancing salsa or is off-time. Perfectly ok to say that you don't like the way he dances.
In a slight twist of what tj said, I am a Frankie fan, but I don't dance Salsa On2 and my body won't let me move in any way that's even close to how Frankie Martinez moves. In other words, I think he's great, but I don't try to dance his style at all. What I've gained from watching him, though, is an appreciation for "thinking outside the box" and how he can make it work even for a dance that has been around for multiple decades now. He presents a different perspective on how to manipulate the Salsa basic and the idea that Salsa dancing doesn't have to be like it has always been -- there is still plenty of room for taking it in a new direction.

tj said:
Actually, this is a good point. If all innovators are just attacked and ostracized by a dance community, then how does a dance evolve?
It probably takes a certain degree of rebelliousness to be an innovator anyway, but I think the key is for them to get at least a little bit of constant support from some subsection of the community to keep going for awhile. I get the impression that (on a broader basis) the dance communities for West Coast Swing and Modern Dance support innovation for its own sake. It would be nice if Salsa could become a little more like that. Sure, a lot of crappy dancing will still occur in the meantime, but at least it keeps the ground fertile enough for the truly special dancers to grow.

Then, as a practical matter, the innovative dancers need time to acquire the personal skills for being able to teach and spread what they know. One interesting thing about the Salsa world is how relatively young (in their 20s and early 30s) many of the "superstars" are. Many of us in the Salsa community recognize how important musicality is, but there are so few people (if any) who are able to teach it effectively. That will take time.

People like Edie, Al Espinoza, and Eddie Torres have enough longevity and credibility at this point so that people will listen when they start to get into abstract concepts like musicality -- but there aren't many people like that. Most other "trendy" names in Salsa are still building their reputations on teaching flashy technical skills like spinning, footwork, or fancy patterns. Then burnout (or family obligations or more lucrative job opportunities) can happen. Hopefully some of the well-known instructors will stick around long enough and still be interested in teaching some of the abstract concepts necessary for truly elevating the dance, after they've built the "street cred" necessary to get hired by Congresses to teach something other than fancy steps.
 
pacion your so cool and wise, diciamo in italiano complementi.
:oops: Thanks.

In a slight twist of what tj said, I am a Frankie fan, but I don't dance Salsa On2 and my body won't let me move in any way that's even close to how Frankie Martinez moves.
My body won't let me move like Frankie M either ;) (although, have been working on my isolations!) However, one thing I do credit/attribute to him is that his leading technique from a few years ago, revolutionised the way some of the guys in the UK led. From what I have read and seen, they realised that it is possible to lead a girl without her realising it! An effortless lead. Whether this was as a result of his training with Eddie Torres or his martial arts background or both, I do not know. Either way, it is effortless and a pleasure.

For dancers as a whole, they also realised that subtle/small moves eg, a shoulder roll, can be a lot more effective than a full arm movement.

One tip I picked up third hand (someone giving the feedback on the internet), as a follower, was that if a guy puts your arm behind your back, LEAVE IT THERE because chances are, he will be expecting it to be there when he moves onto the next move! I think (hope!) my ability to follow went up a notch or two as a result of that tip. It was a tip that I don't recall any other teacher saying in my previous classes, and don't recall hearing it in subsequent classes.

So, even if Frankie M's dance style has evolved in a direction that does not agree with me, there are tips he has passed on to improve salsa dancing.
 

kayak

Active Member
Most of the hot WCS dancers are also in their 20s. Sure, there are some older stars like Michael Kiehm, but the majority are in their 20s and 30s.
 

Josh

Active Member
One tip I picked up third hand (someone giving the feedback on the internet), as a follower, was that if a guy puts your arm behind your back, LEAVE IT THERE because chances are, he will be expecting it to be there when he moves onto the next move! I think (hope!) my ability to follow went up a notch or two as a result of that tip. It was a tip that I don't recall any other teacher saying in my previous classes, and don't recall hearing it in subsequent classes.
Actually this is a general rule for following in almost all situations--if a man places your hand somewhere, leave it there until further notice (or until he forgets it's there lol).
 
Most of the hot WCS dancers are also in their 20s. Sure, there are some older stars like Michael Kiehm, but the majority are in their 20s and 30s.
But they are still taking lessons from people who have been dancing and teaching it for decades, like Skippy Blair. Does salsa have teachers like that (I don't know; I'm not a salsa dancer)?
 
But a lot of salsa instructors haven't been taught by them.
yes which leads to the fact that salsa (with the exception of the beginnings of the dance in cuba& and nuoricans in newwwww yawk& texmex LA. many of the well known salsa teachers have either backgrounds in ballroom,or have copied moves done by country dancers, westies, hustle,swing, etc... and all the cool dips & lifts etc(generally speaking) were done by ballet & tv& broadway people for 100 years or more..
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
Was not implied-- the answer was specifically to the posters q. -- and by the way , many of the salsa " teachers ? " appear not to have been taught by anyone !!

D. DJ-- Many ?-- in the grand scheme of things, they are but a drop in the ocean . And as to those who are well known , all that glitters, is not gold .
 
Actually this is a general rule for following in almost all situations--if a man places your hand somewhere, leave it there until further notice (or until he forgets it's there lol).
:doh: I don't recall having been told this by any teacher before! :D

Well, should clarify... not that I recall hearing and remembering - different to being told and not remembering! ;)
 
Was not implied-- the answer was specifically to the posters q. -- and by the way , many of the salsa " teachers ? " appear not to have been taught by anyone !!

