Discussion in 'Salsa' started by SDsalsaguy, Mar 24, 2004.
I haven't noticed any elitism in our community. In fact, it's the friendliest environment I know.
Good for you, BrookeErin... You are lucky!
There was this guy visiting my country... he said he's a Salsa champion of some sort... I won't mention the country he came from... still, he didn't impress me... I even invited him and still... didn't like dancing with him! His leading was quite bad and he was off beat on the more difficult moves!
He got these people around him, who looked up to him as if he were "G-d's gift to Salsa dancing on Earth"! He taught them aerials and complicated moves he couldn't do properly himself and they developed such an attitude! It made me laugh... When I danced with him, he tried to do a neck drop, and I refused! He was pissed off! I was laughing my a$$ off! I never do acrobatic stuff in the club, especially if you do it wrong! Well, he hasn't ever invited me again, but I noticed one night he was staring at my partner and I dancing... like really staring... and that made my nasty part really feel good, as I saw the interest in his eyes... I was ashamed after, but G-d it felt good!
I also met other salseros from abroad, visiting our country... and they were all nice... and didn't have an attitude... so I guess it's up to the dancer and their personality! Me, I don't care anymore! I won't change them and that's it! I try to influence only the newbies but... if they are under the bad influence of egotistic dancers... it is quite difficult!
Personally, I find that when I concentrate on the negative things about salsa, all I feel like doing is taking a break from it all...
So instead, I screen out what I don't like, and instead focus in on what I do like about dancing.
Like this one weekend a few weeks ago, I wasn't having a particularly great night - not getting my dance fix in... and then I danced with this one gal that I know. We never quite have a very good "techinical" dance, but she's so enthusiastic and fun to dance with, that it just doesn't matter. We have connection in spite of a lack of all the finer points of dancing.
It's these little moments like that, that keep me coming back.
I bookmarked this thread because it struck a nerve at one time, but what I am finding is the more I dance, the less other people's salsa egos bother me. Instead, I am aware of positive and non-positive energy of people as a whole. I say non-positive, because I really don't see much negative energy in our scene. Positive energy is nourishing to other people. Non-positive energy is neutral, neither nourishing nor draining.
The best dancers in our scene are the instructors and performers. I love to watch how they social dance, both for the fancy tricks they do, but also to see how they manage their space. Do they accept space or do they take it? Do they respect their neighbours on the dancefloor? Do they respect their partner? Is their energy positive or non-positive? Edie should make a graph plotting salsa ego vs. salsa addiction vs. time .
Funny, when other dancers come to my salsa scene I hear a lot about egos. So they must be present. However, its the only dance I know intimately so I have no comparison.
As I'm starting to foray into the lindy hop scene, I'm finding that in my town, Salsa ego's are way bigger than lindy egos. Or at least, the manifestation/effect of such egos on the dance floor/scene is less impactful/apparent in lindy.
i rarely find dancers (or people in general out in the world) with -ve energy. The +ve/neutral/-ve nature of energies is all about who they are interacting with at any given moment of time. Some dancers have a -ve energy towards me, but they are +ve towards others. Many of them are smart enough to not dance with me (or in other cases, I don't ask), so it solves the problem by never allowing any unahppiness during the dance. No dance with -ve energy means no unhappiness
I find that the best way to deal with other people's nasty vibes is to remain blissfully oblivious.
Was it Eleanor Roosevelt who said that "nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent"?
From a guy's perspective, what I see is that guys come to a club or social for different reasons:
- to promote themselves as instructors
- to pick-up
- to find a girlfriend or a wife
- to practise their moves
- to have a good time with their friends
- to have a good time with new people
- to really dance
And there is a lot of overlap!
Now take 1 guy who is there to pick-up, and add 1 salsera who is there to have a good time with her friends . Or take 1 guy who is there to practise his moves, and add 1 salsera who is there to really dance . After enough of this, we each develop a shield, a defense-barrier, for self-preservation.
I recall one advanced salsera, a real goddess, who when I just started, granted me a couple dances, first a salsa, then a merengue. She must have thought, "ok, he messed-up that salsa last week, but this is just a merengue, he can't possibly mess THIS up!". Heh, heh . Well, the third time I asked her, lo and behold, she smiled and said "no". I deserved it! Too bad for other beginner salseros who ask her, she is now more likely to give them a cool "no".
But the more I dance, the more I am able to match my dance to my partner's dance. There is a time and place and partner with whom I may safely practice the latest move I learned. I'm also aware that this place I use for practice may be another salsera's place to "really dance", and so if I ask a salsera to dance, I try to be there for her for the reason she is there.
I also try to give instructors their space to shine, because this is their time to promote. Some guys who are there to pick-up are fun to talk to. Others might give me a nod, but otherwise have no time for me. I respect that, because they're out on the hunt. These hunters have been hunting for some time, and in that time, they have also become skilled salseros. Egos? Yeah, they exist .
S/ Male--- I would have to disagree slightly on your comment " the best dancers are Teachers and Performers " .
On the contrary, there are probably thousands out there , somewhere in the vast "salsa world ", that A--- have no interest in performing and B--- no interest in teaching.
Have seen many in clubs for yrs , that would fit both those categories .( I personally know many )
The same is true in most dance genres .
Salsamale - I definately feel like a lot of ladies put up a shield - basically from being picked up on by one too many agressive men.
