21
Nov

10 Things to avoid on the dance floor

When you go out dancing there are some things to be aware of that will ensure that you have a good time, enjoy yourself more and get along with others who, like you and I, love to dance. Over time I have been studying these points and in discussions with others and exchanges of opinions, these are the things that stand out .

Let me know what you think, if you agree with these points and especially how best to avoid them =)

Here is my list of the top ten things to avoid on the dance floor

1)      Dancing out of time.

For me being out of time is number one. You can’t enjoy dancing if you are not in time with the music. This is the main reason for disconnect with your partner and simply by correcting this problem, you can avoid many of the points that follow.

2)      When either person (leader or follower) dances as if they were on their own, doing 1000 moves without taking into account their partner, who also wants to enjoy themselves. Salsa is a dance between 2 people and there should always be a connection between the leader and follower. Knowing how to use resistance will help with this problem.

3)      Leaders who don’t protect their partners on the dance floor. This is a very common problem, especially in crowded places. The woman is following our lead and therefore we have to take care of what is going on around us in order to avoid running into other people.
For example, in a cross-body lead, if the man leads the woman and doesn’t realize that there is someone behind them spinning with their arms in the air or taking big steps, it is probable that the woman will get hit or stood on.

4)      Followers (over-styling). Styling your dance is great and makes women look beautiful and sexy. However there is a time for everything and the idea is not to style every single beat. You first priority is to be able to respond to the lead and know when the leader allows time for styling.

5)      Losing your balance
In a spin it is easy to lose your balance, and not keeping your balance is one of the causes of bad leading and, as a consequence, difficulty in following. For women the same applies, a women with poor balance will not have the time or the connection required to respond to the lead
We should keep our center/balance by having our feet firmly on the ground, this is what I call using the floor
When spinning or turning without control, we are more likely to bang into the people around us. Sometimes this happens and the person who is out of control doesn’t even realize that they have hit someone next to them!

6)      Don’t hold onto your partner’s hands: as leaders we have to be able to flex our hands and wrists to maintain a comfortable, easy to follow connection for our partner. For women (followers), the same concept applies, if they hold onto the man with their thumbs, the man is unable to rotate his hands as needed to lead effectively.

7)      Pulling and pushing. There is something I tell all my students: when dancing, we never use the words pull or push, but rather lead (invite your partner) or follow (accept the invitation). I often see women flying around the dance floor and the man working hard just to execute a simple cross-body lead. Leading and following is a question of harnessing your body’s own movement to create momentum that you can use to dance.

8)      Respect. If we ask somebody to dance and it turns out that the woman is a beginner and the mans starts doing the most advanced moves he learned last weekend in a class, the woman will feel like this was the worst dance she had. By the same token if the man is a beginner and the women was expecting more, it is bad mannered to look bored and desperate for the song to end.
What I do when I dance with someone for the first time is to start with some cross-body leads and inside turns and then if I see that they understand these concepts and are comfortable with them, I start increasing the level. (You have the duration of a song – 3-5 minutes- to make someone who is learning to dance feel comfortable and like they are improving. If you do this, you might have the best dance of the the night =) )

9)       Hygiene. Another thing to be aware of is that when you go out dancing in a club or a social or a party, and you know you will dance all night, at a mínimum you should arrive fresh and take some extra shirts so that you can change if you dance so much that you sweat.

10)  Compulsory to enjoy yourself!. One of the main reasons for dancing apart from meeting new people, getting out of a rut etc is to have fun. Sometimes we forget this important detail, because we are so concentrated on doing incredible turns or seeing how fast we can spin the woman we are dancing with. Believe me, doing something simple is often the most fun. Remember it has to be fun for the person you are dancing with as well as for you. So every time we go dancing we should leave stress behind and dance for the enjoyment of it!

If you have read this article, I guess we have something in common: passion for salsa, so lets dance and enjoy this wonderful rhythm

Regards,

Joel Dominguez

http://JoelSalsa.com
http://JoelSalsaOnline.com

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  • Sharlene

    Thank you for that! I am a beginner/intermediate salsa dancer (at least I’ve been taking lessons for the last eight months) but I’ve encountered many of the problems you’ve listed above. Besides my lack of skill, it is very easy to become discouraged and thus dance worse when your dance partner is a more advanced dancer than you are. Sometimes I find myself almost standing still because I wasn’t able to follow the lead (a bit of a problem for me).

