Patronizing of dancers new to Salsa

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by salsamaniac4ever, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. salsamaniac4ever

    salsamaniac4ever Son Montuno

    I'm curious about your thoughts. As a DJ people sometimes approach me with regard to beginners friendly music. The last time was this tuesday at my party when another organizer booked me for his party. Although I'm familiar with his party and the type of dancers there he pointed out that in the first 2 hours I have to play beginners friendly music and lots of romanticas.

    So here are my questions. What is actually beginners friendly Salsa music? Is romantica really that simple and always good for beginners? Is there such thing like beginners friendly music?

    I'm not even sure if for someone who just started out dancing and listening for the first time to Afro-Cuban-Rhythms could even tell the difference between an "easy" and a "super complicated" song. It feels like instructors try to patronize newcomer because they are afraid to scare them away.

    What are your thoughts?
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  2. TwoLeftFeet

    TwoLeftFeet Shine Officer

    As a DJ my perspective of 'easy'/'beginner friendly' means songs with a clear and consistent underlying rhythm, a nice tempo (not too slow or too fast) and an upbeat energy. Often romantica isnt 'easy' because sometimes the rhythm is subtle with too much vocals at the forefront which can distract people who are not good at finding the beat, and often they can have a lot of more subtle direction changes which catch people out.
  3. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I think in part you are right. When I first started dancing I couldn't tell the difference between salsa and merengue :) But I think things such as super-fast songs are not beginner friendly and probably not super slow songs either, although I doubt DJs play many of those. Things like clave changes probably fly right over their head so I can't imagine that being important, but maybe songs with a lot of complicated breaks or changes to 6/8 time etc might be hard for them to follow along with. In general I think it's good to be exposed to a lot of music form the start rather than things that are all pretty much the same basic pattern. But I know the Cuban teachers here used to stick mainly to medium speed salsa romantica for the beginners classes because they thought it would be easier to dance to. I don't know what they do these days since it's been a long time since I went to a beginners/intermediate class.

    Another reason for salsa romantica might be that it is a lot like pop ballads with a salsa beat, so it may be easier for people from a non-Latin background to relate to than some instrumental mambo with a long timbales solo and vibraphone :)
  4. salsamaniac4ever

    salsamaniac4ever Son Montuno

    Sure super slow songs or fast up-tempo songs are not the best choice. But not only for beginners. And I would never play songs which have changes to 6/8 time ;).

    And I agree with @TwoLeftFeet regarding that romantica isn't always that "easy". There some songs where the phrasing of the melody isn't very clear and finding the one can be very challenging. It's true that the pop sounding romantica can be more appealing for people from a non-Latin background. But for some reason I don't like the approach of not exposing them to the huge variety Salsa music has to offer.

    I mean what happened back then when there was no romantica or watered down wannabe pop Salsa?
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  5. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Really "back" when , there were fewer choices, Fast Mambo and a tad slower :)..
    And pretty much all the music was "live ".
  6. salsamaniac4ever

    salsamaniac4ever Son Montuno

    That's exactly what I'm talking about. I assume there was no whining about thats not beginner friendly etc. If you were not familiar with the music you had to deal with it until you got it. ;)
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  7. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    These were exactly my thoughts:

    - someone new to dancing and music, wouldn't know beginner friendly music from non beginner friendly
    - someone new to dancing but familiar with music, would already be into not just what organizer considers to be "beginner friendly" but the rest of it too. Though being new to dancing, again they probably would dance equally well or equally bad to either music.

    In short the organizer is projecting his own misconstrued perceptions on to the people at his events. This is a common human fallacy.
  8. elanimal

    elanimal Nuevo Ritmo

    A song like 'Vivir mi vida' is beginner friendly because it is essentially Pop Salsa. So is 'La gozadera.' These have a newer sound, simple beat, recognizable voices by a popular singer. I have never heard those in a serious social or congress.

    There are absolutely beginner-friendly songs. However, there are also many songs that can be enjoyed by both beginners and advanced dancers. The trick is finding those that can satisfy both crowds.
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  9. salsamaniac4ever

    salsamaniac4ever Son Montuno

    IMHO Vivir La Vida is probably the worst song of Marc Anthony and even if half of the dancers at one evening would request this song I wouldn't play it (I make sure of it by not having the song). Which song do you mean by La Gozadera? This one:

    LarsM, Salsaurus Mex and elanimal like this.
  10. John S2

    John S2 Sonero

    I have taught salsa for many years and can state from experience that the majority of beginner dancers can tell the difference between easy tunes and complicated tunes. Most have no problem finding beat one in the easy tunes and either some difficulty or considerable difficulty finding the one in the more complicated tunes. Teachers should, of course, gradually expose newcomers to some more difficult tunes.
    LarsM likes this.
  11. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    You might consider discussing your plan with the promoter, as it doesn't seem you two are on the same page. It's a bit vague from your post as to whether the issue is that he/she is concerned you will only play wild stuff by Los Hacheros, Calle Real, and Bioritmo, or that any of these should be played at all at the event. I don't think two hours of romantica and slow salsa prior to any hard complicated salsa is a good idea, because advanced dancers generally find them boring and newcomers also like to watch the advanced dancers, who inspire them to come back and get better.
    timberamayor and terence like this.
  12. Del Dominguez

    Del Dominguez Changui

    I'm in no way a DJ but I do cover our DJ when he wants to dance. I always look for music that is around 88-94 BPM as it;s more groooooove music and not performance music. That said, it also depends on the crowd. We cater to an on2 crowd so the songs will be inherently different.
  13. salsamarty

    salsamarty Rhythm Deputy

    I find that music from the 60's and 70's more often has a clear beat. No super fast or super slow. I also don't think romantica is good. Often they have long intro sections that have no salsa beat at all. I hate trying to dance to romantica even now.
    Salsaurus Mex and wol like this.

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