Dancing or Performing???????
Its amazing to me how many people don't know how to relax and "just dance". Maybe its just me, but there is a certain driving element in salsa, a certain "bottom", that really strikes at your soul and excites other body parts to move in a very rhythmic, sensual manner. I love seeing couples at parties grooving together to a real nice salsa song; man, they look good and you can see and sense the enjoyment that they are having. In most instances, they're just doing front, back, and side basics - with a few turns thrown in to break the monotony - nothing spectacular or acrobatic. Just grooving together to the music, nothing more....nothing less.
Man, this seems like such a simple concept. Listen to the music, find a beat that moves you, and simply groove with your partner. Unfortunately, this seems to be so non-existent in most of the salsa venues that I attend. Perhaps its from attending too many classes from too many different instructors, but dancers are learning how to "perform" and not learning how to dance. Hey, I know you've seen it. Folks doing all kinds of acrobatic flips, spins, and dips; making strange looking hand, arm and finger movements; striking hilarious poses midway through a step. Though its still funny, one can accept this if watching someone dancing on a stage wearing those kinds of clothes that performers tend to wear. You know, the loud rhinestone pimp shirts that are tightly fitted and unopened down to the navel; and we used to wonder where all of Ron O'Neal's clothing went (remember SuperFly). And my women dancers with the -putting it gently - "working girl's walk" (or as we used to say in the hood, "hoe's strut"). Anyway, this is what today's salsa seems to have evolved into. Maybe this explains why some of us get intimidated at times in salsa clubs. Just maybe, we go out expecting to dance, have fun and enjoy ourselves with like-minded people, only to find ourselves surrounded by aspiring salsa performers that made a left turn when they should have turned right....that missed the exit to the theater or studio and found themselves in the salsa club instead. Yes, that can be intimidating and overwhelming. And for those of us who do accept the challenge and try to dance anyway, there is nothing more frustrating than dancing with someone who is "performing".
As a dancer, all I want is authencity, REALNESS! As we (or you) step out there into the salsa world, "look before you leap". Walk into the club and spend a few minutes watching the dancers...watching their gestures and antics, but more importantly, watching their interaction with their partner and their interaction with the music. Look at their movements, look at their eyes......you can honestly tell who's dancing and who's performing. Anyway, after checking out the dancers and their groove, find someone who's groove matches yours and "get it on". If everyone there is performing, hey, grab a seat, buy a brew, get your laugh on and enjoy the performances.
Most importantly though, don't confuse "performing" with dancing and grooving. While I'm sure that they can probably "out-perform" you, I'm equally sure of the fact that they can't "out-groove" you (smile).