I brought someone to our Tuesday latin night this past week and they found it very friendly. People actually may find me standoffish or elitist at times, but it is more because I don't want to give people a bad dance.
I am reading this thread with interest although I should do other things now and would like to write a longer response sometime later because this is a question I have been asking myself for years: Why has the salsa scene changed so much in a negative way?
Here my response to the above quote:
No, IMHO it has nothing to do with the Latin culture, or has it in a different way as you might think? Actually, my experience is that there is a lot more consideration and "normality" on the dance floor and in the scene where there are predominantly Latinos. The more "westernized" the Latino scene the more competitiveness and rudeness one has to deal with.
In Puerto Rico I cannot see the problem of people dancing into others' dance space, you see good dancing but not all that fierce competition. There are rules (dance netiquette) to be adhered to and you better don't step on people's feet more than once (and sincerely apologize for that one time). I am talking about normal dance events, not Congreso events!
However, here in the US and in Europe, you get stepped on, you get kicked, you have to deal with all the egos out there, you encounter bragging, showing off, rudeness, fierce competition, envie, you name it. There is no "togetherness" anymore as there used to be when I found the salsa scene. Then we were all family, happy to see each other every weekend and enjoy and dance together. That has totally changed!
Hmmm, interesting. The current scene is the only scene I know. I only know competition and showing off. And beginners see this and try and emulate the same thing - and the cycle continues.
I agree with you, Terremoto! I'm glad that I've been on this bulletin board because the comments over the months about etiquette, what dancing is really about, what learning and improving is about and for, and the atmosphere on this board is so much more fun and encouraging than out on the dance floor....and I try to take that with me when I go out with friends, when I'm dancing with those newer to dancing than me, and with those ways more experienced than me. So, in that way, the phenomenon of beginners picking up on the culture of their comepetitive dance scene is buffered by all you delightful people out there in your own dance scene with your dance friends and the people you dance with
There definitely are egos, but I feel like so many people are really dancing for fun and wanting to get better, not to impress others, but because it's a fun challenge against oneself!
It's funny, I used to post on a relationships forum where every other thread was about the 'nice guy' vs. the 'jerk'. Here, every other thread is about on1 vs. on2 (all the on1 people are non-jerks, by the way ).
Salsa seems to be a scene where being a jerk, just doesn't cut it. Now, being a skilled salsero and a jerk, I've heard, can get you many requests for private lessons (or so I hope ).
Oh, and I would have to respectfully disagree with tangotime ... In the heart of every salsero, is a private instructor wannabe, who wants to know how the heck did nycsalsero's private lesson go .
I'd say at least part of the problem is that salsa is a victim of it's own success. There's enough $$ to be made teaching, selling videos, etc, that some instructors have gotten particularly competitive, including bad mouthing other instructors and other styles. And it trickles down to their students, who repeat their teachers' philosophies and approach to the social scene at large.
And let's face it, a lot of the instructors in salsa don't have formal training, so their bad habits & bad techniques get passed along with the poor attitudes towards social dancing. I know one gal who complained to me years later about how she took lessons from this one guy, who taught his own version of salsa. She told me about how it took years to unlearn what he had taught.
Add in that the majority of us are lacking in some aspect of salsa, and this adds to the general insecurity/childishness/high school attitudes that can be prevalent.
This is the disadvantage of the "streetness" of salsa. You're not going to get along with everyone, so better to just focus on the folks you do get along with. But I do encourage you to do some small thing to encourage friendliness in the scene. Every little bit helps, and we're all mutually responsible for the attitudes in the scene. And just because you'll never change person X or Y, doesn't mean that you can't make a difference.
I dunno, I can't speak for your scene but from what I've seen, the instructors are not always the best dancers. They are among the better dancers, sure; but you can't tell who is an instructor and who isn't just by watching them dance. My favorite dancers to watch are mostly not instructors.
And I totally agree with tangotime that there are many dancers out there who are doing it just for fun and who have zero interest in teaching, performing, or competing. From what I've seen, the only requirement for someone to teach, compete, or perform is that that person *want* to teach, compete, or perform. There's not much of a roadblock in terms of dancing ability, as there's no objective certification for teaching and there are dancers of all levels in performance groups.
(I have noticed that some people would like to *pretend* that teaching/performing is a stand-in for ability, as some of them seem to expect you to be impressed when they inform you that they are a teacher/performer. Or they think it is a compliment to say you should join a performance group, or to ask if you want to join their performance group. Whatever.)
That's a very good philosophy, and one I try to follow.
And with a few exceptions, I find salsa dancers to be a fairly nice, friendly group of people.
Noob.-- one slight correction-- there are several Prof. bodies that can and will give exams. , for aspiring teachers . They do, however , require knowledge on a much broader range, than just one dance .
I see a few showoffs, but they're not great dancers. For the most part, noobies are swept up with great relish and we have a lot of people who become addicted. I've been known as "the one who'll dance with anyone", and I rather like that title. Now, if you show absolutely no improvement after like 6 months, I may claim I'm tired for a dance or two, but generally I don't hate dancing with beginners..a s long as you're there to DANCE, and not ogle or cop a feel.
Yeah, it's pretty laid back here. Then again, there isn't a whole slew of professionals or people who fancy themselves at that level who compete with one another. And if people are cliquey, I stay away from them anyhow. I have better things to do with my time.
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