Friends don't let DJ's ruin the music!
To all my DJ friends: Quit seamlessly mixing Latin tunes together, imitating the hip-hop DJs. Just give me a break! Stop the music every so often and nobody gets hurt.
[RANT starts here!]
[RANT starts here!]
Especially you bachata DJ's who seem to like a 12 minute mix. Because your dancers are not leaving the floor, doesn't mean they like it! They just don't want to offend their current partner.
I don't want an extended mix, creating one long song. That is a great energy at a hip-hop event, or a rave, but generally not a win for partner dancing. Even if your mix is brilliant and the two, three or five tunes are my favorites, putting them into one longer tune usually irritates me and my dancing friends. A quick break between the tunes and I'll love your selections.
It also sucks the life out of the musicality in many cases. We know the tune, save our complex emotional material for that section, and you cut to another song before the best part of the current song. Frustrating!
This same concept applies to the bands; don't take extended solos or join two or more tunes together. Medleys are for listening audiences and concerts, not dances. It makes little sense in a partner dance scene. (Disclaimer: I was guilty of this when I was a non-dancing musician. We thought the music was so great you'd love more of it... boy, do I feel bad now, seeing it from the other side.)
[Calming down now...]
As a rule, social dancers like shorter tunes. Music with an obvious ending and a few seconds between tunes is much, much better. We don't need long breaks, just a clear ending and a quick break. Again: don't take the fact that we don't leave the floor as a sign we love your mix! Under our breath we are swearing at you, hoping management gets a clue and hires someone else to spin.
Why? The break gives us a chance to change partners gracefully, or not, but our choice!
If she hasn't looked at me in the first three or four minutes, is swearing under her breath, looking around the room for her next partner, or trying to get that knife out of her back pocket to slit her wrists or "accidentally" stab me, having another 3-5 minutes of my "amazing" lead probably isn't going to change her mind. We're both hoping the brain damage ends soon, but an extended mix or double length tune ruins that dream.
Once we are a few minutes into the dance, the magic is either there or it's not. A quick and obvious break gives us a convenient way to change partners if desired. If the magic is there, we can dance the next tune. The music change provides a slightly different feel, making it even more fun. Occasionally we wish it lasted longer and look forward to the next dance, but that's a great problem and most can deal with it.
A break also gives her a chance to say, "Thank you... the street lights are on and I have to go now..." without being inconsiderate. If she hated my lead but was faking it (something I hear women do occasionally), she can gracefully move to another partner without my knowing how bored she was with my lead. I feel good and can find someone else to torment for a few minutes in the next song.
If you're in the band, don't be ignorant like I was in my playing days, assuming the dancers are so in love with your playing they hope your solo will never end. Most social salsa dancers don't like marathon tunes. With a few exceptions, most dancers aren't paying lots of attention to your solo. They may feel the energy, but when it goes too long, they miss the details and start worrying more about their partner or how their dancing is holding up over time.
Give us a quick break between tunes, and when in doubt, shorter tunes are better in the social scene. Stay in the four to five minute range and we're all happier. We don't need long pauses, but remember: we do want you to give us a break.
The difference between love and sex is that sex relieves tension and love causes it.