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Editor's Note: The views of this article does not necessarily reflect those of SalsaNewYork.com, SalsaNewYork.com/Magazine.

SalsaNewYork reader Joe Wieder who has in the past contributed several articles to our site, has again graced our pages with his thoughts on the subject matter.

Can We Get Some Respect Here?

By Joe Wieder

Alright, call it a pet peeve.  Another pet peeve.  I’ve been watching some of the younger male “hot shot” dancers doing these steps that disturb me.  I don’t know if they’re picking them up in dance classes.  I hope not.  I mean, I hope that teachers have enough good sense not to teach this stuff.

What I’m referring to is a trend toward steps that have nothing to do with dancing and, at best, I believe are demeaning, disrespectful, and potentially painful to their partners.  The one I find most offensive is where the guy with his back turned to the woman kicks his foot out backward, karate style, to catch his partner in the crook of his bent leg and turn her.   He then hops onto that foot and uses his free foot to catch her going in the other direction and send her back, all the while with his back turned.  Looks way cool, huh?  

Actually, what it looks like is a dog doing a number on a fire hydrant.

The other day I saw one of these “better” dancers flick his foot out behind him and inadvertently kick his short partner with the point of his foot, catching her right in her lower back in the area of her kidney.  Ouch! That had to hurt. You could see her wince in pain, but she kept on dancing and said nothing.   He, of course, with his back to her was oblivious to it all, he was so..o..o..o  cool.

Then there’s one where the guy squats down and turns his partner by her knees.  Try losing sight of your partner and feel someone swatting at your legs while you turn helplessly with no frame of reference.  How much fun is that?

How about that step where the guy leads a cross-body and simultaneously turns the woman counterclockwise by forcing her head down from her neck to pass her under his arm.  Why is that one so popular?  Why are women willing to dance with men who do that.  Especially, since women I’ve talked to hate that step.  At best it musses their hair, at worst it hurts their neck.

There are several other steps I’ve seen that really don’t do much for the women except put them at risk of injury.

Now, It’s one thing to work out a step as choreography and get the timing and sequencing down so that everyone knows what’s happening when.  Then you rehearse it until you and your partner are comfortable with it and can pretty much do it with your eyes closed.  That’s fine for performing,

But, good dancing is about communication.  So, don’t spring these moves on your partner when you’re out dancing socially.   And above all, use some common sense - don’t risk hurting or demeaning your partner just to impress your friends.

-Joe Wieder

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