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following vs. dancing on time?

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Joined: 18 Mar 2010
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:32 pm    Post subject: following vs. dancing on time? Reply with quote

I have a question regarding a situation I faced when I was in on the dance floor a couple days ago. I was following a lead and noticed that he was dancing faster than the beat of the music.

I know that when leads are just learning salsa, they may dance slower to the music because they need more time to execute the figures. This is fine as I'd rather dance slower and have the move be executed correctly. I'm wondering, however, when the lead is executing the figures fine but is dancing too fast for the music. As a follow, should I 'follow' his timing or should I slow down my steps and dance on time?

Interested in hearing what the right thing would be to do in this situation.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Roadee,

As a leader, I make it a priority to dance on time. When I say "on time", I am referring to always stepping on the 1 and 5. If I am stepping on any other count, I am not dancing on time and thus I reset and make the adjustment before executing any complicated patterns.

I know some people who will tell me in a friendly manner (emphasis on "friendly") if i'm breaking on the wrong foot - as in mixing up the 1 and 5 counts, but technically still dancing "on rhythm". I am grateful for the correction as I would hate to find out later on how my timing was all over the place.

Now if the leader is completely missing the beat and is indeed speeding up, I wouldn't hesitate to make a suggestion mid-dance to slow it down a notch and get them to at least get back "on rhythm".

In the long run, IMHO, it will greatly help a dancer's progression if they are given honest feedback about their dancing rather than them not knowing and allowing a bad habit to develop further.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:11 pm    Post subject: Dancing on time Reply with quote


As a general rule I would say not to correct anybody unless you know them and are comfortable with them.

While some guys like Chris / Yannick are open to feedback, others are not and you never know who you're going to get.

It also makes the person feel self-conscious for the rest of the dance and can embarrass them.

So unless you know them and you know that they will welcome feedback then I wouldn't mention anything.

Good luck!
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Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been in situations where a follower was completely off beat. I don't know if I would advise her that she's off beat in the middle of the song. But it depends. If you know the person well enough, I would be polite and mention it. If I didn't know the person, I would probably not say anything. The last thing I want to do is tramatize the person that is learning. Let's look at it from a different perspective. As a leader, you should have that mindset of a leader. If you're partner who is following is completely off beat and throws you off, you can either do one of 2 things, stay on the same beat as your partner or ensure that you're on the right time. I've been in situations where once I know the person is off time, I immediately go back to basics and ensure that time is kept well. You can always make basic fun believe or not. Nothing is more enjoyable then dancing on time. Forget the complicated turn patterns. If you're into the complicated turns and not dancing on time, then the dance may be less enjoyable. Timing is not easy to keep up with. It takes practice...Remember your roots. Remember when you first started. But first and foremost, always have fun...

Just to get off topic slightly, I have a friend who's a pretty good dancer. She was asked by another person to dance bachata. When they started dancing, the guy would constantly correct her. "No don't do it that way, do it this way..." "Why are you bending your knees? You're not suppose to bend your knees"...If you tell me, that's kind of rude...The girl came back to me angry and upset. She was tramautized! "Never again am i gonna dance with him!" she says. Unfortunate situation...

DJ Duck
Rob aka DJ Duck
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