3 comments on “The Ultimate Latin Dance FAQ

  1. Loved this post … examples of the different dance styles, the analogy of music being what feelings sound like and dance being what feelings look like. Also that dancing is a modified form of walking … NEVER thought of it that way before 🙂

  2. Hey dhruvbhoot,
    I read your and Richie Kirwin’s post about the Blah dancers.
    I would like to add something to this post that may aggrevate many. Somehow people in salsa expect from good dancers to dance with everybody. If not they call them salsa snobs and various disrespectuf names. This is kinda ridiculous and needs to stop. Good dancer means a person that he/she has paid and took classes for many years, advanced at a certain pace and after that he/she reached at a respectful dancing level. People become good at dancing the same way that people become good at tennis, basketball, fishing, climbing etc. In the majority of the sports there are skill levels and people are trying to be matched at their level in order to have a good game. Nobody expects from great tennis players to have to play tennis with rookies. Why would they? They want to have fun right? and they are having fun playing with people at a similar level. “Hey Agassi, don’t be such a snob and come play a match with me man… How else will I learn?”
    Same with salsa. Good dancers want to have good dances and enjoy their time. They are not being snob, it’s their hobby/sport and they will enjoy and keep going out to socials if they have fun. It’s kinda silly to expect from a good dancer to tone it down few notches so you look and feel good on the dance floor. Kinda selfish right? “Hey good dancer, you have to suck it up, not have fun, look “ugly” doing the same move over and over just because I want to dance with a top level dancer to “learn” and “show off””. You wanna learn? Get a mirror, focus on your mistakes, practice over and over and learn during class. You don’t have time? It’s your problem not theirs. Social dancing should be fun for everyone. Stick to your level at a social setting. Be fair. It is not the best place to advance. it’s a good place to practice and refine what you have learned so far.

    • Hi DonK,

      Thanks for the comment. You have a very interesting point. Naturally, no one is required to dance with anyone and you (or anyone else) always have the right to refuse a dance for any reason. There’s a lot of truth in what you say. It seems like you take your dancing seriously, which is great. Yet me ask this: Is dancing at the WLDC (World Latin Dance Cup) is the same as dancing at your local club?

      It doesn’t take much to notice that they are not the same. One is a competition and the other is not; one is like going to the Olympics and the other is like spending the afternoon at the beach. I agree with you completely when you say people go out dancing to enjoy themselves. However, if we want to go out dancing to enjoy ourselves (which we do), I believe we are also responsible for maintaining an atmosphere and environment conducive to having fun. Using your own analogy, this would translate to something like good sportsmanship. In most dance communities, certain individuals take on this responsibility more than others. In my experience, these people do it because they have a sincere desire to share the historical, cultural, and social legacy of the art form as well as their passion. Without these key community leaders (who could be performers, organizers, teachers, musicians, Deejays, and hey — even writers) the scene falls apart.

      If we think of a dance community as an organism, then a BAH (Basic And Happy) dancer is kind of like a leech. They suck up social benefits without ever appreciating the art form or giving back to the community. If an organism gets too many parasites on it, the organism will eventually die. On the other hand, non-BAH dancers are more like seedlings in a forest. When that seedling gets a certain amount of resources it can grow into a productive member of the ecosystem. It can then create other seedlings which may one day turn into grand redwoods. Does all this allegorical language make sense? I think it’s great that you seem to work hard to be a good dancer. I definitely want you to have a good time when you go out. At the same time, I’d ask that as you improve, you should find a way to give back to your community in a way that suits you personally.

      Andre Agassi is actually a great example of someone who was at the top of his game and also gave back to his community. Agassi was one of the greatest tennis players in all of history. He, almost single handed, renewed and revitalized interest in tennis through his personality, charisma, and creative game play. He’s also heavily involved in his local city helping people (especially kids) reach their athletic and academic potential. Agassi has a long list of philanthropic activities not just in his hometown of Las Vegas but all over the place. Why does he do it? We can’t be 100% sure without asking him but my guess is he feels a sense of stewardship towards his community. If we can dance the way Agassi plays tennis, then surely we shouldn’t we also be just as strong contributors to our own dance community?

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