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

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

  1. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    I have only danced salsa, so I cannot comment on ballroom, swing, etc. Here in Japan, the median age for ballroom dancers(or at least the ones I see practicing in all of the dance studios in my area) is like 55. They do it for their health, basically, but there are some couples who compete. Salsa dancing-hmm. Yes, a lot of guys do it "for the chicks" and some just go to our parties because they enjoy the music, LOOKING at the chicks, and drinking beer. The women I know tend to persevere more than the men, who are slaves to their employers, thus cannot attend classes as regularly as the women. I have seen both genders get discouraged, thanks to instructors throwing dead beginners into intermediate pairwork classes, and quit. Why do women dance salsa? Because it makes you feel like a woman, you can wear sexy clothes, it's a great sport, you keep yourself in fantastic shape and can meet fun people! I think this can appy to ALL forms of dance!
  2. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    I was just joking about men knowing everything. We all know the truth :roll:

    Pygmalion - I was in your area in December (whilst my friends were digging out of 3' of snow up here). We had a great time. Too much food availability, though. I'd be in big trouble!

    Hank, I think you've touched on another relevant issue: demographics. You mention salsa....latin/hispanic men, and Asian men for that matter, seem to have a high prevalence in dance. If I went into a club in a hispanic community, there'd be a TON of men dancing there. If I went to the local non-latin suburb, you'd find one guy dancing with ten women (and they'd all be fighting each other for him!) I the latin culture is very music and dance oriented, and it's VERY much the norm for young boys to be moving/dancing at an early age and it isn't frowned upon as being "unmacho". I have to admit, although the steretype is that African Americans have a higher likelihood of having natural rythym, I don't see many of them out on the (ballroom) dance floor.
  3. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Okay, here is what I'm getting from KevinL's question:
    Why do women partner dance when alot of men dont? Why do women learn a partner dance when you have to dance alone? Why don't women do another kind of dance that doesn't need a partner? So the problem is not US (women) in particular. :lol: It's more of a heartache/headache question. Why should we (women) bother when the chance to partner dance is sometimes few and far between. Answer: There are many answers as there are individuals. Possible answers: "Well, I want to know just in case I do find a partner.", "I've always wanted to learn.", etc., etc. etc. My answer: I simply love to dance.

    Let's try a counter question. Guys, why do you NOT partner dance when you know women want and/or love to partner dance?
  4. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Good one! Unfortunately, the guys you want answering the question aren't reading this board!

    My husband simply prefers fishing.
  5. peachexploration

    peachexploration New Member

    Exactly, Mamboqueen.

    Oh, Welcome to the DF. Happy to have you here!! :D
  6. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    VERY interesting points, Peach!
    BTW, I know a lot of women who don't like/prefer not to dance with a partner, myself included. :?
  7. elegance

    elegance New Member

    Hmm. I like peachexploration's take on the question, that was how I saw it too. As a female that is addicted to ballroom dance, I'm not really sure why I persist in partner dancing when it can be so hard to find a partner. It partially has to do with the increased variety of dances and music (and I'm more attracted to that type of music), and one major factor, that you tend to, and can, learn partner dancing at a much later age. If you missed the ballet boat :? in your childhood, when you feel the lack later, you can just take up ballroom or salsa. However, you're less likely to do much with ballet...
    Now, I'm not sure why males don't take it up in the same numbers, although I know some think it has an effeminate connotation!
  8. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    I'm not a ballroom dancer, but a swing (Lindy/WCS/ECS) and occasional salsa & country (Two-step/Polka) dancer so can't speak on ballroom men seeming less masculine (if that what was meant by the above). All I know is a man with a sense of rhythm who can dance is decidedly a sexier man in my book.

    I sure don't get that second statement on dance as a women's activity, sense of power stuff, etc.
  9. ShyDancer

    ShyDancer New Member

    I learn for fun, I enjoy doing it. Has nothing to do with meeting anyone, impressing anyone, wanting attention.
    When Im dancing Im happy, and who doesnt want to be happy?

    You see dancing on TV and think, wow thats awesome, Id love to give it a go, but stop and think for a minute, how many times have you seen something on TV that you'd like to try but never got around to it?
    Some people (believe it or not!) just wont enjoy dancing.
    Just like I havent enjoyed other activities I have tried out. I tried for a bit but it lost its appeal.

    I dont think its so much a problem of not having a partner, every class Ive seen works on a rotation system, nearly every advertisement I see for dancing studios has "no partner required" written in bold.
    Had I waited around for a partner Id still be longinly watching everyone else dance!

