Salsa > What??? Not about the music???

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by SDsalsaguy, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    We’ve had a lot of great threads here about dancing to the music and being inspired by the music. And that is all well and good! But does that work for everyone? And is that the only way to really dance from the soul? In a word, NO!

    If salsa was only about the music than why even dance with a partner?

    If salsa were only about the music than a night of solo shines would suffice, wouldn’t it?

    What of the dancers, even those inspired by the music, who seem almost oblivious to their partners? What of the dancers who—as much as they may be jamming to the music—seem to regard their partners as nothing more than mere dance apparatuses?

    Sure I love good music. Sure I have my musical preferences. Sure there are those particular songs which just elevate my soul and my dancing…but none of these, on their own, is enough.

    Music may set the stage, yet it does not dictate the connection…that can only come from really dancing with your partner. And having a good connection—physical and psychological—is when salsa can truly become a transcendent experience.

    All of your energy, interest, and attention are on your partner. Every movement, shift, and intention is felt, responded to, and reciprocated. Eyes spark. Smiles flash. Hair flips. Legs, arms, and bodies undulate in synchronicity. Indeed, when that connection is there, sometimes you don’t even hear the music anymore.

    And what of those moments when there isn’t even music? What of an impromptu dance in a hallway? Or on the beach? Without music to dance to, aren’t you really now dancing to each other? What about a dance on the practice floor, where the only sounds are the creaks of the floor indicating perfect synchronicity? So maybe, just maybe, it’s not all about the music after all…
  2. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Very, very nice SD. I couldn't agree more. 8)
  3. MapleLeaf Salsero

    MapleLeaf Salsero New Member

    Hi SD,

    For me, salsa is much more than the music itself. It’s a way to meet people, connect with them and as Boriken put it, get in touch with our inner self. Of course there’re many great songs out there which may inspire you to dance but I believe this is not what makes people come back.

    Most people lead a dreary and stressful life. Everyday you wake up, quickly take a shower, grab a sandwich while walking out the door, get stuck in a traffic jam, loose hope in finding a place to park your car, arrive late at work, 5 different meetings on that day, leave work late, another traffic jam, arrive home tired and frustrated, make dinner, watch TV and go to bed. You don’t usually have time to have fun or meet people. Even if you try to convince some friends to have a coffee or to visit you, they’re usually too tired, have a headache, need to rest, bla, bla, bla.

    When you go out salsa dancing, you find people who are “available” to you, people who are there to have fun, to dance, to meet new people, etc. When you dance, besides the physical contact you have with your partner, you feel an emotional element present which connects you. You have a silent conversation with that person during a 4 minute period. If you’re lucky and reach nirvana, you can see into their souls – a very transcending experience. You are not judged by anyone. You see people from all walks of life, ethnical backgrounds and social status. No one cares what you do, what car you drive, if you’re white, black, green, yellow or if you’re the CEO of a fortune 500 company. The only thing that matters is how you dance, your attitude, your smile, your passion… I believe it’s more this sort of interaction with other people that fascinates salseros. In everyday life you never have time for this, you’re always driving on the fast lane. It’s the whole package, not just the love for the music.

  4. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Great post SD...

    could it all really be about a journey? A journey which we all use music as the means to? what is that journey? What is the goal? Why have we chosen this mean? What about the music facilitates that journey, if at all? How will our interactions during our journey affect the goal, affect us? What is taking over us that can make us forget that there is music playing and it makes it seem that there aren't 2 people dancing but one? What is it about our chosen mean that has nothing to due with the mean but the goal???? Hmmmmm
  5. Xtreme Salsa

    Xtreme Salsa New Member

    I LOVE it when I see a big ol smile on my partners face because she can feel the flow of the dance. I really feed off her energy and it cheers me up as well. What a great feeling
  6. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Re: Waht??? Not about the music???

    Right on!! Connection, the partnership that one has when dancing, is an integral part of salsa. Just as we talk a lot about being with the music, that is having a partnership with the music, so it is with the person one is dancing with. And just as you don't really hear the music when one is with the music, the same for the person one is dancing with.

    And people have different ways of expressing their emotions. If I'm happy I might break out with an impromptu dance, and if I'm happy with another person who knows how to dance one of us might start and the other join in. I've done this, but not too often. After all I've just started dancing recently. :)
  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Glad you all liked my late night musings so much! :D

    Seriously though, this was something I'd been thinking about for a while now. I've loved some of the threads and posts about music (and dancing to it) but I'm one of those who come at it from the other side... I love the music, but I don't need it to have a transcendental dance expereince. I do, however, need a partner! :wink:
  8. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    Love it, SD :D !

