What are the 5 top reasons that make a man ask a woman to dance? Beauty comes first?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Paula M, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    not me..I danced with the most beautiful young woman who is all long hair and long legs on saturday, and she isnt quite as wild as she used to be; sometimes we played and it was a lot of fun.

    And had a lovely last dance with a woman with an embrace to die in....I know of only three or four ladies in the uk who feel like this.

    and had nice dances with the usual crones....;)
  2. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    On a semi-serious note, and vastly over-generalising, I often find that when I do dance with those women, they're not very good. They're often all about making themselves look good - not surprisingly - and not so much about connection with their partner.

    Show dancers, basically. And I'm not that keen on dancing with show dancers.
  3. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    What about doing other things? :raisebro:
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    That's ... probably not a topic for this forum :p
  5. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I hope y'all don't mind me bumping up this old thread, but I thought you could help me puzzle out why I don't get asked to dance. Well, I do some, sometimes by men who don't know me at all, often by an old ballroom or swing friend, sometimes by men whom I've met and gotten to know a little bit. However, I find my self sitting a LOT, even when at a small practica with a total of maybe 20 people that are evenly balanced between men and women. It's frustrating, which makes it hard to manage my pleasant attitude as the evening wears on. My husband and I go together, but we don't want to dance with each other ALL night. We like to get around and have some variety, plus dancing with more experienced dancers helps us learn.

    My background:

    I've been ballroom and west coast swing dancing for 15 years, so I already had a concept of partner dancing and how to move my body before I started AT a month ago. I'm also a fast learner, and being a woman, I can follow and pick things up more easily than my poor husband, who has to go more slowly (but is doing great!). I've been told by several people I don't have the typical ballroom dancer problems, and I get specific enough compliments with genuine surprise and smiles that I believe them. Also, I'm neither 20 nor skinny nor do I dress sexy in 4" heels nor have big boobs, so I'm pretty sure they're not acting impressed to hit on me. They even smile while we're dancing. I don't mean to sound egotistical--I have a lot to learn, and I take every suggestion very seriously and try to learn from every dance. Anyway, the point is, I'm just trying to point out that the men who have danced with me seem to enjoy it.

    Although we've only been doing this a month, Greg and I have been going out dancing 2-4 nights per week, so we're really getting to know a lot of people in the community. They've been very welcoming, introducing themselves and each other. We've become friends with quite a few on facebook. The women have been super about dancing with Greg, even though he mostly just walks at this point (but, did I say, well? I'm proud of him).

    So, here's what puzzles me:

    1. There are men who dance with me one night, sometimes 2-3 tandas, who don't even look at me the next night. Or one week to the next. There isn't a pattern by venue/crowd.

    2. They'll dance with me once (perhaps a pity dance? I'm not above pity dances.), smile and compliment me throughout and/or after, then don't ask again.

    3. A couple of men I've made a point of introducing myself to, or someone else introduced us, or he and my husband and I got to talking, but still they don't ask me.

    I know I"m being a whiner, but I'm truly puzzled. I'm friendly, I smile, I try to look people in the eye (although I'm shy, so that's hard and I don't always manage it), all indicators seem to point to the fact that I'm pleasant to dance with despite being a beginner to the style.

    Greg and I thought maybe it was because others are afraid to ask me because they don't want to offend him or something, so we sometimes separate and hang out in different spots. We get him out dancing to show that we do dance with other people. I sit with an open posture or stand by the side of the floor. I dress neatly and fairly elegantly, although not fancy or sexy (nice slacks and a top). I wear ballroom practice shoes, because I've had foot problems and don't want to wear high heels. I dance in an open embrace when given the choice because I feel funny throwing myself at strangers (I know, I"ll get over it eventually, but I feel like I should learn more before I do), although some men just pull me into a close embrace and I comply to the best of my ability.

    One friend suggested it's just getting more face time at the dances--that eventually I'll have been around long enough that they'll start asking. I can see that to a point, but what about the guys who have already danced with me? I can also see how when there is a big surplus of women, the guys have to get around to a lot of them, but can't they get to me even once? Even in, say, a snowball dance where they'll only be "stuck" with me for a few seconds?

    OK, I'll stop whining now...but I'm interested in any theories or suggestions.
  6. shutterbox

    shutterbox New Member

    Going back to the original question, the top 5 reasons, in my practise and experience:
    1) I'll pick one who dances well, ie posture, giros, stepping, etc
    2) I'll pick one who behaves well, ie no big boleos, no talking when dancing, etc
    3) I'll pick one who doesn't dress too revealing
    4) I'll pick one who doesn't talk too loud
    5) I'll dance with a friend who doesn't dance too badly

    I consider all the above points while observing the followers on the dance floor over a few tandas, and behaviour of followers off the dance floor.

