Ballroom Dance > Social Dancing: Why So Critical?

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

  1. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I think if I were dancing with my pro at a social, he lead something I wasn't clear on, IF I asked he would correct/explain or at least repeat it. I've never had any of my teachers offer correction at a social spontaneously, though.
  2. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    It certainly can be... :)
  3. dncergrl

    dncergrl Active Member

    I would not like a pompous know-it-all to spoil a fun social evening. However I have been in 2 separate situations where I was at a dance where I knew nothing of the genre. One was an Argentine tango evening. A very nice gentleman asked me to dance and I confessed to him I knew nothing, but would he teach me? I can catch on pretty quickly and he was a good teacher and we danced together all night, with him teaching me and talking me through steps. It was a highlight of my life. Having said this, he was not "critical", but instead very nice and helpful.
    ajiboyet, SwayWithMe, leee and 2 others like this.
  4. MintyMe

    MintyMe Member

    Thank you. Sticking up for me is not something that comes naturally. But "smile and say nothing" always makes me feel mad at myself.
    Dr Dance and chomsky like this.
  5. MintyMe

    MintyMe Member

    Yes it was like the second example. I don't mind a quick "hey, try this" or a heads up about what he plans to lead if I'm not getting it. But a stream of what I did "wrong" (and I know I wasn't wrong!) -- grrrr!
  6. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    same here. I need to practice on sticking up for myself, it is hard. It is like dance, it just takes practice, I guess.
  7. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I choose to say nothing because it's not comfortable for me to make a big deal of it, and then there will be a pall on the rest of the evening. Plus, if I say something, I open myself up to receiving backlash...while undeserved, it's still unpleasant. I don't want to put myself through that, so I choose to brush it off and then not dance with that person again. Plus, being a professional in the community, I try to maintain a reputation of approachability and what not, so I don't need anyone going around talking about what a b!tch I was to him for making a simple suggestion (because people misrepresent the facts when they feel wronged).

    I suppose one of these days someone is going to send me over the edge and I'll say something. Perhaps someday soon, because it's been happening a lot in the local AT community, not just to me but to other good follows as well. It's getting super old.
  8. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Although I'm not a professional, after all the years and time I've put into this, I'm pretty sure I know something about the dance. Still, as I've written, newbies would offer "suggestions," (something I've learned to deflect without outright saying "no thanks") and it was enough of a drip drip drip to make me stop going to AT for 2 years.

    So I feel your pain.
  9. flightco

    flightco Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't even finish the dance; I would stop, smile at him nicely, say thank you for the dance and leave him standing there.
  10. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    I rarely run into this problem, because I'm bad at actually social dancing at socials... I end up dancing with people I know very well (so who cares if they complain :p). But I think it's best to just let the teachers/complainers prattle on and just sort of laugh to yourself :rolleyes:. Especially if you know better than what they're "teaching"... give yourself permission to think "haha, n00b" without feeling guilty.
    chomsky and flightco like this.
  11. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    I did this once when this really bad leader hurt me 4 times in a row during a dance though I kept telling him to stop doing the move that injured me. I only did this the 4th time and then realized no means no. I kept turning him down after that for a month.By the end of the month instead of getting the message he even wanted to start a fight about my saying no to him. Sometimes people won't take no for an answer.
  12. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    I guess this is the best thing to do, I ended up surrounding myself with people I knew while always giving a chance to new dance friends.
  13. Lyra

    Lyra Active Member

    I've been in this situation a handful of times (and isn't it funny how the people who do this usually don't know what they're talking about?;) ). I usually try to turn it off with a light hearted comment, if they persist I might say something like "I'm here to have fun tonight - maybe I'm just too relaxed!" And if they persist after that, well, the dance is usually over by then and I just say "No" if they ask again.
    chomsky likes this.
  14. regis

    regis Active Member

    actually the question is: When did it become acceptable to refuse?

    this quote "
    A lady cannot refuse the invitation of a gentleman to dance, unless she has already accepted that of another, for she would be guilty of an incivility which might occasion trouble; she would, moreover, seem to show contempt for him whom she refused, and would expose herself to receive in secret an ill compliment from the mistress of the house."
    is from this source
    RiseNFall likes this.
  15. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    Also from that site ( ;)
    chomsky, j_alexandra and regis like this.
  16. regis

    regis Active Member

    ah, and this one
    Declining a Dance
    Being declined is always unpleasant. For beginners and shy individuals it is even harder to take, and may discourage them from social dancing. Dance etiquette requires that one should avoid declining a dance under most circumstances. For example, there is no correct way of refusing an invitation on the basis of preferring to dance with someone else. According to tradition, the only graceful way of declining a dance is either (a) you do not know the dance, (b) you need to take a rest, or (c) you have promised the dance to someone else.
    The last excuse should be used only sparingly. When declining a dance, it is good form to offer another dance instead: ``No, thank you, I'm taking a break. Would you like to do another dance later?'' Also, declining a dance means sitting out the whole song. It is inconsiderate and outright rude to dance a song with anyone after you have declined to dance it with someone else. If you are asked to dance a song before you can ask (or get asked by) your desired partner, that's the luck of the draw. The choices are to dance it with whomever asked first, or to sit out the dance.
    Does dance etiquette allow declining a dance outside of the cases mentioned above? The answer is yes, if someone is trying to monopolize you on the dance floor, make inappropriate advances, is unsafe (e.g. collides with others on the floor), or is in other ways unsavory, you are within the bounds of etiquette to politely but firmly decline any more dances. Perhaps the simplest, best way is to say ``No, thank you,'' without further explanation or argument. Dancers are encouraged to use discretion and restraint when exercising this option. "

    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  17. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Shall we also remember that it would be inconceivable for a gentleman to make an even remotely unpleasant remark to a lady, let alone criticize her dancing. One who dared to do so could be, at the very least, never admitted to the circle again.
    Loki likes this.
  18. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    In general, when we talk about the etiquette, in those times there were requirements to meet in order to join the circle of the etiquette practitioners, and social pressure to enforce them, most of which are no longer in place.
    So, for better and for worse, quite a few people we keep coming across at the dance studio parties nowadays either would not make the initial cut or stick around very long.
  19. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "Times change, and customs wither." Perhaps. Rather I'd say, that so much of our entertaining has left the home for the night club, "Times change, and customers wither."

    With the advent of prohibition the Four Hundred went out, and the Four Million came in-came in when they could get in, to speakeasies and night clubs. Dining and dancing became almost synonymous.
    Prohibition went out, but the night clubs remain-remain a vital factor in the social life of the nation. Even our debutantes make their formal debuts in public hotels.
    It is not my purpose to discuss the sociological aspect of night clubs, but merely to confine myself to the etiquette of the dance there.

    When the dance left the private ballroom to come to the cafe dance floor, it shed a great deal of its formality. 'And necessarily so. In the ballroom there were no strangers; that is, no strangers to the hostess. Everyone was an invited guest, and, as such, subject to the more or less rigid rules of etiquette governing the formal dance. But in the cafe the attitude is quite different. There no one is a guest; everyone is a customer. You drop in after theater for supper or a drink and a dance-stay as long as you like-pay for what you have, and leave. No formal invitation, no stag line, no rules for "cutting-in," no set obligation to partner, no responsibility to hostess.
    Yet informality is no cloak for bad manners. And the night club dance, though informal, has its own obligations. "

    Text from 1952 Arthur Murray How to Become a Good Dancer
    There was nothing about refusing dances, etc.
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  20. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I only very very rarely experience any rudeness at dance studio parties, it's the larger social dance events where I see it. In ballroom at least. Interestingly, I don't think I have ever been given one of those lessons-on-the-floor at a large weekend WCS event, though I have at smaller local "after the class" WCS dances.

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