When does social dancing get easier?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by JustLiving08, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I agree. I worked with first teacher for 2 years (and ending that was bittersweet). 3 months into that started with new pro as buddy teacher, and still working with her now. Got new buddy teacher when FP stopped teaching me. But still, coming up on three years and only on second pro, and no signs of changing any time soon. Had lesson today.
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I empathize...I am not by nature a social person...most folks would laugh outright at that but it is because I have spent a considerable amount of time over-coming my tendency to isolate...but people who know me well will bear it out...sometimes it requires some therapy, sometimes simply some good reading material on the matter... but the bottom line is that you have to be willing to outlast the discomfort, for however long it takes...if it is taking years, it is certainly an indicator of a need for extra help...we all need support sometimes...I don't have much of that sort of support other than my spouse so I simply don't dance much when he isn't around...when I had a dance buddy, I would go with her...otherwise, I just stick to my private lessons which are my deepest enjoyment anyhow...anyhow, good luck...and hang in there
  3. RickRS

    RickRS Member

    Is it possible to tell yourself you're going to the dance just to chat? Then if a dance happens, fine, if not, well you're just there to chat...

    From what you said, you don't have anxiety at all social functions, just ones involving dance. So maybe you can release some of the anxiety by making the event about something other than dance, and just go to be sociable?
  4. JustLiving08

    JustLiving08 New Member

    Wow (in regards to those who have been with their teachers for years)... maybe I've just been unlucky but I have been with a few that I just didn't really connect with. Also, my goals have evolved and changed from when I first started.

    For example, my first dance teacher (I was with for at least 8 month), I had started with latin ballroom, thinking that's what I wanted. Eventually I developed interest in salsa but he didn't teach salsa. He taught mambo, and in his opinion... mambo and salsa were basically the same dance. I disagreed with him and still do... so I ended up finding another instructor specifically to teach me salsa. (Those two instructors overlapped, I worked on latin dances with my first instructor and salsa only with the other instructor.)
  5. JustLiving08

    JustLiving08 New Member

    No, I still have anxiety at social functions (that don't involve dance), but I've learned to push through those. Which is what I'm hoping to do with my dancing.

    You made a good point though, when I'm dancing it's like conversing with my body... or something like that, lol. I should remind myself that when I'm out dancing.
  6. RickRS

    RickRS Member

    There is a lot of anxiety for us beginners. I've been doing lessons just two months short of 2 years. I still can not bring myself to ask the better followers for a dance. And I've only done the monthly social dance at the hall that the instructors put on (three different independent teachers using the community center dance hall). The others dance all hang at a club every weekend, and some of the women are begging me to come for those as well. I'll suppose I'll work up the nerves to go to clubs outside of my classes and monthly social dances at some point.

    You're not alone.

    Edit: Just to clarify, two years isn't exactly beginner anymore, but I still feel like I'm just a beginner. As in, still struggling to get the dance right, still struggling to do something that interest and engages my partner. Problem with dance is the goal posts are always moving. Get a little better and you become aware that you have even more to improve.

    I can say that as time goes by and I get better just a little more, the social dance has become just a little more easier and less anxiety-prone.
  7. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    This is what I tell women who are self-conscience of themselves on the dance floor. When you watch people dance, who do you pay the most amount of attention to? The good couples will be watched for the longest amount of time. Beginners are given at most 2 seconds mostly to just acknowledge their presence, but nobody lingers on them. It's a cynical way to approach it, but it does work. It calms them down and gets them to try their steps on the floor.

    I'm also a leader. I have to say that it took me a year before I felt comfortable on the dance floor. In the beginning, I didn't know anything, so I danced with other beginners who knew nothing. As I kept taking private lessons, I improved and started to move up. More skillful women began to notice me and approached me to dance. Now I have the women discuss among themselves who gets me for what dances.