    I dont believe women do it to fill an emotional void either... sure some probably do, but Id guess that they are the same women who regularly attend sporting events that they have little interest in, in hope of meeting a man.
    They probably try out various social activities..........
    And Men do that too.
    These are the people that will never truly be a "Dancer"
  10. tasche

    tasche New Member

    I think to me women take up partner dancing bc from the very first class you get to dance. If you've never taken a structured dance class (ballet, tap, modern etc) then you may not understand what I mean by that.

    In ballet you spend years ( though adult beginners can progress faster than a child due to "metal capability) learning exercises to train your muscles etc before you can "dance". Performance oprtunities are usually limited to end of year Nutcracker performances. With ballroom at the end of the lesson your dancing ( more or less )

    For adult who has never taken formal dance classes to do so without the feedback of actually getting to dance ona regular basis may not get far. And here is the ultimate kicker particularly in ballet. Adult beginners are treated like second class dance citizens. At three of the studios I've taken classes no matter how much technique goes back to when I was 18 no matter how well I dance I will NEVER be allowed to perform with the "regular" students. ( being a parent in nutcracker doesn't count as its a walk on role) This attitude is prevant amongst most ballet studios.

    I came in ballroom as a youngster where I had a steady supply of guys. About 17 that well dried up and I basically gave up until last year when I realised that america unlike where I grew up has this system where I can participate again without having to drag my spouse in kicking and screaming

    We all have different circumstances I guess
  11. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    This is a good point... however it may also be true that the major failing of ballroom right now is an excessive fear of this kind of training. Ballroom dancing does not approach the physical demands of ballet, but even competent social dancing does require building some specific strength and flexbility not present in the untrained public.

    It's long been claimed that the strength of a certain Boston-area collegiate program is in the tendancy to spend some time on training exercises right from the start. Of course it's balanced with opportunities to enjoy dancing and learn some figures.
  12. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    Hi DanceGal--

    I guess what I was trying to get at is the idea of dance as a (culturally) feminine activity. Girls dance with other girls throughout junior high and high school, and even in clubs sometimes. The boys tend to stand on the outskirts awkwardly watching. Often they feel ill at ease dancing, where the girls feel highly at ease just moving to the music.

    In a culture where inequities still follow lines of gender--where women still have to work to achieve confidence in the workplace that men take for granted, the dance floor as a kind of culturally female-controlled space must appear very attractive. To see men (salsa dancers, ballroom dancers or whatever) claiming power in that space has got to be jarring for many women who like to think of dance as one activity in which women are always more comfortable than men.

    I'm talking about the generality of the non-dancing public here. The people on this forum are rather different. But think of your non-dancing friends, those friends who just want to go out every now and then and "dance," no rules, freestyle. Most of them are probably women. And I'm suggesting that the reluctance of these women to really pursue dancing as a serious occupation may have something to do with the more traditional gender politics of partner dancing.

    That's as clear as I can be at midnight--sorry! :wink:
    Franz Jostopovich likes this.
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    It's a controversial theory, but I see some merit to it.

    It might also be viewed this way: people who are comfortable in their bodies and have good balance and control over those bodies often like freestyle sorts of dancing.

    The problem is that you can't just hop on the floor and freestyle partner dance, unless perhaps you learned to walk with a conjoined twin fused to your hip. You aren't used to taking the presense of another body into account in your free actions.

    So that's what a lot of ballroom technique really is - systematic training in how to move closely with another person. Once that is mastered, you can freestyle again (as a couple) - but until it's figured out, someone has to be putting some thought into all those issues. Quite often that's the guy - he's worried about how to make everything work, while the girl gets annoyed that he won't let go and just dance with her.

    Because it's a new skill, and there is a systematic body of theoretical knowledge, the study of ballroom can attract people who are practicaly opposite in personality from the freestyle-enjoying crowd. Of course it also gets many natural dancers who accept the need to learn some technique - some of whom may for all I know find an almost instinctive ability to accomodate the presence of a partner.

    But a lot of natural dancers are still going to be frustrated that the art of dancing with another person (as opposed to near another person) often gets turned into a mechanical science...
  14. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Why do women bother to dance? Why do guys not want to dance when the know women want to dance?

    I want to dance because of the feeling that I get when the song, me and my partner mesh in one dance. To me dance is all about being one with the music.

    When young I actually was approached a couple times and asked if I wanted to learn to dance for free in Tanzania. I was a little too withdrawn, introverted, horribly shy to do that. However, I did feel the music and when certain songs came on and I didn't feel I was being watched I guess I moved well enough that I attracted such attention. After growing up, and becoming more outgoing, I got a regualr job and had the time to do so, and so decided that I wanted to learn to partner dance. I figured if I enjoyed feeling the music that I would see if partner dancing while enjoying a song was better, and it was under the right circumstances, and so I've stuck at it. There have been many dances, in class and socially where I've loused it up because the music did not appeal to me. I dance a tango with someone just doing the basic step and a few other moves. Next time a tango comes on she comes to me as she had enjoyed dancing with me (as I put my life and soul into dance) and I move like a stick!! :oops: The song was a crappy song for me!

