Articles > Salsa Cliques by Jason Pacheco
I was having a late snack after dancing and I was trash talking with some people about life. Picking up the info on who was dating who and who left which dance company. We had a few veteran dancers but there was a new child on the scene. She made a comment that a lot of young dancers make. “The salsa scene has too many cliques.” I had to laugh because it was such naïve statement.
I grew up in a very strict evangelical home in the inner city of Chicago. Every social event from childhood through high school was surrounded by church. I went church, bible study and bible camp during the summer. Then I went to college and was exposed to many different social circles. I wasn’t sheltered to the point that I never had exposure to other social circles, but I never really saw them in depth like I did in college. It was a fun experience because I enjoy watching people interact. When I started dancing I realized that the salsa scene was by far the most entertaining social circle that I have ever witnessed.
“People are people” I say this all the time. Sometimes we become so involved in our social world we think it’s the exception. Really people tend to behave the same regardless of the scene. Growing up in church you meet good people and you meet not so good people. There is a church jargon and yes they have cliques. This goes for every social group where people gather together. The word clique has a lot of the negative connotations. (Except for the Hip- hop scene) If you were to look it up in the thesaurus it’s synonyms are faction, gang and elite. Ouch… Who wants to be described as elite faction or gang? There isn’t anything wrong with cliques. Yes I agree that the dancing scene has many cliques. No one should apologize about wanting to hang out with his or her friends. That’s what humans do. People who complain about cliques are usually jealous that they are not part of a clique. Their complaints subside once they have their own niche. Newbie’s will always make this complaint until they gather the skills to hang with advance dancers. Everyone goes through it and no one likes being humbled.
I use to play basketball in high school religiously. I would play for to 4 to 5 hrs straight everyday during the summer. Even within athletic circles groups would form. These revolved around your skill level. There are three outdoor basketball courts in the park. On the south end all the kids and busters would run their games. In the middle was the High school and mid level players ran their games. On the north end was where the giants roamed. These were grown men and a few large teenagers. No one complained about cliques on the basketball court. You played at your level until it wasn’t challenging and then you attempted to make the jump. If you weren’t good enough you wouldn’t get picked to play. How much fun would a grown man have going over to the south end of the courts and totally dominating a bunch of kids? Not only wouldn’t it be fun it’s dangerous.
It’s the same thing with dancing. You want to dance with people who are going to challenge you. Of course you should dance with beginners and make an effort to welcome new people. No one should expect that if they are just learning the fundamentals that they are going to be dancing every song. If you are not dancing it’s not because these cliques want to deny you a good time. Truth is no one gives it that much thought. (Expect for over analytical people like myself). So just keep dancing and practicing soon enough people will complain about how left out you make them feel. "
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