Salsa > Salsa on 1 or 2?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by salilsurendran, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. waltzguy

    waltzguy Active Member

    I'd be lucky if I don't start on 3 or 4.
  2. Alias

    Alias Member

    Quick timing comparison:

    "(American Rhythm) Ballroom Mambo":
    ( 234 678) - classic basic steps break on 2

    "CBL slotted salsa"*:
    On1 (123 567 ) - classic basic steps break on 1
    On2(P2) ( 234 678) or ( 678 234) - classic basic steps break on 2
    On2(ET2) (567 123 ) - ET basic steps break on 2

    You have in fact the same (CBL slotted salsa) moves (and some specific moves), the counts above are with the usual conventions where the leader breaks with left leg ("on 1" for On1, "on 2" or "on 6" for On2(P2), "on 6" for On2(ET2)).

    Timing shift for
    On1 → On2(P2) "on 2" → On2(P2) "on 6" → On2(ET2) "on 6":

    1 → 2 → 6 → 6
    2 → 3 → 7 → 7
    3 → 4 → 8 → 1
    5 → 6 → 2 → 2
    6 → 7 → 3 → 3
    7 → 8 → 4 → 5

    * ad hoc name
  3. HD

    HD New Member

    I dance on 1, but I am trying to dace on 2. I notice, that it is not easy to switch to 2, as I fall always back on 1. But I keep trying
  4. EvaDarling

    EvaDarling New Member

    I'm originally from New York where I learned on2 for a few months last year. My teacher was awesome and I learned about the music structure and dancing on the clave, etc. I was intimidated about going out to clubs at the time. Now I've living in Seoul, South Korea where I am learning on1 and going out dancing socially. I didn't even realize I was learning a new dance! It wasn't until one of my fellow classmates pointed out that with on1, the woman steps back at the beginning of the measure and with on2, she steps forward. I tried it out at home and I agree.

    The thing is that I'll be visiting New York next month and I plan to go out to clubs a lot while I'm there. I will also probably move back in a few months so I definitely want to be able to dance on2 with ease when I'm there. Unfortunately though, nobody in Seoul seems to dance on2 so I can't practice this style with a partner although I can do it home.;)

    However, after analyzing things, I don't see what would make switching back from on1 to on2 so difficult other than stepping in different directions at the beginning of the measure. I should add that I have no problem following the rhythm and I just feel the music when I dance. However, reading the discussions on-line about the two styles makes me nervous. From my own analysis, as long as my partner and I dance the same style, all the moves and patterns we do will be in sync. I don't see how they could be I missing something?

    The only difference I notice between the two styles is that with on1, my partners don't seem to break away much so that we could both do some solo dancing and shines and yes, on2 does look more fluid. Also, on2 dancers seem to dance more rhythmically which I love. So I'm itching to dance on2 but with all the discussions I'm reading, I'm worried that I should be worried. Please enlighten me!:confused:
  5. salilsurendran

    salilsurendran New Member

    I used to think exactly the same way too. In fact in my first on2 social i danced confidently on 2 till one of the girls pointed out that i was dancing on 1:confused:. The fact is that I started out on 2 but when i did a complex turn i went back to 1, because that is what i was used to. Also when you are counting your memory tells you to step forward on 1. However, I went home and practised a bit more on 2 with counting and will try to dance at a social tommorrow. Will let you guys know the results.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Okay.. you really are at the mercy of your leaders, so no problem if you follow well.

    As to breaking fwd or back to commence.. theres a huge technical difference .. its about the " call and response " concept.

    As to being on 1 or 2, (1) is " atiempo " and the other ( 2 ) is" contra tiempo"... and yes , they do have a different " feel ".. they are supposed to !. And, you are not following the " rhythm " as you put it if you are dancing against it . You may be on " time ", but out of rhythmical sequence .
    As i said, matters not a damn as long as you follow ( unless you are anal ,like many of us !! ).
  7. EvaDarling

    EvaDarling New Member

    I found a great website that explains in detail the difference between on1 and on2 and I tried it out for myself...I danced to the music as I did both right turns and cross body leads with each style. I found my steps to be shorter in on2 and more boxy/rhythmic. I like the feeling I got while I danced to the music. On1 I found to be more graceful and I had to "travel" more to do my movements. This suits me because I'm tall. I like both from what I could tell and want to become proficient in both. I could do both at home but you're right, out social dancing, it's harder to stay focussed. I'm going out dancing on1 myself tonight but will be sure to ask my partners if they can do on2, just for experimentation's sake!
  8. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Just to be clear, which on2 are you using EvaDarling, ET2/NY2 or Power2/palladium2?

