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MSSS dancing club

These are the articles written by our committee members



Pick the right person for our club

In order to replenish some fresh blood into the advanced class of our MSSS
Dancing Club, we carried on a recruitment talk on our campus recently.

What’s the most important issue we should focus on in this activity? The
answer is making clear what kinds of quality we need from our fresh members,
It is the top priority compared with attracting more people, getting
enough applicants and making every new potential member happy. In another
words, first of all, we should think about what kinds of people we need in
our mind. In our club, we don’t need too many members especially for our
advanced class. So we need to select the right person for our club. During
our start-up stage, we did set our target as spreading the happiness by
dancing and music. Probably some people regard our club as a professional
dancing club, but we are not that kind. Actually we purely pursue the
happiness from the dancing and music and we don’t want to win any
competition which will give too much pressure to us. On the other hand, we
definitely support our members to improve their skills which can help us get
more fun. However, if you focus on the skills so much that interrupts the
interest of the whole group, perhaps you are not suitable for our club.

Next I will point out what kinds of personal characteristics match our
requirement.

First of all, we want to find the kind of people enjoying actively sharing
his/her experience with other members. In our club, everything is almost
for free such as free beginner class, free advanced class, free practice chance
and so on. Being our club members you will be entitled to all these rights
and to be taught by our senior members for free. After you learn everything
you want, it’s the time for you to devote to teaching the others who join
our club later than you. So the most desired personality for our club is
selflessness, otherwise we can’t ensure the club will survive for a long
time.

Secondly, we need the people who will take the responsibility for the job
assigned by our club. Every advanced member will take charge of one part of
our operation. Every part has the unique function which can’t be replaced by
others. For example, the function of booking the place to practice is to
guarantee that every week we have the regular place to have our lessons or
performance practice. In UST, if you forget to do so, you definitely can’t
find an alternative place based on the resource limitation. From this
example, we can learn that our club is like a machine composed of many components
interacting with each other.

The third one I want to mention here is true love for dancing and music.
This is a born aptitude I think. We can’t oblige a person to dance.
Typically if you really have no interest in something, mostly you will give
it up sooner or later. By contrast, if you love to do something, you will
find every chance to realize your dream. It is the motivation which comes
from your heart directly. That kind of energy can support you to go through
the tough time when you practice so much but without any obvious
improvement. To grasp any technique you must put so much time and
effort in it especially at the beginning of your learning process. When you feel frustrated, you must hold on a second, otherwise
you can’t achieve any accomplishment.

Besides, it’s better if you are easy-going, nice and patient. Hopefully more
and more right people can join our club and enjoy the time in our club. Our
club is just like a family which will teach you something and also need your
commitment.

By Alex 2007.10.15

A Pretty
funny but accurate diagram Describing the development of Latin dancing technique

14 Oct 2007

Collected by Matthew

When I Step Down the Stage

When stepping down the stage, I do realize
that I made it at last. For around four months learning and practicing, I kept
asking myself the same question could you get salsa, were you aware of her. Unfortunately,
still wondering the nature of salsa, however, I do feel her exists now.

I don’t know where I got so many enthusiasm
and courage to keep on practicing salsa, probably when firstly seeing Mark
danced salsa at a video; I was filled with admiration and passion. It does
happen sometimes, the charming pattern and the Latin music always hovering in
my mind. Since then, I attended all the salsa classes and all the salsa party
held by the club. Gradually, all of us became good friends and also I was accepted
as an Advanced Member of the club. It was just two months after I got in touch
with salsa, I was appointed to give a salsa show. That was really a nervous and
exciting experience, actually, was not successful at all. Kris and I made a lot
of mistakes in our salsa routine, and I was just simply completing all the
steps step by step without any Latin music rhythm and any salsa dancing
feelings. In spite of the first loss, I kept on practicing and began to pay
more attention to the stuff beyond basic steps.

Week by week, we gathered and practiced. So
many Sunday nights we spent together, but really it was the most happy and valuable
times in my leisure time. Thanks to all of the friends, I made a big progress.
And, the second time, I stepped up the stage and gave a show. It
turned out to be a big success this time, finally.

So, as a learner and fan of salsa, I wanna
say that JOIN US, LET US REPRESENT CUBA!

By Luke Lu 2007.6.25

Comments from committee members 2007.6.25

Thx very much for your hard work in this week. Eventually we have a very
wonderful show today. I think all the team member be proud of today’s
performance and our team. Hopefully we can enjoy the salsa arts more and more in
the future. Thx again

By Alex Fei

hi, Everybody, so nice to dance together with you guys. It’s my best
experience ever.

