Lyrics, Music, Dance, Expressions, Soul - What they mean to you?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Offbeat, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    This will seem like a too obvious topic to discuss but it isn't. Especially reading responses in many threads, it is also obvious each one of us has a different 'dancing' personality. Some are easy to read (hmm like for an example Sweavo's or at least what he projects) and others are not. E.g. none of us might dispute it is great to have musicality in our dancing, but what that musicality is or how much it needs to be will certainly differ.

    This is one person's take:

    I don't think it is necessary to understand the lyrics to become a better dancer or to express the music with your dancing. Will it be nice to understand what the singer is crooning? Sure. Will that help make you a better dancer? No.

    Though music and dancing are intricately intertwined, you can be good at one and suck at the other. I remember one thread where someone had posted about why most musicians don't make a good dancer. It is same as choreography - you can be a good choreographer and not-so-good of a dancer. Or you can be a good performer but a bad social dancer or vice-versa. If you don't know the correct technique or can't lead/follow simple CBL or spin or apply right amount of tension, no matter how much you understand your music, it is not going to help with your dancing.

    I also think too much emoting/expressiveness in dancing is equivalent of pattern-monkeyness (i.e. excessive focus on one aspect to exclusion of others). As much as it depends on your interpretation of the music, it should also depend on who you are dancing with. What I mean to say by "who you are dancing with" is that how much is your partner able to reflect back the feeling or its expression. It needs to be calibrated and toned downed or upped depending on your dance partner (and I think when we get that calibration right we call it "dance chemistry"). Many times I see one of the two in the pair come across as over the top.

    That's it for you now. Your take ..
  2. JonesNikka

    JonesNikka Rhythm Deputy

    The whole point of salsa being a partnership dance is to share with our partners the way we feel, the way we are and what the music tells us in order to have fun.
    Ideally we would all be dancing WITH each other instead of MAKING each other dance or even worse, dancing AT each other.

    Being a good dancer is not about haveng a specific style or technique. It is about being able to adapt our style or technique to that of our partners in order to create a new, different feeling that we can share ONLY for that moment, ONLY for that song and ONLY with that partner.

    It is so boring to dance with people who may have nice moves, but they use them all the same way, no matter what song is being played, I mean, what is the point? So, you went to the congress and took the workshop with the star of the week and learned to move just like them, but what about YOU? Who cares if you can keep the beat and the phrase and hit all the punches but you have to hit the couple dancing next to us to do it?

    Some times, after dancing with one of this self-styled experts, they look at me and you can tell they are one breath away from asking out loud: "so, baby, how do you like it? I am good am I not?" And I feel like telling them "OK so you can move... But where the #^@*!! is the SALSA!!??"

    Music is not just a series of beats that you can do shines to. Most salsas have lyrics, because the composer wanted to tell you something. If you do not know about the lyrics, you have way to connect with the musicians or with a dancer that does. And definitely YES it will make you a better dancer, just like learning proper technique will make you a better dancer. Do you need both? YES of course you do. Can you function with only one of them? Sure, if mediocricy is your bag, go ahead, make a fool of yourself. But if you could be better at both... why not?

    As for having "soul", that is just a snobish way of saying that you dance like yourself and nobody else, and that you are sincere in the way you feel about your own dancing. For me, personally I call it having fun, because to me, dancing is simply about having fun.
  3. smiling28

    smiling28 Moderator

    Here here, and absolute gospel post. Awesome!
  4. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I agree apart from the snobbish bit! Great post Nikka! Now I need to learn Spanish, or start writing my own lyrics in English...
  5. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Clave Commander

    :cheers: This is exactly how I feel about dancing. My favorite partners aren't the ones with perfect technique, but the women who are fun. They're the ones who enjoy dancing with me even if I don't know a million moves.
  6. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Great posts from Offbeat and Nikka :)

    My teacher once said (after drinking too many mojitas :lol:) that the god of music would come down and tell him to dance, and he couldn't help but to dance. I think it's pretty close to how salsa music affects me, except that I'm not religious and I feel it as the power of the music itself (which I suppose come from the musicians - you certainly feel it when dancing to live music). The music compels me to dance, even though my Spanish is very limited and often don't know what the songs are about. The power of the music is much more than what's expressed in the lyrics.

    What musicality I have comes from the desire to be part of the music - to be the music embodied. Obviously my skills (or rather lack thereof) limit what I can do, but that's my goal and that's why I keep on learning - because being so affected by the music and not to be able to express it adequately is just so frustrating.

    So that's the music part, and then there's the partner part. As a follower, a big attraction of salsa dancing to me comes from the fact that I don't know what's coming. When the music, my partner and I all click together, something really special happens, and that's what I'm addicted to.

    Soul? I don't know - as Nikka says, it just means me being me.

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