    So keep at it and don't even think about how other people judge you. Just go out there and let yourself go. No thoughts about the correct technique because it's a social dance. It's meant to be fun. Also, don't sit around and wait for a guy to ask you for a dance. Go tap a guy on the shoulder for a dance. Guys are polite and will accept your request for a dance.
  8. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Very good point. If you stink, nobody's watching you anyway. If you don't stink, then you don't need to worry about people watching you. :)
  9. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member


    A little lubrication can indeed go a long way.

    I am guessing you're female, if so, let your friends take you out to some clubs a bunch of times.
    That should jackhammer any anxieties you may have about the 'social' dances you go to right out of you.
    They will seem like a Teddy Bear picnic in the park after the 'club scene'.
  10. JustLiving08

    JustLiving08 New Member

    Well, I have no friends who like to go to clubs/bars to dance. They'll go there to drink, but few if any will dance. The few friends I have who do the club scene, don't live in my area and so I only go when they're in town visiting, which is like 1-2 times a year maybe.

    But yeah, I do agree... social dances where I know the dance is a lot easer for me to do than the 'club scene'. What would be awesome is if I could find friends who know WCS and dance that in the clubs. I can't wait for that day. lol
  11. Br0nze

    Br0nze Member

    Theoretically, dancing socially should become easier after each and every time it is done because the practice of dancing with others builds upon itself and [we] see that it isn't nearly as bad as we thought. Theoretically, dancing is one of the best tools to develop self-confidence because dancing carries with it the philosophical imperative of gaining control over your body and getting it to do what you want when you want and how you want it, and thus along with the repetitive actions comes the potential of self-discovery and growth.

    In practicum, however, dancing is the exact opposite of all these things, at least in the beginning. Why? Because as a beginner, making one's transition from a non-dancer to a dancer, everything feels challenging, difficult, often impossible and makes you question why you ever signed up for a G-damned class in the first place. But dance is one of the things in life that truly gets easier with practice (and correct instruction).

    I will say that I think you've done right by choosing dance as your outlet/activity of choice because of the "theoretical" part above. I am in agreement with the majority of those that posted before me -- it sounds like you've got quite the case of social anxiety, which is OK -- and if we carry out theory alongside us, dance is supposed to cure said anxiety.

    So, the answer to your question is 'Yes, it does get easier.' The next questions are 'How,' and 'When.'

    In regard to the 'How,' it's the same answer as in theory: with more practice. The more you practice, the better you will become and then the more confident you should become with yourself through your dancing.

    In regards to the 'When,' that is a rather difficult to answer. You and only you hold the key to solving your problems in this instance. My one advice to you would be to either do one of the following (whichever you feel more comfortable with): let it all go at once and just jump into the social dancing pool head first, or take baby steps to address the issues you are experiencing and feeling one at a time. Starting small may be the best solution... pick a contradiction or issue you want to see settled and follow through on solving it -- and just as a note, don't take not being asked to dance personally. Guys are shy... especially in surroundings that involve dancing and women... they are more nervous that you are, probably.

    I'm not qualified to, you know, address anxiety disorders and the like, or offer solutions, but this is advice in general... only you can change the way you feel.
  12. soshedances

    soshedances Active Member

    Great post Br0nze!

    This is what makes it addictive...the "ooh, did I just do THAT? Woah, cool!" reaction. Definitely does wonders for your self-awareness and self-esteem.


    It will always be challenging. You'll find out that the more you know, the more you don't know. But it will teach you that hard work does, in fact, pay off...and the rewards are so worth it!
  13. rotter

    rotter New Member

    Personally I love social dancing, but then I'm not a beginner. The chance to meet and chat with people I wouldn't normally do. The chance to go to new places and pickup new steps, just great.

    I do remember my first social dance when I could just about count the waltz and everyone else on the floor looked like a semi-pro (well, to me anyway). Like someone esle has already mentioned no-one really takes much notice of newbies.

