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Nadine KnowsÖ    

Getting Stomped out There?

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This is not a question but rather a comment on the Salsa scene.  I've noticed at some of these clubs a lot of the guys are totally out of control. They are stomping on your feet and swinging their partners into other people's dance space. What's up with that? The thing that gets me is they actually think they're hot stuff. Meanwhile, they're yanking their partnerís arms because they're so far apart and can't even keep time with the music. Where are all the good dancers who can keep time with the music while being subtle and smooth? I'm sure the ladies would appreciate it.




Hey Stomped,

You're right. Itís not just the guys doing the stomping, itís ladies, too. I myself am guilty. Stomping happens in the salsa clubs.  A great song comes on, and everyone rushes to the floor. Observers will notice both the skillful (along with some who are rude) dancers display the ART of MAKING SPACE where this IS NONE. There's hardly a night that I can leave the club without having been bumped or bruised.  Last night, on my first dance, I got stomped on my right foot. Then on my second dance, someone else got my on my left foot.  Yowza! But I sailed through the rest of the night free from stompage.


What's the solution?


Well, thereís always the option of dancing near the back of the dance floor (the part of the floor furthest from the entrance to the club tends to be the least crowded. I donít know why people end up crowding the front of the club. Maybe club goers like to dance where they can also keep an eye on their belongings. Or, perhaps they want to dance where they can be seen. Or, maybe the song is SO good, that they simply canít wait to make their way clear to the other end of the club and MUST start the boogeying as soon as the toes hit the dance floor.)


But the best solution, is self-defense!


Be on guard while dancing.


If a couple next to me looks a little out of control, then I communicate this to my partner.  With my left hand on his back, I firmly signal (by applying some pressure) that we should move slightly away from the couple.  With a good signal, heíll actually take a step in a safer direction and actually check behind him to see what he just avoided. I would expect the same of him.  It is soooooooooooo nice to be dancing with a leader who really looks out for his partner and does what he can to protect her from being hit.


Three more secret-Nadine-dancing tips to prevent being stepped on in a crowd:

1)      Dance SMALL

Take smaller steps. Simple as that. If your foot isnít out in the open, then thereís less of a chance that itíll be a target.  Thereís also less of a chance that your own heel will come down on another dancerís foot.


2)      Play touch-defense

When I have a free hand and Iím doing a turn or cross body lead, I sometimes use that hand to gently touch the back of the person who might run into me since (s)he canít see that Iím coming his way.  Itís sort of like when playing one-on-one defense in basketball. You keep one hand on the guy youíre guarding, and the other is free to do whatever (steal the ball, block his shot, blah blah.) 


3)      Use your assets

Use your butt as a blocking device. If Iím dancing in a sardine-packed floor, I take on a little more of a squat form. My back is still straight, but I stick my butt out a little more.  It provides a soft cushion for oncoming traffic and saves my feet from many collisions. Besides, guys LOVE it when women stick out their butts.  (I wouldnít recommend doing the Ďsquat style salsa stanceí if youíre doing a performance or in a salsa contest, though.)


Despite this, if I still end up getting hit, or vice versa, if I still end up bumping or stepping onto a nearby couple, then apologies should be exchanged. I usually feel pretty bad if I accidentally hit someone, and I will make a point of catching their eyes to say, "Sorry about that."  I know how it feels to be hit. It HURTS.  Dance at your own risk. (I gotta say the risk is worth it!)







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