dance in the slot « Salsa Addiction Centre
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    A New Look After A Short Pause…

    Sorry it’s been a little while since my last blog, but seeing the new TDS site and now you know why. With much effort, patience and love Sharon, Evan and I have launched the new TDS site! I’m really happy with the final result, and hope that you like it both aesthetically and functionally.

    Onto the subject at hand… Last week at our outing, I found that while the energy/vibe was really great; many etiquette rules were being broken. In order for all of us to have great outings and more importantly safe outings, we need to follow these simple, common sense guides to keep our salsa from going sour.

    A small list of things I noticed that made me a sad panda:

    People walking through the dance floor, not around it
    Seriously, this is not only super dangerous for the people dancing, but if you’re walking through dancers, you’re going to get hurt.

    Massive moves on crowded floors
    Unless you’re quite experienced and can pull off big moves in tiny space, then keep them to a minimum when the dance floor gets packed. If you find that you and your partner are taking up a lot of space, here are a few suggestions:
    -take smaller steps (seems simple, but many people don’t do this!)
    -when you break-back, dont fully extend your arms. I always try to keep my arms around the 90 degree mark to keep the moves tight and small
    -if you’re dancing with someone who takes massive steps, do moves that don’t require much travelling OR, leaders keep your frames a bit stronger, so she gets the hint that she has to stay within the boundries you set

    Polite People Dance Most
    Always be polite about asking someone to dance. There’s nothing worse than someone who’s pushy or a little on the creepy side. All it takes is a simple, ‘Would you like to dance?’ If the person refuses, don’t be upset as chances are they need to rest or a little tired. On that note, please try to only refuse a dance when you’re tired, need to use the washroom or feel that the person asking is being rude.

    Don’t Just Stand There
    One of my biggest pet peeves are people who stand on the dance floor. I find that this is worse than people who walk through the floor as they are becoming a permanent fixture getting into everyone’s line of dance. Speaking of which…

    Stay On Line
    On a few occasions I had different Salseros do moves that led their women onto my line of dance, forcing a dangerous course-correction. Not only can serious injuries occur, but you throw all of the hard work of becoming a precise and great lead out the window. Did I mention that it drives me insane? There’s nothing worse than having to end a dance early because the guy beside you launched his partner into your line and onto your partner’s foot!

    Always Give Your Partner One Song
    So let’s say that the lovely person you’ve asked to dance is way below your level and not really staying on time. The best and coolest thing you can do is to try to follow/lead them as well as possible for one whole song. We were all there at one time and you’d be surprised at how quickly someone can go from novice to advanced!

    Sadie Had it Right
    Some nights I’ll see ladies sit at the side of the dance floor and wait to be asked. I say, wait no longer ladies as us Gents love love love to be asked to dance! Not only will you get to dance more but you’ll make a guy’s night!

    So while I saw a fair amount of Salsa No-No’s, I did have a wonderful time last outing and was so happy to see many new Salsero/as out on the floor! Hopefully, with these thoughts as a bit of guidance, your next salsa outing will be a bit more civil and much more fun!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    A Leader’s Take on Following



    A little while ago, Andrea had asked for tips from a leader’s perspective on how to become a better follower. While attending this week’s Sunday social, I spent my focus on coming up with some thoughts on this subject. While I haven’t truly learned to follow, I’m hoping that these ideas will help and am looking forward to hearing your imput (whether you lead, follow or both!)
    Aim to become a ‘lighter’ dancer : I believe it was Sarah who brought this up in class, but essentially there are two types of leads and followers: those who use little and those who use great resistance to lead/follow. It is natural for beginners to need strong signals as guidance but the problem with those who use/need great resistance (aka, heavy dancers) is that you tire out quickly and are slower when executing moves. The real trick is to try to step and move as lightly as possible and to focus in on the resistance that your leader if giving you during the dance.
    Don’t be afraid to politely ask your leader to be more or less firm during a dance. It takes time to develop your dancing skills so that you’re a light dancer but when you get there, you will spin and glide like a champ!
    What Would Sadie Hawkins Do? : While at the Sunday Social, I saw a lot of women sitting on the sidelines waiting for guys to ask them to dance… actually, I see this a lot at many social salsa outings. Trust me, you spend a lot of time learning how to dance, bought those great pair of heels and even have your double turns down; so why just spend the event sitting down? Trust me, us leaders’ love to be asked to dance and not only will we be flattered, but chances are will try out a few cool new moves with someone as bold as yourself ;)
    Whether you’re 2 lessons in or salsera supreme, don’t be afraid to ask us as it’s rare we’ll ever say ‘no’. The Salsa scene is so amazing for that reason alone. We’re all here to learn, get better and have a blast doing so, so next outing, please ask any and all of us to dance. You’ll not only increase your social circle ten-fold, but you’ll become an amazing dancer in no time!
    Add a little more Diva-Style to your dancing : This may sound like a no-brainer, but if us guys have to spend countless hours learning combos, timing and being a great lead than it’s only fair that you spend some time learning how to properly style.  I’ve always found it funny that while you learn how to style within the first 2-3 classes and yet I see people in levels 4-5 and 6 who don’t have it down. Now I’m not saying that you have to do the pops and waves and such all the time, but styling helps round out a follower and also serves the great purpose of connecting and transitioning moves.
    Time Travel : This tip is involves two ideas: learn how to dance on time and keep your steps/turns small. Why did I include both of these ideas in one tip? Well if you take smaller steps and travel less during turns you will increase the amount of time you have to complete your steps. From a leader’s point of view, we always appreciate someone who stays on time and doesn’t require us to lunge in order to give you a scoop.
    Dance in the Slot : While I could do an entire blog about this concept ( blog coming soon! ) dancing in the slot is a way for a couple and a group of dancers to stay in line with one another. Wikipedia puts dancing in the slot perfectly by saying:
    “As a rule, the leader mostly stays in the slot as well, leaving it only to give way for the follower to pass him. The leader almost never makes the follower to circle around when passing by. They may go into a common rotational figure when the follower happens to come close, but such figures are usually in a tight position and do not change the overall “slotted” appearance.” 
    So, what does this mean? Essentially when dancing you are at one of the ends of an imaginary slot/line. When you do any cross body move, you basically trade places and end up on the other side of said slot. This keeps the dancers in line with one another and allows for proper execution of moves.
    My tip for followers is to learn to execute traveling moves so that they move from one end of the imaginary dance line to the other, not diagonal from it or a few feet away from it. How to practice this? Purposely practice or dance keeping the lines of the tiles/wood on the dance floor in mind and use them as rules to dance on.  It is so hard as a leader to dance with someone who strays from the slot/line as you’re bound to bump into other dancers.
    Break Back (but not ALL the way back) : When doing break-back moves, please don’t allow for your arm to fully extend. First of all, it breaks the tension between two partners, Secondly, it takes longer to retract and could cause you to go off-time and Thirdly, you take up way more space on the dance floor. How far do you allow your arms to break back? Comfort is always key but I would only go as far back as to when you feel enough resistance  to complete the move. Trust me, bigger is not better in this situation.
    Well, I hope these tips have helped and would love to hear your comments/advice/concerns so feel free to comment away!
    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!