Latin: Offset or No Offset

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by caw, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. caw

    caw Active Member

    I had always thought that there was no offset in Latin, and maybe this was an unfounded belief, because yesterday I had a lesson with a new coach and he was talking about how there is offset in cha cha. I asked if there was offset in all the latin dances, and he said yes, and I asked him if that was a universal or a contested line of thought, and he said he had never heard of anyone who didn't think there was offset.

    So, just to get a broader view, what do you guys think? Was I just in the dark for years and years, or is this not something all schools of thought agree upon?
  2. jump'n'jive

    jump'n'jive Active Member

    Slight offset but nothing like standard.
  3. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    also been taught a slight offset, important in closed position in latin - I don't like bruises on my knees....not to mention my toes.... ;)
  4. Definitely offset...very little...its just much easier to dance with someone slightly offset instead of right in front of you!
  5. caw

    caw Active Member

    I had always been under the impression that the reason people sometimes dance in latin closed hold with their entire forearms touching, from hand to elbow, instead of just holding the hands there, was because of lack of offset.

    I'm gonna get kinda technical here: if your arms are touching to the elbow, the only two ways that you can have offset is if:

    1) the girl's shoulders are broader or her humerus significantly shorter than the man's on the horizontal plane, which could be from a legitimate anatomical difference (unlikely, since the man is usually bigger),
    or 2) from the man's elbow being forward into the woman's space, and the woman's elbow being out to the side, putting the connection all on her side (which I'm pretty sure is also wrong).
  6. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I've always taught and been taught a slight offset.
  7. I have to disagree with that hand hold all together...I would never teach anybody to keep the entire forearm from hand to elbow touching...

    It is very restricting to dance like that. The way I do my hold and teach it is to hold hands and there is plenty of space between the partners elbows...This allows for more movement and looks natural...And helps being in an offset position of course.
    fascination and danceronice like this.
  8. vit

    vit Active Member

    That kind of hold from hands to elbow is used in Son, which is the predecessor of these ballroom latin dances. Here, it is modified, so that in closed hold, forearms are quite still upright, but there is a space between elbows. Anyway, since Son hold is quite close, there is an offset between the partners, otherwise it would be impossible to dance. Tangotime could describe this in much more detail.

    I'm sometimes using this hold when dancing on salsa parties on Son or slow cha cha music, it's quite comfortable and it's certainly possible, just that it's not applicable to latin, at least not to competitive latin, because shape is small. On higher levels, even latin closed hold is rarely used

    Jukka Haapalainen & Sirpa demonstrated Son on this year's World superstars dance festival latin (first part of their performance was Son, second part was Cha cha latin style), there is also a clip somewhere on Youtube etc
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  9. caw

    caw Active Member

    I never use that hold either for the same reasons as stated here, but I figured it wasn't wrong anyway.

    That Son was really cool, Vit, and I could see how they achieved their offset - his elbow was forward into her space and hers was back and stretched straight outward, making her side longer on the horizontal plane.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    when I was new, I recall there being an specific EMPHASIS in the difference between the hold in standard/ smooth and rhythm/latin (even though very little international was taught there, but that is besides the point)...and the difference, as it was described, was that the hold for standard was more tear drop shaped and latin was more oval....and we were told that there was no offset in the latin...in fact I remember for years HATING (is it natural top?)...where the guy walks backward side cross side cross while woman does the forward side cross side cross in closed position because my former pro was insistent that I be looking at him because it was not offset...so when I started latin with current pro, I was thrilled to discover that he did the same move offset, which felt so much better...I was never sure whether or not it was b/c he is a standard guy and just preferred it that way, or b/c he is a guy a lot less interested in the two of us looking at one another ...or what....I didn't much worry because I figured that it had to be okay because he certainly was better educated in it that my previous pro...I was just glad that it felt better...not having to maintain eye contact for a falsely fixed period of time was a benefit as well :)...as an aside, I have been taking a few groups lessons of late and have had some men sort of insist on that vertical forearm elbow in contact on the man's left/ladies' right....while that might be nice in a cozy club setting,I find it really restrictive
  11. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Pro prefers that I do natural/reverse top looking at him. He feels that helps keep the momentum of the movement going in a fast circular motion.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yea, I think the issue that I found uncomfortable was less about where I was looking and more about having no offset at all....the entire thing just felt utterly constipated...now it feels fine, and I imagine that if for some reason, one or the other of us wanted to look at each other :)....it would still be fine
  13. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    Little offset in Latin to allow for knee room! Otherwise, ouch!
  14. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I found that clip on Youtube... loved it....., interesting to see international latin dancers dancing Son as part of their chacha routine, when american rhythm is supposed to be more "authentic"... you would think that you would see an american rhythm couple doing Son.... just a thought.....
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    exactly...I felt like I was trapped in a cage without it...nevermind trying to maintain posture and forward poise while being dead straight in someone's face....(particularly since I was a bronze dancer at the time)
  16. vit

    vit Active Member

    Yes, from time to time there are some attempts to bring (back) some authentic flavor into latin ... I also have one Donnie's lesson where he demonstrated some WCS with a lady from the States etc ...On the other side, I'm not a big fan of some couples, for instance Michael & Joanna, because lately their dancing became way too 'abstract' so to say, although it's technically perfect (I had even opportunity to be present on their training two times)

    You may want to compare Jukka with one authentic couple dancing Son to see the differences and similarities (It's not my recording, but I was there and I liked it). It's certainly not easy to copy that authentic flavor (although technically it's not difficult choreography), so Jukka did a great job in my opinion

  17. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I like having the forearms vertical like that, but not with the elbows touching--so you have a little more freedom.

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