    Whether these followers whom I'v chosen to dance to will accept my invite, is another matter :p
  7. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Warning: I'm in a cynical mood, so take this with a grain of salt.

    This pretty much explains it all:

    Yeah...welcome to the world of AT that frustrates all of us ladies. Part of it is because you're so new, and don't know a lot, and 10-15 minutes can be a lot to invest with a raw beginner dancer. But it still happens once you get better. Don't ask me why.
  8. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Well, I guess it's nice to know it's not just me.
  9. gyb

    gyb New Member

    I also thought about the original question, here is my list with some explanation:

    (1) She likes to dance with me.
    (2) She knows the tango music well and has similar taste to mine.
    (3) She is a good dancer.
    (4) She is kind.
    (5) She is cute.

    Although I say the first two are the most important, it actually takes a lot of time to figure out whether they are the case. In particular I don't take any verbal "I really liked to dance with you / you are such a great leader" etc etc as an indication of (1) (on the contrary, sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable; in my communities there are way more good followers than leaders, and in many cases I feel these lines are only thrown in as a tool for manipulating me to asking them out next time as well, which I perceive as unwanted obligation). It either comes through during the tandas that we like to dance with each other or it doesn't. Similarly with (2).

    The last three are much easier to judge (although it's questionable whether one can be a good dancer without knowing the music well, by (3) I mostly mean that she is already at the level where her body doesn't get in the way of dancing, has a good technique, adaptable etc.) and so I pick new partners mostly on their basis. But in the long run (1) and (2) are way more important.
  10. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    I have been dancing AT for almost a year now, so I still remember the days when I was "sitting a LOT". I have a few guesses.
    It happened to me before. I thought after 2-3 tandas, the leader would at least be able to recognize me next time. But when we were both at a same milonga again, he acted as if we are total strangers (which really get me puzzled, like you). Weeks later, we danced again, he asked for my name, etc., the short conversation between dances showed me that he didn't remember ever danced with me. So finally the puzzle solved. I found that usually after we re-introduce each other, the leader would remember me for future dances.

    Some leaders are very picky about the dances. (I found myself become pickier now that I have more chances to dance) Some of them are particularly picky about the feeling of the embrace. They might be able to sense that you are uncomfortable about the close embrace. To some of the leader, close embrace and a good connection is the must.

    There are people I dance with many times and I believe that they do enjoy dancing with me, but they don't always get around. People who dances a lot have many friends waiting for them. There are also people who just treat every dance as a precious experience. They would rather sitting, than taking any chances.

    Small practica is usually the most difficult place for me, particularly if it is hosted by a dance school where I don't take classes. Often the people there are mostly students who are just learning. They feel more comfortable dancing with classmates. They might be too shy or intimidated to ask strangers to dance.

    Well, I had my days of sitting and watching. That was mainly how I learned. I observe and learn (and cann't help it, getting a little frustrated and embarrassed at times). Now after dancing a while (twice a week for the last 7 months), my dance improved and I get to know more people. My sitting time gets less and less, at certain milonga, hardly any. However, when I go to a practica of a certain crowd, I still sit and watch more. So if you go to practica, find the ones which attract experienced dancers or else go to a school where you have classmates.

    Best wishes and your time will come!
  11. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I live on the East Coast, so I'm sure there are differences from how people act on the West Coast, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

    You're new (to tango), and despite your experience in other dances, you're likely not very good yet. Some of the compliments could be from people being polite.

    In any case, a couple things to consider, if you are hanging around with your husband at the practica, you should consider stopping that. My wife gets approached a lot more if she is away from me.

    Also, we're guys, and we are superficial, so you need to "work it", especially when you are new. You said you are shy, so this may be difficult, but it's not about what you are wearing, but more about attitude. Try flirting a bit.

    If flirting just isn't in you, then try just initiating a conversation with a leader you'd like to dance with. In some communities, women will occasionally ask the guy to dance (like I said, I don't know anything about tango on the West Coast).

    Another thing I would advise for a beginning follower, is to really follow well, when asked to dance. By this, I mean wait for the lead, don't add in any embellishments that might force him to alter his lead. Let him set the embrace, and learn about the concept of "surrendering" to the lead. The surrender is not really a PC concept, but I think it's an attribute that most really good close embrace dancers have, and a lot of the time beginners are better at this aspect than intermediate dancers. (also, beginning leaders end up asking beginning followers to dance a lot more often).

