The Real Difference Between On1 & On2 Salsa
Although the majority of classes and club nights within Leeds are danced ‘On1’, recently ‘On2’ salsa dancing has rapidly gained popularity within the area. So last weekend, resident teacher Jake, went to a On2 workshop hosted by TNT Dance to find out what all the fuss is about.
At Salsa Dance Leeds we pretty much dance exclusively ‘On1’, and a lot has been made of the difference between these two styles. So we are asking the question, what’s the real difference between On1 and On2 salsa?
“The simple answer is not much, but quite a lot. Confused? Don’t worry we will explain…”
Sorry, out of necessity what follows will get quite technical.
First let’s get down to some fundamentals of Salsa On1. You’ll often hear in classes the teacher counting “one-two-three, five-six-seven”. This means we are stepping on the first three counts of the first bar, and the first three counts of the second bar. So what happens on the 4th and 8th beat I hear you cry?
Well, a somewhat simplified explanation taught to beginners is that we have a pause, that we stop moving altogether. This would look pretty unnatural, and actually most dancers do continue moving through the 4th and 8th beats. These dancers actually employ a Quick-Quick-Slow rhythm.
So what does that mean? A Quick Quick is 2 steps to 2 beats of music (stepping on each beat) and a Slow is 1 step to 2 beats of music (stepping on the 1st beat of the Slow). In On1, the Quick Quick steps are beats 1 and 2, and 5 and 6; while the Slow steps are beats 3 and 4, and 7 and 8.
Importantly, while performing the mambo step in partner work, the lead steps forward on count one with his left foot, while the follow steps back with her right.
With Salsa On2, the main technical difference lies in the timing of the steps.
The lead actually takes his forward step on count six of the music, which is five beats later than his On1 counterpart.
Also, the Quick Quick steps are 2 and 3, and 6 and 7; while the Slow steps are across beats 4 and 5, and 8 and 1. Some On2 dancers actually place the foot down on 4 and 8, while others step on 4& and 8&.
The Difference Between On1 and On2
So what’s the difference between On1 and On2? Well in fact, there are more similarities than some would have you believe. The steps and moves are very similar across On1 and On2 – it is simply the timing that varies.
It really is a matter of personal preference because the difference in the timing gives light to the most important difference of all – the feeling of dancing On1 or On2. Because the Slow part of the Quick Quick Slow rhythm is at a different point in the music, this gives the two styles a considerably different emphasis, and also, a different connection with the music.
It’s also worth noting that preference for On1 or On2 often varies along geographic lines. LA Style salsa with it’s high energy dips, tricks and spins is usually danced On1. Whereas New York salsa, with it’s emphasis on technique and musicality is usually danced On2. There’s also an argument to say On1 is easier for beginners to take up. I’ll leave that up for debate – comments are open!
What I will say, is that you should try both and decide for yourself. The TNT Dance workshop last Saturday was exceptional, not only for the On2 tuition but also the elements that both On1 and On2 dancers can benefit from.
- body isolations
- leading and following
- multiple spin technique
TNT Dance are a London based crew and their next Mambo workshop (read Salsa On2) is 27th October 2012 at the Dance Studio Leeds. For more details, check out the TNT Dance website and decide for yourself!
Just promise us that you won’t abandon On1 completely and will still come see us at Distrikt in Leeds for your fix every Tuesday evening!