Dancing Salsa: Social Dancing vs Competing in Championships
Updated: Feb 22
I am noticing a new trend among some of the Salsa dancers and it is not good, I’m tellin’ ya. They are treating Salsa as a sport. No, I am not saying that they are being a good sport about it; I am saying that they are treating it literally like a sport. Sometimes, even like a blood sport. They will stop at nothing till they draw the first blood.
These so called dancers… the only thing that they do is: compete in the international Salsa competitions to win. While competing and challenging yourself are not bad things at all, but you must not forget that Salsa essentially is a social dance form. It is vibrant and is meant to be fun. It is really heartbreaking to see some of them losing track of what Salsa really is.
I danced with one of these “champions” last year, and he was an eager but a terrible social dancer who thought that he was real good at it. He had no control over space and he kinda used me as a missile to hit other dancers while dancing; and musically he was tone deaf. A tree would have been better than him tonally. His partner was no good either; she was not able to follow a simple right turn.
If you really want to be recognized a good dancer, winning competitions alone will not help. Most of us are not going to remember your competition choreo from 5 years ago. But, there are chances for people to remember the quality of your dancing and dancing with you socially longer than you can imagine. Yes, the good and the bad of it will be remembered. Here are my two cents.
I think that social dancing and preparing for competitions must be in the 8:2 ratio. More stress must be on social dancing.Take up social dancing seriously because your finesse will improve. You will become a better lead/follow(or both), develop a better sense of musicality, get better with timing… become a better dancer in general. Becoming a good dancer must be the long term goal than trying to become the winner of some XYZ Salsa championship.Executing a move in a choreo is like memorizing multiplication tables in school. You will just know that 9 x 6 = 54, but you will not know how you derived it. A move/ a combination that you did in your choreo will not be in your muscle memory, but social dancing does the exact opposite.You will learn to stop taking Salsa so seriously, like preparing for a school test and begin to have fun. For Pete’s sake, don’t you want to have fun?!?
© All textual copyrights of this article belongs to Thangasurabi Bright Raj.