    I might write something properly when I've had a chance to think......just got in from salsa dancing, a bit brain dead...... (but satisfied!)

    I am in :? mode as well, Boriken. Glad to know I'm not alone :wink: .
  9. Vin

    Vin New Member

    I have to disagree SD, yes I agree that the connection is important but I would say if given a choice between no partner and no music I would choose no partner. Even when I have danced with no music I would hum the music out loud for my partner and I to dance to. However I often dance by myself when there is no one around to dance with.
    When practicing without music(which is rare) It would simply be in order to work out the rhythmic kinks on a particular movement.
    I have heard of bars in Baranquilla(sp) where only the men dance salsa, and they spend all night having a sort of solo shine competition between themselves. This is not possible without the music.
    Don't get me wrong, I completely prefer dancing with a partner, but my dance fulfillment comes from dancing a portion of the music with a set of movements that seem to fit the music perfectly.
  10. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    A difficult choice of "no music" or "no partner" as both come together to really give an incomparable experience, which is lacking IMO without one. I guess there are times when one or the other comes into play. But, I always want both!!
  11. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Fair enough Vin...and I don't mind to suggest that this isn't so for many! I just wanted to point out that there's a flipsided to this, a different camp if you will, where the partner comes first, not thje music. I'm not setting out a right or wrong/better or worse framewrok here, just pointing out that there *are* different camps. Personally I'm in the partner 1st camp. I love great music (or, more accurately, IU love the music I love) and it certainly adds something... but, no matter how good the music, if I don't CONNECT with a partner, there's still something missing for me.

    Maybe for you great music and shines suffice (even if you still prefer a partner). For me it is otherwise. Dancing salsa, in rhythm with a partner, is what does it for me -- the music can just make it that much better.
  12. Vin

    Vin New Member

    I understand your camp as well. In fact for me a partner can make or break a dance. I would go so far as to say for me both are almost equally important, just can't dance without the music.
  13. SDsalsaguy, I agree with you for the most part. When I fell in love with salsa, it was seeing salsa partner dancing that really drew me in. I wanted to experience that intertwining of energies on the dance-floor. On the other hand, I quickly came to love the music itself, and I like the fact that salsa is something I can just get down to, the way I used to dance freestyle to other types of music.

    Sometimes I wonder if I give enough of myself to my partners. I am a fairly introverted person, and I find dancing allows me to be introverted and extroverted at the same time: deeply aware of the music and the emotions I am experiencing, while communicating and sharing with someone else at the same time. I think I could work a little more on a deeper sort of contact with partners (though it's probably not something that can be forced).
  14. David

    David New Member

    Have to say that for me it's definitely partner first. I have no qualms about dancing without music if I have a partner who I click with. In some (admittedly rare) cases I find it can be even better without the music as you can feel and feed on the natural rhythm between you and your partner.

    However music and no partner just doesn't do it for me. I'm not a huge fan of shines so I'm not going to just groove to my favourite song at a club that way. And if I'm really not clicking with the girl I'm dancing with that can very easily end up with me not enjoying even my favourite songs.
  15. turtle

    turtle New Member

    oh my gosh guys, you make me want to cry.. :cry: that's soo beautiful... oooooooo someday i'm gonna feel that.. that feeling when everything melts away and i just dance, i can imagine what it must be like...

    i have SOO far to go, and i've just barely taken my first baby step.
  16. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Last night while out dancing, I took a moment to think deeper about this question and came up with...

    Salsa isn't about my partner or I, it is about the music, the world it creates and the feelings that it brings out in me. However, in my case, those feelings I experience when dancing are best suited if I share them with other people. I don't want to have deep feelings of love/lust and not have someone to share them with. Then I love to see the connection that the music causes in me to reflect on the connection that I have for 4 minutes with someone else. I want a person to be there with me so when the music sparks the joy of human interaction, it can only carry those interactions to a deeper meaning because of the presence of 2 people. To me, it causes my partner and I to enjoy the moment so much more. I like to think about it as making love to someone, as opposed to... yourself. Salsa is an emotionally stirring music, when emotions are involved I definitely rather there be someone who can share the moment with me, even if salsa is a world of its own.

    But remember that because you are doing solo shines it doesn't mean that the connection to your partner needs to be lost, or is lost. It just changes forms... It is up to you to keep it there.
  17. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    To me dancing itself is always about music. I may be able to dance even when no music is playing, but I still hear music inside me and that's what I dance to.

