Salsa Dance Technicals : The Yin and Yang in Salsa Dance

Posted on almost 10 years ago

There is something to be said about social dancing. It is a different type of dancing compared to performing - (of course you'll say thats a given). But sometimes, some people forget that. In my case as a leader, its my job to 'entertain' and 'play' with the lady - as well as make her look good. However, what should I be expecting from the lady? Mainly to show me that she's having fun - that gives me the reward that all my hardwork (doing the combos, being smooth, keeping timing, footwork, smiling..etc) is paying off. However, for some dancers, I feel this simple concept is lost.

The Yin and The Yang in Salsa. Now, while I will be mentioning two different type of dancers and their circumstance - its not only prevalent when I dance with them, but with others who feel the same way about them. And because of this 'survey', I decided that it should be explained on "What goes on in the minds of men when they like when dancing with a lady". To help my example (and not mention names) I will use the Yin and Yang dichotomy: Yin is the darker element; it is serious, passive, dark, and corresponds to the night. Yang is the brighter element; it is happy, active, light, and corresponds to the day.

I will take two different followers that I dance with most of the time. One that doesn't get it, and one that does. - a Yin and Yang.

I will call the playful lady - Yang. She is a lot of fun to dance with - why? Well, she smiles when she dances. This helps me get feedback that she's having fun. She provides good eye contact - which means, we have a good connection. She also provides good dance chemistry.... hmm what does Anthony mean by this? Well, a dance is like a conversation between the both of you just using your body (hmm.. sounds like sex too). As an example, we might be doing footwork, and all of a sudden I may stop, do a body roll for her, and she might notice and possibly do another body roll in response or something else sexy. That is what I mean by playful chemistry. Maybe I perform a shoulder shake and she smiles and shakes her hips. Again, playful chemsitry. Who knows, she might not have the best styling, or be a professional, or can do 10 turns on a dime - but you feel like its only the two of you dancing, maybe being a little flirtatious, but you feel that you are in a perfect zone where both of you are having a blast. Does it sounds like salsa heaven? Trust me. It is.

Now, there is this other lady I 'have' to dance with every now and then. I will call her Yin. This dancer is an amazing dancer. She has great styling and can spin on a dime and if you see her dance (while you are in the crowd) you can pin-point her out of a crowded dance floor and be amazed at the dancing. Like a flare in the night sky. Yep, she's a professional and you most likely would like to take lessons from her. However, a lot of people are afraid to dance with her becuase she's so stylish and so 'performance'-ish and they are afraid they can't handle her (or are worried about screwing-up). She makes herself self-intimidating. The other folks who know how to control her movements and react to her styling, don't really like to dance with her (without the use of force) because she takes a lot of work to manage, she styles to much that affects the lead, and specifically, she is not playful - which makes dancing not fun. When you dance with her, you'll trully notice that she's more into pleasing/showing-off for the crowd around you, than showing-off for you - the person she is dancing with. She doesn't provide that much eye-contact, doesn't smile often, or play any show-response games as I mentioned above. This doesn't feel like a conversation, but more of a monologue. You work your heart out, do cool shines, smile, make her feel comfortable - but all you get is flat-lines because she is very solemn. Now, you give her credit that she might be hard in concentration in the dance - but no, we are talking about a professional. Does this sound boring? Dull? If you could do the dance over, would you have still asked to to dance, or would you have had better chances with someone else? Maybe have a second dance with Yang?

If it was a question about friendship, who would you find more interesting? If it was a question about dating, who would you rather date? If you had to take a one of them to a theme park - who would you rather take? Yin or Yang? I think you know the answer to the question. And I think an intersting addition to this story is the fact that Yin sometimes questions why some of her favorite dancers do not ask her to dance as often as she'd like - and she believes is because it is because she is not skilled enough. Again, its not a question about skill, but attitude.

Remember, salsa is about having fun on the dancefloor. No one needs to judge, judge your styling, or judge your technique. Its not a competition at the club. Its about chemistry, connection and about the two dancers that matter at that moment for those 3-4 minutes. You and you partner. Forget if you screw up, and forget that you have repeated the same combination like 3 times in a row. As long as you both are smiling - that is all that matters. There is no reason to dance salsa, if not to make yourselves happy.

Updated: Added this link so I can track who else is stealing articles..

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