Hi Salsa Lovers, as most of you may know I recently went on a Salsa Cruise going down the Mediterranean and it was Mind Blowingly AWESOME!
One of the events on the ship was an On1 Vs. On2 Competition. Now, while this competition actually had nothing to do with Salsa, when teams were being formed you could clearly see a line being drawn – there were the On2 advocates and there were the On1 advocates and each team wanted to represent for their preferred style. This despite the fact that as I said, the actual events in the competition had nothing to do with Salsa. (Side Note – The On1 team (which I was part of) WON.)
In the land of Salsa, you will definitely (if you have not already) come across the discussion (usually heated arguments) of On1 Vs. On2.
Now before we get into it, what is the difference between the two?
Well, depending on how much you know about salsa – you may know that there are many different styles of Salsa. The most popular of which is Cross Body style that has 2 predominant branches:
A. On1 is where the leader breaks (i.e. steps) forward with his left foot on the 1 beat of the music and is also commonly referred to as LA (Los Angeles) style.
B. On 2 Is where the leader breaks backward with his Right foot on the 2 beat of the music and is also referred to as NY (New York) style.
Now pattern wise, the styles are basically the same, there is however a slight change in timing and movement to the music.
So how did the battle of on 1 Vs. On2 come about?
Well it can be said that dancing On2 requires a much more attuned ear and ability to really listen to the music and find all 8 beats & as a result of the change of timing, it gives a slightly longer pause in certain sections which generally allows an extra beat to complete a move or for ladies styling. Additionally, as 1 is the easiest beat to find, some On2 dancers have gone on to classify anyone who is not dancing to the music as being in the on1 category. I think these are just some of the reasons why a number of On2 dancers have gone after the On1’ers’.
However, can someone who is not dancing to the beat really be called an On1 Dancer? A real On1 dancer, just like a real On2 dancer can hear all 8 beats of the music and will dance to the right beat at the right time.
NOW – Lets answer the question – Is anyone style better than the other? The Answer is – NO!
Why? Because it does not matter how Great a dancer is On1 or On2, somewhere out there is a Dancer who can dance them into oblivion with Patterns, Footwork, Timing & Musicality using the other beat! What actually makes a Great Dancer is being able to Dance both On1 and On2.
I think if you wanna argue about On1 Vs. On2, it should be about whether dancing On2 should be on music with a 2-3 Clave while dancing On1 should be with music on a 3-2 Clave… (If you have no idea what I am talking about here, go read my other post- musicality) But we will save that argument for another time.
Now this post definitely won’t end the debate about On1 Vs. On2! In-fact, it will probably fuel it. Why you may ask? Well everyone has a PREFERENCE. Its what makes us human – Our Diversity.
That being said, Salsa People have 1 thing in common above all else – PASSION.
They LOVE SALSA and are PASSIONATE about it.
Now where there is Passion -Preference becomes Belief!
As we all know – Differing Beliefs create Conflict.
So the battle of On1 Vs. On2 will continue as long there is Salsa in the World.
What I will say though is that we should all learn to respect both styles. If you are an up and coming or even established Salsero or Salsera -Why limit yourself? Learn to dance both On1 and On2. Have no illusion, it will be a challenge to learn to dance on a different beat and it will require patience. But not only will it make you a better dancer and broaden your dancing experience , it will allow you to dance anywhere, anytime with absolutely anyone!
Ultimately, that’s what its all about! 😉