Salsa > Body Rhythm

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by pygmalion, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Okay. So after a mere two years of working on it, my hips ROCK! I've got that Latin motion thing going on, at least hips down. So onward and upward. Once your hips were moving, what did you do to get the rest of your body -- shoulders, rib, back, etc -- into the action? How did you learn to dance with your body?
  2. dancin_feet

    dancin_feet New Member

    Don't think I can be of much help, I'm sorry. I've been told that I move naturally, but need to adjust to get the technique right (especially in cha cha). To me when you are moving your hips, the rest of your body just flows from that.

    OK, you hate me now, don't you! :D :lol:
  3. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Same here dancin_feet. :D I basically react to the music. But I would like to add that there are many ways to "enhance" your upper body movement. Body Isolations work really well in various forms of dance. I actually stand in the mirror and study how my body looks when I move it in a certain way. Other kinds of dance work well too. Belly dancing for sensuality is VERY helpful for lower and upper body. Ballet adds elegance in the extended arm movement. African movement also works well. I have quite a few "The Method" videos that are really good and practice with that concentrate on upper and lower body movement. Well, off to do my Yoga. Check back with you guys in 30 minutes. :lol:
  4. pepe

    pepe New Member

    shake it

    I learn hip movement and exercises for body movement (including shoulders) from Cuban guy (from some Dance Art University in Cuba or something).
    I had been dancing for 4 years (Gringo style :) ) and I slowly started getting hips and body movement the way Cuban moves and I said right away “Wow! So this is Salsa”. It changed everything for me.

    I concluded, with exercises or not, you have to get you hips moving. Everything comes from hips. I don’t think guys are shy; it is more that no one knows to explain. Figure #8 is I think the worst explanation and doesn’t help. But looks like you are there to get hip movement or at least close. Once you get that, the shoulders and body will follow. I wish I could show you.

    You can do exercise to force you shoulders to move. Dance only you shoulders in Salsa rhythm (no footwork, and in the beginning no hips) by lifting them. This is just to get use to the feel. When you want to include hips and footwork stop thinking about shoulders, they will move for sure (if you have hip action). Although I have some exercises for the rib cage I think just concentration on shoulders will work too. Note: it is important to stop thinking is it left up or right, relax and dance.

    For shimmes, I learn it is the best (if you have problem to do it) is to try exercise sitting on a chair (because hips should be independent of shoulders) and than shake it (should be relaxed). Some peple have problem relaxing the shoulders and not moving all body. Also girls are shy. There is a topic about Smiles, girls, try this with stone-faced guy and see what happens :) .

    Some styles don’t require so much body movement and some argue about it. I think it won’t spoil any style you know/dance. Altough I do it much less in N. Amer. styles (I can not do a lot of spins myself and dip partner and on the top have hip/shoulder movement in the same time).
  5. Hank

    Hank Member

    What works for me in latin motion is to think of all movement initiating from my rib cage. This includes my hips, legs, feet, and arm styling. Thus, the rib cage is the engine to my movement. I move my rib cage first, and all other movement is a reaction.

    I think that moving the hips first makes arm styling look disconnected and also leads to an imbalance in the body with the hips moving more than the rest of the body. This reminds me of a story. Shortly after I first started taking lessons, I was dancing cha cha in a show at a shopping mall. Afterwards, an elderly woman walked up and chastised me, "What you're doing, young man, is not dancing. You're just up there shaking your behind. Shame on you!"
  6. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Last night I was up reading this and said to myself, Oh No... I need to go over this entire rib cage thing again. But thanks Hank, you took care of that.

    Just to add a bit.

    All Movement generates in the ribcage, it then propagates to the hips, torso and limbs. Movement not generated from the ribcage is very distinct. It looks, as Hank mentions, disconnected as well as rough.
  7. Jmatthew

    Jmatthew New Member

    This is what I've been working on, but OMG is it hard. Any one have any tips for leading off the rib cage? It's driving me absolutely batty.
  8. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    There are a couple of ways to go about it. Think of it as if you were moving your lower ribcage. Concentrate on it and move it around. First do side to side the back and forth. When you feel comfortable with that try to move it chest in and chest out, eventually it will become so relaxed that when you dance the natural movement of the body will come out without a fight. You can also go around in circles if you wish.

