Misconceptions I had

#81
First class when I was 19, for a summer. I danced with that base with few classes until I was 26, then took it more seriously. I'm 29 now and have just been teaching beginners for a year and occasionally up to "intermediate," whatever that means, when needed and I can find the time. I'm not that good. But I've seen the problems beginners have for a while now.

I'll email you my resume, jaja.

Come to the studio I teach in and the on2 beginner classes, priced exactly the same as on1, have tumble weeds. Across the city, that is also the case in general at a beginner level. On1 in my uneducated opinion is way, way more accessible. It is a gateway drug to the panacea of on2. I had no idea this would be such cause for controversy.

Yes, on2 dancers learn on1 a lot more easily in the few dancers I've seen it. As I read here somewhere, it's extremely rare to see on2 dancers willingly switch to on1. At this point, for a while now, I've preferred on2. We can speculate on the reasons all we want. But usually on2 dancers are much more used to counting while dancing because that's the way I was taught if the tumbao or clave are not obvious/nowhere to be found. Which is often.
There is a disconnect here. I have seen similar suggestions before - that on1 dancers are less aware of time than on2 dancers. I don't see any reason why either would be sloppy with their timing based on which beat they break on. Irrespective of which beat you break on, you still have to be in time (or on time) when dancing.

If you are indeed teaching you should be able to decipher why on2 is more difficult for those you teach. Or is it the case that you are giving a pass to on1 students when they are sloppy but expect the on2 students to hit the 2 and 6 exactly?
 
#82
There is a disconnect here. I have seen similar suggestions before - that on1 dancers are less aware of time than on2 dancers. I don't see any reason why either would be sloppy with their timing based on which beat they break on. Irrespective of which beat you break on, you still have to be in time (or on time) when dancing.

If you are indeed teaching you should be able to decipher why on2 is more difficult for those you teach. Or is it the case that you are giving a pass to on1 students when they are sloppy but expect the on2 students to hit the 2 and 6 exactly?
When you ask students to count and they're on1, they often are either too slow or too fast. Many follow their own internal clock instead of really listening to the song. When you say 'start over's they intuitively find the 1.

On2, students have an emphasis to not only find the 1 and 5, but subsequently 2 and 6. By focusing on aspects other than the 1, they're less likely to stray to their own timing. Moreover, for on2 students, at least the way I was taught, can be taught more graphically, i.e. on a whiteboard, about the timing of the tumbao and clave, and songs are chosen to reflect those rhythms to help build that internal clock.

What I'm insinuating is that on2 dancers and teachers typically are more thoughtful about how to teach timing, precisely because it's more difficult. On1 teachers often kind of rely on repetition and osmosis for the timing to stick. I.e. on1 usually just sinks in after a while, in my experience, while on2 requires more nuance, theory, and effort.

Hence, the instant gratification comment Terence mentioned which I 100% agree with.

This is why on2 dancers switching to on1 is usually a piece of cake. But have you seen on1 dancers switching to on2? Usually much more difficult...
 
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#83
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This is why on2 dancers switching to on1 is usually a piece of cake. But have you seen on1 dancers switching to on2? Usually much more difficult..
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"switching " is primarily tricky because one has created a muscle memory . The difficulty factor if any, depends upon the student ( and teacher ) .I would venture to say that, the male lead has more of a problem than the follow, as a general rule.
 

Jag75

Son Montuno
#84
To the second point, that's partially it. After dancing for many years and teaching both on1 and on2, on2 is harder to understand, and in that sense can be "exclusive." As in, it can have a higher barrier of entry for beginners fumbling around with timing.

I still at times believe a lot of people enjoy on2 not just because of the different musical feeling you get, how stepping changes because of where the pause is etc, but also because it subconsciously feeds the ego to be able to dance it well. In my city there's a clear perceived hierarchy that on2 is more difficult and therefore better.

So yes, I still consider elements of on2, and some of its dancers, to be pretentious.
Ah ok yes - in that context I agree.
 
#85
"switching " is primarily tricky because one has created a muscle memory . The difficulty factor if any, depends upon the student ( and teacher ) .I would venture to say that, the male lead has more of a problem than the follow, as a general rule.
I fully agree. Most of the times when I lead a follower who is primarily been an on1 dancer, we can have a very satisfying dance. It is uncommon to come across an on1 follower who would fight (the timing) when being led on2.
 
#86
When you ask students to count and they're on1, they often are either too slow or too fast. Many follow their own internal clock instead of really listening to the song. When you say 'start over's they intuitively find the 1.

