One Salsera's Opinion
by Naomi Komoda
posted June 6, 2006
This is just one salsera's opinion, but I'd like to share, especially
with the guys out there, what it is that I like and don't like when
it comes to dance partners. Aside from my preference for shorter men
due to my own petite stature, there are some other characteristics that
I consider highly desirable in men dancers.
1. Basic step first. I like a guy who takes a minute or two to just
dance the basic step with me. I like this because it gives me a chance
to get used to the way his body moves in general, how he moves or doesn't
move his hips, how he holds me around my shoulders, how big his step
is, etc. It also gives me a chance to feel like he's a person rather
than just a flip and turn machine. During this "basic intro",
there is still a lot that he can do e.g. move me around the floor, go
from side to side, switch from hand holding to the ballroom style hold,
etc. When he does finally go into turns, etc, a simple right and then
left turn is a good way to start. Then he can move "upwards"
to whatever tricks are up his sleeve. This is true even for guys that
I dance with regularly. The reason is that I might have just danced
with someone else and am used to their body rhythm. Or maybe I just
danced a bachata and now it's a merengue. It's always good to ease into
the next dance.
2. End with a flare. Just as I like a dance to begin slowly, I like
it to end with a flare... a dip, a double turn, anything special. It
gives me something to look forward to and it always puts a smile on
my face. It's a great way to end a dance, so if you're going to dip
or do something else special and you're only going to do it once, save
it for the end.
3. Move from the hips, not the feet. This is really hard to explain,
but some dancers move their hips and let their feet follow whereas other
guys just move their feet. The guys who move or lead from their hips
are much easier to follow. It's only those guys with whom I ever get
that sense of two bodies moving as one. If you're not sure what I'm
talking about, when you're at home, try dancing without moving your
feet. Keep them still and do an entire dance with your hips only. Then
when that feels comfortable, move your feet. You can also look at dancers
on the floor and you will definitely notice it if you look for it. The
"hip" dancers look smooth whereas the feet dancers look jerky.
4. Most importantly, I like guys who genuinely like to dance as a couple.
With some guys, I get the feeling that I'm just an attachment that they
put up with in order to be able to dance, and with other guys I feel
like they're competing with me and trying to trip me up or see if I
can keep up with them. I tend not to have fun with these guys for obvious
reasons. But, then there are the guys who generally are trying to make
this work out as a couple. They assess my strengths and limitations
and work with me. They're not afraid to make a mistake and then try
something over again. They realize that we're a team and that every
dance is a work in progress. They are gentlemen!
As for the tall guys out there: If you do happen to dance with me or
with other short/er women, there are definitely things you can do to
make it easier for us. For one thing, keep in mind that your arms are
really long compared to what is necessary to turn us, so take it slow
and easy. And, I notice that some of your taller guys have figured out
a way to sort of bend your knees and dance. That's always a nice touch
and makes it a lot easier to follow you. Thanks and happy dancing!
Hi Naomi Komoda. This is Cesar Wilson new
in Bloomington coming from Chicago. I have to say thanks you first for
what you wrote about the salseiros. I am a guy and I so understand that
some of the things you mentioned are true. Thanks for writing all this
true facts, maybe it will be a wake up call for the other salseiros in
Indiana and around the state to change to a better dancer or even leaders.
I hope dancing with you one of this days and see what you will say about
my dance skills. Thanks once again.
- Cesar Wilson
This is a great article that calls my attention
to details I didn't take in consideration before when dancing. It is important
to comunicate opinions so we can improve our dancing level not just by
practicing what we like but also what our partners expect from us. This
letter is one of the clearest and most instructive ones I've read. Gracias
- Jesus Hernsandez
Very well written Naomi. This article is
direct, honest, and informative. I admire the way you clearly address
major issues with finesse and eloquence. It felt very genuine. I especially
agree with point #4.
Best article I read
in here by far. Thanks for all that insight into how to make a salsera
truly enjoy a dance. I definitely apreciate every single point you made.
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