Latin Dance Life #8 is brought to you by a dancer from Australia named Mick. He gives his opinions on dance etiquette and how you can avoid being a ‘salsa dancing donkey’.
After enjoying a recent Latin Dance Community article which featured a list of a spot-on salsero’s thoughts, I began thinking of my own list. Many contributors bend over backwards to be reasonable, reassuring and politically embracing, but that’s not opinionated me. So here’s my ‘Are you a salsa-dancing donkey?’ list with a few hints along the way for a swift redemption.
1. If a song has partially played and the dancers are settled on a tight floor, don’t enter the race late and crowd everyone. Just wait until the next song.
2. When the song finishes, say thank you and leave promptly. The next song has started and partners need a quick transition. Salsa songs have distinct parts, including introductions, and we need to dance them.
3. Want to get to the other side of the dance floor? Under no circumstances barge through. Sneak cautiously around the edge. Social salsa is random, elbows scar, and stiletto heels pierce.
4. If you ever walk across a dance floor with a drink glass in your hand, even your mother will unfriend you on Facebook.
5. Are you an old man? The young lady dancing with you is being reminded of her grandfather. That’s her only thought.
6. You’re an amazing salsa dancer, right? Video yourself dancing socially. Watch it privately. Only the top 5% of the world’s salseros are amazing, and they are the first to get back to basics.
7. Did you realise that salsa is danced to complex music? Do you refuse to allow a musical break, guaguancó or descarga spoil a great linear turn-pattern? No need to answer the first question.
8. Is your latest amateur-dance competition result and stage performance rushed on to Facebook? Some might suggest that self worth comes from within.
9. That funky floppy top that billows from your elbow to your waist makes partner dancing impossible. Your lovely hair is the only flowing thing that leads admire.
10. Is the little black dress so short that you can only spare one hand for your partner? Rethink the wardrobe, you don’t want to catch a cold.
11. If you wish to chat with your besties, please leave the dance-floor edge so that salseros asking for a dance don’t get the death stare for interrupting a crucial conversation.
12. You can’t dance with me because you have just suffered an injury? Um, is that handsome dude, who just got a different answer, a doctor or a physio?
13. If you must have your smart phone in your face all night, don’t come.
14. Promoters. Please, if you call your event a Salsa something, salsa dancers will come. Don’t then play half bachata; that is a Latin event. Oddly, many salsa dancers like to dance salsa.
15. DJs, hello team. Many of you don’t dance, some do. To finish a song, dancers don’t fade, they like to dip or flourish. Just saying . . .
16. Bar owners of the world unite and understand that salsa dancers drink mostly water. Charge a door fee if you want a profit. Give your bar staff a water-chiller and the night off to dance.
17. People who can’t afford dance shoes but generously throw talcum powder all over the floor, take note. If I break my neck, I will seek yours.
18. And finally, a shout out to dance professionals who implore students to ask them for a social dance later as they never say no. Well, some may have been denied by you previously. Don’t confirm what was suspected all along . . .
No one really wants to be called a donkey. But those on the list, don’t despair. Donkeys look very cute, and the occasional one can even be trained.