Recently there has been an up surge of on2 in the city of Philadelphia and the environs.  This brings the question “Does Dancing on2 make you a better dancer?”  This is not a new question but I wanted to put my spin on it having been exposed to the two styles of dance.  For anyone new to this topic, let just define Salsa as breaking on the 1 beat hence called on1 and On2 breaking on the 2 beat.  This is commonly called Mambo or NY Style.

The short answer is YES but not for the reason that you think.  When I say this, it does not stem from the ego or a preference for any of the dance styles being superior to the other.  Dancing requires two major types of intelligence: Musical intelligence and Physical Intelligence.  Being able to dance on2 assuming you can already dance on1 will make you a better dancer.  You will increase your musical intelligence to know how to find the one beat or the two beat.  Also you will at the same time coordinate your body to change the rhythm of the mambo style and increase your body control.  At first it is very uncomfortable as you move down a level in your status.  If you are an advance on1 dancer then you will become at best an intermediate on2 dancer.  The reason being is that there will be conscious counting in your musicality and then there are also re-mapping turn patterns as you dance in the alternate style.  The result of this process is a lot like typing on a keyboard.  At first you are slower than the one finger jabbers but over time you become faster than them.  In the long run you become a better dancer in your music recognition and control of your body than anyone who just dances one style.  For all those mono style dancers stretch your capacity.  It is a shame to dance with a great on2 dancer then the song changes; your musical intelligence kicks in.  You recognize it is a strong salsa and they are stuck on2 not able to dance on1.  Who is really the better dancer?

Stephen Choo Quan