Here Are Some Tips To Eliminate Salsa Politics
This and the previous article are focused on steps that can be taken to eliminate Politics in the Salsa community or any other dance community.
Bad Mouthing Leaders
If you are serious about eliminating politics in your Salsa community, then stop bad mouthing your leaders. It doesn’t matter if you are talking community member to member, leader to member, or member to leader. Speaking evil of those that are taking some part in trying to organize and promote events does more to hurt rather than to help build Salsa where you live.
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Trash Talking Leaders Does Several Things:
- It can discourage dancers from attending events. Sometimes those dancers just get discouraged by negative attitudes and will stop dancing entirely.
- As attendance drops at events, then the event weakens and some end up being cancelled entirely.
- This makes for fewer options for new people to find Salsa and fewer places for Salseros to go out and enjoy the dance we love.
- For those who don’t let negative information about leaders or other dancers stop them from coming, it can at least make them feel uncomfortable around a particular person. No one wants to take the time and spend the money to go out dancing just to have the enjoyment diminished by negative vibes in the room.
Sometimes we justify our trash talk by saying to ourselves that we need to tell our friends about this situation so they can be careful to avoid a similar trouble with that person. If we are honest, 90% of the time we are just looking for an excuse to roll around on the bochinche bus, while we sip a cup of juicy gossip. Yes, that DJ, Instructor, or Promoter may have done some bad thing in the past. However, all of us want forgiveness when we’ve made a mistake. All of us want someone to protect our reputation when we are not able to defend ourselves. We should do for others what we want them to do for us.
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Don’t Be Naïve
Let’s not be naive here. There are some leaders who have done selfish, rude, or dishonest things—repeatedly! It is still recommended not to trash talk them. Why not? Don’t they deserve it? Maybe they do, but how does it make you look when you spread tales of the misdeeds of others. Does it make you look better, more superior, and smarter? Generally not. Putting down others, even those who have earned it, will not make people trust you more. You will just get your feet dirty if you think that you can lift yourself higher by stepping on the muck and mire of others.
It’s not always about an individual. At times someone from your group will ask your opinion about another congress or dance social. You can give them factual information without a critical attitude. When people ask about events that you or your favorite Leader don’t host, then this is not an opportunity for you to take the focus off of the event in question and then attack the credibility of the leader of that event. There is no need to poison someone else’s mind about a person they may not even know.
Now, you may have legitimate biases against another leader. So what do you do about that? When efforts at peaceful reconciliation have failed, then just wait. The leader you’re concerned about will eventually show his or her true self without you having to say a thing. At that point people will see who to trust and support.
Sometimes these biases we have against someone started from something small where no malice was intended. Things were misunderstood and a feud began. Intended or not, the wise person focuses on the resolution to the issue and not the person behind the issue. They further realize that there is always more than one side to every story. Plus, when friction occurs and issues in Salsa politics need to be discussed, the mature among us do so with as few people as necessary.
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Limiting the scope of conversations about the misdeeds of the past will allow our dark Salsa history to die a slow death. New people in our dance communities are not guilty of dragging the corpse of old issues around in our venues. It’s those of us who’ve been around for a while who breathe conversational life into rotten flesh that should long ago have been sealed forever below ground. This is to our shame.
The best advice to new Salsa dance community members about Salsa politics is to dance in the light of all you find beautiful about Salsa and shut your ears and seal your lips against all whispers of dark deeds.
Don’t forget to check out How To Eliminate Politics In Your Salsa Community-Part 1.
Thanks to Clara Toro-Douglas for her heavy input into the content of this article.
Talk Back: We’d like to hear how conflict has hurt your dance community and what has been done to fix it. Please be discreet and change names and locations as needed so as not to cause more drama. We just want to learn from each other’s experiences so that we can grow together. Hit us up on our contact page if you or someone you know would like to write about that for this website.