D. DJ-- Many ?-- in the grand scheme of things, they are but a drop in the ocean . And as to those who are well known , all that glitters, is not gold .
true all that glitters is not gold. edie the salsa freak went to many non salsa dancers, and solomon rivera must have based on what i seen (i have 3 of his videos, and i know jose neglia was ballroom trained, 2 big name ladies here in phila/south jersey were ballroom trained, and are really good salsa dancers. im sure there many more. im just giving some props, because salsa people(some) think they invented dance, and all the (cool moves)
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
2 big name ladies here in phila/south jersey were ballroom trained, and are really good salsa dancers. im sure there many more. im just giving some props, because salsa people(some) think they invented dance, and all the (cool moves)

There is no substitute for formal training, in any art form.

The downside ? ( if there is one ) it took me the longest time , to re adjust to " street " level, whilst re inventing some of the hard and fast rules ,that had been in place for multi yrs .

The cool moves, as you say, stem from various dances and styles .
 

Sagitta

Well-Known Member
true all that glitters is not gold. edie the salsa freak went to many non salsa dancers, and solomon rivera must have based on what i seen (i have 3 of his videos, and i know jose neglia was ballroom trained, 2 big name ladies here in phila/south jersey were ballroom trained, and are really good salsa dancers. im sure there many more. im just giving some props, because salsa people(some) think they invented dance, and all the (cool moves)
I've seen the way jose neglia dances...not a big fan. I really am not much of a fan of those ballroom trained, in general. THere are some whom I have danced in my local area who can trully follow. I see there ballroom training, but it doesn't detract from dancing with me.

Then I don't like many swing dancers...but I danced with Ramona Staffield yesterday night and enjoyed my dances with her. She even asked me to dance. ;-) Why? Because I didn't see her put all her lindy style like moving in there. She didn't anticipate. I saw and felt how she paid attention and really followed and that excited me and I really danced with her. I don't remember...which one, but I've danced with one of the other minnie moochers salsa and did not like it one bit.

I guess my point is that while certain backgrounds may encourage musicality/following, as wcs does, it does depend on the individual.
 
hey sagitta, thats cool about jose neglia she did a workshop here about 4 years ago and i was in the class, im not a big fan either(shes a good techicall dancer) but it seems to me a lot of the girls(from seeing them live and on clips from different parts of this country) have copied her stying etc, of course not all, im including many puerto rican gals and other types of latinos &non latinos who trained all over this country.
 
Big10 said:
Does anybody have any theories about why it's rare to see such musicality in Salsa dancers?
1. Role Models. The originator of the style wasn't able to portray the flavor or musicality found in the pre 1980s. His disciples became limited by his views. Not truly being ready to instruct, they went out in the world to teach what their predecessor taught; steps.
We are a dance-wise "uneducated" community who believes our role models to be the epitome of dance. Why further our education when the muse of dance is a embodied by salseros. The participants are young, a young mind is not captivated by essence, rather quantity. The more explosions the better the movie.

Big10 said:
Do you think it has to do with the structure of Salsa music? Do we not have enough accessibility to musical dancing role models in our various Salsa communities? Is there something about the culture of Salsa dancers that doesn't allow us to "think outside the box" on a regular basis, so that we're stuck doing the same old patterns/moves? Or, do you disagree with my premise, and you think that Salsa dancers are just as musical as West Coast Swing dancers in general?
Outside stimulate doesn't limit, the mind does. Son is regarded by many as the most robust of musical structures. Anything and everything can be played on top the clave where the essence and origin never leave. If the music can do it, then there is no reason why a dancer should not be able to project the same type of musicality on any tempo. As a group, the new salsa dancers are not as musical as dancers from other more genres. However, pre 1980s, salsa dancers were just as musical as any other group.

Big10 said:
One of the big things I noticed among the WCS clips was that although the more-skilled women are obviously capable of performing multiple spins, it's much less a part of their dancing than among "top" Salseros, where it seems like there's a multiple-spin after every handful of 8-counts (regardless of what's happening musically). In WCS, it looks like the instances of 3+ spins are reserved for once or twice during a song, and where it fits what's actually happening with the music. (Not always, but much more often.)
The philosophy of salsa is simply lacking. A philosophy that does not grant all students the ability to surpass itself/instructor is doom to clone-hood. This depicts youth, inability of instructors to understand music, themselves, and dance. More over, it points to the absence of a heretic that will bring about change. Folks are simply not worried about feeling the music and being driven by it, rather display what they can do within any 8 beat time span.

Big10 said:
I also noticed that while plenty of Salsa dancers can do "tricks" or hit the big musical breaks/accents, the WCS dancers seem to do a much better job of playing with the little beats all the way through the song. It also struck me how easy it was to find such clips of great musicality involving social dancers, spontaneous demonstrations, and/or Jack & Jill competitions -- i.e., not just in rehearsed/choreographed routines.
I didn't find it surprising. It turned out to be as I expected. The philosophy of salsa points to such absence. It's like looking for cow on a pig farm. The ones who are capable are more concerned about mathematical equations, than they are projecting the musicality... they are choreographies...

Musicality isn't a mysterious entity. The philosophy used to dance limits how we should dance, so new dancers struggle to find meaning using the incorrect means. How can a dancer eventually feel the music if through out their career all their instructors have only fed patterns and steps, implicitly having crafted this idea of speed, funk and junk to unsuspecting minds. A student can not find “X” if he doesn’t know, or never comes across “X”, whether from within or without.

I can never blame my student that he isn’t musical if I didn’t grant him the ability to become musical. Hey, but it’s just a social dance, they all just want to go fast no where, I mean have fun.
 

Sagitta

Well-Known Member
That's a good point boriken. There are times when I will just act stupid just to break people out of their shells. Just do anything. It comes out ok from me as most people know that i know how to dance salsa as they dance. Or if they don't they see me dance the nexty song and then the know. It is important that those who know to lead as people won't say he doesn't know how to dance, but perhaps we can do other stuff when dancing to the music or with the music or with the music and our partner.
 

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