Dancing for the looks

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Smejmoon, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    In salsa world, New York is famous for its turn patterns and multiple spins, London for friendliness, Milan for shoes and jackets, and Rostov for musicality. My experiences in Kiev leave me thinking of another approach to dance.

    There are a lot of good follows who dance for the looks. They don't have that many socials, but they spend quite a lot of time in the studio. So they are great dancers, but not exactly my style, which is focused on contact and music. So when we dance, I have to adapt. Have to give more room both in space and time. I have to appreciate what I've been given without excessive touching.

    The video that was posted on "Social Dancing" thread reminded me of this. The guy who is apparently a famous performancer and teacher does NY style. Patterns, patterns, spins, spins, pulling girl off balance. I checked other her videos: she's from Vietnam and their parties have bigger distance between partners. Also she lit up when she was given space and seemed a bit uncomfortable when he manhandled her. I think this is just different styles that clashed a bit.

    The question is: how do you adapt your leading, when your partner feels that dancing is about showing the body movement and style? What feels good as a follow when you want to do your thing and blow him off his feet with your great looks and moves?
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.
  2. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Don't know how much this illustrates the concept but the first dance where I consciously started to think about that got caught on camera and I saw it later.

    Maybe it's not that much about looks that about giving trained follows more freedom.
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  3. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    I don't think that I see problems of that kind in this video. Yeah, it is a bit too "busy" but otherwise quite smooth in a sense that moves are nicely connected with each other (most of the time at least) without terry parts. Girl looks comfortable with all of that, goes effortlessly through spins and other things without balance problems. Now, it's hard to tell what percentage of her dance is for the look and what for enjoyment, but it's definitively far from being only for the look. Yeah, chemistry between them doesn't look very strong and she probably wouldn't like dancing more closely on average, but I think that the guy adapted to her preferences quite well. Where do you actually see the problems / pulling off the balance / too much spinning? For me, only problem to speak of was at pos 2:40, but it's 1% of the dance, I mean big deal ...
  4. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    If I know she considers me a superior dancer:

    -I "tame the beast": I place the back of both hands on her waist, step in place, say "eaasssy", smile, note with the head when she gets it and connects. "There you go"...

    If she doesn't care about connection, and also seems to have a huge ego:

    -We are simply not suited to dance with each other. And that's fine.
    I would usually half-heartedly lead her in an "LA-ish" manner until the song is over, and that's it. She'd probably be happy that it's over just as well.
  5. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    I misunderstood you then: This video shows us the exact opposite of what I had in mind:
    She looks calm, connected and attentive.

    In that case just lead as lightly as you can - simply escort her movement. She'll be doing her magic on her own.

    No pulling, nor pushing...Just flow with it! And the less you interfere (with things you shouldn't interfere with anyway) - the better.
    MAMBO_CEC, Offbeat and Smejmoon like this.
  6. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    More or less what I have in mind right now as well. And glad that this short snippet showed that. This was our second dance ever; after first one I understood I have to give her way more room than I usually do.
    It's not about good or bad, rather about making it even better. We liked all dances that night.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  7. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    You know, forcing a girl to do something that you want and she doesn't is very hard...and also not educational...or nice. Forget that I said it!

    -But letting her do something that she wants to do anyway? Easy.

    Awwe, was it you?
    This was very fun to watch!
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
    Smejmoon likes this.
  8. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Everyone in this video (not just you) - dances very differently from how they dance in my scene. (In a that I like much more!)

    I know that there must be a reason why you cut just this snippet,
    but I am genuinely very very veeery intrigued, and interested in watching the rest of it.

    If you don't mind - could you please share the rest of it with us? (or if you don't feel comfortable - at least with me, in a private message?).
  9. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I did not edit it, accidentally saw it on Facebook. It was a coincidence to me that this got filmed. It was actually a casino party; but they had salsa room and kizomba room.

    If you want to see something different, see this dance from Prague. We've done that for years, but level of sharing of dance is rising lately.

    These people have very good leading and/or following skills, the opposite as in my original question, where there are very good general dancing skills, but not that much practical salsa experience, lol. Still the approach is similar - offer what you have, don't mess with what you got too much, enjoy.

