Getting Stomped out There?
to Nadine Knows
This is not a
question but rather a comment on the Salsa scene. I've noticed at some
of these clubs a lot of the guys are totally out of control. They are stomping
on your feet and swinging their partners into other people's dance space.
What's up with that? The thing that gets me is they actually think they're hot
stuff. Meanwhile, they're yanking their partnerís arms because they're so far
apart and can't even keep time with the music. Where are all the good dancers
who can keep time with the music while being subtle and smooth? I'm sure the
ladies would appreciate it.
You're right. Itís not just the guys doing the stomping, itís ladies, too. I
myself am guilty. Stomping happens in the salsa clubs. A great song
comes on, and everyone rushes to the floor. Observers will notice both the
skillful (along with some who are rude) dancers display
of MAKING SPACE where this IS NONE.
There's hardly a night that I can leave the club without having been bumped or
bruised. Last night, on my first dance, I got stomped on my right foot.
Then on my second dance, someone else got my on my left foot. Yowza! But
I sailed through the rest of the night free from stompage.
What's the solution?
Well, thereís always the
option of dancing near the back of the dance floor (the part of the floor
furthest from the entrance to the club tends to be the least crowded. I donít
know why people end up crowding the front of the club. Maybe club goers like
to dance where they can also keep an eye on their belongings. Or, perhaps they
want to dance where they can be seen. Or, maybe the song is SO good, that they
simply canít wait to make their way clear to the other end of the club and
MUST start the boogeying as soon as the toes hit the dance floor.)
But the best solution, is self-defense!
Be on guard while dancing.
If a couple next to me looks a little out of control, then I communicate this
to my partner. With my left hand on his back, I firmly signal (by
applying some pressure) that we should move slightly away from the couple.
With a good signal, heíll actually take a step in a safer direction and
actually check behind him to see what he just avoided. I would expect the same
of him. It is soooooooooooo nice to be dancing with a leader who really
looks out for his partner and does what he can to protect her from being hit.
Three more secret-Nadine-dancing tips to prevent being stepped on in a crowd:
1) Dance SMALL
Take smaller steps. Simple as that. If your foot isnít out in the open, then
thereís less of a chance that itíll be a target. Thereís also less of a
chance that your own heel will come down on another dancerís foot.
2) Play touch-defense
When I have a free hand and Iím doing a turn or cross body lead, I sometimes
use that hand to gently touch the back of the person who might run into me
since (s)he canít see that Iím coming his way. Itís sort of like when
playing one-on-one defense in basketball. You keep one hand on the guy youíre
guarding, and the other is free to do whatever (steal the ball, block his
shot, blah blah.)
3) Use your assets
Use your butt as a blocking device. If Iím dancing in a sardine-packed floor,
I take on a little more of a squat form. My back is still straight, but I
stick my butt out a little more. It provides a soft cushion for oncoming
traffic and saves my feet from many collisions. Besides, guys LOVE it when
women stick out their butts. (I wouldnít recommend doing the Ďsquat
style salsa stanceí if youíre doing a performance or in a salsa contest,
Despite this, if I still end up getting hit, or vice versa, if I still end up
bumping or stepping onto a nearby couple, then apologies should be exchanged.
I usually feel pretty bad if I accidentally hit someone, and I will make a
point of catching their eyes to say, "Sorry about that." I know how it
feels to be hit. It HURTS. Dance at your own risk. (I gotta say the risk
is worth it!)
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