The basic step

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Blair, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Blair

    Blair Descarga


    As salsa is salsa and each time you get better you end up uncovering new layers, and more new layers, then some more...I've got a question!

    Recently I've been practicing a load of body movement in hope to achieve that 'perfect' basic step. After discovering how each part of your body should move on which beat, it turns out I'm knackered!

    Am I right in saying to really do a great basic step you will be tired at the end of it? I'm by no means unfit by the way.

    Also this begs the question if infact it is extremely tiring making your basic look fantastic how can you possibally manage to keep it up for the whole night (talking about dancing ;)) ?!

    Thanks in adv.
  2. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    yeah you can tire yourself out if you're going all out and extending your muscles and tendons to their max. However, with any movement, if you do it enough, you get so efficient at it that it requires a lot less effort to do, relative to the first time you tried it. There are tons of advanced shines that don't make me break a sweat any longer because I'm just so used to them.

    I think it's time I go back and work on my own basic. Damn futile battles to achieve perfection
  3. Joy in Motion

    Joy in Motion Sonero

    I suppose it depends on what you're attempting to accomplish. If you're looking to become a better social dancer, you probably don't need to push things that far, especially initially (and really, I don't think this is an effective learning approach for competitive dancers either). If you overdo it, your body will probably be too overloaded to really keep it up and you might not keep up the motivation to continue for very long. Social dancing of course takes some technique, but it is also very much about relatively natural movement and about feeling good and comfortable vs. maintaining artificial lines and effects with your body (although in certain communities this might be desireable, but even then you will want to wait until you have a solid foundation of skills and techniques). Getting to the point where the technique feels natural will take a while, and it is isn't necessary to punish yourself. And again, you may overload your nervous system (which is just as responsible for developing muscle memory as your muscles are) and end up working against yourself.

    Studies show that we can typically only work on a couple of new things at a time and still be effective, particularly when it comes to turning these things into habits, so I would recommend you rotate the specific aspect of (or approach to) the technique you are working on each time you practice. To give you an example, when I was learning how to create authentic hip action, there were so many things to think about. So when I was practicing at home or out dancing at the club, I would spend one song (or an entire night) focusing on just the rolling through my feet starting with the inside edge and pushing into the ground, on another I would focus on keeping my upper body still and thinking of the pendulum image, etc. To this day I still remember when suddenly all of the elements clicked and started happening at the same time. It was truly amazing. Would I have reached that point trying to force all of the various elements (techniques, body parts, images, teaching points, etc.) all at once? Possibly (although I personally think forcing an entire technique into your body instead of taking the time to learn each element properly usually results in a very artificial or unnatural look and feel). But I really believe that your body needs to focus on each element individually at certain points to really work them into your movement vocabulary on a permanent basis. And studies show that resting from practice is beneficial the same way that sleep is. So using the rest from one aspect of the technique to work on another is a great way to keep your learning momentum and prevent burnout. Just some suggestions based on my own experience.

    Good luck! :)
  4. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Blair,

    Just noticed you are from Scotland - where in Scotland are you? I lived in Edinburgh until two years ago (and Stirling before that) and made a brief visit back in November last year. I wonder if I saw you then?

    Re your question, I think it's tiring just now because at this stage you are making a deliberate, consicous effort to move all those different parts of your body. Your muscles are simply not used to be used in that way, and those different movements are separate and uncoordinated so the whole thing feels like an impossible feat of multitasking. Also, when you start something new, you tend to exaggerate the required movements. Hopefully, after constant practice everything will start flowing together and become one, and you won't get so tired just doing the basic.

    (Not that I have a great basic step - far from it. But it went kinda like that when I was working on the "connecting through the shoulders to the back to create a good frame" thing last year.)
  5. Blair

    Blair Descarga

    I'm sure you are all right, it's going to be pretty tough until it becomes second nature - which was pointed out to me whilst learning this. Even at the moment my shoulders are killing me haha!

    I live in Edinburgh aswell, started dancing for 8months now...we might of seen each other! Should come to the Merlin tonight for V day and we have a dance! :) or even if you're popping back let me know
  6. Salsa_Lover

    Salsa_Lover Changui

    To see a great basic step, check out the colombians and the cubans...

    if you don't want to get tired, just do what the "Puertorico" style dancers do....

    Just walk and spin the lady a lot while standing still ;)
  7. AguaDulce

    AguaDulce Pattern Police

    If you think that is tiring try going a whole dance without a basic.
  8. Blair

    Blair Descarga

    The point I'm trying to get over is doing all this body movement, moving all the muscles I'm not used to moving is really hard...I'm using the basic step as more of an example, but ofcourse this should all happen throughout your dance.

    And here was me thinking I'm the young and fit of the salsa scene!
  9. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    As everybody says, practice will make it much easier. But it can still be tiring depending on what you do. I've noticed that for me:
    energy needed for shines > energy needed for following > energy needed for leading.
    Just my experience but a whole song of shines and body movement leaves me absolutely breathless even though I have been dancing regularly for a long time. Partner work requires less body movement and with practice becomes very energy efficient.
  10. Blair

    Blair Descarga

    Excuse my ignorance as I've not been dancing all that long...ultimately everyone wants to look good dancing and body movement plays a big part in that. If I was to practice body movement and eventually get good at it (at the moment I'm only focusing on my basic) how does all this come together in partner dancing?

    Does the general fluidity of your dance one day just look a whole lot better?

    Sorry for the questions all the time, I'm just really interested in it all.
  11. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    What everone else said. All I'd add is


    chances are, as you mentally prepare to do the movement and think of the 1001 details you want to address, you are tensing up your shoulders and getting ready to "attack" it. Breathe into your body (like faking a yawn) to help yourself relax. None of the movements you are doing require huge amounts of energy, that exhaustion is coming from you fighting yourself!
  12. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    Better body movement will obviously improve the way your dancing looks. Quality of leading is not so easy to judge from outside but body movement is visible.

    It will also improve your partnerwork in a subtle way. For example moving in sync in closed hold feels so good even if it is just the basic step. Practicing also improves your coordination in general which will improve your posture, frame and leading as well.
  13. Joy in Motion

    Joy in Motion Sonero

    You are asking some really good questions.

    You will most likely see gradual improvements over time as well as some great leaps in your fluidity. And then sometimes you may feel like you've taken a step backwards. This is all normal.

    Body movement makes a big difference in how you look, but don't discount how good it should feel for you as well. And even just connecting through the hands, your follower can feel so much of how you're moving. The more you can eliminate excess tension and allow the rest of your body to remain connected and fluid with what you're leading through your hands, the better it is going to feel to the lady. At least this is my experience as a follower. I also find that when I dance with someone who is really grounded, I can feel the musicality of their body so much better and it doesn't feel disjointed. A very amazing feeling.

    Keep your questions coming. Reading your posts reminds me of how I felt and how I progressed when I was first learning salsa.
  14. kerry.alder

    kerry.alder Sonero

    Also, do not forget the smile.

    I know a lot of the people on this forum is very serious about salsa and want to have the perfect dance each time out but remember, it is about fun too! Smile, you will even feel better when you add a grin to your arsenal of moves :D

  15. ajohnson4

    ajohnson4 Son

    When I first started dancing, I could exhaust myself in under 30 minutes if the routine was sufficiently complex or fast! Then there is the mental exhaustion as well.

    After dancing for a while, there will come a day when you go "wow, this feels so natural now" and that day comes faster because of people like you who practice a lot :)


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