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Introducing Salsa To Your Guy Friends

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Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: Introducing Salsa To Your Guy Friends Reply with quote

I don't know about you guys, but I find it hard to get any of my guy friends to try out salsa for the first time. I'd say I usually get 10%-15% success rate. But I'd say 75% of my female friends are willing to try it for the first time. Ever wonder why this is the case? I think when guys think of salsa, we usually think of people moving their hips and this isn't always that appealing for us, unless of course it's the girls who are doing it.

Does anyone have similar experiences?
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Joined: 15 Oct 2006
Posts: 45
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:37 pm    Post subject: Same here... Reply with quote

I think my hit rate is about the same. One in ten guys I try to introduce to salsa are brave enough to give it a try. I think I'd get the same kind of response for asking these guys to join me in wrestling alligators or skydiving. Is it really that scary?

I think for a lot of guys learning any kind of dance simply isn't high enough on their priority list.
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Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 207
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. I have been able to get a few of my female friends into salsa but my male friends pray that I do not approach them worried that I may try to "recruit" them. It is really funny at times.
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nina bambina

Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 46
Location: Downtown Toronto, ON

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:13 pm    Post subject: Getting guys hooked to salsa Reply with quote

It's true. Salsa in North America just doesn't seem to appeal to most men at first. Perhaps its a cultural thing? I know that in Latin America, EVERYONE dances. Men and women alike. And men aren't ashamed to say they can dance. Different story here. In North America, we seem to associate "dancing" to be an activity that is female dominated. Whatever the case, men seemed to be turned off by the stigma attached to "dancing."

However, once they start learning, I find more men than women stick to it. It may take more convincing to get a guy to learn salsa, but once they try it, they seem to like it and continue on.
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We don't have a dance culture in Canada and the U.S.A. Mexico is part of North America but they like to dance more (not salsa though). Although the African Canadian or African American communities like dancing, in general most people don't like to dance. Check out this funny website that describes this situation.

Of course, there are exceptions and there are so many people in various salsa schools in Toronto, but when you think about it, it is just a small percentage of all Torontonians or Canadians.

A lot of Canadians like to think they are more open minded and are less sexist and less macho than Latin Americans. But in Cuba, you can see two or three men dancing next each other doing steps and teaching each other in a nightclub and just enjoying the music for like 4 or 5 songs. You can't see that in Canada. If you dance alone in a salsa nightclub without a partner of the opposite sex, people think you can't get anyone to dance with you. If a woman or man dances alone in Canada, we automatically think that person needs a partner to dance salsa. We have to get away from the idea that salsa is only a partner dance. If you don't believe me, try to dance for a couple of songs by yourself in a nightclub in Toronto. If you are a woman, many men will take pity on you and ask you to dance (although you may have just wanted to dance alone). If you are a man, you will feel uncomfortable and kind of like a loser (the salsa society here makes feel that).

Interestingly enough, in Toronto, a lot of people who do not come from a British or European background are interested in salsa. And I think that is great. It is really interesting that some ethnic groups are more interested in some particular styles of dancing more than others. A lot of Chinese people are really interested in Ballroom, Dancesport or North American style salsa dancing. Many Italians and Spaniards like Cuban style dancing. In Japan, there is a growing interest in Cuban style dancing. Many Eastern Europeans love ballroom, but a few are interested in Cuban style. A lot of Latin people from Mexico, Central or South America living in Canada or the USA either 1) stick to how they dance in their countries (which means not being to dance with many advanced cross body dancers) or 2) give in and learn North American salsa dancing.
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Joined: 29 Feb 2008
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:19 pm    Post subject: introducing your gay friends to salsa Reply with quote

I have been away from Canada for a while. Does El Convento Rico, the gay Latin nightclub, still exist at College and Ossington? Why do none of the Toronto salsa websites mention this place? The last time I went there they played more salsa than at Babalus on a Saturday.

Has anyone gone to Labios near Bathurst and Bloor? you know the same place that had a McDonald's for many years. I know Con Cache was supposed to play there last Saturday. It is supposed to be gay too.

That's good question. I hope Toronto salseros are as tolerant about sexual orientation as other members of the community. How would you feel seeing two men (who are obviously gay and not just two guys practicing) dancing salsa at a nightclub?
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Joined: 01 Apr 2007
Posts: 121
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject: It's a guy thing Reply with quote

What's the deal, salsa people? I think (and this is just my opinion) that there is a general fear of dance amonst most men probably because it's too feminine for them or they have two left feet and no rhythm. Funny thing is it was one of my guy friends who introduced me to salsa years ago. I have tried to convince my guy friends but to no avail. It's not easy but there's always hope. Holla back at ya boy!
You knooow!
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Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:47 pm    Post subject: Guys - Salsa - Convento Rico And More Reply with quote

Convento Rico is listed on's events page. It's been posted for quite some time now. And their outrageous Saturday and Sunday nights with cross dressers and other genderblending antics are legendary. 'Rico used to have a pretty good Salsa Thursday too with Lazlo or Chico. But don't expect a union of the solitudes soon. There has been and for quite some time will be a gender divide regarding couple dancing - for preference and cultural reasons. Chaq 'un son gout.