    I do have a question…Besides the camaraderie, is there any benefit to joining a dance team? I’ve just recently signed up for the Student Dance Team and I’m so intimidated and nervous because I’ve been dancing in sneakers and jazz flats and now I have to use heels. Any tips? Thank you.

    • Sharlene

      I should have been more clear when I asked about the benefit of joining a dance team. What I meant is, honestly, will it help me become a better dancer socially? Like I’ve said, I have a problem following. While in class, I’m fine because I’m told what to do and thus can anticipate the next move. I want to be able to just dance, will being on a team really assist me with that? Thank you.

      • JoelSalsaOnline

        Hello Sharlene, thank you for your comment =) I understand your situation, definitely joining a team will help you but this is only part of the process to get better, you will have to still take group classes and also if you can take some privates will help you so much since these are personalized and will help you to understand concepts that you didn’t understand in group classes or practices with the team.
        My recommendation is to practice more your timing and make sure that you are able to know exactly where is your footwork, do it with slow music and take your time to LISTEN the different instruments in that song, separate the sounds and try to stay on beat (no before or after) with your steps.
        If you want to know how to separate the instruments you can check my page DanceWithFeeling.com you will see some videos there.
        Remember the first point in this article is about timing, if you fix this you will fix some other things at the same time.

        • Maybel K

          Joel, of millions of the stars in the sky only some are special…
          Because they have special properties…That make them shine…
          Same goes for people…You Are One Of Them!
          Thanks for this info, I think it’s excellent….Gratitude is the memory of the heart! Also, I wish you a safe, healthy, prosperous and happy new year 2014!!!!

  • Rob Dodd

    Taking small steps could be added to 3..

    Great post – this should be taught in every class before people take to the freestyle dancefloor..

    • Thank you Rob for your comment, you are right when we make small steps we can keep more control of the body movements at the same time that we protect our partners and everyone around!

  • Liepa

    loved it and definitely agreed with it. though I do find it rather challenging to do many spins one after the other. so when I dance with my own partner I always ask him not to spin me too much… but some leaders are so ignorant to these kind of things that it makes it difficult to enjoy the dance.

    • Thank you Liepa for your comment! =)

    • JP

      I find this comment interesting, in the context that yesterday, my husband and I attended a musicality and movement workshop with a world champion dancer, and he said when he goes out social dancing, he just likes “to chill out” and so he doesn’t do a lot of spins, and then he hears from his friends that the lady thought she wasn’t a good dancer because of he wasn’t spinning her a lot. His point being about feeling the music and “not spinning the woman’s brains out.” I appreciated him for saying that!

  • Mamboslave1

    Add a few more. Salsa etiquette: 1) When a guy ask a lady for a dance she says,”no or no thanks” with or without a reason. 2 seconds later another young man ask her to dance & she says yes! That shows no class or Salsa etiquette whatsoever! How does that make the 1st guy feel? Terrible & devastated, esp.if he ask the same girl again giving her the benefit of the doubt & once again he gets turned down. It’s an awful feeling he goes thru. I understand if the lady has previously danced w/him & was to rough or similar circumstances. But, not if she has never danced with him.
    2) there’s ladies that will walk off in the middle of a song. Whn I question them they’ll say,” oh, I’m tired or I’m not feeling well or some other lame excuses” 10 seconds later they’re dancing with someone else. So, that’s one person less tht I dance with in the future. All my male friends feel the same way.. I always try to protect the ladies & not dancing rough or wild. Feeling her out & not being fancy w/someone I don’t know. That’s the way I was taught by The Master Eddie T., his daughter Melanie & Gabriel Perez. I Love your list of do’s & dont’s. Thank you.

    • Thank you @disqus_bt9SnrGTZN:disqus for your comment, I’m agreed, the best way to solve this problem is getting better and dance smooth, on timing or even better dance with musicality to have fun, girls like to dance with someone who take care of them and at the same time is fun to dance with.

    • M

      I’m a girl and I’ve been turned down before many times, with the guy immediately turning around starting a dance with another girl. Is my ego slightly bruised when this happens? Yes. Should he be required to say yes just because I don’t want to be rejected? NO.

