Salsa: life-changing?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Roo, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Roo

    Roo New Member

    I'm curious to know how salsa has impacted the rest of your life. For me, I know, I've gotten much more feminine, my taste in clothing & decoration has changed, I'm better at remembering names (though actually dancing w/the person seems to help!), and better at networking/working a crowd - more extroverted in general.

    What about for you? I'm very interested in that femininity/masculinity thing. I know I've heard that it brings that out in women, but does it bleed over to your "real" life after 2 am? And guys, does it make you more masculine?

    Curious.
     
  2. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    As a man, I think it's probably made me more feminine, i.e. better at verbal and nonverbal communication, more interested in how I dress, and less focussed on all the things that men think impress women but don't.

    For me it's given me heaps of platonic interaction with females, which as a computer geek and former, uh, aspiring pop star I've never got much of in the past.

    I don't find it alarming though, getting feminized. I think it's also given me a better idea of what it is to be a man in modern newfangled society, so it's been good all round really...
     
  3. englezul

    englezul New Member

    See it's weird. Because I don't know whether it enhanced my masculinity or it just helped me be more comfortable with it to the extent to which I let it show during my interactions with women. I used to be very shy, and didn't quite understand communication between men and women at that primordial level, but with salsa you're thrown in an environment that is naturally very charged.

    I'm a very musical person, I love music, I sang professionally, I play an instrument, I immerse myself into it very easily. And music works like hypnosis...just like many other things. And during dancing you take up a role, you become the character, you experience a range of feelings that in time broaden your personality and that you will carry outside of the dance floor.

    I really appreciate women who are feminine, and men who are masculine. So
    this is a very important issue for me. And it has such a deep manifestations in one's outside life, especially relationships and their quality, career, etc that I think everybody should at least be aware of this aspect. Too many men are complaining they're not having a happy love life, but they're acting like their girlfriends' best girlfriend. And this applies to women too. So yeah, it definitely helps. But salsa or not, you can get more in touch with your masculine or feminine side by getting involved in a masculine/feminine activity. Salsa provides an outlet for both, and even better a common dancefloor.

    I still can't remember people's names :). Most of the times I'm too distracted to actually pay attention, the music is loud, etc. And besides, if they will have a more relevant role in my life, I'll eventually learn their names. No stress.

    Staying up too late...? It can become a problem if done too often. I know every time I go to Montreal I end up sleeping at 8-9 am every single day. Schedule is Wake up around 5pm, get ready, wait for everybody else to get ready. When all is done, it's just the time to hit the club. We eat after. We get home at 4-5 am, we do turn patterns. Anyone surprised? haha. Then maybe watch a movie or two and finally sleep. After a week like this...I'm exhausted.
     
  4. blueguitar322

    blueguitar322 New Member

    Hmmm I don't really think communication ability is a feminine trait...and to group it as such will only discourage guys from trying to get better. And I'm also not crazy about this whole "modern masculinity" concept either.

    To me, being masculine is learning how to lead gently, shoulder responsibility with humility, and pursue the unknown with courage (be it a girl, a hobby, or a career goal). So in those regards, especially 1 and 3, dancing has certainly helped me become more masculine.

    And I will second the notion that in women, femininity = attractiveness. And dancing certainly brings it out. In dancing, as in life, my least favorite women to interact with are the ones who adopt a "Miss independent" attitude. Being independent = good; making it your persona = not attractive.

    Call me old-fashioned...and you'd be right.

    Dave
     
  5. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    Read "why men don't listen and women can't read maps" and get back to me about the verbal communication bit.

    I don't know what "modern masculinity concept" you're not crazy about, but women go to work, have babies, and do everything that a man can do and more. The" modern" part has been forced upon men because they're no longer de facto breadwinners. And because women can now get mortgages...
     
  6. blueguitar322

    blueguitar322 New Member

    Verbal communication isn't a feminine thing...there's just a difference in how men and women use it. To be silly about it, guys can communicate effectively in grunts the way that women would never imagine ;) And maps are a communication tool as well, if not specifically verbal.

    But nah, masculinity (modern or otherwise) shouldn't ever have to do with finance, breadwinning, "having a career", getting a mortgage, making more money, or having a wife at home depending on you. So in that I completely agree with you. All those things can be stripped away. A man without a job still retains his "mannishness". A stay-at-home-dad married to a fortune 500 executive still retains his "mannishness". To me, masculinity has everything to do with how you act and nothing (or at least very little) to do with status.

    The "modern masculinity" I decry is essentially passivity...along the lines of "well she can do that, so I guess I don't have to." Modern masculinity to me is waiting for the women to initiate everything, grabbing credit but shunning blame, never daring to step into the unknown, and then hiding behind a facade of painting your face for sporting events with the guys.

