For all of the guys out there wondering what goes through the minds of salseras (or women in general), I sat down with some fellow lady dancers and discussed behaviors that guys should avoid at the club. In any dance culture, there is a certain unspoken etiquette. For those who are new to salsa dancing, these tips may come in handy so that you don't give the wrong vibe.
1. We don't endorse the use of force.
Ask the lady to dance with you, don't tell her she is going to dance with you. Grabbing her wrist and urging, "Come on. Just one song" does not fly. If she declines, the best reaction is to acknowledge her choice and walk away. No verbal persuasion, cajoling or physical dragging should be utilized - especially when her boyfriend is around. If she gives the bathroom excuse, do not wait for her outside the bathroom- that is just plain creepy.
2. Ask her twice, she'll turn to ice.
You can ask twice in one night, but not one right after the other. When a song has ended, it is best not to ask her to dance right away. Even if you both seemed to have fun, give it some time and leave her wanting more... that is much better than risking her wanting to push you away.
3. Yakkity Yak? We won't come back.
Leave the chatting to Cathy! Keep talking to a minimum- exchanging names and where you are from at the beginning of the song is fine, but what the ladies don't like is when guys sacrifice the dance itself, and end up doing basic step the whole song while chatting. This comes across as hitting on us....
This one is for the ladies. Most of us associate dance-especially Latin dance-with femininity: because dancing can be so sensual, it imitates the mating ritual, highlighting the masculine/feminine duality. Some of this happens naturally, and a lot of it is taught, in the form of movement, posture, footwork and style. It varies from place to place, with some styles emphasizing ultra-feminine hand placement and "daintier" footwork. The differences even carry over to salsa culture, where in some areas it is popular to find make-up, sparkles, fashion, and high heels.
With this traditional element of femininity within modern culture, I wonder: how does it fit in with other aspects of modern culture that are not so feminine? After decades of women's rights and title IX allowing women to have university sports teams, and girls who now grow up playing rough sports, how do we merge the femininity of the old times with the athleticism of today?...