Welcome to Episode 38 of the Salsa Kings LIVE podcast
On this episode, Andres talks about the question ‘Where are my toys?’. Often, dancers will focus on getting the moves done rather than prioritizing an awareness of what’s going on around you and with your body. Andres says this is more of a problem for leads as they have more of a job to push the dance forward, whereas followers tend to have a more relaxed position. Andres is urging dancers to use their ears, their eyes, and all their senses to have a more full awareness of what is going on around them, rather than simply focusing on the motions.
If you aren’t in the moment and have your ‘feelers on’ then you can’t truly absorb the dance and bring yourself into the dance. If you can’t feel the emotions of the music, then you can’t express it through your dance. While dance classes give us the tools we need to properly express ourselves, if you aren’t feeling the music, then you can’t use those tools to express it. It will end up feeling cold and needlessly technical. A dance with no emotion is just an exercise.
Andres doesn’t want people who just flawlessly execute the dance. He wants people who are taking the time to feel the music and the experience with your partner. If all you care about it the intricacies of the dance, rather than the music and the emotion, why do you have the music on? What is the point of it if you’re not going to use it?
Andres’ advice to dancers is: move your toes. This will bring you back into the moment, into reality, rather than the abstract world of execution. Be aware of your toes and where they are now, to know where you are, what you’re listening to, and who you’re dancing with. Do not become so absorbed by the technique that you lose the joy or the music.
Be aware of the dance, be aware of your love for it. There’s a difference between simply smiling because it’s part of the dance or that you are smiling because are you loving the dance you are. While technical excellence shouldn’t be undersold, it is the joy and love, the understanding of where you are in the moment is what makes dance, so joyful. So, if you are feeling simply like you are pulling off basic techniques rather than loving the music, simply ask: where are my toes?
‘Have your heart open. What does that mean? It means exactly what it sounds like… To be open to the feeling that the artist of the song is trying to give to you. But that’s only going to be accomplished if you’re actually listening to it.”