Salsa life - men vs women

#83
The "well trained prof" is a constant problem.
We have no well trained profs in my area (150km radius!)

Ballroom teachers are teaching the stiff ballroom frame etc.
Fitness and Solo Dance teachers teach solo movement.
Being Latino is no qualification, although half of our teachers has that as their only one.
Show dancers are about looking good, not about making your partner feel good. Actually seasoned show dancers in average have been my worst experience, as they know and care the least, what their (social dancing) students actually need.

The best reachable is a trained physiotherapist with second job dance teacher. She actually is good in telling how the body moves and an experienced dancer with the skill to explain even little details. In workshops she takes care for these details instead of simply bringing in pattern.
But 2 hours of driving ...

Training each other is our only option.


Of course larger cities have a better supply of teachers.
You'd think.
Main qualifications:
Charisma, promotion skills, looks, knowing many Salsa songs, knowing many patterns, show dancing skills, skin color (something exotic) ...
Teaching skills ?
Social dancing skills ?
Knowledge about the functions of the body ?
Knowledge about the lead-follow system ?
Fluent in German (or at least English) ?
forget it ...

Even when inviting teachers for workshops this counts. The one I mentioned above wasn't acceptable for our local promoters. Why? She has 3 major "flaws":
She doesn't do show dancing at all.
She is white. I mean really Nordic white.
She is a woman!

2 of these would be acceptable, but all three at the same time is a no go.
 
#84
I read an interesting research, people who think about themselves as young tend to be healthier mentally and physically than people who think that they are old. So it is all in our head.
I have read about that research. You are right. Anyone before 65 should really stop thinking themselves as old.
 
#87
Hmmm, I understand the frustration of the leaders but asking all followers to correct you in order to learn is really not such a great idea. For several reasons.

First of all most followers actually have no idea how leading works and also how it should feel. As long as you are not hurting them and your message gets across, they often cannot give you much useful feedback, they just go with the flow.

Followers differ a lot in their experience, preferences, physical state, etc. You can easily get contradicting advice.

Also those who want the feedback are in a minority. You cannot expect the followers to start offering unsolicited advice on the dance floor when the probability is it will not be well accepted.

Finally, they don't owe this to you. They are there to have fun, not to educate the leaders. It is your job to find a way to improve. If you don't and if they don't enjoy dancing with you, there will be other leaders available. It works both ways, of course, leaders don't have to educate the followers, it's not their job.

One exception: if you are really hurting them, then they might let you know. I know I would. But that is for real physical pain not just discomfort. And I don't think this applies to any of you.

So, what can you do? Ask a professional. What if those are not available/qualified/whatever?

Choose a group of higher-level followers you trust and ask them for feedback. Take whatever they tell you with a huuuge grain of salt and try to find the bits of useful information in between the politeness, ignorance and personal preferences.

Find a couple of practice partners you can train with and try your moves on. The problems here are well-known but it can help up to a point.

But, most importantly, try following. It's the closest thing to finding out what your lead feels like.
 
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#88
Hmmm, I understand the frustration of the leaders but asking all followers to correct you in order to learn is really not such a great idea. For several reasons.

First of all most followers actually have no idea how leading works and also how it should feel. As long as you are not hurting them and your message gets across, they often cannot give you much useful feedback, they just go with the flow.

Followers differ a lot in their experience, preferences, physical state, etc. You can easily get contradicting advice.

Also those who want the feedback are in a minority. You cannot expect the followers to start offering unsolicited advice on the dance floor when the probability is it will not be well accepted.

Finally, they don't owe this to you. They are there to have fun, not to educate the leaders. It is your job to find a way to improve. If you don't and if they don't enjoy dancing with you, there will be other leaders available. It works both ways, of course, leaders don't have to educate the followers, it's not their job.

One exception: if you are really hurting them, then they might let you know. I know I would. But that is for real physical pain not just discomfort. And I don't think this applies to any of you.

So, what can you do? Ask a professional. What if those are not available/qualified/whatever?

Choose a group of higher-level followers you trust and ask them for feedback. Take whatever they tell you with a huuuge grain of salt and try to find the bits of useful information in between the politeness, ignorance and personal preferences.

Find a couple of practice partners you can train with and try your moves on. The problems here are well-known but it can help up to a point.

But, most importantly, try following. It's the closest thing to finding out what your lead feels like.

Thanks for writing this! It makes a very important point. Especially for the beginners and new comers who may read the thread later.

Followers can’t correct the leaders. Leaders can’t correct the followers. They can only tell each other what is not working or not feeling right. That could be due to either the leader or follower or both.

Which goes to the point made several times before on SF. Try the opposite role. If nothing else to understand how it feels and the mistakes made by the leader. As a leader I could immediately notice the mistakes being made by other leaders when following them.
 
#91
Had a little discussion about this topic again. So my rant of the day:

Actually leading and following technique is vastly unknown to German Salsa teachers.
I know several teachers who themselves have a reputation of being rough leads. And their assistants only their dance puppets and bed warmers.
Most are either naturals, who never really thought about it, or (wannabe) show dancers, for whom social leading is of little importance while the move and looks are everything.
Don't get too down on your country's salsa teachers; I think it's like this pretty much everywhere. Even in NY, the only places I've gotten lead/follow technique were at BaSo and Santo Rico, and that's because they teach in small groups where you get individual attention. There are a couple local instructors in my city who sometimes give advice, but it's also in a small class setting. I'd say that privates are probably the best way to improve technique.

