Salsa life - men vs women

For the ladies: In my private with Alien Ramírez I asked her what to do about guys who use the thumb death grip, so that we protect our shoulder during turns. She advised to step completely through each turn, without pivoting / spinning at all. This way you can step under his arm since he is not allowing your hand to adjust if you do a pivot / spin. So, guess I'm gonna practice those stepped turns :p
 
That seems indeed strange that instructors don’t tell leads about thumb grip. I seen even second rate instructors address that at one point or the other. Or their female assistants.

Aside whether instructor has taught you or not, if someone has been dancing for more than a year on consistent basis, they should figure it out themselves or should have gotten reaction from the ladies?
 
For the ladies: In my private with Alien Ramírez I asked her what to do about guys who use the thumb death grip, so that we protect our shoulder during turns. She advised to step completely through each turn, without pivoting / spinning at all. This way you can step under his arm since he is not allowing your hand to adjust if you do a pivot / spin. So, guess I'm gonna practice those stepped turns :p
I think that is a completely wrong answer with all due respect. Since you are talking about thumb death grip. This is certainly one of those situations, where you first release your palm from the death grip and if the leader persists, tell him point blank that it hurts and makes it impossible to dance.

I had on rare occasions danced with women who have a death grip. But as a leader I have the option to lead them such that I avoid the grip or not offer the hand. Or simply ask them non verbally to not put a death grip by gently moving their thumb off the pressure area.
 
I think that is a completely wrong answer with all due respect. Since you are talking about thumb death grip. This is certainly one of those situations, where you first release your palm from the death grip and if the leader persists, tell him point blank that it hurts and makes it impossible to dance.

I had on rare occasions danced with women who have a death grip. But as a leader I have the option to lead them such that I avoid the grip or not offer the hand. Or simply ask them non verbally to not put a death grip by gently moving their thumb off the pressure area.
No, to clarify: I didn't mean a grip that is painful by itself, like when his thumb leaves a bruise on the follow's hand (though I've encountered that as well..)--I mean a thumb grip that is dangerous when turning because it is strong enough that the follow's hand cannot adjust while turning so the shoulder is forced in unnatural position. To me it's still a 'death grip'--death of the shoulder, that is.
 
That seems indeed strange that instructors don’t tell leads about thumb grip. I seen even second rate instructors address that at one point or the other. Or their female assistants.

Aside whether instructor has taught you or not, if someone has been dancing for more than a year on consistent basis, they should figure it out themselves or should have gotten reaction from the ladies?
Even at the free lessons at clubs, I almost always hear the instructors talk about not using thumbs. It must not sink in for some reason.
 
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"...
Ugh,

As someone who has danced as a follow the thing I despise most is being gripped by the thumb. As a leader as well I dislike it, especially in guapea. Leading and following are about elastic connection through fingertips and not strong grips. It took me a long time to comprehend and it only fully sank in once I was lead that way. The annoying thing is that one of the top instructors in Israel has lead me that way!
 
Your local promoters are pretty clueless.
Yes.

And the fact, that they are in control of the cities scene and that a large portion of the people deny going to other people's parties out of something they tend to call loyalty, makes me counting the days until I follow about anyone here, who became a decent dancer and leave the area for ever.
In social structures of people who have no clue there is one thing, nobody will honor: having a clue!
 
That seems indeed strange that instructors don’t tell leads about thumb grip. I seen even second rate instructors address that at one point or the other. Or their female assistants.

Aside whether instructor has taught you or not, if someone has been dancing for more than a year on consistent basis, they should figure it out themselves or should have gotten reaction from the ladies?
I have seen them addressing it in drop in classes. Those scenes usually were better developed.
It may not stick with everyone and many will need their time. But most at least got an idea, that something like a good hand hold exists.

Around here it can happen that, when you dance with the assistant (or just the teacher's bed warmer of service), that she actually tells you to use your thumb, or you aren't leading correctly.
The hook etc. are simply unknown for many! Playing with the tension between the hands simply impossible.
You have to hold the womans hand firmly or she will grip yours.
Others simply let their hand fall out, if you do not grip hers.
(Depending on the evening the fraction of women with hand holding issues is 50-90%. In the local rueda scene it's nearly 100%.)

I always shrug, when women tell about how endangered and helpless they are on the dance floor.
About half a year after moving here I got so used to have torn shoulders, squeezed hands and bruises from heels, that I didn't even bother anymore for a while. (Now I sum 500-1000 km per week for dancing!)

We have around 50 people here who at least once or twice a year show up at festivals or dance trips. A few up to a dozen.
These people are exposed to better dancers! Although most of them are simply festival tourists and quite resistant to learning.
Simply being exposed to something different does not help. You need to have your mind open and not simply show off with how many girls with how few clothes you have danced tonight.

But if they go to a workshop that is called "leading and following" and what actually is done is pattern, where shall they learn it, if not from other dancers?
 

Jag75

Son Montuno
I’m honestly blown away by the number of dancers around the world who seem to be unaware of not using thumbs, especially instructors.

Here it’s common knowledge not to use thumbs, and if you do, you’ll soon find yourself getting rejected all the time.
 

Jag75

Son Montuno
I remember someone posted on FB something about how anyone who has good knowledge of a dance can be an instructor, and I disagreed. They said “who am I or who is so and so” to dictate who can and can’t teach, as salsa is a non-codified dance. They are right, however we then end up with this situation that any idiot can teach salsa and as a result you end up with a generation of awful dancers who use their thumbs and have no clue how to actually dance properly.
 
I

, however we then end up with this situation that any idiot can teach salsa and as a result you end up with a generation of awful dancers who use their thumbs
.
Among a myriad of other things ! .

I have attended ( whilst waiting to dance at a social for ex. ) on many an occasion a teacher (?)
commence a beginners class, by just counting 1 2 3 with a partner, no explanation in detail about frame/ hold etc.
 
If the song is some English language dross, I interpret it by refusing to dance to it.
Sometimes beggars can't be choosers. I went to the DJ Saturday night with my iPhone in hand (I had already predicted I would need to figure out a way around his poor English/Spanish skills) and showed him album covers for New Swing Sextet, Los Hacheros, La Maxima 79, Calle Real, and Boogaloo Assasins. He had nothing from any of them, I was sad and very, very, disappointed.

So, who should I have asked for, Joe Arroyo? I must admit I would probably have lost my mind if I asked that and he didn't have any!
 

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