      In social dancing, (ESPECIALLY if it’s in a club) I don’t believe it’s an etiquette to be forced to dance with someone just because they asked. Every person has a right and responsibility to protect their own feelings and bodies. If I don’t feel comfortable with a guy who is asking me to dance for ANY reason, I say no. If I said yes and at any point during the dance I feel uncomfortable with that person, I tell them “thank you” and walk away. Sometimes I tell a little white lie about being tired or not liking the song, because it’s usually better etiquette to say that than to say, “I don’t feel comfortable around you”.
      This has nothing to do with the guy, it has everything to do with how “I” feel.

      Don’t take it personally. Wouldn’t you rather dance with a girl who actually want to dance with you and is enjoying it, than with a girl who is dancing with you reluctantly just because she feels it’s good etiquette?

      • Mamboslave1

        Wait a minute, wht do you mean turned down. Do you always ask guys to dance? Whn & if a guy is ask by a girl to dance I rarely see a guy say no. Turning down a guy you hve never, ever danced with before & then 2 seconds later you say yes to someone. Do you consider that having Salsa Etiquette or class. How do you know your going to be uncomfortable or comfortable with the person you turned without giving him the benefit of the doubt. If you never danced with him. Are you prejudging him on his looks. Are you really being open-minded. I myself will dance with anyone. Even a deaf lady I see @ Jimmy’s. Its all about having fun. But, some pple do hve their preferences! But, prejudging someone without giving them the opportunity is being close-minded. We all started as beginners. But some of us forget where we came from. Not saying, you per say. Including some guys. It’s all about enjoy each other as we dance & getting into our comfort Zone!

        Sent on the new Sprint Network from my Samsung Galaxy S®4.

        ——– Original message ——–From: Disqus Date:06/01/2014 11:29 PM (GMT-05:00) To: alberto_2004@msn.com Subject: Re: New comment posted on 10 Things to avoid on the dance floor

        M (unregistered) wrote, in response to Mamboslave1:

        I’m a girl and I’ve been turned down before many times, with the guy immediately turning around starting a dance with another girl. Is my ego slightly bruised when this happens? Yes. Should he be required to say yes just because I don’t want to be rejected? NO.
        In social dancing, (ESPECIALLY if it’s in a club) I don’t believe it’s an etiquette to be forced to dance with someone just because they asked. Every person has a right and responsibility to protect their own feelings and bodies. If I don’t feel comfortable with a guy who is asking me to dance for ANY reason, I say no. If I said yes and at any point during the dance I feel uncomfortable with that person, I tell them “thank you” and walk away. Sometimes I tell a little white lie about being tired or not liking the song, because it’s usually better etiquette to say that than to say, “I don’t feel comfortable around you”. This has nothing to do with the guy, it has everything to do with how “I” feel.

        Don’t take it personally. Wouldn’t you rather dance with a girl who actually want to dance with you and is enjoying it, than with a girl who is dancing with you reluctantly just because she feels it’s good etiquette?
        Link to comment: http://redirect.disqus.com/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fjoelsalsa.com%2F10-things-to-avoid-on-the-dance-floor%2F%23comment-1415558872%3APo0PJHJuKKaq0qiN4kuMa0soc8Y&impression=fbf562cc-ea05-11e3-bd4e-00259035ce46&type=notification.post.registered&event=email&behavior=click

        • B

          who ever the M is she is a Nasty woman

          • B

            That’s How a nasty woman ‘Feels’

      • John Calmus

        Well I believe that everyone who goes out social dancing has had this experience. Sometimes things are cliquish, sometimes the woman would prefer dancing with somebody other than you. So my advice would be not to focus on the negativity to being turned down, but focus on the positive of dancing with a woman or a man who says “Yes”. Why is it we blind ourselves with a “negative thoughts” when we have so much more positive experiences dancing.

    • Sohini

      I have a question to this. I have sometimes observed unknown men on the dance floor, dancing in a way that is inappropriate to the woman. If he asks me to dance I’ll probably always say “No thanks”. I’ll do this without dancing with him, simply coz I have noticed what he does on the floor and do not think it is ‘dancing’ at all. Then if a respectful person asks me to dance, of course I’ll say yes! So where am I wrong here? Or where is any woman wrong here? Sometimes we don’t have to dance with a man to know he is creepy. We can just see it by being alert and observant. So maybe there’s a reason behind point number 1 which one may not understand easily. But the reason is valid I would think.