By Ting Ting

It IS certainly a wonderful experience to me. I couldn’t imagine a year ago
that we could someday put on a show like this.

Keep up the practice and have fun!

By Mark Wang

It is lucky for me to meet you guys. Salsa really makes my life
wonderful. Thanks for all of you. And I agree that we should keep on
practicing.

By Luke

I did enjoy the time with you friends, lucky me!

By Kris Pan

Really wonderful to have such a great time with all of you! It’s even more
memorable than the QE for me. 😛 Cannot wait for the next gathering! 😀

By Westing

The Feelings of Teaching Salsa

As the end of the semester coming, our salsa beginner’s class is also going to end. Now I would like to write an article as the conclusion of teaching in our first salsa semester.

Let’s begin with our first class which happened in the last semester. Mark wanted me to do the teaching for one class instead of him. I accepted the job. Okay, I admit I am a little bit nervous. Not only for teaching have itself, but also I had no confidence with my salsa. As a postgraduate student teaching is our basic skill to survive in the campus but now the situation is totally different. “Can I teach a kind of dance which I have only learned about 6 months and just practiced once every week?” I asked myself several times before I accepted the offer. No pain no gain, everyone know these words. After roughly 6 months which is my whole teaching career, now I must thank Mark who gave me this great chance to teach some exciting and meaningful stuff to people who really have interest in dancing. I can’t say I am a good instructor, but I can say I can teach someone who know nothing before our training to be a pretty good dancer in 6 weeks. In a word, I love this job now.

I just expressed lots of my feelings about teaching. How do I prepare the lesson? How do I control the training process?

Every week I will prepare the contents of the coming lesson. During the preparation time, Mark and I will get together to discuss the steps and routines and to decide which ones are suitable to this lesson and we will try to figure out more understandable way to represent the key points of the new step and make them easy to learn. After the paper work the following is practice. Cynthia and I spend 2-3 hours of every weekend familiarizing ourselves with all the materials including the steps and routines. In the second teaching cycle based on the previous teaching experience, Cynthia made further revision to the syllabus, designed more practice routines and gave some constructive suggestions to make our teaching more comprehensive and coherent.

To be honest, the number of the students in the first cycle is not as expected. And another problem is every time I saw some fresh faces and also lost some familiar ones. This phenomenon gives us great difficulty to follow our agenda of every class. Fortunately we work out this problem in the second cycle, maybe because our lessons are more acceptable and fruitful or maybe because we earned a name in the campus. Anyway, our lesson really attracted some guys who like dancing.

How do I actually conduct the class? One important thing is that I keep on improving my teaching quality and enrich the class contents until the lessons are good enough then the students come every week. Other than the class contents, I have some other tricks of teaching to share. For example, using changing partners to avoid the chaos in the class and counting at a moderate speed to let the beginners be comfortable. To be a good salsa instructor the most important thing is passion. You must have enough enthusiasm to influence your listeners. They follow your steps and your feelings. If you appear tired then they will not feel energetic. So remember you are fire and will burn every inch of the classroom. I promise if you can do this, your teaching will be successful.

In the last part I want to say don’t forget salsa is a kind of dance. The original target of the dance is happiness. Sometimes you may feel bored to review and teach the similar steps, but if you really like this art it really worth to do. Hope all of you can enjoy our training.

By Alex Fei 2007.5.3

Salsa Experience

In mainland China, Salsa is more and more hot recently, due to its simplicity compared to other Latin dances and also its charming Latin style.

As I taught the beginner’s class and designed the website, I got exposed to lots of other salsa information and experienced the really rich salsa culture. I’m just so passionate to continuously upload information and wish to share them with everyone. Dancing will indeed become my lifelong hobby. In fact, during the past several months of dancing, I also found my lifelong partner, Alex. We fell in love with each other and with salsa. We expect everyone else to taste it and love it.

