Hip Motion : Salsa vs Latin Rhumba

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by rickyT, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    Re: Rumba

    I've seen it done all the time, it is quite relaxed and natural. Have you watched latin dancers in latino clubs? Put someone doing ballroom hip motions in the crowd and you can pick it out in a heart beat.
  2. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Re: Rumba

    I do go and dance in latino clubs - and not one person has ever guessed that I do ballroom. I'm not going to argue it any more, but stand in front of a mirror and try to move your hips while keeping your weight in one place - see how it looks. It's sure as heck NOT what the dancers in the clubs are doing.

    This really is going nowhere . . .
  3. tacad

    tacad New Member

    Re: Rumba

    And jumping into the fray :wink: , in ballroom the hip moves and weight changes are one after the other. Your left hip rotates forward before your left foot lands, at which point you change your weight to the left foot. Then the right hip rotates forward, then the right foot lands, then weight changes onto right foot.

    This is what happens just walking down the street.

    This is not a comment about salsa. I know relatively little about salsa.
  4. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Right . . . dancing latin, dancing salsa, walking - the mechanism for movement is all the same - the only difference is style. Different styling does not mean different physiology.

    Ok, I really am trying to be done with this now . . .
  5. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    Re: Rumba

    It's funny you put it that way, since the latin hip motions are created without having to take a step and going anywhere. Here's a simple example: balance a pencil between two finger, then move the fingers up and down. The pencil moves, and the support by each finger stays the same, i.e. no weight shift. If you want to see the physics behind it, any basic physics textbook should cover it.

    Here's another test: can you dance a bachata without taking any steps? The essense of bachata is the hip motion, and it can be danced without steps or weight shifts. If you can't, then you are limited by the ballroom frame of mind. I'm not saying the ballroom hip motion is wrong, I'm saying it is different. And I don't see why you can insist it is physically impossible.
  6. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Re: Rumba

    I was talking about having all of your weight on one foot - when are you ever standing with your weight split between both of your feet in latin dancing? I assume that "support by each finger stays the same" is the equivalent of standing split weight?
  7. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Re: Rumba

    Because your hips are attatched to both your legs and your spine, that's how. You can't move the middle part without adjusting either what's above it or below it.
  8. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    Yes I think it is the equivalent of a split weight, though i suppose you can dance the latin hip motion with most of the weight on one foot, without transfering it as well.
  9. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Ok - but in dancing aren't you always on one foot or the other? (except the brief transition in between, of course - there's no standing around split-weight not moving is the point)
  10. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member

    I'm not sure about ballroom, but I think in latin dances, the split weight stance is common. It may be more so in merengue and bachata than salsa, since salsa is often taught as "take a step and do this". But then if you see Al (Mr. Liquidsilver) teaching, he would like change all that.
  11. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Split weight is common in ballroom in standard dances like waltz and foxtrot, but very rarely in latin and I've never seen anybody do them in salsa - I don't.
  12. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    I think the weight center is important here. If it is always somewhere "in between" the legs and not entirely switched on one leg, then you have the smooth looking Salsa steps (notice: I am not talking about spins, as these require a different technique)...

    A shifting of weight is normal, but not too exaggerrated... as I usually see in ballroom dancers with low skill level who try to do Salsa... I saw it last night... Gosh it was an awful sight!

    Of course, good or well trained ballroom dancers are an entirely different matter... they usually know how to use the techniques :)

    Now then, what is this talk about? Hip motion, right? IMO, there is an obvious difference in the way a ballroom trained dancer and a Puerto Rican/Cuban with "street experience" move their hips... just look at them!

    It is usually fairly easy to spot ballroom - trained people... not that they are doing anything wrong, but their hip motion is quite different... not to mention the way they step, the posture etc...

    The way I step moves my hips, as I see it... :) Use the "correct" steps and you don't need to worry about hips, they just follow :)

    And another thing: I can dance cha cha (street version) and I have never felt the urge or need to learn the particular hip motion that I saw in ballroom (and I had cha cha training with a ballroom champion from my country - I quit after 4 lessons... too formal for me, compared to Salsa... and I hated the music used as well...). I have danced with ballroom dancers on cha cha and followed quite ok... I can even do some (easy) shines... :) Why force my hips?