      • Mamboslave1

        What is inappropiately or creepy. You don’t specify. I’ve been dancing for years. There are guys tht do do dance to wild, rough & that definitely puts the lady in harms way. I’m not saying a lady has to say yes to every guy that ask her to dance. But, if you say no to one guy & a few seconds later accept an offer from another. Wait for the next song to accept the offer. Ex. I may have danced with a particular girl a few times tht same nte but at one point she says, no. She tells me she turned someone down. Right, there i truly appreciate & thank her for her showing class. That etiquette has been taught to students starting with the Mambo King. Some instructors teach Salsa Etiquette & some dont. Another ex . There are ladies that do ask guys to dance. (Like friends I know) If the guys keep saying no & a few seconds later accepts another offer how do you think she feels? If i see that happening i ask the lady if she wants to dance. Point in point everyone should show some form/ type of empathy. We all want to have fun, enjoy ourselves & not get hurt in the process. Show DIPOMACY, RESPECT & EMPATHY to each other. & just have a BALL

    • V

      No means no, not necessary to give a reason. She doesnt want to dance with you. Get over yourself!

      • Mamboslave1

        Seems like you’ve been dancing only a few weeks. You’ve a lot to learn about Salsa Etiquette 🤔👺🙀

  • itsme

    Agree with all points although i don’t dance professional salsa but colombian-houseparty salsa.

  • Valerie

    You should make this one a mandatory read before any dance social lol. Post it by the entrance of LVG 🙂

  • everdancer104

    Hi Joel, thanks for this! It covers a lot of issues we deal with. May I add a few and ask some questions? (PS: I am a follower)

    It doesn’t hurt to be friendly. When I sometimes see familiar faces in a club or social, some of them don’t say hello or smile. It doesn’t hurt to say hello, peeps! When I take the initiative and greet them, they always seem so happy—so, they are friendly after all 😉 OR hey—is this just a NY thing? LOL

    2. After a nice dance with someone, I sometimes want to dance the next song with them, but if they don’t ask me, I don’t ask them, because I assume they want to dance with someone else. Or are they just shy guys? The few exceptions, when, I asked, hey, let’s do the next song, they looked glad to 😉

    3. I had a few dances where, immediately, the guy launched into numerous continuous complicated turns (without even doing the basic steps first or a simple right turn!). I seriously lost my balance and even got banged against the post (this was in Caché). I really should have stopped and said something, but I guess I was too polite. I still have some bruises on my leg! Please guys, don’t ever do this!

    4. At the same club, guy asked me to dance and he was doing steps which were NOT salsa, he was just basically marching along and turning me every which way, pushing and shoving. Another time, a guy asked me to dance Bachata and he just *glued* his body to mine and gyrated, without even looking at me. Okay, am I too polite because I did not say something to end the dance? Please tell me it is acceptable to end the dance somehow in cases like these!

    5. On a positive note, I want to say that I have met so many nice guys on the salsa dance floor here in my eight weeks in NY, and some incredible leads! They were courteous, had a sense of humour, great timing and *musicality*, and made me feel more skilled than I am—I surprised myself doing double spins a couple of times (NEVER did any before) and complicated turn patterns I never saw in any class. I guess these are seasoned dancers who don’t even go to lessons anymore! Best of all, a couple even complimented me and said they would like to dance with me again later. THANK YOU to all you fabulous NY salsa leaders…I think I learned a TON of stuff from all of you, in ways I could never learn in classes!

  • My Dance Productions

    Good article. I would add to #3 to not take the whole dancefloor while dancing. Some people like to think they are performing and doing crazy tricks that can be dangerous in a crowded dance floor.

  • While you are all set to learn more individual moves, it is better to develop a dance vocabulary. Try to create different ways of linking your vocabulary to the sequences of a few moves. Once you are done with this, you can easily combine it into other dance combinations. Definitely, it takes some time to learn the vocabulary, but with practice you will be able to link your moves together.

  • Mel

    What do you do when you learn for example On2 you go up to a random girl and she is dancing On1?