Ballroom Dance > Why do women bother to learn to dance?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by KevinL, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I've had some similar experiences, but a different explanation for it.

    I think that women who are really serious about dancing to start with are more likely to choose ballet or modern over ballroom, so ballroom only gets a fraction of the women who are serious about dance. Of the women who only have a casual interest in dance, though, they'll all gravitate to ballroom because they figure it's easy - all they have to do is follow, right?

    In the mean time, guys who are serious about dancing are far more likely to be interested in ballroom, where the guy gets as much of the limelight as the lady, than in ballet, where the guy plays only a supporting role. In the meantime, the guys who aren't serious about dance are likely not to even try ballroom - you have to learn to lead and all that stuff. It's easier to just join the company softball team.

    In both cases, the nonserious outnumber the serious - and since it's nonserious guys that sometimes avoid ballroom, that results in a gender imbalance where there are more women than men overall. But because a lot of the serious women have selected some other form of dance, the guys that are actually serious about ballroom can outnumber the women who are.

    But it's just a theory, I could easily be wrong.
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    For the record, I'm not fifty two with teenage kids. But my point is this: why should a woman wait on having a man around to achieve her joy in dancing or in life? If she wants to dance, let her dance.

    Incidentally, my philosophy has created an excellent living for many a male dance pro. :wink: :lol: But, even if that scenario doesn't work out, jon is right. Women will dance together. I've led many a woman into a swing, rumba, or waltz. It's no big deal. I just wanna dance. :wink:
  3. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Amen, Pygmalion. P.S. We know you're only 21. :wink: :lol:
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    :lol: :lol: :lol: I'm not 21 either. But I was describing my older sister who IS 52 and has always wanted to dance. :wink:
  5. SalsaGeek

    SalsaGeek New Member

    Hehe, that's how I got into dancing. :lol:

  6. spatten

    spatten Member


    I think you have made a valid observations about the motivations of women and ballroom. I am not sure your idea about why guys dance ballroom rings as true. I will have to consider this, but of course I maybe wrong.

    I am trying to think of any serious guys I know dancing ballroom. I know is that I probably wasn't serious about dance before I was serious about ballroom. I'm guessing that is probably common. Ballet was never really an option for several reasons.

  7. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    I think I'm going to act contrarian for one case...

    I don't know... maybe it's my sampling set. But while most guys wouldn't be interested in dancing if they were forced to do it, most guys who do take up dancing seem to do so for three reasons:

    1) The chicks, and
    2) The "escapism" from "reality", and
    3) The chicks

    I don't see that many problems with a lack of leading men in salsa or swing as I would in ballroom. The main reason is that at least with salsa, it's a "macho" thing, and once you get the confidence and the salsa rhythm down, just the ability to make a girl/woman (any girl/woman) move in a very sensual way makes him look damn cool too. Almost the same thing with swing (except there aren't any sensual moves there except for WCS)... though it's more that you're able to release and enjoy being completely childish with a girl/woman.

    Of course, I'm trying to think of why I like doing ballroom so much. I think for me, it's the challenge of being "well-rounded" and do many different dances well, as opposed to doing just swing or just salsa. Not to mention, my love for orchestral music carries over better with ballroom dancing than hip-hop.
  8. tj

    tj New Member

    That echoes my own experiences as well. Most guys I know started because of this.

    In my own experiences, I'll generalize further that the younger set doesn't seem to find ballroom as appealing as salsa or swing. With the several different scenes that I've seen, ballroom has tended to have an older (and smaller) crowd. People will try it, but then decide to go where more of their peers are.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm not trying to be difficult, here, but this thread reminds me of a thread about six months ago (in the salsa forum, I think) It was called "What makes a good leader," and only men answered. Then, a couple days later, there was a companion thread,"what makes a good follower," and only men answered. Hmmm. What IS wrong with this picture? :wink: :lol: :lol:
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    So why aren't the women responding/posting? Enquiring minds want to know... :wink:
  11. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    So how does that go with the everyday observation of lack of male partners?
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi, kitty. :D I won't poison the conversation with my point of view. Just wanted to say hello. :wink: :D
  13. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Maybe no women are answering because you men just know it all :lol:

    Okay; it is admittedly very hard for women to make the most out of dancing without a partner and much harder to find one than vice versa. I had one for 3 years, but got dumped because he found a girlfriend/partner. I am married and was grateful for the three years we partnered up. I took lessons for a while after that but then came to the *brilliant* conclusion that it was a waste of money for me to learn steps. So, I decided to find another studio and develop some style, technique and a better ability to follow. I will say that I became a better follower when I didn't have a regular partner anymore. I do still go social dancing, but I am starting to compete. I don't know how long I'll keep that up since it is an expensive endeavor and there is that retirement home I'd like to own some day!

    In any event, most women I know dance because they simply love to dance. It was this way as long as I can remember, whether it was dancing at a disco, a wedding, a club, etc. No matter what type of dancing it is, there are always more women doing it.
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Perhaps the more serious dancers tend to advance from uncomfortably awkward to well beyond the capabilities of most of the "might take dancing seriously if I ever had a partner" crowd quickly enough that the people waiting there don't get much of a chance at them.

    College teams short on guys may want to consider not only if their recruiting makes the acitivity attractive, but also if the guys are getting the kind of training that lets them feel like they are making progress, as opposed to always being shown up by girls who may start with more confidence or prior movement training. (Though it would be fair to say that some consideration of the reverse may be true in a few settings, too)
    Franz Jostopovich likes this.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi mamboqueen! Welcome. Nice to know there's another sister in the house. :wink: :kissme:
  16. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Thank you :wink:

    I notice you're in the Sunshine State. I'm green with envy! All of my friends just came back all nice and tanned while I resemble steamed rice. I hope the dancing scene is good down there, because I aim to be there one day myself!
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Pretty nice for social dancing where I am (Orlando.) For ballroom, you more or less have to wait for a competion if you're a competitive dancer, or go to South Flroida for stellar salsa. But yes, Florida's a fun place to dance. :D
  18. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't say men know it all, I'm glad mamboqueen gave an answer, and I am interested in hearing from more women.

    Some interesting ideas so far, but I don't have the foggiest idea how the question is best answered. I suspect there are a variety of reasons. And I'd be better qualified answering why I bothered to learn to dance. Probably better for another thread.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    To be honest, I think women learn to dance for a variety of reasons, but this thread isn't worded in a way that will elicit those answers. This thread wants to address the gender disparities in available dance partners.; That's okay with me, too. :wink: 8)
  20. Hank

    Hank Member

    My observation from dancing around the US is that the gender balance varies widely, and tends to mirror age demographics. At venues that attract dancers over age 65, women outnumber men by a wide margin. But, venues that attract younger dancers tend to have equal gender balance, or the men even slightly outnumber the women. For example, since salsa tends to be danced at bars and nightclubs, it attracts a younger crowd, and the men frequently outnumber the women. Also, men seem to take more lessons that do women, so although a beginning salsa group class might have a gender balance that is almost equal, at an intermediate or advanced salsa group class, the men frequently outnumber the women 2-1 or even 3-1.

    I've also noticed that at ballroom competitions, the women competing pro-am greatly outnumber the men competing pro-am. The men seem to be more interested in am-am partnerships or social dancing in lieu of competition. I've also experienced great difficulty in convincing women to form an am-am competitive partnership. They seem quite content to compete pro-am instead. I can only speculate as to the reason, but I assume it's because pro-am gives them more control and is more convenient, which they prefer over the messiness of having to deal with a relationship, even a dance-only relationship.
    Franz Jostopovich likes this.

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