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Salsa dancing question

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by pbassist, Jul 20, 2012.


  1. pbassist

    pbassist

    Nov 2, 2008
    Recently I have joined salsa dancing classes, and I'm having serious issues while trying to keep the beat.

    The bass is very high in a salsa mix, and I tend to put my attention of the bass, what meses my timing a lot as the bass usually is syncopated (I don't have this issue when dancing bachata, for example). And the music polyrhythm makes the things worse.

    Any advice? Or should I just keep practicing until I get it?
     
  2. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Don't focus on the bass. Focus on the clave, it's the foundation of salsa rhythm.
     
  3. pbassist

    pbassist

    Nov 2, 2008
    Right, but that's the issue, I have been playing bass for around 20 years, and with the time I end hearing the bass over other instruments (including clave).
     
  4. fraublugher

    fraublugher

    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    The dance steps all have their specific rhythmn , ask the instuctor what they are and write them down and practice......sounds like you just need practice.

    Oh , and hug a musician , they don't get to dance.
     
  5. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    You have to internalize the clave. Sing it in your head while you dance, don't try to hear it. FEEL IT!
     
  6. Keep at it! :hyper:

    Even I was able to learn to dance salsa. :eyebrow: I'm not exaggerating at all – I was horrible at it for a long, long time and then one day it clicked, the lightbulb went on and badda bing badda boom: ladies willing to dance with me w/o serious risk of injury. ;)
     
  7. Bassman7PM

    Bassman7PM

    Mar 13, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    And here I thought I was the only one with this problem :help:
     
  8. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    Internalizing the clave tells you little about when to step.
    Salsa dance steps do not fall on the calve beats, they fall on quarter notes 1,2,3 with a pause on 4

     
  9. fraublugher

    fraublugher

    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Depending on the region of course , which salsa are we talking about ?

    international? south american ? fred astaire ?
    arthur murray?

    And of course there's more than one rhythmn, keep practicing!

    Every time you step on her toes , you owe her a refreshment .
     
  10. pbassist

    pbassist

    Nov 2, 2008
    After some time taking classes, here are some thoughts:

    - Don't try to analyze the music, you need to just hear it in the background and feel it. If you put too much attention on the music, you will not be able to follow the beat.

    - There are teachers and teachers. If you don't advance with a teacher after a few sessions, talk politely to him about how can you improve, and if you don't get any interesting ideas move to another place. This is very important because:

    - Salsa classes are (mostly) a business. The teacher may like teaching, but probably he would not be there without money. Usually in salsa classes, they will teach you a lot of turns, but not really how to move you with your pair.

    Weeks ago I told three different teachers, that I already knew a lot of turns, but I still didn't manage to move well with the girl making simple things, like dancing in circles without turns, and I still had some issues with my timing. They all told me that what I was asking was the proper way to learn (first learn to move and keep the timing, then do the turns), but that the classes would be to "slow" this way, getting much less people into them.

    (Indeed in some countries (like Dominican Republic) people dance salsa and bachata without any turns. And this can be more funny than making turns all the time.)

    (And it's curious, as I got a couple classes from a friend (no money here)... and these just improved my timing a lot. How? Dancing with slow songs and with a few simple coordination exercises.)

    - For the same reason, disco classes are usually a waste of time. The teachers there many times are go-gos with no teaching experience and they are there to get some people on the room before the session starts. Remember that this is a business. Academies are a bit better, but not too much. They are a business too. Of course, there are exceptions, but I haven't found too many.

    (I have noticed that many discos give line salsa instead cuban salsa classes. This is due to cuban salsa usually has many less turns but requires a more elaborated body language, which takes a lot of develop. But line salsa is all about turns, and this is misleading. You can make a lot of turns, but without a proper body movement, these looks recharged and ugly. Turns are not too important, at least unless you develop a basic body language).

    So in the end, you have several choices. Find a place where you can get decent classes (if you have luck, I also have found that for me cuban wheel is the best to learn, as it makes you to keep in sync with a lot of people). You can also take private lessons with a good teacher, what will take some money and I would only advise if you really know what you want from the teacher. And last, find a girl which wants to learn with you, what can be hard, as they usually prefer to dance with more experienced dancers, and learning takes time (boys have the worst part here).

    What do you think?

    Cuban salsa and wheel, with bachata from time to time and a bit of line.
     
  11. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Mar 22, 2011
    NYC
    Idk about the video, but the quarter note point is absolutely correct. If you can keep count (1, 2, 3, 4) you can have your feet in the right place. I'm pretty sure you can do that :cool:

    What you have to worry about then is your hips :confused:
     
  12. pbassist

    pbassist

    Nov 2, 2008
    In my experience, keeping the count may help with an absolute beginner, but it will mess you as you take more advanced stuff, it's a matter of hearing and feeling the music, but not putting all you attention to it.

    And the 4 is not always a pause, advanced cuban salsa dancers use the 4 most of the time.
     
  13. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Mar 22, 2011
    NYC
    I thought the OP is a beginner?

    Either way, my point is that if you can hear (our feel) the pulse, which is based on the quarter note, regardless of all the awesome syncopation :D , you can keep your place and steps.

    Not saying you should count in your head (as you advance) but at the beginning it helps. Especially if you are more familiar with American pop music where the 1 is almost always present.

    Edit: the way I learned was without a pause on 4.
     
  14. pbassist

    pbassist

    Nov 2, 2008
    Well, I have advanced a bit since I started this thread (was half year ago) :).

    Yes it helps at the very beginning, but take care that some salsa styles are not accentuated on 1, what can mess you more even more here. Another trick is thinking that you feet are an instrument more in the band.

    Depends on the style, but I have even see cuban teachers to start using the 4 from the beginning.
     
  15. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Mar 22, 2011
    NYC
    Wow.. What a necro thread! I didn't even notice.

    Modern salsa music didn't accentuate the one, especially in the bass. So listening for the one won't help. But I was talking about the pulse of the music in general.
     

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