Dancing Tonight? Be On Time
By Stephen Choo Quan
I have had a many questions lately about how many new dance leads can be a great leads on the dance floor. I have given this question much thought and decided to give it a response. It is a well known fact that if we do reveal these secrets that you will get many text messages of invitations to come dance, many people will be asking you where are you are dancing tonight and you will have dozens of follows queued up to dance with you. I must admit that if you are dancing for 2 weeks and you think that after reading this article all of the following will happen to you, well that will not happen, at least not today, maybe someday but not today.
We constantly have that you have to be a good lead but what exactly does a good lead mean? I was at Brazils late one Wednesday night when I was dancing with a lady that we will leave as nameless when I realized that I was being observed by Sonya Elmore and Amber Rawls. I did want to put on a good show so I was thinking of every combination that I could recall so I could impress this small local all-star audience while making my dance partner look good. I thought I was doing a good job as both Sonya and Amber had 5 fingers in the air as if they were giving me a “Hi-five” but to my embarrassment it was “You are on the 5” they were telling me in their subtle way. I felt very lost at that moment because after dancing for 1 year I thought I could at least hear the music but I was wrong. Let’s unpack this story a bit because the code of a good lead is buried in it. Timing is the number 1 indicator to a follow that distinguishes between a beginner, intermediate, advanced or instructor level dancer.
I went on a quest to get deep insight into the music and better timing. I met with a musician named Stephen Tirpak who unraveled the mystery of the music and took me deep into the Salsa. He explained the difference between being lost with the music, conscious counting and feeling the music. Mr Tirpak then peeled the music in an onion layers like fashion to display the notes of the conga, timbales, cowbell, bass, horns and piano and then put all the music back together. He was able to show how to dance on1 and dance on2 equally as easy. Stephen decomposed the clave to show the differences between the 2-3 clave and the 3-2 clave. I guess if you really want to taste what I am talking about then you should pick up a copy of his CD deep in the salsa. “Don’t reinforce the bad habit of dancing off beat” would laugh Stephen Tirpak. Show new and experienced dancers ladies alike you know your 1’s and 2’s, keep them on beat, even when they may fall off and that would make you an immediate great lead.