Salsa dancers towards Ballroom dancers doing salsa.

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Egorich, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Egorich

    Egorich Active Member

    Hey guys,

    I'm a ballroom dancer and sometimes I wonder what salseros think about ballroom dancers when they do salsa at a social.
    Now! Not to create any community conflicts here. We all have an opinion and it should be respected.

    I wonder if there was anybody else who asked that questions already.
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    There have been many comments ( mainly from me ! ) . The B/room latin in general, has been far removed from its original concept, so... why would one think that, the approach to dancing salsa by most B.R. teachers, would be any different ?.

    Heres an analogy ; Just because one is proficient in ballroom tango, for e.g., it does not follow that ,proficiency in another style, would follow suit. B.R. tango , has very little to do with T/Arg.and to assume otherwise, would show a complete lack of understanding about subject matter .

    Like all dances that are grounded from indigenous roots, one needs to adapt to those concepts, and most B.R. people, do not cater to that idea.
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi, I think it depends on how you started dancing. Those who changed from BR to salsa say that they have saught for the roots. Those who started salsa as their first style don't care about BR in most cases. As long as you are happy within your tank you don't think of alternatives.
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


    Not entirely true; I know numerous BR types ,who never changed, in any way shape or form. Most treat salsa as a mini diversion ,and do not attend socials on a regular basis ( this is empirical evidence gained over many yrs ) .

    2nd para holds more truth..
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  5. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    of course Salsa is only 40 years old and Ballroom nearly 100, so the 'roots' argument is a little thin, but the 'happy within your tank' applies a lot to both.
  6. vit

    vit Active Member

    Talking about social salsa dancers vs social ballroom dancers, in my venue these communities are quite separated. People up to say 40 are mostly on salsa and people over 40 are mostly on ballroom, which they danced before salsa arrived here

    Some people from ballroom tried learning salsa and some salseros tried attending some ballroom hobby classes, in both cases without much success. Changing the style and the way of thinking/learning isn't that easy

    For some reason, most ballroom dancers in the venue (at least 2/3) have problems staying in the rhythm even in ballroom. In salsa, their problems are much bigger because the music is more complex. Another big problem is body movement. So if they start attending classes and parties, salseros are not happy dancing with them, they feel isolated and mostly give up

    Salseros also have problem trying dancing ballroom latin and most of them give up early because they are bored with technique, especially because way of teaching of available teachers isn't very good. Ballroom standard even bigger problem for them

    There are similar problems when salseros try to learn zouk, kizomba and wcs that are present in the venue last 2 years - again different styles and ways of thinking and teaching
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    In my area there is almost no crossing over from other styles to BR, but always in the other direction. BR, swing and salsa seem to be styles for beginners, whereas tango receives dancers from other scenes. Might be interesting why?
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  8. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, maybe my venue is a bit specific, but quality of dancers in salsa community is considerably higher than in AT community at the moment (although it could change in the future). There are many salsa dancers that were seriously dancing other genres (ballroom, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, rhythmical gymnastics), especially girls, so I wouldn't say it is actually "for beginners". On the other side, structure of AT community is pretty much social ballroom alike, most of the people were drawn from social ballroom community.

    However, I would agree that, at social level, in my venue (and I suppose it's not much better elsewhere) it's not possible to make any significant dancing progress in ballroom. Besides quality of teachers being low, concept of ballroom is a bit 'problematic' for social dancing, compared to salsa, tango, wcs, zouk etc ... people are limited to small number of basic figures and very limited number of their combinations. So there is not much creativity here, the same small number of actions are repeated forever etc

    Direction of crossing over depends on other things as well. I can't really imagine older couple of good AT dancers dancing brazilian zouk or even ballroom latin because - those are dances for young people (with very small number of exceptions).
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Although the English tango was accepted as one of the Standard ballroom dances in the early 1920S, other Latin dances were added into the English competition system relatively late. Although samba and rumba experienced surges popularity on English social dance floors during 1920S and 1930S, these Latin dances were not initially included in the competition or examination systems. Partially because of disagreements about how to standardize these new dances, which, perhaps even more than the ragtime dances, were based on rhythmical improvisation, new Latin dances were not included in English Style ballroom competitions until the late 1950S. At that time, Brazilian samba, Cuban rumba and cha cha, American jive, and Spanish paso doble were together into a new category called Latin and American Dancing.
    The Latin dances were primarily introduced to the British by Doris Lavelle and “Monsieur Pierre.” Despite their efforts…drastic reinterpretation was unavoidable... The culture and values of its practitioners are embedded in the postures, gestures, and dynamics of the dance… Pierre and Lavelle were not equipped for such a monumental task… and … Latin dances were adapted by English bodies to adhere to their own culture’s ideals and values

    from "Glamour Addiction"

    A caveat is that rumba was danced in the US in the 30s - in ballrooms and in "local" competitions. Laure' Haile and some of her fellow Arthur Murray teachers went on trips to Cuba, but may not have seen the actual "original style" of rumba there.