On2, students have an emphasis to not only find the 1 and 5, but subsequently 2 and 6. By focusing on aspects other than the 1, they're less likely to stray to their own timing. Moreover, for on2 students, at least the way I was taught, can be taught more graphically, i.e. on a whiteboard, about the timing of the tumbao and clave, and songs are chosen to reflect those rhythms to help build that internal clock.

What I'm insinuating is that on2 dancers and teachers typically are more thoughtful about how to teach timing, precisely because it's more difficult. On1 teachers often kind of rely on repetition and osmosis for the timing to stick. I.e. on1 usually just sinks in after a while, in my experience, while on2 requires more nuance, theory, and effort.

Hence, the instant gratification comment Terence mentioned which I 100% agree with.

This is why on2 dancers switching to on1 is usually a piece of cake. But have you seen on1 dancers switching to on2? Usually much more difficult...
Overall it appears to me that you are putting in more effort to teach the on2 starters to dance on time than the on1ers. If that is the case then naturally on2ers are getting the benefit of better instruction/knowledge than on1ers. Also it seems from what you are saying - the on2ers have to work harder than on1ers.

If that is the case then it is natural on2ers will pull ahead of on1ers.
 
#87
Overall it appears to me that you are putting in more effort to teach the on2 starters to dance on time than the on1ers. If that is the case then naturally on2ers are getting the benefit of better instruction/knowledge than on1ers. Also it seems from what you are saying - the on2ers have to work harder than on1ers.

If that is the case then it is natural on2ers will pull ahead of on1ers.
Jaja. You're right
 

vit

Son Montuno
#88
I fully agree. Most of the times when I lead a follower who is primarily been an on1 dancer, we can have a very satisfying dance. It is uncommon to come across an on1 follower who would fight (the timing) when being led on2.
It could be the case in areas where people dance dominantly on the rhythm (both on1 and on2 is 123 as danced by most, just the direction of the steps is different) , but in my area people dance dominantly on the melody and it's definitively not the case. They don't have rhythm saved in their muscle memory, they have direction of particular steps saved in their muscle memory. If you are dominantly a rhythm dancer, you would get some fighting even if trying to dance on1 with many local on1 followers overhere, and trying making them dancing on2 would be impossible with most of them. There are exceptions, but the number of them decreased significantly in last few years ...
 
#89
Misconceptions I had:

"Most salsa instructors teach at least the basic stepping technique"

"Salsa is a dance that comes from Latin America"; and its corollary: "the best salsa dancers are found in Latin countries" (and of course the other corollary: "most people in Latin countries are great salsa dancers)"

"The basic step in salsa will feel good and "natural" once I spend enough time/a few years practicing it"
 

azana

Super Moderator
Staff member
#90
This is why on2 dancers switching to on1 is usually a piece of cake. But have you seen on1 dancers switching to on2? Usually much more difficult...
I have to disagree with you here, based on my experience :) If given a choice, I will always choose on1, which I prefer. However, the leads frequently lose the timing, and either try to find a way to find the timing again, sometimes even having to break for shines, or even follow my following. Some don’t even notice they’ve lost the timing, and we end up on some weird on1 1/2 timing for the duration of the song. Some throw in steps that don’t quite work on1. I think the assumption that it’s “a piece of cake” is part of the problem, leading to insufficient thinking and preparation. Poor switchers are all too common in my scene.

However, there are definite exceptions, in my experience particularly skilful Japanese leads. And Jag75, Offbeat, GForce85... No complaints there :) And my scene isn’t particularly great :).
 
#91
It could be the case in areas where people dance dominantly on the rhythm (both on1 and on2 is 123 as danced by most, just the direction of the steps is different) , but in my area people dance dominantly on the melody and it's definitively not the case. They don't have rhythm saved in their muscle memory, they have direction of particular steps saved in their muscle memory. If you are dominantly a rhythm dancer, you would get some fighting even if trying to dance on1 with many local on1 followers overhere, and trying making them dancing on2 would be impossible with most of them. There are exceptions, but the number of them decreased significantly in last few years ...
I am naturally disposed towards melody. That can cause challenges in the timing. Do you consider vocals to reflect the music or melody? In many other music genres the vocals have a strong influence on melody (or vice versa). In the salsa music I don't find the relationship to be that strong. If someone is dancing on melody, they will have to train their ear to listen to the rhythm. For people who dance on melody, it won't matter whether on1 or on2, they would be equally sloppy. Therefore it is not as much on1 vs on 2. Melody dancers will find it easier to hit one every few bars, but not consistently.

