Dancing with latinas who are untrained

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by isaacjunk, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. isaacjunk

    isaacjunk Changui

    About me: I'm not latino but have been dancing salsa for 10+ years in linea and am learning cuban now as a beginner. I dance very comfortably with many people in San Francisco, on 1 or cuban (to a lesser degree). I have noticed however that many latin women who don't seem to truly know salsa---when I ask them they say they just 'feel the groove' or grew up listening to it--- tend to do almost a cumbia-type step where they step back on 3. Also they use a lot of upper-body and arm movement. I'm in Medellin/Bogota now and this has become a problem---it is actually very painful for me to dance with them because they have a strong sense of groove but we are not meshing especially on combinations/turns....help! Any advice on how to modify turns to work with this 'style', if I am making any sense? My gut tells me that as I get better with cuban dancing maybe it would help but not even sure on that one....any help on clearing up what might be going on would be a godsend. Thanks!
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    Slowdance likes this.
  2. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    When in Rome.
  3. Peason

    Peason Son

    Do as the Visigoths did?
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    Smejmoon, tallpaul, Slowdance and 2 others like this.
  4. elanimal

    elanimal Nuevo Ritmo

    I normally just dance more rotational with them. If I really want them on the one, I very clearly stop a rotation and break forward on 1 for a cross body. Going around in circles, stopping, and clearly stepping forward on the 1 has been the easiest way to get girls to dance on my count for years.
  5. granrey

    granrey Sonero

    You are likely dancing a different style.
  6. combo

    combo Son

    People dance differently in different parts of the World. You're better off not pushing your style on someone that doesn't know it.

    Forget doing turns/combinations and try to be content with just grooving with them.
    Live2dance, DJ Yuca and SnowDancer like this.
  7. granrey

    granrey Sonero

    As weird as it might sound many people in latin america are not formally educated in music. As fans, musicians, dancers, singers and composers. We are mostly self taught or learn by watching/copying/improvising or body language.

    Not knowing how to dance its almost like an embarrassing thing with dating/social implications that make it almost a taboo to become an adult and not knowing how to dance. That's why your mom or other relatives make sure you learn when you are a kid. My mom would say: "if you dont dance your woman, someone else will....and that someone better be you anyways" when she says "that someone better be you", she meant you dancing someone else's woman.

    You have to understand 40 years ago, dancing/singing/playing and instrument in clubs was a great hobby for people with no tv or other things to do in those times lol

    I've been dancing merengue and batchata since I was kid without knowing bits, counts, styles, etc. I learned those things in my mid 30's when trying to learn salsa in North America because I moved here without knowing salsa as it was not popular in my home country.

    Merengue for me was like a surfer jumping into a "wave" without thinking about it, you just jump and keep riding the wave with the changes and pauses. Bachata was more like waiting for a particular "cue" in the music for me to "tap" to begin the side/forward motion. It would not matter to me if it was the one or the five as I had no idea what those were. I only cared about not getting lost (falling off the wave or missing the cue).

    Your mother or friend might teach you dancing but she/he would not count. She would teach you to get the feeling of the music trough her body connection/motion (its easy to learn this when you are a toddler).
    Thats why when someone does not know how to dance, people say :"his mom did not shake him when he was a kid". Meaning she did not teach him. I personally beleive while many people outside latin america can dance latin music very good, very few cant get the cuban/hip motion. I find the cuban/hip motion its hard to teach without body connection.

    As I have mentioned in other occasions. Parents would obligate their kids to dance in birthday parties. If you did not dance, you would not eat cake (which is a rare opportunity)

    So if you tell people. "You lost the bit", "you are dancing on 1 or 2 (etc)" or "lineal" or you go with a "ballroom mind set" etc, they might have no clue what you are taking about and might think you dont know how to dance.
    Live2dance, Offbeat, wol and 5 others like this.
  8. Slot or linear salsa is a foreign concept to very many in latin america. Girls grow up dancing within their families or with friends, and for the most part people don't go to studios to pay to learn how to dance. So many are pretty good dancers but have no idea about the conventions of salsa on1, on2 etc.

    So yes, you can groove with them but this is kind of hard if you are used to dancing salsa as we know it.
    I have been in your situation more times than you can imagine, when visitors from latin america come out to a club to dance here in the US. But if they are home grown dancers, they are often really, really fun to dance with if you keep a few things in mind:

    1. They are anxious about dancing with you because they know they don't know the rules. So spend extra time getting to know them, introduce yourself, be friendly and welcoming, reassure them that you will try to make it a fun dance.

    2. Just as you would with any newcomer, keep it simple and basic, start with basic step and be ready to give a quick lesson if it is unfamiliar. Most pick it up very quickly, as they dance a lot and are quick to learn.

    3. Simple outside turn, CBL, etc as she gets more comfortable you can go a little further into it. I prefer two hand leads as it is easier to lead and easier to follow.

    By the time you've done this, the dance is over and you both have had a good time.

    Many are much more comfortable with cumbia or merengue, so if such a song comes up you can have a good dance with that, just be ready to hold on!!!
  9. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    On the contrary, it's not difficult to teach. More the problem is, having the knowledge HOW to create the action .

    Ladies adapt to the technical aspects much more quickly, than does the male .
  10. nowhiteshoes

    nowhiteshoes Pattern Police

    Pretty much what I do. Nothing more than one turn. Cross body, reverse cross body, left turn, right turn and cuban walk throughs.
  11. Jag75

    Jag75 Shine Officer

    I'm surprised that after dancing 10+ years you've only just discovered this...

    Don't dance your usual style with them, just dance what they know i.e. cumbia, merengue, son, whatever. You'll have a much better time.
    SnowDancer likes this.
  12. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Chuck the moves and patterns. Enjoy the grove and body movement.
  13. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    Imo cali style is the closest formally developed style to the south american way of dancing salsa, the turns and stuff are prepped on a different count than cuban style. i have always found it to be a good go-to style on the 'untrained' latinas . or untrained anyone for that matter, because you can create the momentum for the turns and then when shes in the swing of it, you can turn her. (if that makes sense) . but south americans, and especially in cali, the girls also like to turn in their own time, not rigidly stuck to a set amount of beats (though they can be still on beat, footwise), creating a looser kind of interpretive style great for packed dancefloors. i find that they also value dancing more on good body movement than knowing lots of moves.

    have a nice time in medellin :)
  14. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    akdancer and LarsM like this.
  15. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    :facepalm: Or you can always envisage dancing real, basic, normal salsa with them!!!
  16. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Any demonstration of real and basic salsa? :D
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.
  17. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    Just go to the latin american video section and you will see a few.
  18. vit

    vit El Sabroso de Conguero

    Next time I ask a new follower to dance, I'll ask on1, on2, real ? :p
  19. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

  20. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    I am not as nice as some of the above posters. Being latina is not a magic pill that makes them be good dancers. They might be more willing to dance due to growing up in a culture in which dancing is more normal and expected. But it's a terrible turn off if they weirdly follow or backlead a lot of beginner moves and give me a snobby, "I'm latina" answer when I try to figure out why they dance like that. Many other latinas can be as humble as any Japanese girl newbie, that I respect.

    It's just one of those things you deal with, catalogue on the I'm not asking out again in the near future, and hope some time in the future they'll realize how little they know and learn, or at least become more humble about it.

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