The LAI is proud to featuring an article by our fellow dancer, Mr. David Polon. We will now be featuring articles from the popular Facebook Forum “If I could change one thing”
As many of you know, I’ve been away from the Salsa scene for a while due to a really annoying condition that I will now be referring to as “Lame Disease”. So the rants have been a lot less frequent due to lack of inspiration. So this one is a conglomeration of 3 or 4 rough drafts I’d been working on pre-Lame Disease. Let the chastising begin!
PART 1: No mercy for the Beginners
It’s ok my newbies, novices, and beginners. I’m not going to talk about your ability to dance. “Ability” is often merely a product of time spent dancing. The more hours you clock on the dancefloor the better you will be.
Which brings me to the rant…
I cannot begin to tell you how often I hear beginners complaining that they aren’t improving as fast as they want to. Most say it’s because no one asks them to dance, or that they don’t want to ask others to dance because they aren’t experienced and bla bla blabbity bla.
Look. I know this is curt, but if you want to get good quickly, you need to dance more often. (PS, this is not true for intermediate or advanced dancers. Your rant is later.)
Beginners, when you go out to a Salsa place, here’s whatcha gotta do:
1. Say yes to everyone that asks you to dance.
2. Say no to a third dance with the same person (worse than being a wallflower is only allowing one person to dance with you).
3. Do NOT expect anyone to ask YOU to dance (the exception, of course, being for really hot chicks with big boobs).
4. Lastly, be nice. Smile a lot. Look people in the eye and if you’re chillin’ on the sidelines next to someone you don’t know, fucking say hello and introduce yourself! Have a conversation. That is allowed ya’ know.
Now let’s talk about a couple things that should just be common sense (but then again, I find “common sense” to be remarkably uncommon these days).
1. Leaders, for the love of all that is holy, STOP trying to do a move if it isn’t working!
I heard once that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Let an old sage give you a tip. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. Just because you could do that move with one girl does NOT mean it’ll work with all girls.
2. Followers, you can’t assume that if you can follow one Leader really well, that anytime you have a bad dance it must be the Leader’s fault. Yes, you did great dancing with me, but that’s like the “easy setting”. A good Leader will always be able to make ANY Follower feel great, regardless of her ability level. (self-pat on the back)
3. This last one is for both Leaders and Followers.
For God’s sake STOP BACKING UP! I’ve seen it a million times. I think it must sewn into our DNA somewhere to do it. For some unexplained reason, inexperienced Salsa dancers will always do a 3-4-step shuffle backward thing during the dance. This is like backing out of parking space without looking behind you. There are people back there!! When you are on the social dancefloor you are dancing with your partner AND EVERYONE ELSE AROUND YOU.
PART 2: No love for the Phonies
I’ve always said that every dance should be special, and personal. I’m not saying that Leaders should lead different moves for different Followers. If you have a limited arsenal of ‘moves’ feel free to use them over and over. What I’m suggesting is that you tailor HOW you use them. There are quite a few examples I could share but I’m just gonna give you my favorite…
Be real. Dance real.
Don’t be a Salsa phony. Be yourself out there. Don’t feign sensuality or some ‘Salsa persona’ that isn’t the normal you.
Take me for example. I have no idea how to dance sexy. I can’t do it. If you’ve ever seen me do something sexy in a dance, I assure you, it was an accident. So I just don’t even try it. Ya’ know what I do really well though..? Goofy.
(That’s right ladies. Mr. tall, dark, and goofy is in the house. Waddup
Embrace the true ‘you’. If you are a dude who loves wearing right T-shirts and you’re a flirt or “ladies man”, then go ahead and show that Follower how outwardly sexy you are. But if you’re more of the nice-guy type, don’t try to fake being something you’re not. This is ESPECIALLY true about sensuality.
Faking sensuality with a partner (i.e. using sensual moves without any actual, mutual, sensual feelings behind it) is retarded. It looks bad, feels bad, sounds bad, get close enough and I’m sure it smells bad.
Save it for someone you actually share sexual chemistry with. How do you know if the chemistry is mutual? Well, if you have to ask… it isn’t.
Be real. Dance real.
PART 3: No pity for the Stubborn
My wisdom is not new or revolutionary is any way. “Be yourself” is a cliché for a reason. It works. “But Old-Man Polon, HOW do I ‘be myself’??”
Ahhh young grasshopper, therein lies your challenge. The answer is different for each of us and cannot be taught; only sought.
Should you choose to ignore my words and decide to try on different personalities when you dance, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t yield the results you’d hoped for. I’ve been around a while, seen a lot of people come and go from Salsa communities, and seen dancers come in green and bust their butts to become great. In all that time I have never seen someone that feigned a personality alien to their true self, meet anything other than disappointment in the long run.
Again, you can do what you want, but I only hope my words will ring in your ears or echo in the back of your mind. If you want to be great on the dancefloor; if you want to FEEL great on the dancefloor…
Be real. Dance real.
Think about it. I’m totally right.