Ba Ba Luu plays more of a 'house mix' on Friday and Saturday to pack the place with drinkers so they can pay the rent for Tues. and Wed. when the salsa people come out and the bar (read revenue) is very light. Economic necessity.

Labios is brand new and if you re-read your Grey's Anatomy - the book, not the TV show - you might see where the name comes from. Run by Colombians BTW, so the name is a Spanish take. Fridays has a Rumba (read latin and less salsa) night and Saturdays has what may be a regular Salsa night. If they make money, I imagine the salsa night will continue.

A lot of North American guys initially have trouble with Salsa or any partner dance because they have to learn the choreography - and the footwork of the dance... then lead it. That takes months, not minutes. Think back to when you were first learning salsa. You had to struggle to keep your feet on beat while leading a partner through a basic turn. It was tough eh? It took some time to get really good at it.

Any guy walking into Ba Ba Luu or even Toronto Salsa Practice for the very first time will be intimidated. And I've seen plenty wander in. On the other hand, a woman who can 'follow' and sort of stay on time can almost walk right off the street into Ba Ba Luu and be moving and doing basic turns in ten minutes, if the leader is really good. Big difference. If the guy cannot lead nothing happens. If the woman is a rough follow, a dance can still sort of happen.

That's probably why 'House Music,' R&B and Hip Hop are popular. The guys don't have to lead the woman through any choreography. They just hang out and shake it up - with or without a beer in their hand. They do not have to walk up and ask the woman to dance, as they often sidle beside a circle of women unbidden and 'join in.' Very different dynamic at work.

That said, even guys who grow up with music and dance in their houses can have trouble. It really depends on what dance the house knows when the little boy is growing up. I know one woman - fanatical salsa dancer, absolutely fearless - who started dating a Brazilian. The Brazilian knows samba, but what he knows isn't a partner dance. She took her Brazilian to a salsa night and he stood there like a deer caught in the headlamps. And and this guy was born into music and dance.

Think of dance as a language. The Latinos and Latinas from Central America can dance merengue and some of the Colombians can tear it up with Cali or breeze through with Cumbia. The Cubans move in circles or Casino (not rueda) to Cha Cha, Rumba and Salsa. If the dialect strays too far, then communication is lost. Try not to let your own dance become so rarefied that it becomes an undanceable dialect or a new language outside your own close circles.

Men by their nature want to learn everything instantly and be perfect. That is one barrier to learning a partner dance. The old WASP thing of dance not being encouraged is another barrier. Other cultures have their schticks too. East European folk and Celtic and Square dancing are all sort of partner dances, but there is no really complex lead-follow choreography to master. One can 'jump in' and after a few minutes muddle through, especially guys. I used to square dance in Quebec. Someone would fire up a fiddle and if another person knew a few calls, French or English it didn't matter. We were off and moving.

My male friends are intrigued when I say I dance salsa. They don't seem to think it is feminine thing to do. While it seems exotic to them, they have no burning desire to learn it, although they like to watch it. I suspect they are watching the girls.
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Joined: 08 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting topic, most guys do not know how to dance. It is mostly because they have not been exposed to it and it is not part of Canadian culture.

Last edited by rev on Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 15 Oct 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:09 am    Post subject: Dancing in school Reply with quote


You just sparked a thought in my head. Why isn't dance more a part of the Phys Ed curriculum in school? In Vancouver, I recall doing some square dancing and ballroom classes in elementary and high school. Is dancing part of any school program in Toronto?

For those of you who have seen "Mad Hot Ballroom" you'll agree that partner dancing for children teaches them a kind of respect for each other that youth today dearly need to compensation for MTV-based culture.

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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Mad Hot Ballroom Reply with quote

If most Canadians are not exposed to dancing, that means the culture doesn't expose them to it. I met many Cubans who don't like to dance or can't dance well, but they have seen it and perhaps they have some idea of the basic steps. It is hard to avoid not being in a dancing environment at school, in the neighbourhood, TV, and nightclubs. In Canada, I would say most people don't dance on a regular basis. So, of course, it is the culture.

I thought Mad Hot Ballroom was totally MTV, but I enjoyed it though. I laughed at the little kids. However, it was really disturbing to see Ballroom Merengue being taught to kids from the Dominican Republic. Merengue is from the Dominican Republic. Why couldn't they teach them how to dance in a more Dominican way, thereby teaching them something from their own culture? Maybe they thought Ballroom was more commercial or civilized than more African influenced Latin dancing. So, the way the documentary showed other cultures in a very stereotypical way which was very MTV for me.
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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Location: Downtown

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's true that dancing is totally not a Canadian cultural thing. I recently attended a house party for one of my coworkers who is Persian. I was surprised to see that as soon as everyone got together (even before drinks and food were served) EVERYONE was up and dancing. Men women, old young... it didn't matter.

With regards to getting guys to salsa dance, I don't know why it would be considered effeminate. Have you seen how hot the guys look while dancing?? And I know for a fact that a really awesome male dancer can make a woman swoon.
I think the thing about learning to dance is that it is a humbling experience and no one wants to look like a fool or feel embarassed because they don't know how to do it. Some of my guy friends have commented, "I don't want to go through the learning process of being a beginner....I just want to skip ahead and learn all of those crazy tricks and spins!"

Let's be honest...every great dancer has had to pay their dues on the dancefloor of being a wallflower and stepping on toes.
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