    PS: I am not trying to offend ballroom dancers, I very mcuh admire their style and hard work behind! And I wish I could wave my arms around as they do! :D
  13. jhb

    jhb New Member

    You know you cannot escape!! :D

    I do agree that in Salsa, ballroom rumba and walking normally, the mechanism behind the weight change is fundamentally the same -- that there has to be some weight change in order for the hips to move in that natural way.

    But then, somebody walking looks very different from from somebody salsaing (even at the same speed). There is so much more to the hip motion than the simple physiology that all three (salsa, walking and ballroom rumba) share. The way you shift weight, the way you step, as well as the styling you put into it all profoundly change the nature of the final hip movement. There are differences in when you shift weight, when you start to straighten the leg, the posture and stance -- all these make a difference.

    As somebody above said, you look at the way a Cuban dances the rumba, or salsa, or mambo, and then you look at a ballroom dancer doing "Cuban motion", they are distinct, and you can usually identify very easily the ballroom dancers in a room full of salsa dancers. Unless they happen to take very well to the movements of Salsa, they stick out )and I have seen good ballroom rumba dancers dance salsa).
  14. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Right, of course they look different. But what I've been saying is that the difference in the look really just comes down to style of motion, while the mechanism for that motion is the same.
  15. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Probably ... As I have not much experience in ballroom I prefer to abstain from "passing laws" about its techniques... but I am sure the same sort of underlying technique is applied... in the end, how many ways are there to break an egg?
  16. dTas

    dTas New Member

    we're starting to get into the relm of "social" dancing vs "competition" dancing. more split weight vs weight on each foot individually.

    in order to make better "presentation" in competition a complete weight transfer is much more obvious (for the judges and for people watching) than having your weight split.

    in Salsa that technique goes the other way in allowing more split-weighted ness it smoothes out the action thus making it "less obvious" and more of an amalgum (sp).

    thus you have ballroom vs salsa (in one respect) neither is correct. a salsa dancer in a ballroom competition would look just as out of place as a ballroom dancer in a salsa arena.

    now here's an interesting thought... what if you were to have a "formal" salsa competition. not a comp in a "bar" but one where you reserve a venue specifically for the comp (like in ballroom). i predict that over time the style of salsa would morph to look more like ballrom in order to show clear weight transfer and position. someone will start doing it and find out that it "shows" much more to all the judges and to the person sitting in the back of the audience and then more and more people will do it to get better scores. its just the nature of the environment.

    when you're put under such scrutinization you need to be clear as to what you are doing.

    but then we would loose the essance of salsa, which would be a sad story.
  17. Pebbles

    Pebbles New Member


    I think this is where our opinions differ. To me the ballroom hip motion is fundamentally different than the latin hip motions. I don’t really see the logic behind the belief that hip motion and weight shift have to go together. It may be how it is taught in ballroom, but then ballroom only offers a restricted and narrow view point on latin dancing.

    You may need to actually see how it’s done. Rather than just repeating the ballroom mantra of weight change leads to hip motion, I would suggest taking a lesson in basic body motions with a non-ballroom dance teacher, be it jazz, hip hop, African, Brazilian samba, or any other latin dance. Show the teacher how you do the ballroom hip motions, and ask them if it is the same. The answer may be surprising.

    Hip motions and weight shifts are separate body expressions. You would have much more expressive freedom to move with the music if you don’t have to do them together. It also produces a motion that is more in harmony with the latin music than the ballroom version, but that is more of a matter of personal taste.
  18. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    Ok, I'm getting tired of trying to convince people who only do salsa that the image of stiff, stilted, unmusical, unemotional, restrictive ballroom latin is just a bad stereotype . . . that's how it looks watching people who aren't very good at it. I do ballroom latin very well, and I do club salsa very well - few people can say that, and I'm telling you (the generic you, not a specific you) that they aren't nearly as different as everyone would love to make them out to be. Sure, bad salsa and bad ballroom look as different as night and day - but someone who's good at one will find it easy to get good at the other by changing a few stylistic things.
  19. Kindra

    Kindra New Member

    I agree 100% :!: :!:
  20. tacad

    tacad New Member

    Seriously, I thought this was the salsa mantra from reading these forums.

    Agreed.

    Watching a good ballroom couple do salsa is pretty amazing. The whole crispness of it all. Mmmm!

Share This Page