    The only rules I understand for socials are:

    1. Competition or other fancy moves are unwelcome
    2. It is the better dancers responsibility to go around the lesser abled

    And yes, it does get easier.
  14. davedove

    davedove Active Member

    There is a lot of truth to this. Unless you're the only couple on the floor or you are causing a commotion, people are not going to be watching you, and they certainly won't be judging you. They would much rather watch the accomplished couple doing their thing. I know it feels like every eye is on you, but that's just not the case.
  15. My personal advice to you is to have so much dancing experience and practise that you are very comfortable with following almost anything.
    Secondly, to get used to social dancing, I would suggest going to out to social dancing venues more often than once a month in the beginning........after a few months you can cut it down. Lastly, make your instructors just dance with you in private lessons like you would in a social... meaning he just puts the song on, maybe even ask you for a dance formally...(basically acting it like its a "social")....switch from song to a song, dance in diff parts of the room, maybe dim the light if possible to make it feel as much possible like social....for the entire lesson.
  16. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I need to rush off in a minute, so I haven't had a chance to see if this is suggested in the 2nd or 3rd page: group classes

    Now, I took the opposite of all group classes and practically no privates. Basically, going to group classes also served as my social life. And I can hardly go to any social dance without knowing people there. I couldn't grab hold of it right away, but part of the problem is that you don't know anybody there. In group classes, you get to meet some of the people you're going to see at socials, especially if the teacher is running the dance. And they will know you too, so you will be more likely to be asked. Part of being shy to ask someone to dance is not knowing what dances they know -- when I've had to go to a general-public singles dance, it becomes even worse since most of the women there don't even know how to partner-dance.

    So, a lot of the social anxiety of social dances can be reduced by having friends there and a good place to make friends who dance is in group classes.
  17. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Well I'm at the opposite end of things - I travel a lot on business and took up dancing as an alternative to the hotel bar.

    It's a case of, strange town, look up where the dancing and get into it.

    There was this salsa class in Germany with the trembling 17 year old 30 years younger than me. . . . . she had a natural sense of rhythm. She lost her dance virginity to me :)

    It was a trip. . . . .
  18. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Oh great! Now JustLiving08 will run for her life at the very sight of any man wearing a kilt! Flashes or no flashes!

    However, great idea for what to do when in a strange town. And no need for thinking up an introductory line, because you already have one: "Would you like to dance?" (or, as in that case, "Möchten Sie tanzen?", though universal body language should suffice)


    JustLiving08, don't let Albanaich scare you. And as for feeling nervious when dancing with your teacher, I think everybody feels the same thing; I know I do. It's like taking a pop quiz.
  19. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    It was a lovely evening.

    She was very nervous but as I was the oldest and least threatening male and an experienced dancer it was natural that the instructor would pair her up with me.

    Like most teenagers who have never partner danced she was really uncomfortable with the necessary physical intimacy. The instructor noticed and walked up to us.

    'Closer, Closer,' she was trembling - then he pulled out the ace card an carpet tile about 1 metre square. 'Don't step off it'

    It took a while for her to relax - but once she did she turned out to have a lot of talent. A deligfhtful follow.

    I''ll always remember that evening, and I'm sure she will too :)

    It's a role I've often been lead into at dance classes. I'm the stranger in town, I'm a confident lead, I'm older, less threatening, so I'm the natural choice for a nervous beginner, if the instructor doesn't pair us up, I'm usually the last one to be paired because I'm unknown and older.

    When I started Ballroom I had real problems with physical intimacy issues - especially with the spin turns in the Waltz and Quickstep. I had this young woman who used make fun of me (as a way of overcoming my embarrasement) 'Stick your leg in there, I want to feel your thigh against mine'

    In terms of social dancing, as I visit lots of different venues I make a point of contacting whoever is running the dance before I arrive. Usually they are generous enough to introduce me as in 'This Jim, he's a dancer and in town for a few weeks, is it alright if he sits at your table'
  20. RickRS

    RickRS Member

    Have to agree with that. You feel like you have to get it perfect or you'll be a failure in the eyes of your teacher. But all he or she is looking for is for you to just do what you're able. Perfect comes later, with practice.

    And thinking about that, perfect never comes, we just get closer and closer to perfection. I think all our best dancers here have all stated they are never satisfied with their dance, there is alway something they could improve on.

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