OTOH, I've been to several tango instructors, and they always emphasize technique, even in classes with close to 100 people.
 
#93
In my opinion to get to the point when you are 100 or even 90 is a big privilege. We have to respect ourselves and people who can reach this point. It is cool. I like centenarians. We can learn from them a lot.
 
#96
I don’t think we still figured out why salsa has higher turnover compared to other dances. I am not sure since I haven’t been doing swing for very long but there too there are a lot of women (and men) from the higher age brackets compared to salsa.
 

Jag75

Son Montuno
#98
I also only heard the no thumb rule in class...the rest was more or less trial error.. my fix dancer partner from the first year ones told me to try a lighter lead and i just tried it and it worked as well as the more rough approach , so i stick to it...
The problem is, once someting kinda "works" why would we change it? so feedback from outside is really helpfull
You and Chris clearly didn’t have very good instructors - leading and following technique should be taught in group classes.
 

Jag75

Son Montuno
#99
The "well trained prof" is a constant problem.
We have no well trained profs in my area (150km radius!)

Ballroom teachers are teaching the stiff ballroom frame etc.
Fitness and Solo Dance teachers teach solo movement.
Being Latino is no qualification, although half of our teachers has that as their only one.
Show dancers are about looking good, not about making your partner feel good. Actually seasoned show dancers in average have been my worst experience, as they know and care the least, what their (social dancing) students actually need.

The best reachable is a trained physiotherapist with second job dance teacher. She actually is good in telling how the body moves and an experienced dancer with the skill to explain even little details. In workshops she takes care for these details instead of simply bringing in pattern.
But 2 hours of driving ...

Training each other is our only option.


Of course larger cities have a better supply of teachers.
You'd think.
Main qualifications:
Charisma, promotion skills, looks, knowing many Salsa songs, knowing many patterns, show dancing skills, skin color (something exotic) ...
Teaching skills ?
Social dancing skills ?
Knowledge about the functions of the body ?
Knowledge about the lead-follow system ?
Fluent in German (or at least English) ?
forget it ...

Even when inviting teachers for workshops this counts. The one I mentioned above wasn't acceptable for our local promoters. Why? She has 3 major "flaws":
She doesn't do show dancing at all.
She is white. I mean really Nordic white.
She is a woman!

2 of these would be acceptable, but all three at the same time is a no go.
Your local promoters are pretty clueless.
 
Had a little discussion about this topic again. So my rant of the day:



Actually leading and following technique is vastly unknown to German Salsa teachers.
I know several teachers who themselves have a reputation of being rough leads. And their assistants only their dance puppets and bed warmers.
Most are either naturals, who never really thought about it, or (wannabe) show dancers, for whom social leading is of little importance while the move and looks are everything.

But I'd say for some part, this is fault of the women too. Why?
Because they let the men do it!

So for all those women, who still think that men simply shall know, how to handle a woman: We usually don't. Nobody tells us if we are doing something wrong. Or right.
There are many guys running around, telling other guys how to handle a woman, but those usually have the macho approach of dominating her, so they actually are a source of rough and inappropriate leads, no solution.

So ladies: If we do something wrong, please tell it to us.
Not to your best friend, not to the guy who is better, not to your diary, not to your therapist. To us.
Ok, maybe midnight at a festival is the wrong time, but the weekly social is a good time.
There are guys who are simply ignorant, who do not want to improve. Then tell them, what you think of it the next time they ask you: "No, I prefer to sit out to dancing with you, as long as you do not work on your leading!"
No suffering through the song, no excuses, no stopping to dance completely - blunt honesty!

Yes, good leading technique needs a follow - and honest training partner - to learn it.
But guess what, good following of a decent technical level does not come with the second X-chromosome neither!

Depending on where you are, the rate of follows with problematic habits is between 20 and 90% - the first being events attracting invested dancers, the latter our local free socials. Large festivals are usually 30-50%.
The main difference probably is, that as an unattractive man I have been trained very early on, to select partners myself and only recently came to the situation, that I am regularly being the one who is selected.


@Sabrosura without women like you, who corrected me, when I was doing wrong, many of my early mistakes still would not be solved.
The ignorant ones are no loss.
The unexperienced ones can benefit greatly from a small gesture.
Looks like the bad instructors issue isn't just in Germany. Tonight at the Brussels congress in five hours of dancing I can count on one hand the leads who did NOT use the thumb grip (and other grip variations that I didn't even know existed). And I don't mean just occasional thumb, I mean during turns and strongly enough that I was worried about my shoulder during turns those entire dances. I tried to tell/show a few but quickly got tired of it, mostly because they generally looked at me puzzled (there was language barrier too :p ) and when I pointed to my shoulder, they went " sick shoulder?" In the end I just avoided those who did it the worst and considered myself lucky if they didn't grip *too* hard. It wasn't just beginners either, it was the intermediate-advanced dancers too (not just from Belgium, they were from different countries). Last night was much better so maybe tonight was an off night, but still, it's pretty evident no one is mentioning the no-thumb rule to these guys in their classes. I asked a dancer who was more experienced and didn't use the thumb about it, and he said "instructors don't need to teach this, guys can just figure it out themselves not to use the thumb, like I did." :rolleyes: Well Clearly this "figuring out by themselves" ain't happening. And if a lot of instructors think like him, then clearly "Houston, we have a problem"...
 

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