This semester we began to teach basic salsa, this is not only a teaching process but also learning and improving process for me. Alex and I spent a lot of time studying the details of every step and move and creating routines and patterns. We try to give the proper guidance to beginners and bring happiness to all salsa lovers. During these months we also understood salsa more deeply and couldn’t help but keeping on learning by ourselves. We now can design a whole piece of dance by creating and also by borrowing. That’s really fun. First you imitate and learn keenly and then create whatever you want to dance. Dance is definitely a creative art.Next academic year I’m supposed to go to University of Pennsylvania on exchange to experience American culture. I have decided to devote myself not only to Computer Science and Math but also dancing. I plan to learn other types of Latin dance and hope to bring them back and teach in our club. I wish after our cofounders all graduated, our club will be still flourishing and cultivate many dancing lovers every year which requires contribution from everyone.The last word, if you are also crazy about dancing, if you have the same wish as mine, join our lesson and join our committee. Let’s create our bright future.

By Cynthia Lu 2007.4.17

Our article written by Xu Ying (in Chinese) is published in MSSS “Si Shui Liu Nian”.
You can download it here

There are some comments from our salsa fans

It is hard to believe it, but it is true. Such a wonderful dancing, so amazing performance! As a primary learner, you can start to lead a girl dancing salsa just when you have practiced for just TWO MONTHS! Salsa is a kind of Latin dance which originates from Cuba. But it is not complicated in the steps movements rather than the other Latin dances. This makes you very easy to step into the door of salsa. When you can grasp some of the basic movements, such as turns, cross-body lead, and dip, just go ahead and keep spinning your partner until she screams! You can also show your quality in dancing technique when dancing salsa, such as adding the elements of jazz, hip-hop, or ballet. Come on, just don’t hesitate to join us!

If you are qualified enough, you can dance salsa with two or more girls in the mean time; don’t worry anyone who would get envy on you! If you are bad enough, you can even grab the other guy’s partner to dance with you when she is carelessly spun away from her poor partner! BTW, you should also take good care of your own lady in case anyone who would do the same thing to you, hehe.
This is salsa, this is fun!

By Ronald Yang

Dancing with respect, trust, and dignity?
Believe it or not, it’s a fantastic way to find yourself and find yourself good friends. 😉

By Westing
The article is in Chinese version, please refer to “Si Shui Liu Nian” 3th period page 15

Here, we recommend an article about man’s lead.


Focus on the Music FIRST � The Beat (Timing) SECOND�!!!

The more I travel, the more I’m finding that dancers are too hung up over whether they are dancing on the “One”, or the “Two”, or “On Clave”, or the “Three”, or the “Style”. They get so caught up in these trivial subjects, that COMPLETELY FORGET ABOUT DANCING TO THE SONG AND/OR MUSIC. I’ve had dances where the song is over, but because my partner hasn’t “finished his turn pattern yet”, we’re still dancing to “no sound”.

Hello.There is such a thing as a song. Most songs tell a story, with a beginning, and ending. The middle of the story is the drama, filled with peaks, valley, breaks, and hits. Then there is the ending. The song is now over, so stop dancing.

Whatever happened to hitting the breaks on a pause in the music? Why do guys continue to MISS THE HITS, PEAKS, VALLEYS, and DIP OPPORTUNITIES in the songs?

I can’t tell you how frustrated I get when I can see a pause, or hit in the music is coming, and I annoyingly get stuck in the middle of it doing a turn, or completing a combination. I usually end up thinking to myself. “I can’t believe this guy completely missed that amazing hit in the music.”

The guy is so caught up in his turn pattern and fancy moves, that he becomes completely obvious that he dancing to a song. There is nothing more frustrating than being put into arm-knot, turn combinations from hell, combo, after combo after combo, and completely missing out on the dramas within the music. I get the feeling that people are only listening to the beat. If that’s the case, we may as well just dance to a simple drumbeat then. It wouldn’t make any difference.

Please people, honor the musicians and songwriters of this incredible music we call Salsa. Dance to their music � not just to their beat.

There is nothing more wonderful than dancing with a partner who truly knows how to interpret the music, and understands how to lead into the music, without batting an eyelash. Sure, you can go back to the “One”, or the “Two”, or whatever, but play with the song. Interpret the music. Have fun with it! I’m a thousand times more impressed with someone who dances to the music, than I am with someone dancing to certain timing.

Dancing Salsa is not about how many spins you can give her, or how twisted and mangled up you both can get in and out of, in a move that only looks good with a pro and his partner who have rehearsed it for months.

I can’t tell you how many arm knots and turn combinations from hell I get put into because these guys think that’s what Salsa is all about. Half the time, my face gets stuck in his armpit, and it just doesn’t make for a very comfortable dance. I see more and more women going through absolute hell out there. They get all dolled up for the evening, and end up looking like they’ve just been run through a violent storm. Men are forgetting that they are dancing with another human being trying to enjoy a song for crying out loud. Sometimes I think they are handling a high performance vehicle, and want to slam, ram, and throw her into gears only attempted on the autobahn.

