Addicted2Salsa / Dance Articles

Salsa Tip #85 : Dance Etiquette 101 - Drinking and Walking

Now, this tip might be for newcomers to the salsa scene - and it could be a public server announcement for the rest of us. Now, I don't think these rules have ever been written down or said - but usually they are implied by dancers, because dancer understand what bugs them. It is just basic courtesy on the dancefloor:1. Never walk through the dance floor - but around it. Now, the only good reason you are walking through the dancefloor is because you found a good spot and you are actually going to dance. Other than that, I suggest (and many others too) is to walk around the outside of the dance floor if possible. People are dancing, worrying about their dance 'slot' and worrying about their neighbor's dance slot. I can't believe the people think that going through the dance floor (to get to one side to another) is easier than walking around the floor. First of all, you are going through a crowd of people that are constantly moving, making weird contortions with their arms and especially females spinning. That alone should tell you... "hmmm.. I might get hit and hurt - or I might cause someone else to get hurt". Not to seem crazy, but I can't tell you how mad this gets me. Because, to tell you the truth, I don't mind that some people walk through the floor - if they understand salsa slot mechanics. For example, wait for the guy to do a cross-body lead to walk near him/her (through the other side). You know this, because as a dancer, performing a cross-body lead will require the lady to move her location (which means, that a space opens up for you to walk through). However, few people are aware of this - so in general, please be kind - if you are not doing to dance, walk around the outside of the floor (so people dancing won't get mad that you have screwed up their pattern or gave them something more to worry about - their safety). 2. Never dance with drinks. There are a few of people (that for some reason) like to dance with open drinks. Now, this might be good at any other club, but I'm not so sure that at a salsa club. People bring their nice (suede bottom) shoes to the floor, so they can do lots of spinning. People who bring drinks ON the dance floor (are usually not being kind) because they end up spilling their drink on the dance floor (making it sticky) and laughing about it as if it was funny. In some cases, they'll end up spilling their drink on someone else. The good rule is that if you are going to have a drink, have it on the outside (but be warned someone can hit you if you are close enough to moving bodies) or having by the bar (where you are supposed to have drinks). Just be considerate - and everything should be good.

Choosing a Song for your Salsa Performance

As part of our second semester for the newly formed salsa club at Georgia Tech, we have formed a performance class that will be performing at many different events this spring. Recently, I was asked to choose a song for this performance, since I have the largest music collection of anyone in the club. I thought I'd share with you all the things I took in consideration to make my decision to assist others who will be planning a performance in the future.When to choose your song There are two ways to choose a performance song, either before or after creating the bulk of your choreography. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I will cover after creating the choreography first since that was the real situation for me.If you have already started your performance group, you will have a good idea of what they can handle in terms of tempo and complexity, and if you have certain elements that require different timing, a pause, or something similar, you will already know that before you choose your song. However, since you already have most of the elements of your performance set, it may limit you in your selection of ideal songs for the performance, and you may end up stuck with something less then idea. For example, you may have this long and dramatic intro planned, with lots of freestyle movements, but if you do this without considering the song, you may not find a song that is a good match for this amazing choreography you have made.In my personal opinion, the best time to choose the song for your performance is before you plan the first step for the performance. If you already know what song you are using, you can make your choreography match the song, you can hit accents in the music with flare and style, and everything should flow nicely.Questions to ask when choosing your songHere is a set of questions to ask yourself when you are deciding on a song for your performance:1) How long will your performance be? If this is a performance class with mostly first time beginners, you are going to want a song that is short, or that you can cut at a good ending point. If you have a dedicated performance team, you can go longer. Keep in mind, you can easily double the length of a routine by adding a quick formation change and repeating the choreography. 2) Who is your audience? Always consider your audience. If you are performing for a group of non-dancers, a salsa version of a popular song is always a good choice, because they will recognize it and thus appreciate your dancing even more. If you are performing at a salsa congress or event, a classic salsa song may be a better choice.3) Is there a theme to your performance? There are many different types of salsa these days. If you are performing at a holiday event, a salsa Christmas song adds extra entertainment value to your performance, if you are performing at mardi gras mambo, maybe something from the Album "Salsa Creole". There are other themes that you can do that are not time specific, for example, there is a salsa version of the Pink Panther song.4) Are you going to have solo sections for ladies and mens footwork, or a formation change? If you do, you might want to consider a song with a strong set of instrumental solos for your footwork, compared to something that is non stop full band.5) Would you like to have a freestyle section in your performance? For freestyle dancing, a long intro often works well, but you can do it at any time that there are musical elements you would like to play with.Finally, I leave you with an example of amazing choreography. This is what you can do when you design your choreography with a song already chosen. Also note how they use the xylophone solo for their footwork section. While this performance is advanced, you can incorporate these elements into any level of performance to make it better.