    So...I'm sorry if that's not what you were talking about. Hopefully the above is clearer. And to get back on topic...that's why I enjoy dancing. Dancing doesn't leave me the option of passivity. It forces me to be active, to initiate and to lead, but also forces me to listen to my partner, react to her body language and ability, and sometimes react to her hijacking! It's fun to be forced to stay on your toes.
     
  7. englezul

    englezul New Member

    This is exactly what's going on. Very well put. There was an article I stumbled upon one or two years ago titled "The pussification of America" or something like that. Very interesting read.

    Communication is not at all a feminine trait. Nor masculine. I'd say it's neutral. As for different genders using it differently, couldn't agree more. Men have a more analytical, logic, cold reasoning based communication whilst women, and they will claim the same characteristics, but the way they manifest as a more 'heart' based thinking and decision making. That's exactly why if your girlfriend comes to you and starts complaining about something, and you give her a straight forward solution to her problem, her mood doesn't change. She will continue complaining and reiterating the problem. However if you just shut your mouth and listen, and just be supportive of her feelings, she'll snap back into a completely different state.
     
  8. Shooshoo

    Shooshoo New Member

    Can't say it has been life changing, but I've changed in some ways.
    I was always shy to move my body and feel the music. Now I'm not that self-consious.
    My personal space with strangers has changed. I can dance and have a good time with people I don't really know.
     
  9. raindreamer

    raindreamer New Member

    Salsa has changed my life to some degree, but not very much compared to other things I have done. Work, volunteer work, religion, and family, and friends have changed my life more than salsa has.

    I wish I had your gift, because salsa has not helped me to remember names...

    As for clothes, I don't think salsa has changed that. I always dressed well, even before I started salsa...

    As for becoming more masculine or feminine, I think salsa has helped me become more masculine, because it requires me to take the lead and direct the girl. Before salsa, I was too scared to ever tell a girl to do anything, but now its become easier to take the lead, on the dance floor and off it. So I think I have become more "masculine."
     
  10. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    uh-huh!
     
  11. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Salsa has changed my life in so many ways I cannot even remember most of them!

    Clothing, attitude, self-confidence, sex - you name it, Salsa has changed it! :)
     
  12. esa negrita...

    esa negrita... New Member

    For me...it's been my general carriage and feminity. I work in business and am in school in a program that tends to strip down typically female traits, so it's been a good help to me to remind me that I can be feminine and can take direction from someone else. It's a nice break to not be in control all the time.

    Also, I'm 6' tall so I'm pretty used to being treated in a "rougher" manner by most men. Salsa dancers always treat me like a lady, and that's honestly a nice change.
     
  13. gte692h

    gte692h Member

    Salsa has brought out the artistic side of me. I'm more tuned to music, feeling, and self expression that I had ever imagined, and I keep progressing in this direction. Now, I study and listen to this music more than dance to it. Salsa has brought me unimaginable happiness at a spiritual level.

    Socially, salsa has changed me, but not in the way I like. Years of going out to nightclubs with loud music has resulted in me being very silent, almost antisocial in public- I often just stare into the distance at a club, even if someone is next to me, because its too loud to have a conversation. Being in a club hardens you, you always end up putting up a 'front'

    And surprisingly, a lot of people I call my 'friends' we can rarely have a conversation. All we do is go out dancing, there is very little that's common at a deeper level. Since I spend a lot of time doing this, these folks are my friends, but really, they're just familiar faces.

    In the salsa scene here, there are a lot of hugs, smiles, and kisses that go around, but it makes me wonder if these are genuine expressions. especially, since I see a lot of fake hugs and smiles, made out of polite social habit. That gets to me too - I wonder now if there is anything genuine here, or has a smile lost all meaning now ?

    So for me, right now, I need to change a few things. Like the company I keep. And if I am to make genuine friends within the salsa scene, how on earth do I separate them from the fake ones ?

    But atleast there is still the music, and the dance, which are my good friends. I can trust them.
     
  14. Roo

    Roo New Member

    Shooshoo, I'm glad you mentioned that one- My personal space has completely changed as well. Also, as you mentioned, gte, there's a lot of physical affection in salsa circles, w/o needing deeper connection. I do like this - so long as it's not confused for more/deeper relationships that we also need.

    My intuition has gotten more articulated, let's say, also. It's perhaps gotten better, but I think I'm mostly just more aware of the nuanced body & facial expressions that lead me to make intuitive decisions (whether I want to dance with the person, how close is okay for me, etc.) quickly.