    Having said that, what got me hooked on salsa in particular was its partner dancing aspect -- the interaction with another dancer as you move to the music; the fact that, when you click with your partner, you can feed off each other and raise the dance to a higher level. I always feel something is missing when I just play salsa music at home and dance to it on my own.
  18. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Vin…I understand where you’re coming from, it’s just that – for me – it’s different. I wouldn’t choose to, but I *can* dance without music. I realize, of course, that this probably wouldn’t have been possible earlier on, but now there’s a certain ingrained rhythm in my body that, when I have the right partner, is enough all on its own. And there can be something magical about this…neither she nor I are queuing to anything outside of ourselves, we are a self-contained expression of dancing passions and need be in sync with nothing outside ourselves.

    Turtle…hang in there! It took me a long time and lots of hard work, but let me tell you, the payoff is worth it a hundred times over!

    Boriken…thanks for the deeper consideration. As with Vin, I understand where you’re coming from…and I have no doubt that this is true and works for many, indeed, probably far more than feel as I do. For me, however, what you say of the music is what I say of partnering so, where for you “Salsa…is about the music, the world it creates and the feelings that it brings out in me,” for me “Salsa… is about the partner, the world it creates and the feelings that it brings out in me.”

    As you say, “I like to think about it as making love to someone, as opposed to... yourself. Salsa is an emotionally stirring music, when emotions are involved I definitely rather there be someone who can share the moment with me.” Naturally I agree with you here, it’s just that in my case the connection with the right partner – even more so then hearing the right song – is what stirs my emotions. I love the music. I am inspired by it. But it is not the music that satiates the hunger of my soul, only my partner can do that. I can come home after a night, recognizing that the DJ was kicking, but still feel that something was missing if I didn’t find the connection that under girds my very need to dance. With that connection, however, I may lament poor music choices by a clueless DJ – and, of course, better music would only heighten the experience all that much more – but I still go home feeling satisfied, feeling that I have truly danced with someone else, and that, indeed, my soul has touched another.

    Certainly true…and the difference between those who do and do not remain “connected” with their partners screams out like a neon sign when their shines are clearly for the sake of their own egos. What I was getting at is that if salsa was only or all about the music then a night of solo shines, sans partner, would suffice and be equally rewarding and enjoyable.

    MacMoto…I think we are much alike in this.

    I’m not all that musically inclined myself, so I don’t necessarily “hear” an internal music, but I think that the internal rhythm I feel (as mentioned in my comment to Vin, above) is of a similar nature. It’s not like I’m dancing in a vacuum, it’s just that no one else can hear or feel the pulse that I can.

    Yes, yes, YES! Exactly.

    Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it…YES!!!

    I am not saying that I think this is the way it is for everyone nor that this is the way I think it ought to be, only that this is the way it is for me. (And, I guess, for you too! :wink:)
  19. Sakura

    Sakura New Member

    :D Very nicely put, SD! I'm a Band Geek, so I love music as much (and if not more than!) the next person. It can spark any number of emotions, from happy to sad, and it can stir something in you that makes you want and maybe sometimes need to dance. But you're right on the fact that without a/your partner, what good is the music?
    Music, at least to me, is always best when shared with someone; and sharing it and your feelings through the simplest touches and steps in a dance is one of the top best ways I've discovered to share it. The way the music is in the background is just comforting. But it doesn't have to be man-made music; as SD put it, (roughly quoted) 'What if it's an impromptu dance in a hallway, or on the beach?' The music can come from the comforting sounds of nature, such as the ocean rolling in and out along the shore. (Alas, if I were only so lucky to have experienced said impromptu dance upon a beach... =^_^=;; Someday!)
    Still, the partner is definitely needed over music. I would be just as happy at my lessons, dancing with my teacher, with or without music -- because just seeing the happy looks on his face as I seem to be getting something or our dance is going extremely well mean the world to me, because I'm making my partner happy.
    :wink: Well, enough ranting from me; though it's a favorite hobby of mine... Good night and be safe!
    Sakura Kitty :kitty:
  20. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    I can REALLY relate to this, SD. I remember countless nights (mainly during the 90s) when I've come home frustrated, because I didn't truly get that connection (ie. didn't really have my 'fix'), yet felt like I've been teased :shock: by beautiful music all night.........

    I am sure ALL of us addicts can relate :wink: .......

    These days I make sure that I get my may not be THE magical one that Boriken wrote about (I've only experienced it once in my whole life), but I will be able to sleep with a smile on my face :wink: !

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