Salsa > Benefits of dancing with a less experienced follow

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by ticolora, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    Am I right thinking that dancing with a [much] less experienced (a beginner) follow is a significantly beneficial activity?

    Here is my reasoning. It requires way more clarity to lead a beginner, ergo it is a good way to improve my lead clarity.

    When I see a brand new dancer, I try to take the opportunity to dance with her, if only for the reason above.

    I know I've been wrong before, I'm asking so I don't embrace counterproductive practices.
    Jag75 likes this.
  2. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I try to dance with beginners, but don't dance repeatedly with the same beginner. Or even repeatedly with the same person for that matter. Every one has their weak points, and if you dance with the same person you end up covering for their weak points, and that other person covers for yours. I prefer a variety.
  3. SoAndSo

    SoAndSo New Member

    You can see the question from different angles.

    Beneficial = good for you:

    - fun
    Well, having fun with a dancer that barely can move her feet, isn't my specialty. But as long as the basics are there i have had fun with many a beginner.
    I think the major part for this is the social connection, same as when dancing with partners far over my level.

    - learning to lead
    Yeah, you can become quite a clear lead when working with beginners. But this is only true for the basic stuff, as anything a bit higher is too much for them.
    But in general: you can learn leading best with someone who cannot compensate for your errors but is well capable of doing the move.

    - training your basics
    As you cannot dance anything fancy with them, you will do your basics again and again. And with that - given you actually are trying to - improve them a lot.
    BUT there are many beginners who are actually scared if your basics are on a too high level. And when scared they will block, getting into apology or shock mode. But well, when you reached that level, you are probably better of taking the advanced beginners and the intermediates instead of the real beginners.
    Both is true for followers by the way and I know many pretty followers who from day one on were only dancing with more advanced leads who have abysmal basics and are not aware of that, as the lead was always compensating for them.

    - experience many partners
    I try to ask at least 1, better 3 new partners every night out. Main reason for failure is, that there often times are no left ... I have broken the distance to many wallflowers and visitors thanks to that.

    Beneficial = social value
    - making new friends
    Self explaining i think.

    - integrating newbies into the scene
    As long as you do not scare them away, for sure.
    There are many beginners specialists around, who are actually hunting them down and who scare many away. Specially pretty and young beginners are falling victim to those a lot in scenes with a bit higher age (= more predators, less prey)
    But if you just ask the shy beginner for a dance once or twice a night and some others do that too, she will get her share of dancing.
    Btw, this is even more true for beginner leads, that often times sit around far more.

    negative effects:
    - creeping out beginners
    Specially the prettier ones get a lot of attention for their physical characteristics. Often times unwanted attention by dancers that are not capable and not interested, in making them feel safe on the dance floor but just want to get the fresh meat. In lead heavy or higher aged scenes this becomes a serious problem.

    - making beginners feel bad
    There are people, that can really shut down, when they cannot keep up with some imagined goal or ideal. And once they begin to go into this mode, the dance is wasted and sometimes even their evening - for something that is mainly their psychological problem. Even if i thought the dance with them was crap before, it is just 3-5 minutes, nothing to worry about.

    - breeding of overly greedy followers
    There are many followers who either by skill or by looks/age got their share of attention by far more experienced leads. I know whole subscenes that are made up by the ex-partners for 2 or 3 alpha males, who don't do much more than waiting for the alphas to take care for them, denying requests from other leads and then showing up less and less, while other "horses" take their position.
    For non beginner-hunter leads these girls often are completely useless, as they are only trained for the one style of dancing, often times heavily back leading the typical moves of their "trainers" while completely unable to improvise into other forms of dancing. Still they demand the attention of teachers, stars and alike, which they only get in share for physical attention.

    - slowing down your own improvement after a certain point
    There comes the time when your basics are great and you really should work on other stuff too (unless you want to become a "Basic and Happy" dancer). If most of your peers are on a far lower level than yourself, it is hard to train anything. Specially as most of the stuff the girls know, they know from dancing with you so they cannot give you new impulses.

    - making yourself lazy
    It is easy to be the biggest fish in the pond, if you only let the smallest ones in. I know many dancers who are in fact in a subscene, where they always get the reaction, that everything they do is great. They themselves think they are great, as long as they don't leave their little pond. Whenever they do this, they get bad reactions and then run back to their cocoon of mediocrity.
    Many of these leads are or become beginner hunters, fueling a dire circle.

    Dancing with beginners is of a high social value for leads and for follows to make friends and integrate newcomers into the scene.
    It is a great exercise to train your basics for both side of the game. For this even clearly more advanced dancers profit from taking these dances serious.
    Once you reached a certain point - the distance in experience is too high - the technical benefit for the more experience side shrinks and it often times really is becoming a "benefit dance".
    The highest benefit for both sides is given with relatively even partners.
    A specializing for much less experienced partners and unmixing of dancer pools should be avoided though.
    cornutt, bia and raindance like this.
  4. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    I agree with most of the points above. Dancing with beginners allows a lead to see if they are leading clearly (or sometimes you are too light of a lead and you need to be a bit more strong).

    It also allows you to work on your basics as well and gives you the opportunity to meet new people.

    The only problem is you can't do advanced steps/patterns. I think at socials, your best bet is to dance with all levels.
    cornutt likes this.
  5. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    If the follow doesn't know how to give the right connection to the lead though, it won't really do you any good for your clarity in your leading. It would only be good if you want to learn how to force a newbie to move.
  6. Patrick Pfavayi

    Patrick Pfavayi New Member

    Dancing with a partner at a lower dance level than you is beneficial to the partner and a good deed on your part , especially if the difference in dance level is huge, e.g beginner and teacher level...

    In Cuban salsa , successful leading or following really depends on your mastering of the basic Cuban step.
    Most people who think they are dancing Cuban salsa are really dancing a mixture of L.A , rueda de casino , Cuban salsa steps. It is extremely difficult to lead or follow such a partner.

    In Cuban salsa the follower DOES NOT NEED TO KNOW ANY FIGURES.
    The leader "directs" her to do those figures.
    Actually there is a problem if the follower "knows" a lot of figures.... She will tend to assume that the leader is gonna do figure No 5 e.g , do the figure on her own while the leader wanted another figure or a combination of other figures, and hence a confused result.

    And that is why in Cuban salsa (casino) , the idea of "leader" is not really correct, the idea of "driver" is more correct.
    The kavallieros "drives" the dama and so the kavallieros is actually a little "behind" the dama.
    "Leading" entails the kavallieros is a little "ahead" of the dama.

    A dama that has mastered the Cuban salsa step well will do wonders on the dance floor if "driven" by an advanced kavalliero ...
  7. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I hope you really do not believe that, " mastering" a basic ( in ANY dance ), is the solution to success of lead, or follow.
    vit likes this.

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