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PostSubject: Ask Suman   Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:19 pm

Suman is a talented Salsa dancer, instructor, choreographer and performer. He started dancing in 2001 and gained popularity in a very short time due to his speed of learning and the pace in which he garnered his Salsa achievements.

Eight months after Suman took his first Salsa class, he managed to sweep the Championship title for the 'Singapore Salsa Competition 2002'. In 2003, he extended his winning streak to clinch the much-coveted Champion's trophy in the 'Malaysia Open Salsa Competition'. Suman gained international exposure by representing Singapore in performing at the prestigious Annual West Coast Los Angeles Salsa Congress 2003.

In 2004, Suman set up his own Salsa school with the objective of taking the Singapore Salsa scene to greater heights. In a short span of eight months of instructing, he groomed students who have gone on to top the 'Singapore Salsa Competition 2004'. Since then, Suman has been invited to conduct Salsa workshops and perform at Salsa Congresses and Festivals throughout Asia.
We are pleased to have Suman in the forum to answer your queries.
Thank you Suman for sharing with us. cheers


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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:52 pm

Hi Suman,

Thank you for helping us out with the Q and A. I have one qn burning in me, hope you can help me understand alittle more, here it goes: (thanks)

but when dancing with a guy much shorter than me, i experience this 'pulled back' feeling on my hand when doing my turns... this sometimes caused me to have very unsteady turns and that makes me tilt back when turning.

I assumed that it is due to the height difference (think im considered tall for a gal) as i do not or seldom experience such 'feeling' when dancing w a guy slightly shorter, as tall or taller than me.

Also, that same feeling is similar to that when a guy ,perhaps as tall as i am, is standing too far from me while turning me.

I am wondering if height does matter when choosing partner to practice salsa-dancing.

ps: erm, i hope no one will be sensitive about my qn Smile im not referring to anyone in particular but qn arised from accumlated experience from dancing w diff partners.

Cheerios,
Christina
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:03 pm

Hi Christina,

would like to say that height and weight never matters it was and is always about the technique, i am sure no one will be sensitive to your question because you are just clarifying, in a way giving an opportunity for the guys to realise mistakes that they probably unconciously do.

Now your observation is totally correct about the problem, but then lets not blame the height first, well technically speaking height is a problem if the gap is enormous (3 to 4 feet) but as long as any of the dancer is a foot taller or shorter that should never be a problem.

Solution is simple, firstly remember that according to the basics of the right turns ladies elbows are at right angles pointing downwards. Therefore to achieve this

1. The ladies should never push their arm up.
2. The guys should never stand too far away.

The way i teach in my classes to achieve an effortless simple right turn is to ensure that the students do a crowning, (Imagine the lady is wearing a crown and then the guy should trace the arm on the circumference of the crown, on the plane which is horizontal to the ground and around the forehead and no higher, this will ensure that even when the lady is facing back to the guy on the counts of 6 if the guys crown is stable and parallel to the ground then the follower's elbow will be at right angles and the palm will be in front of her forehead.

Therefore its not about the height its about the technique, in case the guys are terribly short, then the same as mentioned can still be achieved by tilting the plane of the crown towards the leader but not too much, and my stretching the shoulders to achieve a little more height but not distorting the leaders posture.

Last but not the least, both leaders and followers have to ensure have to ensure that your 2 and 6 dont move. Do feel free to talk to me if this is too technical an explanation.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:06 am

Hi Suman,

Thank you for your clarification. I will try it out on the dance floor Smile


Really appreciate you time in this Smile

Cheerios,
Christina
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:07 am

Hi Suman,

Guess a lot of people are still not good in dancing to beats.

Any quick and easy way to solve the problem?

If not any tips to at least keep ourselves in check when dancing?

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:40 pm

Hi Suman,

Actually me too ! while some moves or technique i realise i ran outta beat easily, what is your usual practice to avoid that ? or how do u practice at home without partner ? thanks ~
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:46 am

Hi Sunny,

Dancing on beats is not really easy for some of the people, for some music come in naturally, so what i do is a musicality class in a B2 where i spend an entire 1 hour session to break down different instruments what are their beats and make them 'listen' to how salsa music was born, most importantly they learn to watch out for which instrument to listen to and which one not to.

There is no easy way to get out of it except for the fact that you need to listen to salsa music, yes its kinda sounds dumb and studid but the only way to get used to beats is to listen to salsa music, different musicians different singers.

A very simple way to get used to music in the begining is to remember that in a measure of salsa music everything is 3 steps a pause and 3 steps. So when you reevaluate yourself doing a move or turn patterns and you realise you are offbeat you surely screwed up either the footwork or speed of execution of the turn pattern, three most important things about being on time are

1. Footwork
2. the speed of execution
3. Handgrips

I guess the first two are quite selfexplanatory however the last one can sound a bit confusing, i will explain that in a bit. Regarding the speed of execution bear in mind guys that it varies from follower to follower, the leaders have to anticipate in a few basic steps and lead accordingly.

