Salsa > A way to dance with a beginner

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by ticolora, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    When I dance with somebody who is very new to Salsa, doesn't even know the basic footwork.

    What I've been doing is to begin with few bars of basic only (B).
    Then do UAT every 3-6 basics.
    Then do CBL every 3-6 basics.
    Then single or double turn right-side-pass (RSP).
    Then should catch (SC).

    So it looks something like:
    UAT Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times
    CBL Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times
    RSP Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times
    SC Bx3 : repeat 3-5 times

    then mix all the moves with ample basics in between.

    Is this the best strategy (in concept) for breaking in somebody completely new. I realize that every case is unique, but in general, is it better to repeat each move few times, or should I start mixing different patterns as I add them. E.g. (with plenty of basics in between):

    I don't have a problem with the way I'm doing it now, just thought I'd ask for ideas and suggestions.
  2. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Why isn't a teacher teaching the new student?
    ajiboyet likes this.
  3. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    Agree with BD. It's like the blind leading the blind
  4. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    There is no cookie-cutter approach to dancing with a newby. It depends on the newby. Also, it depends a great deal on your own skill level.

    I will sometimes, as a self challenge, ask a newby to dance the salsa. I can usually get away with it with a minimum of teaching. If the lady is struggling with the basic, I'm not going to lead something more complicated. Often leading a few more repetitions of the basic will allow her to "get in the groove", and then I will start more complicated patterns, turning the basic slightly and CBL, and then getting more complex if she can handle it.

    I remember one lady I knew to be a talented follow, as we started dancing she was protesting that she didn't know how -- but her feet did. Within a few measures I started in with the full set of patterns I knew how to lead.

    Let me repeat: There is no cookie-cutter approach to dancing with a newby. It depends on the newby. Also, it depends a great deal on your own skill level. If you're still struggling executing a pattern with someone who's taken the class, then you're not ready to take on a newby.
    Mia, IndyLady, atk and 3 others like this.
  5. ralf

    ralf Active Member

    Could have been someone dragged to a social by a friend. I see that fairly regularly at swing dances, and half the time they miss the pre-social intro lesson because the dancing friend doesn't think ahead.... So for those with absolutely no dance experience, I handle it much as already outlined by Ticolora and Snapdancer: single-stepped ECS basics until they're in the groove, then gradually add in one move at a time, always guided by how they've handled previous moves.
    raindance likes this.
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Haven't you learned to improvise, yet, ticolora? Do not repeat, invent, combine, alter, change, instead. And, although you do not like salsa music, it's all about the music, not about the moves.
  7. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Way too much IMO. When I dance with a brand-new, I never do more than the basic and maybe one other step.
    LateToTheDance likes this.
  8. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    social dance.
  9. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    I'm doing plenty of basics to help the follow "get in a groove". Not sure if I want to "invent and improvise" with a brand new follow who is having problems with a basic.

    I don't understand how to "dance to the music" when all I have is basic and UAT. Please elaborate, I'm sure I'm missing something big here (again) :)
    RiseNFall likes this.
  10. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    The "like" is for your general approach to the dance with beginners, not the missing something big worry. ;)
    LateToTheDance likes this.
  11. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Just as RiseNFall did with her "like", I'm endorsing the approach in your first paragraph.

    As far as "dancing to the music", if you continue with your dancing it will come in time. I believe that artistry requires a solid understanding of the media. For example, a perfectly staged and composed photograph is worthless if the exposure settings aren't correct. In dancing, true artistry requires a solid knowledge of and ability to use technique.

    For now, given your experience level, focus on keeping on beat, having proper posture, footwork, and connection with your partner. Once you have a level of mastery of those, you'll have some spare bandwidth to use for "dancing to the music". Give it time.
  12. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Basically what the others have said. I would start with lots of basics, then add one pattern. Depending on how it goes, I'll repeat it a couple more times to build her confidence. If she seems to pick up really fast, then I might try one more. You just have to read her. If you throw a bunch of moves at her, you'll likely scare her off forever unless she's an amazing natural follower. If you keep it very simple, she'll walk away feeling good about it.
    ticolora, RiseNFall and raindance like this.
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Thats the problem, you rely on her basic, instead of yours. She must not know the basic, but you have to lead it properly!

    You´ve already got plenty feedback and answers here on DF: it's not about the number of figures, but about the execution of every single one. You can perform the CBL in 200 hundred different ways, emphasizing different notes and moves according to the music or the singer. The music is the key, not the move or figure. There are a lot of latinos around who actually know any figures, but they dance excellently.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  14. Mia

    Mia Member

    I also commend you for not ignoring someone new to dance but instead, invite them with open arms and actually spend time trying to show them the joys of salsa :)
  15. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    Thank you @Mia. This brings up a question: I have heard that a woman can benefit from dancing from a better lead, but a man does not benefit from dancing a better follow (not my words).

    I believe that dancing with a new follow requires better lead, than dancing with a follow of my own level. So, I believe that by dancing with a beginner level follows - it improves my lead skills.

    Does this make sense? Or am I off again?
  16. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I disagree. There are things a beginner lead can learn by dancing with an advanced follow. Quality of movement, timing, musicality. If she's a good follower with other people but not you, the problem is probably you. You can test newer patterns and gain confidence until you try it on someone more novice.
    nessundorma and atk like this.
  17. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Oh, absolutely. When I was a beginner, I found it very beneficial to dance with advanced follows. As Jennifer says, if you're a beginning lead dancing with an advanced follow, and she doesn't follow something, then you can be sure you screwed it up. :D Seriously, I remember the first time I danced with an advanced follow and it was "Oh, this is what it is supposed to feel like". It gave me good reference points for how to go about connection and communication, and the confidence to know that I could actually do this dancing thing if I worked at it.
  18. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    Few times I somehow got myself into dancing with follows way above my level. Maybe it's my Eastern-European appearance, or my outfit that makes women think I am any good (maybe I should loose tights). But those experiences were not not illuminating at all. It felt like going on a bike ride with bikers gang, on a bicycle :) Maybe you only get benefits from dancing with higher level follows when you are at least within their league?
  19. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Or they're not as good as you think.
    RiseNFall likes this.

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