About 5 years ago I stopped attending “Salsa socials”. I have a hard time to explain this to the people. I am not anti-social and I still feel like a social dancer, even though I spend a lot of time creating for the stage. The reason WHY I actually loved social dancing just don´t match anymore with what is happening at the moment. There is a deep cry in my soul because
“I miss the sensuality in the improvised leading and following situation.”
And I know that I am not the only one feeling this. I talked to many people about this, cause that is a true concern of mine. And I realized that there are some believe systems that are in the way of a true connection in movement in the context of social dance and especially in Salsa/Mambo
- People believe that Salsa is happy, while Bachata and Kizomba allow you to express deeper feelings like sadness or heaviness.
- They believe that if you wanna feel a sensual deep connection, Salsa or Mambo can not deliver that.
This leads to the reaction that that people leave to Bachata and/or Kizomba to find that feeling of a deep sensual connection again. Let´s do a bit of a flashback to the old times to explore why I believe these thoughts are a strong misconception and how we can move the development of the last decade toward the desire of sensuality.
When I started dancing, which is about 20 years ago, the perception of what mattered while dancing was more or less like this: You would see a small crowd on the dancefloor with satisfied faces, exploring each other in couples. Looking at each other, playing with each other. You would see two bodies moving in a common rhythm, testing, exploring and listening to each other. We had less repertoire but more sensuality and connection in my eyes. If you perceive that different it would not surprise me, cause you are you and I am me. I try to stay with my very personal perception and am always eager to hear yours. It´s also not about saying “everything was better in the past” but more about trying to construct something that allows us an eternal perception of desires.
Back then, we had the strong desire to go deeper into it, develop more repertoire and FILL UP the dance in order to feel more of what we already felt: connection and sensuality (sensuality= the perception with the human senses, such as feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting)
So we started to ask for more moves, forms and things, as we thought of that this would give us the chance to enter a wider universe of perception. The trend of “more is better” spread the entire scene and was a strong focus. Teachers started to teach a new endless long combinations every week and a few years later
“we find ourselves swimming on the superficial surface of a huge universe that we know nothing about!”
This lead to a situation in wich the focus on sensuality got lost and all that stayed was the experience of a new kick without substance, like casual sex that would not lead to any deeper connection to the people and their culture. This Tinder mentality has its rights and a kick of learning something new and exciting, can be great once in a while but if we base the entire experience on that we create a culture that looses its connection, deeper understanding and seems one-sided concerning the expression of a versatile emotional range. Then we think Salsa should be happy or fast and Bachata should be sexy and sensual and Kizomba should be intimate. Boom we arrived in the box! Then we end up in a class or social that only invites people to swim on the superficial surface of the culture, the people and themselves.
Cleaning the thoughts
Let´s talk about the assumption that you can reach the level of sensuality easier in a dance like Bachata or Kizomba. When I talk to people, they say:
- Bachata or Kizomba are physically easier.
- In slower or less physical complex dances they feel they can express easier and/or more immediate.
So I understand we live in a time of rush and effective behavior and just like in all other parts in life, they wanna reach the point FAST. But dance is not a part of this world, its a free space, a space with time, a space to perceive in consciousness, a space to express and to be truly sensual! And the REAL DEEP CONNECTION develops with time and consciousness. So instead of blaming the dance, here is what you can do to integrate sensuality into your dance life:
Don´t dance slow – learn slow
I always tell my students:
“A new movement is like a good friend, you need to spend time with them to get to know them. If you never meet them they won´t tell you their deepest secrets”
Spend time with what you already know and when you take a class, take a class that leads you through new experiences slow and with enough time to experience them intensly with ALL your senses no matter the level or dance style. Once you managed this and went deep into the understanding of your body, your expression, you will feel the sensuality in every speed. The search is a magical journey.
Now is the time
Sensuality happens when you are perceiving your body in the moment. When a dancer is saying “I feel it” she means:
“I can perceive how it feels when my body executes the movement”
The dancer is feeling the connections that are made from his or her body towards other things in space such as the connection between the muscles, the extremities, the floor, the music, the space around him or her, or other centers like: the partner. The minute you understand that it is about perceiving what is there, you realize: It is happening right now! No matter your level or technical ability, you are always sensual when you are perceiving with consciousness! This truth gives endless joy and deconstructs all borders between you and your expression.
Sensuality needs focus and time. You don´t reach a deep connection to anything in life in an instant view.
Accept that and be hungry for the deep!
Dive deep and finally notice that everything is already there and waiting for you to perceive and feel it. You free yourself from the need to fill your dance with more repertoire and allow yourself to do less with a deeper intensity. All the sudden you can feel yourself, your partner and all that is around you no matter the speed or the style. No dance needs to have a certain speed, adapt it to your personal conscious perception, let your true expression go and don´t limit to something that won´t express what you truly wanna express in this moment.
“Dance, no matter which dance. Salsa, Mambo, Bachata, Kizomba and realize that it´s still you dancing!”
Open yourself for deeper knowledge. More forms won´t make you feel more expressive, nor more sensual. They actually prevent you from feeling all of this if you don´t dive deep. Reducing the form or increasing the form both require to dive deep. Then this is where the culture of all these dances waits for you,where it wants to embrace you with its full sensual spirit.
I will go out this week to a social and can´t wait to dive deep with you
Thank you for reading