    I defer to TangoTime in all matters regarding how the various Latin dances are related!
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  10. vit

    vit Active Member

    Actually it happens with all dances once they cross the border of the country where they were born (just to different extent) - they are danced by people form other cultures, with different body type, that are familiar with some other dances danced localy etc so they change ... Social ballroom looks slightly different in my area than in England. Salsa doesn't look like in NY or LA or Cuba. Kizomba doesn't look like if danced by African dancers. And AT doesn't look like in Argentina. Etc ... And even dance in the originating country changes ...
  11. Dupont

    Dupont Member

    This correct. But often it is rhythmic patterns, rather than melody, that are complex.
  12. vit

    vit Active Member

    Exactly. Rhythmic pattern in salsa songs can be quite complex and people have difficulty determining which is the 1st beat

    There are also beautiful (in my opinion) tunes for ballroom that are quite complex, especially for standard (I have a lot of ballroom music), but they are played only on competitions because they are too demanding for social dancers. And even on competitions, I don't hear them much anymore, not to mention that music for latin wdsf competitions is recently mostly plain disco
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I would call it the other way round: the music in the BR-world is simplified.

    But in an unpredictable way, while latin-ballroom dances tend to converge into an more or less uniform international style. Out in the wild (originating countries and so on) every dance got an style for it´s own.

    Again I would say it´s the other way round. Depending on the DJay you actually can find interesting music played at BR-socials. At competitions they don´t want to risk anything and play homogenized music, in the end anyway.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


    Actualy, salsa, which really is mambo with an "education " ( pretty much all the foundation is exactly the same ) is closer to 70 yrs of age.

    As to " roots " ,both B.R, and all the latin genres, have roots clearly defined including " time " evolution. And B/room as you now it, is pretty much in the same time frame. In fact, most of the BR "latin " is newer than Mambo .
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
    chuckie1028 and Bailamosdance like this.
  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The reason is NOT the student ( in most cases ) but the teachers. If one is not skilled in both genres, then, developing the newer style ( teaching, that is ) will not get the desired result.One has to know the differences between the 2, to make a clear and concise " separation " where necessary .
    vit likes this.
  16. vit

    vit Active Member

    Exactly. Problem is however that people (students) unconsciously try to reuse their dancing knowledge (which is frequently also questionable) from other genre. So it is, in my opinion, responsibility of the teacher to be aware of this to make the "separation" as you said. It is however impossible if the teacher isn't skilled in both genres
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The original style of " rumba " which name is really an umbrella term, is based upon Danzon, which the " english " were dancing and teaching in the 30s ( the square form, which the US studios still teach ) .The real form of " Rumba " is danced solo and is religion based. Even clothing worn by practioners, has to conform .

    And, as usual, the States were far ahead of europe ,in the more indigenous styles, and Cha cha was being danced ,taught ,and accepted , way before the UK . I mentioned this once before.

    The late Bobby Medeiros ,was invited to lecture at a Blackpool congress in the late 60s, on Mambo . To say it received a cool reception, would be an understatement !.

    Cha cha made its entry in a public sense in about 1953/4 .
  18. vit

    vit Active Member

    Depending on the area / competition / DJ I presume. I surely agree that BR music is simplified (compared to some other genres, especially tango), it has strictly defined tempo and simple rhytmical structure. So it's usually a bit funny for me when BR teachers start talking about musicality, because on competitions, everybody is dancing their fixed choreography on the simplified music and there is actually very little room for showing some musicality. I would like to see BR competitions where competitors would be forced to improvise somewhere in the future (like in some other genres)

    However, there are nice pieces of music that are sometimes played on upper level BR competitions, without percussive instruments, with violins, taken from some classical music etc (slow waltz mostly), that can't be played on BR socials because social dancers couldn't dance to it. On the other side, on BR socials in my area, music is usually very simple and low quality (unfortunately). But it can be different elsewhere I suppose
  19. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    I'll try to provide a different point of view here.

    First thing I learned was salsa. Then I went into ballroom completely and just dumped salsa somewhere. Recently I started to salsa again.

    I have imported some things from Latin into my salsa. Not detrimental things, but things you generally don't see in men who dance salsa. In just the basic step for example, on a social level, I instinctively collect my knees and close my thighs and track my feet and dance with hip actions that are way fuller than most men and do all those things that I import from rumba. Ultimately I'm communicating with and leading the lady correctly, so it really doesn't matter.

    I don't go around trying to fix people's feet and hips and trying to tell them how to do this "better". Who even says it's better? Salsa doesn't have rules and rules like ballroom does. Some very awesome men (this happens better in WCS) can lead ladies to do beautiful, intricate things without even moving their feet away.

    So yes, I do have some things that I have imported from my Latin dancing, because they've become wired into my body. Do they make me a better salsa dancer for my partner? Probably not...
  20. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


    ALL dances have some " rules ", and salsa is no exception. IF you mean there is no written format, then I will agree, but, there are certain foundation principles ,that exist, and to avoid/ignore them, then they may undermine all else you dance in salsa.

    And, Im NOT telling you HOW to dance, just to be cognisant that , some of the ground " rules ", even if unspoken ( by many, not all ) are firmly entrenched in the genre, from an indigenous perspective .

    I would hasten to add this ; a caveat on importing too much techn./style from Intern. latin ( unless you wish to look like a BR dancer doing salsa ! ) .

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