Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Was Caught Social Dancing

I've been beat up a few times because I rarely (read: never) post videos of me dancing.

Well, someone filmed me the other night at a club with an amazing follow named "Maria". That woman can dance!!!

This was our first dance (I had never seen her before that night) and someone had their camera rolling. They posted the link to my FaceBook page and I decided I should put it out here.

I remember the tune was pretty chill and I avoided complex moves because I didn't feel them fitting the music. Mostly my mind set was staying out of her way because it was clear she is an excellent dancer, and would make us both look good. Very few doubles or complex moves, the song doesn't feel "spinny" or intense to me.

Be sure to turn up the music because we hit most of the breaks, some bigger, some with just shoulders or subtle movements. At the very end if you listen closely you can hear her verify my name, because a friend had introduced us just before the dance started.

We did a couple dances later that were very different, because the music was different, and this is 100% pure, unscripted social dancing with two partners who never danced before.

Of course, I can see 17 things I could adjust, but this is the raw stuff. As one example, I would change our spacing if I could, sometimes she was farther away than I'd like, but that happens on the social floor and you just have to deal with it.

For me the ending was a total "go with the flow moment," partly because my lead wasn't clear to her 2 measures before the tune ended. I went to plan b and that put her going around me later than I'd preferred. I heard the end coming, and she would have been in front of me for a dip, but it wasn't to be.

Social dancing is often about making the most of things that are not performance perfect, but are perfectly in the moment. You never want your partner to know something was different than you planned, you simply try to cover and move on when something else that fits, best you can.

She certainly is someone I'll seek out for another dance. Maybe the camera will be rolling there too.

Let me know your thoughts!


  1. beautiful ;) complex moves does not a good dancer make. the emotional connection is stunning.

  2. A video of the Unlikely Salsero himself - impressive!

    Enjoyed watching, and darn it - i've got 15 videos from your (new?) current favorite videos section to watch now too :)

  3. I love this video!
    I can see you dancing to and with the music. I can see, you are dancing with the girl and she ist dancing with you. I can see, you have fun.
    No complicated moves are necessary.


  4. Anonymous: Right on! Complexity is only good when it fits the partner and the music. The best also make the complexity look simple when they use it, and primarily use it as seasoning to enhance the emotion. (That takes real skill.)

  5. Hi Don! I just found your blog. I like your musical dancing. This is a very nice video and yes, the lady is a very good dancer also. Thanks for posting! I an a fellow blogger/dancer/musician on the east cost in Philadelphia and I really like your blog. I am an On2 Dancer. I hope you might want to read my blog at I am adding your blog to my blog roll now. Peace! Very nice blog and I love the focus on music. Take care, Kathleen Aguilar

  6. Kathleen,

    You have a cool blog!! I like the applet you use for sharing/posting, I'm going to add that to mine soon. Good stuff on your blog.

    See you on the wires. Note that I have over 170 articles to date, so be sure to check some of the previous articles too...

    Best to you.

  7. Don - the video is a bit dark but I'm pretty sure that is Maria Gillespie
    you are dancing with. She's the director of Oni dance and a teacher at UCLA.

    I love dancing with her - she is very expressive.

  8. Really loved the way you interpreted the song and kept it simple while hitting the breaks. This is what dancing is all about and this is what I aspire to.


I love feedback. Your thoughts, feelings and comments are appreciated. Civil disagreements and other points of view are always welcomed!

Feel free to send me private mail if appropriate.

Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero