Ballroom Dance > Social Dancing: Why So Critical?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by MintyMe, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. MintyMe

    MintyMe Member

    Hi everyone,

    At a recent social dance, I danced with a stranger (a man I'd never met or seen out dancing before) and I thought we danced well together.

    He asked me to dance again, but during the second dance he never stopped criticizing me. Apparently, (according to him) everything I did was wrong.

    Throughout the entire second dance, he went on and on and on, offering non-stop petty, distracting criticisms, his idea of "instruction" I suppose--most of which I knew were incorrect anyway.

    (I feel like I should defend myself by saying I'm a very skilled social dancer bla bla bla but even if I were an inexperienced dancer, this is rude, right?)

    I'm just curious to see if this happens to other dancers, or why other dancers might do it, or how to handle it in the future.

    I'm mad at myself for just smiling pleasantly the whole time he picked me apart when I really wish I would have somehow shut him up.

  2. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    I have encountered this before and my best solution was to never dance with that person again. It may sound harsh, but it's called social dancing for a reason... It's suppose to be social, fun, and relaxing. It's not suppose to be a lesson.

    I think if you come across a similar person again you could politely say, thank you for your criticisms, but please save them for after the dance is over.
    chomsky, regis, ajiboyet and 2 others like this.
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    MintyMe likes this.
  4. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I've seen it discussed in other forums as well. I once told one of the top WCS pro's what I considered an entertaining story about a leader spending most of a song explaining to me what was wrong with my dancing and why I wasn't fun to dance with and the pro hit the ceiling. Turns out that he--and many other professionals--really dislike it when people do that. The leaders get it as well, but I think it happens to followers more. I think most of us agree that the best thing to say at the end of a dance is, "thank you very much."
    Miss Silly and Dr Dance like this.
  5. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    As a leader, I seldom get criticized by my follower in the social arena. Once in awhile, it happens. I shrug it off as an anomaly.

    I can see how more leaders would criticize followers than the other way around. If not solicited, I believe that it's rude behavior.

    Did you ask him, "Are you a dance instructor?"

    If his answer is "no," then ask him to keep his opinions about your dancing to himself.

    If his answer is "yes," then thank him for his free appraisal. (Even though it rubbed you the wrong way.) But in the future, could he restrict criticisms to lessons, not the social arena.
    frotes and MintyMe like this.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    we have numerous threads discussing is common..
    IndyLady likes this.
  7. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    My observation: Those who can, lead. Those who can't, teach.
  8. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    You can always smile and say "So how much do I owe you for the lesson?"
    Yes, this happens quite often.
  9. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    Guys seem to have a need to fix things. It's bad behavior. My advice is to stop dancing and ask him to clarify what he means. Hopefully the music will be finished before his lesson. Say thanks, and try to avoid him in the future.

    Confronting him will accomplish nothing but to get both of you angry.
    chomsky and Bailamosdance like this.
  10. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Is there a clear destinction between social dance and an opportunity for practice in your community?
  11. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Lol, I like this. I will have to add it to my smart-alec "If you can count to 8, you can dance. If you can't, you can teach dance."
    twnkltoz likes this.
  12. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Yes it's rude. Unless you feel it would be useful (for either you or him) to stand up for yourself, just avoid him in the future (even if that means saying "no thank you" to dancing with him if he asks, which can be considered a bit rude, but definitely less rude than the unsolicited critiques). There is one such gentleman that I avoid for this same reason.
    chomsky likes this.
  13. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Very rude and inappropriate. Not uncommon, alas.
    I do not believe in asking " Are you a teacher?" It does not matter if he is a teacher. She said yes to a dance, not to a lesson. Besides, no good teacher would teach or correct a random partner or even their own student (unless they agreed upon treating a social outing as a practice session), on a social dance floor, because it is not the time and place for criticism and instructions.
    To hang in there till the end of the song, say "thank you", and never dance with that person again seems like a good solution to me. Alternatively, one could say, "I am sorry my dancing displeases you so. Since none of us enjoys it, obviously, I believe we better stop."
    leee, chomsky, musicbrain and 2 others like this.
  14. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    What Lilly said. I've been on a rampage about this lately. It's my pet peeve.
    IndyLady likes this.
  15. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Just for jollies, let's enumerate some of the possible reasons dancers do this, of course all ultimately due to some inherent frailty of human nature and psychological/emotional needs...

    - The need to feel important and useful
    - The need to feel needed and appreciated
    - The need for power and influence
    - The need to "share" one's knowledge and discovery
    - The need to feel superior
    - The need to feel one exists and can communicate
    - The need to explain everything
    - The belief that leading (or following) and teaching are synonymous
    - The belief that verbal instruction is a good way to "connect" with others
    - The belief that if some newbie dance partners appreciate instruction, all others do
    - The existence of dancers who seek instruction on the dance floor
    - The lack of behavioral self-control and awareness
    - The lack of the social gene that properly gauges the reaction of partners
    - Loneliness

    The urge to provide unsolicited advice is natural and evident. It takes training and practice to supress it. We all have these urges to different degrees, but there are better places to vent them, as by posting on forums.

    Many of these reasons are also the roots for why some dancers turn down invitations gratuitously. Or why some talk so much while dancing.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    MintyMe likes this.
  16. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    This is usually the reason why beginners (especially younger ones) decide to not continue their pursuit of social dancing.
    chomsky and IndyLady like this.
  17. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    This is not clear. Many newbies actually look for directions when starting out, and probably contribute to some leaders' belief that teaching on the social floor is a good thing. Of course, the novelty of getting "free" instruction wears off quickly.

    I suspect a much bigger reason beginners quit is simply time and financial constraints, or the realization that "social dancing" doesn't meet their social needs (for relationships, friendships, etc.).
  18. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    Not true. If it weren't for my fiance (bf at the time) dragging me to a west coast swing social every Friday, I would have been totally put off by the scene after one guy spent the entire dance trying to teach me. It wasn't helpful, it made the experience terrible, and I have yet to dance with that same leader again.

    I would have happly written off west coast swing as something I wanted to do, and just stuck to ballroom. Thankfully, I didn't. But I attribute that fact to it being early in the relationship with my fiance and wanting to give what he liked a chance.
  19. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I have had several people, mostly women, tell me their experience was ruined because someone, usually a man, insisted on teaching them and was obnoxious about it. I've seen it happen more in ballroom, actually, but it's happened to me (unjustly) in WCS and AT, too.
  20. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    There's a big difference between having one or a handful of ruined experiences and actually quitting something due solely/primarily to that/those experiences. The people who are still dancing (and recounting these experiences) are obviously still dancing despite the bad experiences (because there are other experiences/circumstances that keep them going, including influence from friends, etc.). Drawing wider statistical inference (e.g., the "usual" [major] reason dancers quit) based only on personal anecdotal experience or limited observation is a flawed process.

    I can think of lots of other main reasons why newbies quit (besides time/money/social- needs) due to the dancing interactions themselves. Being strong-armed or injured, being rejected too often for dances, not being asked enough for dances, not "getting it" fast enough, getting frustrated, and realizing one just doesn't really care for the dance(s) or music come to mind. These causes probably overshadow 3 minutes of unsolicited lessons.
    twnkltoz likes this.

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