I have talked to dancers from around the world and at all levels I can assure you that very few will disagree with the following statement: “I would prefer dancing with a beginner with very few moves but a nice quality about their dancing rather than a well-trained dancer with loads of vocabulary but no quality”. This begs the question why is there no Salsa Quality classes? Why are we focused on more and more content as opposed to less content and doing it well?
In this article I am going to talk about some perceptions within Salsa as well as the consequences of quality in your dancing.
What is Quality?
My personal definition of quality in Salsa is:
Quality is seen as the degree at which one has understood, mastered and can express an intended movement(s).
Consequences of the lack of quality
Stagnation – A lack of quality is one of the primary causes for dancers’ stagnation. This is especially evident when dancers have a lack of quality in their fundamentals as it makes most material more challenging or sometimes seeming impossible.
Insecurities – I have seen dancers spend years of learning material but still feel insecure and I believe that lack of quality is the cause of this. If you understand your material, mastered how to apply this to your own body, and then learn to project this you would not have this problem. I have often said that if you master the intermediate level moves and have a good quality about your dancing you would feel comfortable dancing with anyone.
Negativity – I have seen a lot of negativity born out of a lack of quality. To give an example I have seen dancers refuse to dance with people because they could not follow, or a follower not wanting to dance with a guy because he cannot lead spins correctly. Knowing some material is not about just execution but the quality of the execution.
Working on Quality
Master the Basics – Every time I work with experienced dancers the first thing we do is work on the basics. I have written about this previously but the idea will be to focus on becoming a holistic dancer and working on understanding music, your own movements and your partner’s movements.
Master your Own Moves – Whatever you are learning, master it. In this YouTube generation we see a lot and believe that we can replicate it but really mastering material takes time and dedication. Always spend time on everything you learn no matter how small or big.
Focus on your Partner – Your dance partners are the ultimate mirror for you as a social dancer. Always focus on how your dancing is perceived by your partner.
The Salsa scene is extremely generous and forgiving when it comes to quality; with very little quality but a friendly smile you will still get dances all night long. But for those that want to stretch themselves or take Salsa as a profession then the question of quality becomes paramount.
At the higher level of Salsa, I have heard a lot of people talk and complain about why people do not dance with each other, or that you have to become friends to get a dance. I promise you that if you work on the quality of your dance than people of all levels will enjoy dancing with you as quality is a rare sight in Salsa these days.