Welcome to Episode 43 of the Salsa Kings LIVE podcast
Tonight’s episode is one that Andres has been wanting to do for awhile: styling. The dance industry has lied to the public about styling. A simple fact is: Styling cannot be taught. Styling comes from one’s own personality, and every person is unique. No one will have the exact same style, even if there are overlaps or influences. There may be categories or classifications, but a true style is someone discovering their own self through their style. As a comparison, hats or shoes may be put on a person’s body, but that doesn’t change who you are as a person, or the utility of the garment. Many dancers can lose this fact, prioritizing style over the point of the dance and self-expression.
Connection, not style, should be the priority. Style is a unique aspect of the dance, which is fantastic, but the first priority is to make sure that your job is doing its job. Make sure that connection and expression are covered before focusing more on styles. If you had a hose with no roof, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is, it’s not a useful house. Once the house has assured that it will protect you, then you can focus on making it look beautiful.
When we talk about style, utility needs to be covered first. Technique, timing, fluidity, motions, and basic mastery need to be covered first. Later, you can play around and find what it is that makes your dance work best for you. The techniques need to become boring. That’s when you start to play, because when it is so easy to do the dance standardly, that’s when you can play with the formula in that standard. Once the important things are done, then you can play around with the style. That’s when the art and the heart come in, once you have covered the basics.
And that’s what makes style so wonderful. It’s a sign of mastery and personal expression. By adding style to that boredom of being able to do these moves immediately and in your sleep, that is when you can truly show a stylistic dance that is your own and only your own. If you focus on learning the necessities, by making sure that your dance works, then your natural personality and style with eventually begin to shine through.
“The way that styling gets accomplished is by the utility getting accomplished so well to a point where you almost become bored; to a point where you start to discover oneself. You start to play, you start to discover different things that feel good, or that don’t necessarily feel so good. But that only comes with time. That only comes with going after it, and letting the music go ahead and inspire you to make that happen.”