    @LarsM will notice the fellow Trondheim people. :)
    dahvee, Dissonant Harmony and LarsM like this.
  10. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    The scene here is drastically more "vulgar":

    -The Cuban Scene is full of dancers with very accentuated (and rough) stepping and movement in general.

    -The LA Scene is intense, sharp, and full of stops. (well, as LA should be?) Most girls will expect you to lead by cues, or by sudden pull/push: Connection by frame is rare.

    -The NY one Interestingly keeps the features mentioned above, but the styling is very influenced by the likes of Franklin Diaz and Karel Flores.
    Make no mistake: Those dancers are astonishing and musical, but everyone seems too busy bouncing and having no frame to work with,
    and this is killing me.

    I can adapt, but then I'll dance in a way that I do not like - and so I feel I do not belong.
    Watching those videos fills me with a combination of joy and envy, as I believe I would have fit there more. :S

    *On a happy note, though: I have recently started a Dominican Bachata course, where the instructors insist that we "lead with the body".
    I felt like I'm "in the right place", and those are the only instructors around who teach Dominican Bachata - so I'm expecting that the scene will evolve in a direction that I personally like.
  11. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    There are very few dancers here who dance like the ones in these videos. These dancers look very comfortable dancing in their own skin. Contrast that to the horde of dancers I see who are very timid and lack confidence. Or the rough leaders manhandling people all over the dance floor. Or the people who are regurgitating animation choreography or doing over-the-top afro cuban.

    When I encounter a dancer who has their own very unique and musical style, I let them do their thing. It is the easiest switch in the world. At the end of the dance, I ask them where they took West Coast Swing lessons.
  12. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

  13. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Interesting and fun, but personally I would indulge in something like that only for one song in an evening. No more than that!
  14. dahvee

    dahvee Sonero

    I really liked this video. If the rueda in my town looked like this I would participate.

    The folks in the video have great timing. The song is uptempo (not necessarily fast) yet they are dancing calm and smooth. In general at least from those around me people have the perception that salsa must be fast. It is like they are always racing the music. The people in the video are cool and laid back.
  15. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    This!! well said!

    Irrespective of what others thinks, after watching so many dances (I spend almost half time watching when out dancing), my opinion is that it is follower who makes the dance look better. Relatively speaking a leader contributes far less to make a dance look better. What I am saying has nothing to do with "Dancing for the looks", which is title of this thread. Reading the OP and trying to connect it with title confused me, or I didn't find connection.

    I think there are a few dancers who dance for looks. What more often happens is that person develops a certain style and it starts looking good. That doesn't mean person is dancing for looks or they developed their style to look good. Let's be honest. We all would like to look good when dancing. Can you think of a clumsy style that is great to dance but bad to look at ? :)

    Luckily ,my scene has plenty of good leaders each with their own style. None of them are superstars. When I have danced with a girl that feels good and looks good dancing her style, I have always felt that the 'looks of dancing' has never interfered with the dance. I can't think of any follower who danced badly but make it look good. I can think of many who may not make dancing look that great but made the dance feel very good.

    Usually I try to adapt to the follower's style, rather than forcing her to adapt to mine. Yes, she has to adapt to my way of dancing but that is not same as asking her to adapt to my style.
    SnowDancer likes this.
  16. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Or someone sneaks by and indulges you! Anyway, in Prague a lot is possible, 60+ hours of dance time and tons of dance lovers. I did not indulge this, because we just finished a football game and I was changing.
  17. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    Had to think about this post, when I was looking up an article for a friend:

    I think a lot of the "problems" in that dance can be taken with that approach.

    She is not dancing for the looks, she just needs positions to blossom.
    It's like taking a walk for a date. You can powerwalk for an hour and have seen every tree, flower and pond in the park.
    Or you can start without a plan or goal and happen to watch the fishies in a pond together for a quarter hour, climb the tree over there, sitting on a bench and watch the night sky and then end up kissing under another tree - and be 5 minutes late to the bus afterwards.
    But if you head for the top romantic spots and try to let your magic play, every half brained monkey will get your cheap trick, as this may look rather planned quickly - usually only works if she has decided before to play along. Or is of a rather naive and easy to impress kind.
    Mixture of stillness and movement and a two way communication is the key.
    (The first version is the standard Salsa as in your video, the third version is Bachata Sensual - just to connect that with dances.)