    (And a slightly belated "Welcome to DF!" :cheers:)
  9. Andresito

    Andresito Member

    I dance following the rythm and mood of the song.

    I have no idea whatsoever if it is on 1 2 or 23.

    I just dance, if it doesn't feel good, I ask the girl to stop and we start again on the right beat and then feels good again.

    P.S. I am latin and have been dancing all my life and never this technicalities where a subject in Latin America. It is just something invented by the "teachers" I guess.
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    para 1 is in contradiction with para 2 .. and which, in your estimation, is the " right " beat ?

    And whether or not you CHOOSE to ignore the factual side of written music.. it does exist for a purpose ... and teachers dont "invent " music.. we interpret rhythms .

    Having spent half my long life around latinos, I,m very well aware about their disregard for the subleties... however, it may surprise you to know , that at least 60% of my students were from latin american countries, who had begun to realise that there was far more to "dance" ,than just " grooving " to music.
  11. Andresito

    Andresito Member

    Exactly my point.

    If you need to analyse the music in terms of numbers, then you are not dancing latin music anymore.

    Latin music is all about feel. You feel the rythm, you get inspired by the lyrics and by your partner then you dance, you share the joy with her.

    Counting 123 helps to do nice acrobatic moves over it, but won't give you the full experience we learn as we grow up with the music.
  12. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    What if I don't understand the lyrics? Am I still dancing latin? Reread TT's last paragraph in his post again, I think he's saying pretty much the opposite of what you said--namely, that there's more to than just "feeling" in dancing. You must feel, very true, and with this it's pretty pointless and soulless. However, if it were just "feeling," then most everyone would be good dancers.

    I've encountered many people who say that they just "feel the music" and dance. They may feel good when dancing, but they are usually terrible dancers. That's forgivable, but they are frequently not very good at partnering either (i.e. rough, no concept of leading, etc.). In the mind of some, unless you were born in a country where the music was invented, you cannot really dance it--I've seen few things which divide more than this mentality. Dancing unites, it doesn't divide.

    Partner dancing is about communication, and that involves work. "Just feeling" works about as well in dancing as "just staring" does when trying to have a conversation with someone.
  13. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think on 1 versus on on 2 is more a difference of style and foundation than anything else. When you learn one way, you tend to stick with that method. More advanced dancers often are able to do both, but they still usually have a preference. The preference is also based on region. Obviously, on 2 is more found in New York. I think both have their strengths.

    On 1 is usually easier to teach and learn and generally has more dramatic movements. On 2 dancers usually develop a better sense of rhythm at an earlier stage, and have a more synchronicity of movement. However, that is only my opinion, and this is an argument that has been discussed at length by many of the years.
  14. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Help me understand this better? If the first measure is answered by the second or in a whole verse the first four measures are answered by the second 4, why does it matter is a leader dances forward or backward first? I'm just flipping whether my call is a forward step or backward. Then, the response has to be stepping back or forward right? How do you decide if you want the call/response to be forward/backward or backward/forward?
  15. Andresito

    Andresito Member

    Ok, I'll try to explain it in a way you can see it from our perspective.

    I am a latin man and also a musician, I play salsa music so this goes with some musical explanation

    Latin music is danced in many ways by millions of latin people in central and southamerica but one thing is constant everywhere.

    It is danced "on the groove" that means when the song starts and follow the flow of the music, the flow is given by the bass line.

    The groove and feel of latin music is created by the piano and the percussion being off the square 1234 beats each one to one side ( one before the beat, one after the beat ), the bass line holds that tension together.

    This bass line is "felt", more than "heard" you feel it in your guts, the melody and arrangement on your ears, the percussion on your feet, the lyrics on your soul.

    This bass line ( the montuno ) come from the son and has a deep accent overlaping the end of the 4th beat and fully at 1st beat.