    I know a lot of people (guys and gals) who just don't feel the way that I do. Music through bodily expression does not bring life into their souls like it does to me. If it doesn't it is tough to get into it. That's my two cents, anyway. If a guy wants to get chicks he is more likely to give up if he looks like a fool!! That's why I've seen so many guys dragged in by girlfriends. They do it to keep their ladies, as their ladies are happy that they are making the effort for them.
  15. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Welcome to df elegance! :D
  16. goldfish

    goldfish New Member

    hmm, i'm not american, but what the hey...

    actually i think some women don't even realize it's possible to do partner dances without a partner. most assume you've got to have a willing partner. plus dancing - to every girl who's had the ballerina fantasy or cinderella waltz fantasy - is kind of a dream that you'd like to fulfil but as dreams go... sometimes happen, sometimes don't. a lot of women want to dance, but it's not just about the dance, it's about the romance, elegance, sensuality that you'd associate with particular dances. so they want to do it with their partner and only their partner, otherwise... nah.

    (but that's just some. the ones that you don't see in classes. or the ones that come for two classes with significant other, learn a turn and disappear. ah, they're missing out. er, so am i... one less lead. boo.)

    me, i wanted to dance because i didn't know how. when people told me to 'just move', i'd be flabbergasted. :?: :!:

    like, "ooh that looks good. wait, i can't do that. what WAS that even?? hmm, better find out. i want to do that, that thingie. whatever it was."

    that's why i bother to dance. :banana: :banana:
  17. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Why many more girls are Gold Level Dancers

    It's not the guys' fault that they're mostly bronze level dancers and that a larger number of girls are gold level dancers. It's because guys (typically) lead. We have a diminished ability to learn new moves on the dance floor because no one's trying moves we don't know with us. In fact, I've asked girls if they can show me a move and a lot of the time it's difficult for them to describe. On the other hand, each new girl I dance with, I usually have a move I can show them. So if a girl learns a new move from each guy she dances with, she quickly becomes a great dancer. I know girls who were brand new dancers when I met them. I showed them a lot of the basics and within a year or so (depending on inherent talent), they were better than I am.

    I've heard though that one thing a guy can do that can help him with his lead is to learn to follow. A lot of the girls here know how to lead as well (they're more amenable to dancing with eachother than guys), so it's not an entirely awkward experience. I've only tried following lindy a couple times and I thought it was quite fun. I haven't danced much since then because I've been under the weather, but I plan to become decent at following.

  18. tasche

    tasche New Member

    Too true. what girl growing up didn't receive some kind of ballet gift at xmas time. Its the universal things all young girls like. Dancing and horses.

    Back to Chris comment

    "This is a good point... however it may also be true that the major failing of ballroom right now is an excessive fear of this kind of training. Ballroom dancing does not approach the physical demands of ballet, but even competent social dancing does require building some specific strength and flexbility not present in the untrained public. "

    Can't argue with that but its the fear of excessive training or it "being hard" is what drive girls/women to ballroom which in the long run can't be bad thing.

    Me personally with my ballet background and a keen intrest in kenisiology (sp?) find impossible to "just dance" but many ppl prefer to do just that and ballroom gets them to the dancing part faster than other methods.

    I guess a better way of stating it is that more is "achievable" at the entry level. Even going around the round in a jerky bronze american foxtrot is a major achievement for some people but relatively easy compared to excuting a simple battement or developpe.
  19. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    or hire a dance escort. ironically, $50/hr for the first three hours (the basic rate around here - dancing only - but exclusively with the client(s) - in a group of 3-4 ladies it comes out to only $40-50 apiece) can be cheaper than competing in the long run!
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I would agree with that entirely but I think its a case of strategy to entice motivate people. I know one teacher of AT who gave his beginners lots of steps to learn to keep them interested. Once hooked he would slowly teach them the skills to actually dance those steps.

    My experience is there seems to be a high drop out rate. Poeple try it out and when its not as easy or as quick to learn as they expected they leave.
    I am told it is more difficult to learn than salsa. Certainly leaders have more to learn in the initial stages than followers.

    So the psychology of motivation seems key but one that I do not have.

    Could not this post be in the General Dance Discussion?

    As for wishing we must all do that but its a case of opportunity and making it happen and priority. I wish i danced a lot more but the opportunity is not there.

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