    I've also become more conscious of when I'm "leading" and not... as some of the guys discussed in terms of stepping up and taking the lead. Though I follow usually on the dance floor, it has also made me more conscious of when a (verbal) social interaction requires a lead, because everything needs leaders. So if I'm in a group and no one is taking the initiative to get something done (say, decide on a restaurant), I'm a lot more conscious about taking that role if it's necessary or letting someone else do it, but knowing it needs to be done.

    I'd love to hear more people's femininity/masculinity take (and certainly those definitions are sticky once y'start thinking about them). Also- how has it changed your interactions with people of your same gender (other women if you're a woman, other men if you're a man)? In the scene, outside of it?
     
  15. Shooshoo

    Shooshoo New Member

    That's interesting.
     
  16. alemana

    alemana New Member

    i've learned how to backlead (rather than just bulldozing) in life thanks to my salsa learnings. it's been useful :)
     
  17. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    I tend to shave more these days, and wear a better aftershave cream. Gone is the 5-day or 10-day stubble. Gone is the "hewer of wood, drawer of water" look I have been cultivating for many years. Is this being less masculine, or just more hygienic?

    Whenever I tell my friends-outside-of-salsa (foos) that I am salsa dancing these days, I always qualify it by saying, "It is an amazing way to meet women". Sometimes I even adjust myself, to drive home the point, you know, that I'm still a guy.

    Dancing with ultra-feminine women MUST be a very masculine thing to do, no? Maybe it's the word "dancing" that is feminizing. When someone says "dancing", the first image that comes to my mind is of a ballerina in white tutu. That's not very masculine.

    Maybe next time a foos asks, I'll say I'm going to the ballet :).
     
  18. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    this is a cultural think, salsamale... if you are a native of the u.s., then dancing may seem a feminine thing. but it's very natural in many other cultures for men to love to dance, and to be wonderful dancers -- a mark of their virility, in fact. my father (greek) was always known as a wonderful dancer, and he was quite the athletic hunk. <g> and i remember stealing the romantic attention of the lead dancer in our competitive greek-dancing group as a teen-ager... it earned the ire of even many of the older girls. LOL

    i have a friend who's been in the ballroom community for many years, and he was characterizing how he experienced the shift in the u.s. about ten years ago when "the russians came over" -- as he put it -- and found that the ballroom world was dominated by gay men and very few heterosexual men, and with a predominant stigma among american men that dancing was a pansyish activity.

    in my friend's story, the russian men were flummoxed... "ballroom dancing is a man's sport!" was how he characterized their puzzlement.

    (no racial or other kind of bias intended on any level by this story, by the way... not on the part of myself or my friend. was just what he observed at the time. i think it nicely highlights how relative things become when viewed through the eyes of various cultures)
     
  19. Salsero78501

    Salsero78501 New Member

    It has Changed my Life. Read about it!

    Hey Everyone, I must say Salsa has saved my life. I have lost over 200lbs dancing. read about it at bachatarueda.com