Hand grips can sometimes 'delay' your speed of execution, if you do not have the right grip at the moment of execution you do not realise but then you are delayed when you finish your turn pattern.

Point being, keep the above three mentioned constant and more importantly listen to a lot of salsa music, beg borrow steal do whatever it taken just listen to it!

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:59 am

Hi Kenny,

To the first part of your question i think i would have pretty much replied in my previous post, however to the second part here is what i have to say, have you ever heard of dancing with your imaginary partner, i used to do that when i was a beginner, I used to practice a turn pattern imagining a partner, it kinda looks funny, for someone watching, they called it the 'Salsa TaiChi'.

Anyways, if you have good imagination, the best way to practice is to imagine you have a partner and imagine and remember her arm placements for every move. Ofcourse there are pros and cons to it,

The good thing is that there is no resistance and she will follow everything even a 360 flip up in the air and back on your fingertips.

Bad thing is that you will never know how much resistance you would need to make her follow. Remember you can learn everything is salsa except for the resistance, tension and push pull factor, that is something which only gets better when practicing with different partners only, and more you master that the better lead you become, if you wish to lead and follow better DONT dance with the amazing girl who can follow every move, go try out dancing with a girl who is really over weight or a girl who is a foot taller than you, explore the challenges and tell me what do you face as a problem.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:07 am

Hi Suman,

I noticed on the dance floor that many more experieced dancers' footwork is littered with taps, kicks and flicks. It look quite nice as compared to basic 3 steps. However, I have 2 left feets and don't know how to pick this skill(so do many others). Where do I begin? Or do you actually mind doing a simple workshop to teach some footwork styling?

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:06 pm

Hey Sunny,

Thanks for that qn. I saw that on the dance floor and hope to gain some tips on that too Smile



Hi Suman,

It will be nice to have you explain to us how it works. But I guess nothing can be compared to attending a simple workshop for those who are really eager to refine their footwork Smile

Cheerios,
Christina :p
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:37 pm

Hi Suman,

Thank you i'll try it out cheers Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:28 am

Hi Suman,

Any tips on how to be a good follower? There are so many turn patterns in salsa and sometimes I find that I have no idea what my partner wants me to do.. as such, I have the tendency to anticipate or guess my partner's next move. Is there a way for us to be more certain or we just have to leave it to the guys to "pull" or "push" us along?

Regards,
Suzann
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:15 pm

Sunny,

Teaching foot work styling not a problem as long as i get at least 5 couples i can go ahead with it, what is more important to understand is that you should not rush to learn styling, remember styling is an accessory, if you wish to do it you bloody well look good else better not to do it!
Remember that the reason why a lot of beginner dancers lose count is because they step into styling too early and that gets them confused. They dont realise that but again this is something i really cant explain in words coz there are just too many examples.

Thats how i approach to styling, remember styling done in the wrong way can make you look worse than not doing it at all! So the obvious question is when should i learn styling? Well here is a self assessment again, find out what is you lead level, can you really lead guys and girls of different level and still make them feel good about it? Can you lead them to intermediate level moves and not struggle and fumble and fight, ifyes then you are ready to learn styling else its better to try and get the above mentioned straightened out before you step into styling.

I recommend that before you start doing partner work styling you should implement styling in your shines, thats sorta easier, coz at least you are not with your partner so then you get a feel of what it takes to do shines remember them and then add styling to it!

Christina,

Like I mentioned if your guys are eager then let me know once you have at least 10 people or 5 couples ratio could be a 1:2.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:21 pm

Hi Suzann,

Thats a pretty big question which has a lot of answers, I really cant give you a clear tip on how to be a good follower coz the ground rules vary from level to level.

I think you have more or less figured out the biggest mistake that followers do, they 'anticipate' yes, that is hard not to do, i mean the easy way to look at salsa is that its a dance where you use a lot of common sense, leaders drop catch, followers watch and drop, leaders flick arms, followers flick watch and then drop, leaders block followers stop, leaders continue leading followers move on!

So, no particular tip but in general

1. Dont anticipate
2. Know your footwork
3. Execute on time (remember executing early or late confuses your leader, read the above post)
4. Keep arms soft but shoulders locked.
5. Lean back perpetually and
6. SMILE

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:18 pm

Suman,

thanks for your clarification. think we'll wait a couple more months for us to be more settled in our dancing b4 attempting it. I think getting 10 ppl for the class shouldn't be a big problem

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:28 am

hahahaha i think the problem comes in coping with with a BIG group of us.... Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:01 am

Hi Suman,

I have been doing 'hardcore' practising for the past 2 weeks- dancing 5-6days per week and each time at least about 3hours.

Lately, i felt that the arch of my feet are 'pulling' and the the balls of my feet to my toes area are aching and hurting abit pale when when i try to wriggle them (esp my left foot affraid ).

