Over the past few weeks in the Repertoire class, we’ve worked on some choreographies that have interesting elements. There was the “pizza turn” with an elbow block push-down, a blind spot turn with the lead hand stopping on the back of the leader’s neck, some shifting from rail to rail on the slot, and others. As part of a specific choreography, we learn the flow of these moves in their “proper” context, connecting one choreographed element to the next.
However, salsa social dancing “in the wild” is more than executing sets of choreographies. As I had written some time ago, I really don’t intend for my students to replicate all the moves we learn in class element for element. In other words, in your social dancing, you don’t have to get the pattern “right.” In fact, not all patterns suit all music.
In class, you may have heard me say that we dance what the music tells us to dance. The music might suggest to dance more staccato or sharp, or it may tell us to dance more smoothly and romantically. It may suggest quicker motion or it may insist on flow. This aspect of musicality develops with experience and listening to a lot of music. Ultimately, we want to match our own moves to those suggested by the music in a way that complements our partner.
Each of the choreographed patterns I introduce in class is comprised of a number of elements, some of which are relatively common, foundational moves, and some of which are interesting variations derived from foundational moves. Each element, in other words, offers an idea that can be applied in numerous contexts. Each idea can be combined with other ideas to create a choreography that becomes uniquely “yours.” As your personal repertoire of idea elements grows, you can combine them in a variety of ways to suit both the music and your partner.
This week in the Repertoire class, we will borrow several ideas from prior choreographies and combine them in a new way to create a whole new effect in this week’s pattern that is fun, playful, and a little bit different than what you might expect. After all, one good idea deserves another.
See you on the dance floor.