I faced a number of followers at the Vienna Congress who when following on2, I really had to push them to stay on2. Sometimes I simply switched to on1. It was more pronounced in their CBL, where they would want to pause.
 
#92
"the best salsa dancers are found in Latin countries" (and of course the other corollary: "most people in Latin countries are great salsa dancers)"
When was that and when did you realize it was misconception :)

"The basic step in salsa will feel good and "natural" once I spend enough time/a few years practicing it"
What you mean by 'good' and 'natural'? You can feel good without it being natural. For me, when I was first taught correctly how
to do the basic (push into ground, weight transfer, etc) it felt good when I got it correct. It felt good because of the fluidity of the movement it brings about. It didn't feel natural and still doesn't. Sometimes (especially after long breaks or when I am on focusing or when my heart is not into dancing at that moment) I am aware my basic is not it should be and it doesn't feel good.
 

vit

Son Montuno
#93
I faced a number of followers at the Vienna Congress who when following on2, I really had to push them to stay on2. Sometimes I simply switched to on1. It was more pronounced in their CBL, where they would want to pause.
Well, in my area, natural tendency of beginner "on2 dancers" (meaning on1 dancers that started learning on2) is to rush and tend to return to on1. As about advanced "on2 dancers" (meaning on1 dancers that started learning on2 a few years ago), they tend towards on3 ...
 
#94
I am naturally disposed towards melody. That can cause challenges in the timing. Do you consider vocals to reflect the music or melody? In many other music genres the vocals have a strong influence on melody (or vice versa). In the salsa music I don't find the relationship to be that strong. If someone is dancing on melody, they will have to train their ear to listen to the rhythm. For people who dance on melody, it won't matter whether on1 or on2, they would be equally sloppy. Therefore it is not as much on1 vs on 2. Melody dancers will find it easier to hit one every few bars, but not consistently.

I faced a number of followers at the Vienna Congress who when following on2, I really had to push them to stay on2. Sometimes I simply switched to on1. It was more pronounced in their CBL, where they would want to pause.
I'm a "Melody Dancer", and I'd rather end on 1. (and start on 7).
 
#96
What you mean by 'good' and 'natural'? You can feel good without it being natural.
When it comes to movement, I equate the two (not just in dancing but in daily life movement). To take a basic example: I can get really good at walking backward, but no matter how good my backward movement gets it will never feel truly good or natural because it's not how the body naturally moves. I'm not talking about skills that are simply unusual: playing the tumbadora feels unnatural at first but once you learn it, it feels good and natural, because you're not going against your body's natural movements, you're just learning to move your hands in a certain way that while unusual, does not go against the natural way in which your hand moves. But stepping forward and backwards in a start-stop manner as in the salsa basic, while I can get it to feel "ok", will never feel truly good and natural. Casino, on the other hand, or bachata or merengue and even cha cha or ballroom rumba feel great because they don't involve the fast back/forward start-stop of salsa. (The movement is also back/forward in ballroom rumba but it is much slower so you have time to settle on each step).
 
#97
When it comes to movement, I equate the two (not just in dancing but in daily life movement). To take a basic example: I can get really good at walking backward, but no matter how good my backward movement gets it will never feel truly good or natural because it's not how the body naturally moves. I'm not talking about skills that are simply unusual: playing the tumbadora feels unnatural at first but once you learn it, it feels good and natural, because you're not going against your body's natural movements, you're just learning to move your hands in a certain way that while unusual, does not go against the natural way in which your hand moves. But stepping forward and backwards in a start-stop manner as in the salsa basic, while I can get it to feel "ok", will never feel truly good and natural. Casino, on the other hand, or bachata or merengue and even cha cha or ballroom rumba feel great because they don't involve the fast back/forward start-stop of salsa. (The movement is also back/forward in ballroom rumba but it is much slower so you have time to settle on each step).
No defence to linear, but probably anything practiced long enough to become muscle memory, will feel natural. BR inter rumba is definately not natural, even though it is not constanly back and forth.
 
#99
Thank your lucky stars you did not begin dancing in the 50s when only on 2 was being taught.The majority of students in that era were 60years plus, and never did I come across any one who did not eventually succeed .

The problem today is not "difficulty " , but the urgency for immediate gratification .
I've started taking WCS lessons, and believe this 'immediate gratification' might be specific to the salsa scene. The WCS classes go MUCH more slowly, and the instructor shows everything in great detail. We'll spend a whole lesson on one 6-count move, and he'll watch and correct everyone multiple times. Yet, the dance itself is not all that much different than salsa (as opposed to, say, tango).

I wish my salsa classes had progressed like this.
 

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