I am wondering if this is normal and for professionals like yourself who dance long hours, how do you 'pamper', care, and manage your tired feet? scratch

Thank you for your time in helping me out with this Smile

cheerios flower
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:53 pm

Hi Christina,

To tell you the truth, no i have never pampered my feet, i mean i know its a women thing to 'pamper' but of all the women dancing friends i know none really pamper their feet, but here is what you can do, first if you are wearing heels make sure that those heels are not really unconfortable, coz if they are they will reduce your danicng energy in every way, if they are comfortable and you still feel pain at the toes then use a pair of toe pads that are available from watson's, they are good and they help cushion your toes when dancing.

Before dancing warm up, especially your feet and hip area, those are the ones that give you a lot of problem. Ask you instructor for foot warm ups and hip warm ups. Do them first and then dance, it will help you dance longer.

Lastly if you still feel your feminine side kicking in more towards pampering, here is what you can do, when you shower at night use some warm water to soak your feet but not too long then use a balm like tiger balm or Golden cup balm to rub your feet a bit and go to sleep, it helps a lot.

That was i said above was strictly for beginners who should ALWAYS dance in heels.

Once you reach an intermediate level of dancing, (attending intermediate class does not mean you dancing is also at the intermediate level) then dance in heels for half the night and then switch to jazz or blocs for the other half.

At an advanced level, dance in heels for one night and in jazz or blocs for the other night.

Hope your pain reduces if it does not then chances are you are wearing the wrong shoes or you are putting your weight at the wrong place while general dancing.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:40 am

Thank you, Suman! Smile Looks like it is time for some investigation... hahaha, weight change problem or wrong shoes?

I really appreciate the advice and tips which you so readily share with all of us here.. =p

hope you have a gd week ahead.

cheerios Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:13 pm

suman wrote:
Hi Suzann,

Thats a pretty big question which has a lot of answers, I really cant give you a clear tip on how to be a good follower coz the ground rules vary from level to level.

I think you have more or less figured out the biggest mistake that followers do, they 'anticipate' yes, that is hard not to do, i mean the easy way to look at salsa is that its a dance where you use a lot of common sense, leaders drop catch, followers watch and drop, leaders flick arms, followers flick watch and then drop, leaders block followers stop, leaders continue leading followers move on!

So, no particular tip but in general

1. Dont anticipate
2. Know your footwork
3. Execute on time (remember executing early or late confuses your leader, read the above post)
4. Keep arms soft but shoulders locked.
5. Lean back perpetually and
6. SMILE

Thanks Suman for your reply... will try to keep your pointers in mind when dancing.... Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:48 pm

Hi suman.... i have a question?? when i do a right turn follow by a hook turn... most gers will turn on my hook turn because my arm is still up.... how to i prep them that it's a hook turn and not a ger's right turn?? scratch scratch scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:55 am

There is no prep to let girls know that you are doing a hook turn, infact

Error 1: After your turn your arm should come down immediately, after any turn your arms should come down always, right, left, CBL, CBLT, CBR, CBRT. Whatever. That is the one that is misleading the girl that sends them for second right turn.

Error2: I 'think' if and when you are doing your hook turn you are unable to isolate yourself with the lady, which means when you hold on to the arms and do a hook turn there is probably a little tug or tension in the arms which sends the girl for the second hook turn. Now remember for any turn, spin for the leader, he must isolate himself from the lady without making her feel any lead which in other words means just basic steps for the lady and nothing else.

Wakatta? Smile[/img]

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:29 pm

Cool!!!!!!Thanks man... really need to take note of that now... afro afro
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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:48 am

Hi Suman,

Would like to clarify on your last post. Do you mean that at the end of count 3 once I completed a right turn, i should lower the hand and at count 5(she would have missed the prep on count 4 and will think it is a normal basic) I raise it up again to complete my hook turn?

Would some girls turn instinctively cos the hand is raised at that count or would they misunderstand it to be a late lead? Even when there is no thug on the hand, some girls may just turn cos they assume that hand up on count 5 means they need to turn on 6 and 7. Is there a way to prevent this?

Thanks

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PostSubject: Re: Ask Suman   Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:01 pm

Sunny,

Lets take two situations,

1. Leader does a right turn and then followed by a hook turn, leader has his arms up at all times which means the leader does an under the arm hook.

2. Leader does a right turn and a hook turn, leader has the arm up in the right turn but low during the hook turn, or has it low all through out.

In the second situation i dont think there is much of a problem, coz during the hook the arms will be low anyways the chances of the follower being confused is less.

However in the second case there is a little problem, in case of the hook turn, it is very important that during the turn the arm connection between the leader and follower should be on the leaders head and not the followers.

So to answer your question if you were executing the first one .. no you do not need to lower arm and raise it again, you keep it up all the way but for the right turn keep the connection nearer to the followers forehead, for the hook turn keep it on your head. while for the second case you should not have made any mistakes at all in leading coz the hand is down anyways, whatever be the reason, when leaders turn there should not be any tension or tug of arm or pull or push to the follower, you HAVE to isolate and turn your self.

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