    BTW, if your tango community is a nuevo / open embrace community, a lot of this advise will not apply.

    In any case, as your experience increases, things will get better for you.
  12. newbie

    newbie Active Member

    Leader here. There follows why I may act like this, not saying this is true for other leaders.

    1. I dance for the music, not for the follower. Sometimes there comes a song that I like very much and then I may invite any available follower. Sometimes there are only ordinary songs and I won't invite much.

    2. When in a familiar milonga and seeing a new follower, I may invite her, for the sake of variety. If after one tanda, the follower's status changes from "unknown" to "beginner", then she's not any more an alternative for my usual partners, and I lose interest.

    3. "My husband " = red flag. If a follower comes with her "my husband" then I will invite only if the husband is already dancing with someone else. If they are sitting together then I may go to the husband and ask permission to dance with the wife, but it's more to see her reaction ("Hey! You have to ask *me*!") than to dance with her.
  13. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Twinkltoz, when you opened a thread "transition from ballroom" I wanted to write there how important is to understand the cultural difference between the BR and AT. Social environment, notably the attitude toward dancing is quite different, at times, complete opposite. Learning to be an adequate member of the AT group, perhaps, is even more important than technical aspects of the dance. Assuming that in a milonga things should work the same way they are at ballroom/swing parties causes many clashes to newcomers and those who dance other dances and try dabbing in AT occasionally.

    The problem might be much less prominent in small communities where the ballroom, swing, etc crowd for the most part coincides with the AT crowd, so they keep the same social codes. Since you did not mentioned anything before I thought that was probably your case. I thought wrong. :)

    Several other members of the board already gave lots of valuable ideas and suggestions. I want to add to that. One month in AT is nothing. In the eyes of the community, despite your previous experience in other dances, which might contribute to a faster learning as well as get in the way, you have not even started. The key word is patience. Getting things takes time. You seem to be doing more than fine, actually.
  14. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Another point that I believe no one mentioned yet: guys do not like to be pressured into asking a woman to dance. It is perfectly fine to introduce yourself, make a small talk, but do not expect them to ask you right on the spot. In fact, do not set any expectations at all. Be nice, make yourself available, that's it. They will ask when they are ready. Let them decide that moment.
    If you seem clingy or desperate for a dance, people will start avoiding you. They may not feel like dancing (with you, or at all) tonight, at the moment, to that music, and they don't want to be cornered into asking, so they will stay away from those who tend to behave that way. I know, a beginner may feel like she has to dance, and it might be hard to sit down, but try to be more relaxed about that.
  15. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Good advice and insight. Thank you.
  16. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Very good point. I'll add that if you talk to someone between dances, don't monopolize him if it becomes clear he's not picking up on your desire to dance.

    At a milonga I attended recently, a follower started talking to one of my favorite leaders. I know she wanted to dance with him, but he apparently wasn't going to ask her. Even though he didn't seem to be all that interested in a conversation, it was also clearly awkward for him to walk away and ask someone else to dance. As the conversation faltered, she just stood there expectantly, he stood there looking uncomfortable, and neither of them danced.

    Now maybe my interpretation of this scene was affected by the fact that I wanted to dance with him and he almost always does ask me to dance and I was sitting there nearby all alone (and I never did get to dance with him that night). It seemed to be very hard for him to say "Well, have a nice evening" and walk away to ask another partner, but he was also clearly not going to ask HER. (Maybe I'm way offbase and he was actually standing there with her to avoid having ME accost him.)

    Anyway... strike up conversation, and make yourself available. But if you don't get an invitation to dance out of it, create a way for the other person to get away to dance with someone else. Going up to someone who is in a conversation to ask them to dance is awkward. Walking away from someone to ask someone else is also awkward. So it's best to help people find an "out" when they aren't responding to your hints or they'll just start avoiding you altogether!
  17. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I completely agree. I generally don't walk over to someone to strike up a conversation, anyway, because I'm shy. I might lean over and say something if we're sitting next to each other, but I'm not the type to monopolize anyone in conversation. If anything it happens the other way around! But I think anyone who monopolizes another in a conversation at any kind of dance is rude, because other people won't want to be rude and break into ask one of you to dance.
  18. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    True, Zoopsia. Being "babysitted" in milongas (as Ney Melo calls it on his etiquette page) is an awkward and unpleasant experience.
  19. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Sometimes those two sitting together in a milonga, talking to each other do not want to dance indeed, then it is not rude, it is perfectly fine. That is another difference from ballroom dance parties, btw.
  20. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    How is that different? It's one thing when you both prefer to just sit and talk. I'm talking about when someone corners you and talks your ear off.

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