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Silly Dancer Tricks are for Kids
By Marques Gunter
Posted Apr 17, 2006

As Indy's salsa community grows, so does its dancers. The dancers who have been around for a couple of years are now taking salsa to the next level. While we are still a couple of years behind LA and Chicago, our dancers have shown exceptional talent and dedication. Some have taken a performance route with their growth of salsa. I have seen flips, neck drops and splits being performed in Indianapolis' clubs, shocking and amazing spectators.

I will admit that I love tricks; they are fun to execute and exciting to watch. I was talking to another salsero who did not approve of performance tricks and patterns being done in a social setting. Tricks can take a lot of space and if not executed correctly, can cause injury to the dancers executing the trick or other couples in the immediate area.

So what do we do? Save our eye catching tricks for performances? I do not think we need to go to that extreme, but instead practice a level of caution while dancing in a social setting. I have been executing tricks in the clubs for over a year now and have never encountered a situation where someone got hurt. I would like to share some advice and experience I have gathered:

Consult an experienced instructor or dancer.
You can learn tricks from instructional DVDs, but I have found sometimes that they only teach 70% to 80% of the technique needed to properly execute a trick. Paying for an instructor to walk you though a trick will save you and your partner a lot of time. Also, learning proper technique will decrease your chances of getting any minor injuries.

Practice at least 2 or 3 times before going public.
If you are a fast learner and pick up a trick within an hour, that is great! Play it safe and practice in the privacy and security of a studio or home for at least 2 or 3 sessions. I would also recommend floor mats if there is a chance of dropping your partner. This will allow both you and your partner to obtain more confidence when performing a trick in public.

Get consent before executing the trick in a public setting.
This one is for the guys - you may be the lead, but most tricks are putting the lady at more risk than yourself. If she hesitates, then abort the trick and schedule another private lesson. Tricks are supposed to be fun and trying to execute a trick with a nervous lady may be disastrous.

Is there enough room?
You and partner must agree that there is enough room for the trick. Typically this requirement kills the chance of performing a trick, but if you get to the club early or stay late, the floor may clear up to sneak in a flip or two.

Size up you and your partner.
This is where I have seen the most injuries. The lead does not need to be twice the size of his partner to lift her, but he needs to have some muscle. Clock in a few hours in the gym. Building some muscle mass will reduce injury and increase recovery time for sore muscles from practicing flipping your partner for an hour straight. Ladies are no exception. Toning and defining your muscles will help greatly with lifts and flips, where the lady needs to keeps her body stiff and rigid.

Well, there you have it, Indy. Lifts, flips and drops are fun and as long as we keep it safe, everyone has a good time and show. I would like to give a shoutout to Chad and Karina; when I was at the Vault a couple of weeks ago, they gave us a good show with a few flips and a whip (the ladies spins on floor on her hip!).


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