    The second way is simply focusing on the middle stomach as opposed to the lower ribcage. A few members of DF have mentioned that to them it is much easier to concentrate on the ribcage as opposed to mid stomach. Give it a try....

    For added difficulty increase and decrease the bend on your knees as you do the rib motion. Try to be on the ball of your feet for added flexibility and motion. It works like a charm.
  9. Hank

    Hank Member

    Steps for moving the rib cage.

    1. Stand in front a mirror at home with your hands straight out to your sides and parallel to the floor. Move your rib cage left and parallel to the ground without moving any other part of your body (your shoulders will move with your ribs since they rest on top, but don't tilt them). Now move your rib cage right. Do this multiple times, back and forth, checking yourself in the mirror to ensure nothing else is moving. Next, move your rib cage forward and back several times. Next, move your rib cage forward, right, back, and left. Reverse and go forward, left, back, and right. Practice step 1 every day in front of the mirror until it feels natural and you can do it without the mirror.

    2. Start moving your ribs while you practice the basic steps alone. How your ribs move with each step is kind of complicated for me to explain in this post, and it's best to consult with a teacher if you aren't sure.

    3. Go to a beginner intro group class where you already know the patterns being taught. Focus on your ribs while you dance the basic patterns. Even though I've taken thousands of hours of dance lessons, I still go to a beginner group class every week and practice my posture and latin motion.
  10. Hank

    Hank Member

  11. vey

    vey New Member

    My ribcage tends to go right/back when I'm stepping on my left foot forward during basic step and left/back when I'm stepping on my right foot backward. Is it anywhere close to the "proper" ribcage movement ?
  12. Hank

    Hank Member

    Think of your ribcage initiating, and thus preceding, every movement that your feet take. Thus, if you want to step forward with your left foot, first move your ribcage sort of forward and left. This forward and leftward motion propels your foot to move forward and left.

    I'm not a very verbal person, and words don't mean much to me in dancing. I learn mostly by watching and feeling. I think the best way to get the feeling is to stand behind and place your hands on a teacher's ribs. Then, try to mimic the motion of the teacher's ribcage while stepping forward, back, and to the side.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I actually think that's a very good description, Hank. Even though I don't have it, yet, that's exactly what I'm practicing.
  14. vey

    vey New Member

    Thank you so much, Hank!
  15. newsalsera

    newsalsera New Member

    i thought i'd bring this thread up to the top because i've just realized (now that my hips are moving a little) that i need to get some chest and shoulder action going. my shoulders especially are stiff and i have a feeling that if i loosened through the shoulders, my turns would improve. (though i get the feeling from reading the above posts that the way to shoulder action is through the ribs? is this correct?) pygmalion, others, how are you progressing with your upper body movement? any tips to share?
  16. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Absolutely correct NS! :D

    The ribs initiate motion/action which then carries through to the shoulders (and then to the arms) as appropriate.
  17. Sabor

    Sabor New Member

    interesting convo..

    i never really thought about it.. the 'rib cage' being where it starts and such.. seems plausible tho..

    well for me .. i've been social dancing a long time .. i started salsa only 5 years ago.. so given all the dancing i did previously (especially break-dance when it was in fashion) going into salsa i was already able to isolate every part of my body and move it separately .. every joint moves and basically in time u gain almost absolute control and awareness of every part and ability to separate almost completely.. and come out with many movement combinations.. its like u can custom tailor the move.. so i guess break dancing more than any other was what did it for me..
  18. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    :roll: :roll: Does this mean that you can wiggle your big toe independently of your other toes :tongue:

    :lol: :lol:
  19. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Yes, this is true Peach, I have to work on this.

    Oh come on Pacion, don´t tell me you can´t do this?! :wink:
  20. Sabor

    Sabor New Member

    LOL.. yes Pacion, we all can do this with ease.. except for u it seems :tongue: .. the thing is u wont be able to see it cause i'm usually wearing shoes :wink: .. which i prey would be the common practice amongst salseros :mrgreen:

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