Guys, if the girls aren’t able to follow 30% of your moves, you’re forgetting the music, and are missing out on some amazing dancing. Get back to basics. Sometimes I just want to have a lovely sensual dance with a man who will take care of me on the dance floor. Someone who will love me for those precious three minutes and sweep me away into the music with him.

Many of the advanced guys treat me like a brand new Ferrari. Imagine getting a new sports car. The temptation is to put it through all it’s paces and see how fast you can make it go and what you can get away with. I’d rather have a calm, relaxed dance with a beginner or intermediate dancer who understands the music, and pauses or dips at each break within the song, than have to perform at high speeds for every advanced guy who wants to see how many spins or flash moves I can follow.


Don’t dance me… LET ME DANCE.

By Edie,(cited from website)
0:00-0:18 intro0:19-0:37 verse0:38-0:55 bridge

0:56-1:09 interlude

1:10-1:37 chorus/lead

1:38-1:56 mambo section

1:57-2:14 chorus/lead

2:15-2:59 coda

Here is some knowledge about salsa music structure.

1. 前奏(intro)

演唱者開始唱歌之前的樂器演奏部分,如果這邊的節奏沒有很快的話,Larry的建議是這時候先做grooving(律動),別急著轉圈圈。

第一大段:son(包含主歌+副歌)

2. 主歌(verse)

通常是主唱者的獨唱,個人認為語氣聽起來通常類似像將故事的起源平鋪直述地托出,長度通常包含數個小段落(每4個八拍),可以應用Larry建議的
將招式的開始與結束控制在每個小段落的開始與結束上,考慮到與後面高潮的層次性,男生帶舞在這時候先不要急著放絕招。

3. 副歌(bridge)

通常是主唱者的獨唱,但是可以聽得出來主唱的語氣與旋律的結構會有明顯的轉變,比主歌更進入氣氛一點,也會有數個小段落,但是總體來說比主歌短,我想因為這裡是「bridge」的作用,所以可以考慮使用比主歌稍難或是另一種類型的舞步來區分出層次。

4. 閒奏(interlude)

主唱停止演唱,長度通常只有一點點,後面可能接回主歌(降溫),或是往下接第二大段(升溫),因為不知道後面會降溫還是升溫,可以用一點點的shine或是grooving先做醞釀。

第二大段:montuno(合唱/主唱開始,往後到結束)

5. 合唱/主唱(chorus/lead)

開始有主唱者跟合音者的「對話」,Cow bell大多數會在這時候開始敲1357的重拍,開始拿出一些壓箱寶吧!如果可以配合主唱-合音-主唱-合音,兩個八拍兩個八拍地出招就會很合(但是我想99.9%的時候會因為太嗨而管不了這麼多)。

6. 獨奏(solos)

有的時候會被省略掉,Shine很強的話,就來給他shine一下啦!

7. 重奏(mambo)

聽老師說…在mambo意指曼波音樂或曼波舞之前,Mambo這個字原本指的是danzon這種音樂裡面的一個段落(mambo section),Salsa音樂從danzon這邊繼承了timbales(天巴鼓)編制跟mambo section,跟獨奏一樣也是純樂器演奏,但是各種音高的樂器(管樂?)會由低到高一一往上疊,往上疊的意思就是比較早進場的低音、中音樂器都還在,而音階更高的樂器會陸續加上來,Miles老師說「像是千層派」(例如上課時聽的那首是每兩個八拍往上疊一層),最後演變成所有樂器共同演奏,算是salsa歌曲中的最高潮,Leader們所有隱忍不發的大絕招就在這時候出啦!

8. 合唱/主唱(短)

Mambo完了以後,主唱跟合音又再度回來,這個段落只有短短的一點點,往後馬上要接尾奏了,所以嗨完以後又聽到有人唱歌,就表示該準備留心音樂什麼時候要結束,Ending pose請準備。

9. 尾奏(coda)

時間長短很難說…,有的歌兩個八拍就把尾奏結束了,保險起見還是不要忙著帶太長的招式,準備下腰(或者你還有別招…)。

PS. 這只是一般性的結構,有時候作曲、編曲者會做其他變化,例如在主歌跟副歌階段就用到合音之類的…

you can refer to the following as an example.

song name:La Vida Es Un Carnaval

singer:Celia Cruz(Queen of Salsa)

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