Advantages/disadvantages of different body types for dancing???

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by smiling28, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator


    I am sure we would all agree that who cares what you look like. JUST GO OUT AND DANCE an you will look plus feel even better!!!!!!!

    That said, there are advantages/disadvantages with everything in life (and of course even these are subjective and judged depending on perspective/context).


    Tall vs short

    - I learnt a very valuable lesson last night. My tango instructor brought up that because I am so tall (6'1 so not really but all relative) everyone of my movements will be exaggerated relative to a girl. Eg one normal step for me would maybe 2 for a girl (learnt that early but the comment last night was in regards to leading with my upper body as I do not need to rotate nearly as much with shorter girls as I do tall).

    This also shows in performance/posture. If I have something out of place. To me it seems a lot more noticeable than on a short person.

    Anyone else notice this? Or anything else between tall and short.

    What about girls?

    I have noticed a lot of the great male leads are short with low centres of gravity.

    Anyone else notice this?

    *also suggestions for 6'1 male dancers to look at for inspiration always appreciated :) :) :)
  2. RugKutta

    RugKutta Tumbao

    One advantage that I have that can be also be a disadvantage is having long arms. The advantage for me is that, along w/ being 5'11, I never have a problem dancing with tall women, even those who may be an inch or two taller than me (believe me though, it happens).

    The disadvantage of having long arms is that you have to make more of a conscious effort to not use the entire length of your arms, such as when you do an open break or when you lead a XBL into a free-spun left/inside turn. Using your whole arms can create bad tension/resistance, and can take up unnecessary space on the dance floor.

    This is also a disadvantage when dancing with someone tall. Being tall myself w/ long arms, I never have a problem w/ a woman's height in and of itself, but being tall usually means long arms. Women of all heights can have problems w/ not knowing that they shouldn't use the entire length of their arms, but this problem is amplified when they're tall. This makes it extra hard to dance w/ a woman on a crowded dancefloor. Even if you, as a lead, keep your arms very short, this can be all but nullified if your partner lets her arms extend all the way out on every move.
  3. KP-salsa

    KP-salsa Shine Officer

    Geez - all you tall people should stop complaining and try being a 5'2" male for a day. :)

    Being at breast height has many downsides too, you know. (For a start, you're also at elbow height for those travelling turns and multiple spins.)
  4. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    LOL - spot the silver lining..............

    *bad smiling28!!!
  5. Jolinia

    Jolinia Descarga

    I am often told that my steps are too large and while I work hard on taking smaller steps it doesn't feel natural to me to step small and I keep falling back into the habit of stepping big. I was wondering why it might be so hard for me to step smaller.
    I'm 5'7 (5'8-5'9 in heels) and have pretty long legs, so when I walk my natural step length is much bigger than that of a petite girl. So stepping as small as I'm told to do doesn't feel natural at all to me and I have more balance issues with smaller steps than with larger steps.
    I'm not sure if in this case my long legs (that I really like :D) are a disadvantage, or if it's just that I'm not accustomed to taking small steps and it'll get better in time.

    Edit: oh, and all the follows I admire because they look so great when they dance (big names as well as girls in my salsa school), are about two heads shorter than me.
  6. Offbeat

    Offbeat ¬°WEPA!

    Big, small, tall, short .... everyone has challenges whether it is dancing, playing golf or soccer, martial arts or running. At end of the day it is about learning and applying proper techniques for balance, posture and moving. I have danced with overweight girls that are light on feet and petite anorexic girls that are heavy. Girls taller than me with whom dancing is a breeze and girls shorter than me with whom it is a wrestling match.

    The point is that if you want to get better you have to identify your problem areas and work on them. There is no one perfect body type. You can see that the famous dancers you watch on youtube come in all sizes and shapes.

    May be all body-size related issues should really go under the "I am working on" thread :)
  7. Jolinia

    Jolinia Descarga

    It's already there - several times :)
  8. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I can think of a couple of advantages !!
  9. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    As for long arms on open breaks, your arms should always be bent regardless of height or length. It has more to do with the tension uild up that is innate to a bend elbow relative to a straight elbow, and has nothing to do with arm length. The difference in arm length only matters when you bring the female to you and she has more distance to travel and thus further accelerates, which if you're using it to generate centripical force, actually feels better (I assume for follows as well). Height and long arms means you don't need much energy to generate speed and you can also make up for mistakes easier in certain situation.

