Dancing On 2

Note: I may sound preachy here, but these are?just my feelings and perhaps rants?on the issue unsorted and perhaps a little?condescending.? I don’t intend any offence so don’t get pissed over one man’s views.? For those wanting more, a full objective article about dancing salsa on 2 will be posted soon enough.? Yes, I admit that this post is hardly objective and terribly biased and preachy.

Recently in the Singapore salsa scene, there’s been a surge in interest of dancing salsa on 2 for various reasons, but the most common reason is to try to be politically correct, dance-wise.? Basically many people think that they’re dancing to the clave.?

That’s total bullcrap.?

As I’ve mentioned in my Clave article, the clave plays only 5 notes, so technically your 6 steps should somehow be reduced to 5, which seems to me to be ridiculous, and definitely not how salsa on 2 is danced.? The above link contains diagrams on how salsa on 2 is danced, so do check it out.

Now, with that aside, dancing on 2 for me is fun!? I love it, in fact I love it so much that I try to dance that with lizzie every chance I have.? I’m definitely not swayed by assertions that on 2 is THE right way to dance because of the clave or because it’s dancing IN the music etc.? No, I dance on 2 because I like the syncopation within the steps.? I think the short pause allows for lots more styling and results in a more appealing dance, to both the dancer and the audience.? The?break step?also happens to coincide with the bass note, which gives your break a groovier feel.? This groovy feeling is even more pronounced when the bass is stronger, ie what many people call an on 2 song.

About “on 2 songs”,?I strongly feel that?the term is a?misnomer.? You can dance to any song on 2!? It merely depends on how the song makes you feel, and it would be very unfair to think that a song gives everyone the same feelings.? Therefore, dancing on 2 becomes a personal choice and not dictated to you by the song.

Dancing on 2 is certainly different from on 1 but not that different.? Sure, there are some variations you can do on 1 but not on 2 and vice versa, but most can be converted.? They might just requrie some initial thought.? But after dancing on 2 for a while I found that I could convert many variations on the fly, which I think says a lot about the connection between on 1 and on 2.?

I think one of the major hurdles to dancing on 2 naturally is counting.? Sure, counting is useful when learning the basics of on 2, but after a while when you’ve got them internalised, it is important to learn to shut that voice in your head that goes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 7.? Do that and your on 2 steps will just flow.

So stop counting and start dancing on 2!



2 Responses to “Dancing On 2”

  1. Panda Says:


    Visit Panda

    Har? Dance On2 to be politicaly correct? That’s interesting =)

    Other than the count and break being at different parts, there is also a matter of ‘style’. On2 is largely being influenced by how a few outstanding individuals from NY choose to dance salsa and people tend to take that as ‘THE’ way to dance On2. (Me? I don’t really care, I just pick the style i like =P)

    I’ve come to realise that some music are just more suitable for certain type of dance. e.g. the Cumbia type of ‘bouncy’ music that the current USQ band like to play,… feels kind of weird, keke. I’ve tried to do On2 to it and failed miserably. Maybe I’m just not used to it yet.

  2. Tien Yew Says:


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    I agree that the On 2 style being danced is to a large extent influenced by a few outstanding individuals like Frankie Martinez and Juan Matos with their fluid and intricate body movements. Certainly there isn?t anything wrong with that but what is disconcerting is that there are some who take that as THE way to dance. Their overzealousness in online forums and chats can be quite off-putting, hence my frustration.

    I think that music interpretation is a very tricky issue. There are many ways to interpret a piece of music and it thus boils down to the feel that it gives. Like you say that you like to pick the style you like to dance On 2, suiting the style to the music might be beneficial because there isn?t just one way to dance On 2 and that there are many ways to style the On 2 steps. For example if you hear bouncy Cumbia then dance with more bounce like Ismael Otero or if you hear rumba then think afro body movements like Frankie Martinez. That kind of thing. Surely I don?t claim to be an expert but perhaps thinking that On 2 is merely stepping on different counts with styling as extremely necessary icing could help.


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