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S&M Activities

Getting Your Hands Dirty
4 de Diciembre
Salsa and Merengue Music DJ
Lessons: Salsa
Lessons: Ear Training
Lessons: Merengue
Dance Technique
Tango Argentino
Teacher Training
AfroCuban Percussion
DJing Latin Music
Seminars: Aspects of
AfroCuban music
Materials: Lesson, Workshop, Seminar and Masterclass
Lessons: Ear Training

Our ear training lessons were established for the purpose of strengthening your relationship with salsa music. We do this by first removing any reliance on beat-counting; through helping you recognise specific accents of the various rhythm layers and correlating them with existing movements. This frees you to dance directly into the music, without interference from ungainly abstractions.

From there we go on to using, feeling and dancing polyrhythms, then to developing timing independence and articulating melodic phrasing. Ultimately these lessons will overlap with the seminars on Afro-Cuban music, where you will come to understand the culturally unique artefacts that are embedded in the musics of the different salsa-producing centres. Below is a broad list of topics in developmental sequence:

Importance of the conga and the tumbao moderno
The significance of a back-beat rhythm, its accents, and a salsa step pattern's relationship with it.

Son clave as a master rhythm
Properties of a non-superimposable pattern in rhythmic navigation and phrasing.

Montunos and guajeos: upbeat rhythms with downbeat accents
Typical harmonic progressions; grounding and flow as indicators of clave orientation.

Hand percussion and the pulse
Creating the feel of rhythmic tension in partnership with the clave.

Bass tumbao as the heartbeat of a song
Tension with the bombó, and tension with rhythmic anticipation.

Why the different salsa timings feel the way they do
Comparing the relationships On1 and On2 dance timings have with salsa's rhythms.

Rumba clave: what a difference a beat makes
The perception of rhythm as illustrated using a resurgent urban-folkloric pattern.

Modern rhythmic movements
Divergences in rhythm between the main salsa centres and their embedded motifs, and how physical and rhythmic movements are intertwined.

We recommend that lessons be arranged when the target audience is familiar with the preceding topics. Classes are highly participatory, where active listening is complemented by an appropriate use of dance vocabulary to illustrate and contextualise each point. The more advanced topics require a greater level of movement proficiency by the student.


1999 Salsa & Merengue Society