Phrasing (Part 1): Son and Mambo
"What could a salsa person learn from son?"
From a rhythmic perspective, the most important thing would be knowing that the same piece of music could be danced to in a multitude of ways. Songs that you once thought you knew; especially those based on sones, changüi and son montunos, reveal themselves to you in a completely different light.
real world music,Trio Matamoros, Compay Segundo, Septeto Nacional and
artists from the Golden Age of Son provide the best learning
context. Your favourite mid-tempo salsa pieces would be nice too.
The first and
third modifications create more unison movement between dancers
of a son partnership, as compared to a couple executing a standard
back basic. The foot turn-out sets up the lower body for a better-controlled
and stronger side-step, at the same time angling the pelvis to accept
smoothly the change in direction of movement.
Dance the son basic complementing tumbao moderno
2.1 Dance rhythm complementing tumbao moderno (unrectified)
Dance the son basic in agreement with tumbao moderno
2.2 Dance rhythm in agreement with tumbao moderno
Dancing in agreement
with the tumbao moderno means that you can no longer think of
the open tones as a cue. Instead, you should think of your steps as
voicing the relevant conga strokes.
Practice, Practice, Practice
A note on
2.3 Dance step rhythm in agreement with tumbao moderno, "mambo"
dancers refer to it as dancing contratiempo [literally 'against
the beat'] but since the term can also mean 'up-beat accentuation',
I will call it 'son phrasing' instead.
2.4 Dance step rhythm in agreement with tumbao moderno, son
the first step of the phrase
In contrast, the weight transfer associated with the first step of son can take place over twice the rhythmic space (i.e. 4 to 5+, and 8 to 1+). This gives rise to a long smooth accent at the beginning of the son phrase.
and the count
We can develop this idea more clearly by asking a few simple questions:
Learning to rhythmic
markers like the slap and open tones negates the count prejudice. However
the count, like any other tool, has its place. Since it is deployed
by dance educators universally, it is important to understand its properties,
so that we may avoid its weaknesses.
Practice, Practice, and More Practice
But most of all, you must listen to how your body feels when moving to either phrasing, listen to the music is saying, and determine whether they are both in harmony.
©1999 Salsa & Merengue Society