Salsa Tip #407 : Water or (Propel) in the Car

Salsa Tip #407 : Water or (Propel) in the Car

If you are lucky enough to go to a salsa nightclub that has free water - than you are good. Drinking plenty of water at salsa event is a must - more than you think. Sometimes we forget that with all the patters, footwork and body movements we put into every 5 minute song - its really a tough workout for the body. We end up loosing a lot of water (through sweat) during one salsa night - especially if the nightclub is packed.Now, in the cases where the water is not free (and they are charging an exorbitant amount of money for a itty-bitty bottle) - its good to sometimes bring (sneak) in your own water (if allowed). Now, first of all - I prefer Propel water because it feels more satisfying after I drink it compared to regular water (which seems to just go through my system pretty quick without providing any effects). So, I end up trying to put 1 bottle in my dance shoe as I bring those shoes to the club (its hard to tell its in there). However, in the cases where I can't really bring my dance shoes (or I'm already wearing them) - I end up keeping bottles of Propel in the trunk of my car. So whenever I am really thirsty and need some replenishment (and don't want to pay $3-$4 per bottle) - I just step outside (while getting some fresh air to cool off) and go to my car and drink a couple of bottles). It is sometimes pretty funny because since some of us have the whole 24-pack in the trunk - we all go to the parking lot and just hang around the car drinking bottles of water and chatting before going back in.Anyways, going back to the main tip - I suggest if you can to bring your own bottle of water at a salsa event. Sometimes either the water runs out or the prices are too high. In another case, you should always keep some water in your car for when you really need it (or even after a hard night at a salsa club). Drinking lots of fluids after an event can help relieve any muscle stress you might have in the morning.

Salsa Tip #67 : Get a full length mirror for body movements

I get asked a lot on how to become good with body movements. Now, I'm not close to the Cobo Body Movement, but I can tell you what I used to train my body isolations and perfecting the look. Its really simple - just a mirror.The key is to practice, practice and practice. (How many times have you heard me say that?). Get a nice full-length mirror from Target or Walmart (I think I paid like $10 for it). Then, what you do is just stand in front of the mirror and do your basic step - and see how it looks. Then once you got that down (and it looks good to you), try adding some footwork - and perfect how it looks. After you have those two things down, now add some body movements. Try a body-roll, try rolling your shoulders backwards, try doing some rib-cage isolations or hand movements.

Salsa Technicals : Salsa Sound Effects (and other explosions...)

Now for Anthony's negative side (I know some of you complain..). Regardless, I like watching performances of salsa songs. Its interesting to see the interpretation of music by my favorite dancers with some very good chosen songs. However, there are some performances where they might have great choregraphy, but they use remix various songs (which is not bad) but then they add the inevitable sound-effects of bombs and explosions that seem like it was put together by the Department of Homeland Security. of performances and choreography. Of course this is my opinion. I guess I feel that what they try and do is fit their desired choreography into the music - which then require them to change the salsa music. However, I believe a performance is about choosing the song and interpreting and use the accents ALREADY in the songs for your body movements (no need to add extra). The choregraphy should be created from the song, not the song chosen based on a choreography. Music should be first.Now, in the following clips, I want to pay attention to the different. One uses sound effects for their accents and the other uses the accents already in the song for the choreography. I just want to make sure you understand - they are both great dancers! (So, send your "Anthony Complaint" mail somewhere else.. haha :-) ). If you are wondering where the accents are in the second video - pay attention to the main instruments in the song.http://www.youtube.com/v/DAhH5kqISmk

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