is a modern, equitable, playful style of Latin partner dance: Salsa, Merengue,
Bachata. The woman is not "just a follower." She is a co-creator.
Among the upper echelons of Salsa dancers around the world, many of these
ideas have been in practice for quite a while. And so, ithacadance.com
(beginning with Kurt & Heather), over the space of two years, bundled
them together into an intelligible style. And we are still continually
adding to the Salsa Libre repertoire. World class dancers
/ instructors Edie The Salsa Freak and Henry Herrera
are our patron saints.
1. Instead of being stuck in strict un-changing lead-follow roles,
we are DANCERS first. We are creative extensions of the music. The "leader"
recognizes and celebrates the creativity, expression and artistry of the
"follower." He offers her space to create and play to the rhythm
and phrasing of the music. When she is done, she returns to a clear basic
step pattern, right on with the musical phrase. She may take the space
offered and use it, or extend it, or not, as she feels. The "leader"
also takes space to create, express and play, instead of being stuck in
chronic "leader" mode. This is DANCE. Compared to older domination-submission
strict lead-follow models, Salsa Libre is a freer, joyous
extension of the music. We also explore rhythm games and
theater games, in which the partners are equals.
2. Specific turn techniques and modern methods of hand
connection allow more freedom, and yet retain a clearly felt connection.
The leader has to be considerably more attentive to the follower than
in strict lead-follow dancing, since she has many, many more options -
this is, in fact, a pleasurable experience for both partners.
3. You can still throw in your standard complex turns, spins and
combinations: the leading has to be clear and determined! And with
Libre, there are unlimited variations possible on every move.
There are many gestures that embody the Salsa Libre dance
values, and limitless ways to interpret them. Salsa Libre
appeals to creative, playful, expressive, experienced dancers, although
we recognize that they are in a minority. Most men just want to lead
a million moves, and most women just want to follow them, with a little
styling thrown in - we are going way beyond that.
4. Historically, it would appear that top dog woman dancers
in the world of West Coast Swing led the charge in creating more
freedom in partner dancing. At ithacadance.com, we fully embrace
this idea in all of our swing dance styles, and even to some extent in
our much more traditional and in-the-box ballroom styles.