    Jorge
     
  20. Salsero78501

    Salsero78501 New Member

    My life story

    In 1993, if you had told 14 year old aspiring musician Jorge Elizondo that one day in the not too distant future he may be considered one of the most highly touted and sought after Latin dance instructors in the business, he would have probably grinned and told you that his ambition was to become the next Kenny G.
    Nonetheless, this ambitious and versatile youngster who was born in 1979 in McAllen, Texas, was destined to become one of the most driven Latin dance instructors in the United States. The youngest child (among five children) of deeply religious parents, young Jorge spent his boyhood eternally involved in the art of music. Little did he know that some day this passion would take his world by storm in ways he never imagined. As a child, his loves of music lead him to learn how to play Alto and Soprano Saxophone. Winning numerous awards in Middle School and High school, Jorge decided to study Music in College. Having graduated high school at the age of 17, Jorge honed his craft by submerging himself into his love of the music world by studying various forms of the art and eventually obtaining his music degree at the age of 20.
    Wanting to continue his love of learning and teaching music, Jorge initially accepted a position as an Assistant Band Director at a local school district. While working with students Jorge learned how to teach and adapt to numerous learning techniques which help shape his teaching methods (An entity that would eventually play an even larger role in his life). Teaching was the catalyst in which Jorge knew he found his forte. To this day there is hardly a bigger thrill than when a former student recognizes and thanks him. Jorge has always felt that the student always reflects the teacher and the teacher always reflects the craft. This lesson was evident in his first role as a music mentor and in the years to come, as a dance instructor. Jorge would realize how much the acclaim coming from the very students he spent his time and knowledge with would help shape his love and teaching style for the art of Latin dance.
    Never one to want to quit learning, Jorge shifted his interest to film. A self taught video editor, graphic designer, 2D/3D animator, director and producer, he ventured to this new avenue ready to amass a new trait which would eventually benefit him in producing his much sought after instructional dance videos. His knowledge of 2D and 3D animation, graphic design and television productions lead him to local affiliate of CBS where he would become Promotions Producer. Soon after that; Jorge moved to Telemundo as Director of Creative Services. Ironically enough, years spent in this profession led Jorge to rediscover and revisit his passion for music in a way he never thought imaginable.
    After a night out with a colleague from Telemundo in 2002, Jorge was introduced to Salsa. Although Jorge had always welcomed new forays and experiences when it came to music, dancing was something he felt would be arduous due to his then physical appearance. At the time, Jorge weighed over 400 lbs and lived a secret life of chest pains and stress. Jorge was his own worst iconoclast. In the past, he excelled in aspects of his life that were 2nd nature. However, for the first time in his life, Jorge faced his biggest obstacle…himself. Never one to want to alarm anybody or sidetrack his projects and new ventures, Jorge was terrified at the fact of not knowing whether he would wake up each morning due to this then state. Once again it was a new project partnered with the ambition that had him excelling in music and television production that would will Jorge into changing his life. Jorge joined a local gym and started to exercise. However, the primary mitigating factor in seeking this new transformation was Salsa dancing.
    Jorge was faced with an uphill climb. Out of shape and never engaging in dance activities; Jorge implemented his eagerness to learn and steadily ascended by taking as many lessons as he could, sometimes seven days a week. Jorge had found a new desire in his life and it was one in which benefited both his aspirations as well as physical well-being. He overcame his obstacles and once again excelled in his passion.
    Never one to shy away from reaching his penultimate goals; within a year Jorge grew from student to teacher and to this day he pays homage to those who took the time to teach him this art. His eagerness took him to Laughlin, NV where he attend Salsa Sizzle his first Salsa Congress where he studied took classes from world renowned instructors such as Alex De Silva, Eddie the Salsa Freak, David Stein, Troy Anthony and Salmon and Rosio to name a few. Jorge has traveled all over the United States and Mexico taking Master workshops from the best Latin instructors. Jorge has also studied all forms of salsa from L.A. Style, Mambo to Casino Rueda. Taking a little piece from each instructor, he has developed his unique style of salsa. Jorge is known for his L.A. Style mixed with Casino Rueda “Miami Style” Salsa. His unique style takes his follower into a maze of slot turns and circular patterns with very smooth transitions between styles.
    While learning and excelling in Salsa, Jorge was introduced to Bachata by Rudy a fellow dancer visiting the McAllen area. Jorge realized Bachata was the perfect dance for all dancers, for its simple step patterns would allow dancers to be expressive and connect emotionally. Bachata, still new to many Latin dance scenes in the United States, had yet to develop into more than a basic 4 step dance. Jorge along with other local instructors started developing new turns patterns and creative ideas for the Bachata dance. Bachata has now evolved into a very sexy yet more elaborate dance than it was before. Jorge has cultivated numerous turn patterns and footwork that work seamlessly into the Bachata music. Jorge loves to play with the music and go outside of the box making his dance a unique and spontaneous. With his trip to Miami, Jorge met Hips on Fire a dance group from Boston lead by Seemore Johnson and his dance partner Cristina Pujol. Hips On Fire were the first to developed Bachata Rueda. Jorge took a Seemore's Bachata Rueda workshop at Miami Casino Rueda Congress and fell in love with the idea of Bachata Rueda. Jorge returned to McAllen and the following Wednesday started teaching Bachata Rueda at the Gas Light Club. Capitalizing on what he learned at the many workshops he attended, Jorge started developing his own calls. Jorge’s Bachata Syllabus has grown over 40 calls and Jorge has released many of these in his Learn to Dance Bachata DVD Series. His learn to dance series has been touted as a useful learning tool for any neophyte as well as any established dancer who yearns to either learn one of the great Latin dances or to add Bachata to their dance arsenal. ​
    Jorge is now traveling all over the United States on his Journey to spread Bachata all over the World. Jorge started his Bachata Boot Camp Tour in June 2006 visiting 11 Major cities including San Antonio, Austin, Oklahoma City, Washington D.C. Area, New York City and Houston with in 3 weeks. Jorge will be visiting Belize in August and will be going over seas to UK in September. Jorge’s goal is to spread bachata all over United States, Europe and Asia one city at a time.
    What’s next for Jorge is that he hopes to somehow implement a difference in the lives of those attending his classes. For Jorge, dance is more than a job or a hobby; it was a life altering experience that continues to have an impact on him every day. With tours and DVDs lining up, Jorge is ecstatic about meeting new people and introducing them to bachata. He wholeheartedly believes this is the next big thing in Latin Dance and he shares a special connection with this art form and feels it can some day impact many whether it is through physical health or just having a great time on the dance floor.
     

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