    Look here in a traditional son ( The marimbula is the bass part )


    This bass line is the only constant part the dancers relate to. The piano or tres is doing an arpegiated harmony, the many percussion parts are playing intertwined forming the clave, the winds and singers are doing melody improvistation etc.

    But the bass line is constant. and it is "felt" by the dancers on their guts.

    pum pin puuum pin pum pin puuum pin pum

    the pums are happening on the 1st and 5th beats of the clave, or simply on the first beat of each measure.

    This is what latin people dance to.

    They don't know nothing about music, beats, harmonic structure or whatever.

    They just dance to the groove. They don't think, they don't count 1, 2, 3, 4. or are aware this is the 2 or this is the 3.

    They just dance. Like it feels on the guts, and that since they were little children.

    If the song has more percussion, you'll move your feet more, if it has more breaks and or chorus you'll do more displacements and moves, but the rythm and groove will be constant.

    Each song could have an slightly different feel and the bass line could be more in advance or behind, so you'd not be dancing to the 1 but to the 1 1/4 or to the 4 7/8.

    But it doesn't matter, you only have to follow the groove and make it flow.

    What happened is that at some point there was an increasing interest in dancing to this music by people who didn't grew up with it, so it had to be organised and structured in a way you could teach it and the people understand it and then practice it and following a set of rules master it.

    And let me tell you that I am very happy this is like this, I enjoy that so many people from so diverse origins get interested on my culture and music and want to learn and dance.

    I live in Europe and it is such a blessing that there is salsa parties everyday of the week and more and more people is coming to learn and dance. It is really great.

    It is also great that our dancing styles got enriched with more complex and nicer moves and combos, I do them and I enjoy it. But I still do it with the latin flavor, the basic and fundamentals of the groove are the main component and the moves and combos are a plus.

    The thing is at some point some teacher in New York had the idea to dance it on the second beat, and invented an style of dance "on 2" and obviously as you are not on the groove anymore it feels and looks different.

    As this teacher had his followers and New York is such an important shining beacon of the global culture, his invention went big and reached many other people.


    This is not latin dancing, is something spun off of it, something with a different feeling and approach.

    You could also have for example created an style on 1 3/4 and if you had a lot of followers you'd have a "new salsa style".

    But to our eyes ( that is the millions of people in latin america ) it is unnatural.

    Sure it is still nice and good and enjoyable, and I am sure for the people who saw, and learned that style from the begining, it feels the most natural thing to do.

    But it is not.

    In fact, the same way you could count your 1234 and do your moves to any other kind of music composed on 4 beats, you just have to adapt the feel of your moves to the groove of that other style of music.

    But it wouldn't be salsa nor latin anymore.

    Latin music is on clave and has a feel that is true for millions of latin dancers.

    BTW. I am not surprised that some latins living elsewhere are interested in learning that, sure they could enjoy it, no problem with that.

    I just tell you. pick a flight to any place in latin america, go to a dance party and try to dance your style on 2 or your many choreographed moves there and you'll see you will not be able to do it, because all the people there will be dancing on the groove and it would be so difficult to you to convince them that what you do is the right thing, because they have been doing it that same way since they were kids.

    Hope this explanation helps.
  16. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think it is important to recognize the Clave often is using triplet rhythms buried within the 4/4 time, and these beats are certainly more "felt" than danced. It is a good point that neither on1 or on2 is going to perfectly match the clave, because the clave is not hitting the beats of 1234 precisely, but rather is using triplets that fall outside of the 1234 rhythm. Finally, there are lots of salsa songs where the 1 and 3 beats are quite clear and easily heard, with a strong bass song on the forth beat, and often the clave rhythm is less evident.

    If you listen to this drum beat
    You can clearly see it is triplets that are used.
    For a real challenge, try counting 12341234 while he is playing triplets. It is not easy at first.
  17. EvaDarling

    EvaDarling New Member

    I don't know what all those terms are but I'm using the style that's taught all over New York as far as I know, the one made popular by Eddie Torres. Oh, and thank you for the welcome!
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I suggest you go to Salsa Forums where I (and others), have written numerous lengthy articles on the subject .
  19. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    What else is left ???
  20. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Ok, then ET2/NY2 (ehere ET stands for Eddie Torres and NY stands for New York ;)).

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