Cuban Salsa: Naked Dancing – Back to Basics
A dance can be likened to a pyramid in the sense that is should have a solid foundation on which to build. To me, the base of the dance, the baseline, is all important. To get the baseline of you dance right, tailored exactly to your talent, your abilities, priorities and age, and to constantly improve on and develop your basic way of dancing, is a million times more valuable than adding a new fancy move or some Afro styling on top of it.
I call my baseline for Naked Dancing:
- No Moves
- No Styling
- No Shines
- No Rumba
- No Afro
- No Alardes
- No Stunts
- No Show-offs
- No Nudos
- No Gimmick
- No Choreo
- No Back-steps
- No Heels
- No Nothing
Not that any of these add-ons is flat wrong, applied with care, but in my experience, Styling, Shines, Afro, etc, are always in the way, if only a little. Add-ons always make the core of the dance more difficult. Like a straight-jacket, add-ons make the partner work, leading/following, positioning, harder. Add-ons have a strong tendency to become a brake and anchor on the flow and momentum of the dance.
I recommend for every Lead to practice Naked Dancing regularly as a good thought provoking exercise. Ask yourself how many add-ons you really need and to what extent? Do they actually make the dance better, do they facilitate and enhance your dance? What is the trade-off of adding something? What is the most useful for your dance: To add or to subtract something?
I have decided to focus as much as possible on the core values of social dancing, the essentials of partner work. I have made Naked Dancing my main mode of dancing, my baseline, my basic steps. On top of it, I add more advanced basic figures and even a move or two.
Naked Dancing is to clean the clutter and just dance in long improvised flows of mostly basic figures. Naked Dancing is non-performance, dancing as everyday life, just being you and your partner in a meditative state.