    Personally, I think it also makes close, tight partner work harder, because your angel of incidence and the direction you need to put pressure is more accute than it would otherwise be. In my opinion (all of this is), being tall can be an advantage if you're trying to do long smooth movements. Now because the physics is a tad different, you have to remember to leave your elbows in more often or specifically rework your partner technique to stay tight and in control. Height and long arms only means that you have to be conscious of it and work to make your lead. It doesn't mean that it's a disadvantage, just that it takes work. It's about adapting and both short and tall leads have to learn how the partner work they learn and the specifics technical elements they are taught needs adjusting (or sometimes doesn't need adjusting) for their body types.

    I personally think tall dancers look great (with proper posture). Long flowing lines make a simple routine look polished and beautiful.

    If you want an example of great tall leads, there are plenty, but off the top of my head I immediately thought of Oscar from Luv2Spin in Miami. He's a great lead that is about my height.
  10. antigone

    antigone Pattern Police

    I have noticed all of the above dancing with tall leaders. I can only think of 1 or 2 tall guys whose height and arm length did not get int he way of their dancing. So, I feel your pain, but it is possible to compensate :)
  11. antigone

    antigone Pattern Police

    Oh, and I am guilty of discriminating against shorter dancers (let's say 3 inches or more..and I'm 5'4, so that's not a lot of people). First, the centers of gravity are too off-set, especially since guys' center is usually lower. Second, I move my arms a lot, and if the guy is shorter his face is usually in the space I use for my arms, which makes me very nervous.
  12. Brownskin818

    Brownskin818 Shine Officer

    [​IMG] I can't say that I know of any famous gals that are over 5'6.
  13. antigone

    antigone Pattern Police

    maybe because it's so hard to find guys who are good enough AND tall enough to dance with them ;)
  14. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    Not sure how tall jessica santiago is, but she's definitely taller. There are plenty of salseras I've danced with, including my salsa crush that were taller than that and were aboslutely enchanting.
  15. Big10

    Big10 Shine Officer

    Jessica was the first woman I thought of also -- but then I decided I wouldn't bet money on whether she's taller than 5'6". :confused: She usually wears heels, and she's also very skinny, which can tend to make a person look taller.

    I can't remember the name of Juan Calderon's partner from Cultural Explosion, but she's tall and an excellent dancer.

    There's another woman named Rosie who is "regionally famous" I guess, here in Texas. She's pretty tall and her husband/partner (named Israel) is at least 6'2" and maybe 6'3", so they look really good together.
  16. Offbeat

    Offbeat ¬°WEPA!

    I don't know the name but there is this Japanese salsera/instructor who's pretty tall. (She's is blue with short hair in far left corner of 2006 SF congress j&j masters video).

    How tall is Burju? she seems taller than an average salsera.

    Woohoo I think this is my 500th post!
  17. Roo

    Roo Son Montuno

    I'm 5'1" on a tall day, and the size step that one should take for salsa is still not natural for me. ie, it's still quite small. However, I don't find that I have balance issues with it -- or if I did, they're long past.

    I don't get this... I saw a couple people said this, I think -- I think of the typical woman's center of gravity (hips/pelvis) as lower than the typical guy's (upper body/chest).

    As a short follow, I do have to say I enjoy being an okay height for most everyone, and those shorter guys are always happy to see me. I have one friend who I've loved dancing with that has to be welllll over 6' and I do have to say that I occasionally worry about looking silly with him (I'm told that we look fine), but for the most part it works out.
  18. RugKutta

    RugKutta Tumbao

    Despite the potential disadvantages on the dancefloor, I have a thing for tall women. ;-) Anything between 5'5 and 5'9. I can't quite explain exactly why, though...
  19. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    awesome post, thanks (will look that dude up :) )
  20. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    lol, I am missing out, never had a thing for taller girls funnily enough. Not against it either of course but never really been 'oh cool she is tall' which some guys around here are.

    For girls, I have REALLY found that some girls dance larger than life so hard to gauge their height. Afterwards I would swear they are 6 feet tall but probably not he he.

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