I'm maybe/probably not in the right body to write this comment (I have some experience in following of course but not much) but I hope some ladies can react, make this message more complete or correct and give us their opinion.

 

The goal of most of the ladies' styling in salsa seems to be to accentuate how beautiful and sexy you are and how good you feel about yourself and your own body. Of course in dancing in general (and even more so in shows) you are supposed to smile, have a good time and enjoy what you're doing but in salsa with these hundreds of moves (hands, hips, arms, hair, head, hips, feet, body rolls, shimmies, accents etc etc) it seems to be even more so.

 

Now, the thing is that unfortunately we do not always feel good, not every day, not every minute. Sometimes we're just tired, sometimes you feel fat, unattractive, tired, pale, unexpressive, ugly, uninteresting etc. But when you 'step into salsa' you have to put a completely different skin. When you dance salsa you have to feel confident, sexy, attractive, you need to be relaxed, smiling ... Another thing is that not every lady feels like getting so much attention or feels like acting so 'lady like' as salsa (at least salsa LA style) asks.

 

So what should these ladies do? Should the ladies who don't feel so 'lady like' just ignore all of styling? Should a lady when she's tired or when she doesn't feel well forget about any handstyling or hair accent?

 

I'd be tempted to think that on the contrary this being 'forced' to feel beautiful and sexy can be an excellent exercise for the ladies. By playing this game or by even believing in it completely she may gain more confidence in general.

 

Did you notice that at most of the ladies' styling classes one of the most important topics or messages that the teacher wants to pass through is 'how beautiful we all are'? It sometimes resembles (and i'm not saying that to ridiculise anyone) a self help group in which people auto convince themselves to be interesting or beautiful or intelligent. Well, I don't think it's a coincidence that the teachers (most of the time ladies themselves) want to pass this message through. As a dancer it makes a hell of a difference when you 'believe' in what you're doing, when you to 'dare' to dance, express yourself etc. One and the same move or styling can mean nothing when done without conviction or be very nice when do by a lady who 'feels' what she's doing.

 

So is it an act or is it real? I guess it's both. Or it depends on the day, the partner, the music. Acting is good too, as long as there is a minimum of conviction present. The thing is that this 'acting', this 'playing' often becomes reality. I've been dancing salsa long enough to know that it does some thing to you as a person. People often start dressing differently, guys start putting on a shirt every now and then after some time, ladies dress up. Wouldn't that have happened without salsa? Maybe it would have but I believe that in many cases salsa accelerates the process or makes it start.

 

It can even become a way to question your own femininity. A girl I knew 'from before salsa' told me some time ago that she wanted to start dancing because she felt she hadn't discovered her feminine part yet, or not well. I'm sure most of the ladies do not come to salsa with this objective in mind, but it can play a role in an unconscious way. Same things are true (but in another way) for men of course. Suddenly we need to lead, to know what we want :-). Suddenly we need to start reflecting on how we stand, on how we look or on what we wear ...

 

Conclusion? I don't know if I have a real conclusion for this text. Guess i wanted to point out the paradox that you can have at times in salsa. 'You have to like yourself' ... Yes, but what if you don't or not that much (or not today)? Well, salsa forces you and probably that is a good thing. It makes me think of this Polish colleague salsa teacher who told me that she asked the ladies to come to the classes dressed in a feminine way. It can be small but it has to be something. She said she had nothing against sports clothes or zumba kind of outfits but that for her salsa classes she didn't want these outfits. Obviously she does this to get her ladies in a 'lady' kind of mental state when they're coming to the classes ...

 

Just my 5 cents ... Let me know what your views are on this ... women, men, total beginners, experienced dancers, doesn't matter ...

 

Greetings,

Carl

 

 


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