Bailarines, Bailadores, Strippers

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Welcome to Episode 37 of the Salsa Kings LIVE podcast

On this episode of Salsa Kings, Andres talks about three different types of dancers. There is a cultural difference between the three of them. Andres points out that in English, the term ‘dancer’ is all-encompassing. In Spanish, there is more a distinction. This cultural barrier can sometimes make it easy for English-speakers to be dismissive or paint it all with the same brush. Seeing a Bailarine as a stripper can be very insulting to the Bailarine.

Things are different in a place like Cuba with a far richer culture in dancing, and the distinctions are more clear. A Bailarine is a professional. They’ve dedicated their lives to getting the rigor and techniques of dancing down. They’re someone who either has or is chasing a genuine career in dancing. They take it far more serious than others, rehearsing and dieting very seriously.

Bailadores are a more social type of dancer. They are people who enjoy it on a social level. They are not professional, but the enjoy going out, meeting other dancers, and just dancing for their own personal edification. They’re defined more by passion rather than professional capacity or any monetary dispensation for dancing.

Then there are the strippers or the go-go dancers, who are dancing at the club, often professionally. This doesn’t make one better than the other, but the goal is definitely different. The crowd is different and the intent is more sexual in nature. Often times, it is seen as an add-on rather than the main event, though obviously, it is still a very challenging and skilled dance.

Andres doesn’t want us to make judgments of any of these types of dancers but simply wants us to understand the difference between them. Just as you wouldn’t call a social dancer a professional, you wouldn’t want to call a Bailarine a stripper. It isn’t necessarily insulting, but it is inaccurate.

Understanding the distinctions between different dancers and dances means you can appreciate the craft that goes into them more, as well as appreciate the kind of dancing you are doing and want to do.

“There’s only one word in English that describes it all. They are all 100% dancing, but the intention is very different, and the level of focus required for each, the amount of study required for the optimization and entertaining the audience is very very different.”

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