    I do not like his style. Looks for me rather aggressive. Whenever she has reached a position and is starting to blossom, he is pulling her away. And the connection level seems to be rather low.
    Maybe technically a good dancer, but just not what I like to watch and to dance myself.
    And she actually does not seem very happy. Her focus rarely is on him. Look at her face and body, when she is in position and starts to move. Sometimes suddenly her full orientation is towards him. Found another video of her, the same game. When she is allowed to dance, she is a joy to watch and her full focus seems to be on her partner. Whenever she is made to, it looks like she was a half finished robot walking her program.

    I know a few followers like her. Typically eastern European or eastern Asian too. The same skill in focused solo parts and surprisingly high rate of stumbles when dancing with movement-leads.
    Many of them are FAR beyond the level I will ever reach but some actually seem to like to dance with me very much. But they all are of a very friendly kind, so it is hard to make out what they actually like and what they just pretend to like. (I'd say 4 dances in a row on her initiative when there are enough good leads around is a good clue ...)

    Well, what are my key points when dancing with them?
    Make the dance about the position. The move between the position is a nice thing and they like to show off their spinning skills every here and there, but not constantly and not one hand trick after the next while constantly been moved around.
    In the positions focus your attention (attention can even be focused when being with your back to her - the guy in the video seems to not be aware of that). Once you focus on your moves, your shines, your spectators, you will loose her attention.
    To keep her attention is actually rather easy - some nice variations and nice solo parts, always with focus on her of course, is enough. If you are a great dancer you of course can show her that too, but it is not that necessary. Just don't be the creepy guy watching his private dancer.
    Give her interesting positions. Positions of relations in the room, distances, body positions etc - it's a rather wide concept. Positions in which she can show herself to you, you can show yourself to her and you can play with each other.
    React to her. Her movements are no studied shines, that are independent in time and space. They are for you! For you alone! (Unless you lost her attention ...) Dancing still is a two way communication.

    And if for your concept of a dancing is rather a cross-fit unit than a romantic walk, don't wonder that you will rarely connect with that kind of follows. Take some Zumba fighters instead.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
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  18. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Thank you brother, noone called me technically good before! Well, this was exactly the reason for the thread; I saw space for improvement with certain partners and am ready to engage ideas of others. There are so many ways to grow.
  19. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    Smej, unless I am mistaken, I believe the video being referred to is not yours, but of Garry Portugal and Nhu Ngoc.
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  20. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    Sorry. Wasn't talking about you in that quote, but about that Garry Portugal guy. (The video you linked in the original post - should have stated that clearer.)

    Your snippet is too short to say a lot. But on the positive side, I did not call you aggressive neither.
    But if that snippet is representative, I'd say you lack the concept of position too - as many do. And as I understand your post, that won't be really surprising for you.

    And - still taking that as representative - you can make the dance more about yourself too. You completely step into the background, you are steering her but there is not reason for her to focus on you. I'd even say you don't allow her to watch you or to tease you, by always stepping aside.

    As an example take this video. It's rather popular and one of the few I actually like watching. Of course both of them are simply a different league than us or the couple from the Vietnam video.
    For some parts of the video - the great parts - they are barely moving around and she is showing a lot of control over the dance. Even a T-stance for them isn't a thing of a private table dancer, but actually a teasing and presentation of female control.
    And while the whole room is focusing them, a huge part of the time it looks like nobody was watching. Their focus is primarily on each other.

    A counter example how not to do it, would be Terry . (This video just happened to be next in the auto list - they approximately have the same clicks.) That guy is just vain - and hot.

    And don't make the mistake to think, you need any technical level to play like that. It is more often that creative dancers get streamlined by technical training (to a degree that I actually saw great follows being destroyed by our linear clique).

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