Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by KevinL, Apr 29, 2004.
Oh, but it was a silly thread. :lol:
True. I very good candidate for highjacking! :wink:
Back on the topic - when it comes to dancing, I will not bother to learn a particular dance or attend a particular dance class if:
1) it is a dance not done socially on a regular basis where I live, apart from a dance studio (with all due respect this being a ballroom topic: that is why I don't do ballroom). Why learn a dance if there will be noone to dance it with later?
2) if the class consists of patterns that are not necessarily leadable - been there, done that, never did the pattern again
3) if I don't like the music (cumbia, zydeco fall in that category)
4) if I perceive the particular dance is a little too intimate for social dancing (dancing with everyone vs. one partner/SO). Tango falls in this category. I realize this is just selective perception - I like salsa, merengue, and blues dancing.
Women have their teacher to dance with during private lessons. Group classes rotate partners. At social dances, men ask women to dance for the most part. If a man who isn't a regular at any given studio is a wallflower, chances are women will ask other women to dance before asking a man a lot of times. For competitive partners, women have to fight over the few "quality" candidates available, but their choice to be picky. The last one is the only one I see as an issue regarding not having anyone to dance with.
The following paragraph is not about hardcore competitors.
At many of the studios I've been to, there are medalist charts on the wall. Most of the silver/gold students are male. I've asked teachers about this & they explained that men are step/pattern hungry. They just want to learn more & more steps, so they check out of levels faster. Women don't mind taking time to learn more of the technique, so they stay at each of the sub levels ie; bronze 1/2 & 3/4 & silver 1/2, etc longer. The results can often be seen on the floor as several men robotically maneuver through a multitude of steps with a concentrated look on their face.
I've noticed that here, most of the ballroom community consists of Caucasians & Asians. Here in southern California it's a heavily Hispanic population. Most of which are in the independent studio salsa group classes. These classes consist of mostly males. It's a dance which lets the man hot dog the girl like a basket ball, turning her here & there, while doing minimal footwork himself. It can also be done while drinking, while in other dances drinking would either make it too exhausting or would require more alertness. I know competitive salsa dancing can sometimes require more of men, but I'm just talking in general.
Someone mentioned dance to be sort of a woman's domain. I think this goes with the idea that if a man can dance better than them, it's like a man being prettier than him, thus making her feel less feminine. On the other hand, men being knowledgeable, assertive & sensually physical with her (different than overtly sexual) can make him more attractive to a woman. To some extent your point is valid though at least to the non dance general public. White men can't jump, gays know fashion, etc...
Not me! I get varied reactions, but I frequently ask guys to dance. Some other women do, many won't. A couple of guys have told me that they really like it that I am willing to ask men to dance because it takes some of the responsibility off of them. Other guys are clearly horrified--even if they say yes--so I try to keep a "don't make that mistake again" list.
Your above generalization is not true at the independent studio that I go to. I have been taking group classes for about three years, which I think is about as long as you have. Many, many of the male students repeat these group classes-and I am one of them. Very few of the women repeat the group classes.
That is true about the a la carte group classes at independent studios, at least from what I've notices in attendance. By the end of a progressive month series, half or less the women will be gone. Maybe they get bored or think they've got it well enough. The guys still want to dance with the women & maybe are still trying to figure out the lead.
But I was referring to private lesson students on medal programs, it's even more common at franchises.
Note about the a la carte salsa group classes: Some indie studios offer 1/2 off for women, simply to get them in. Without that promotional offer, it easily & quickly becomes a men only party. But like bars, the more women there are, the more men will show up. So it still ends up an uneven gender ratio anyway.
Common misconception: Just because you're dancing silver/gold figures or have cut a check for and completed a certain package doesn't make you a gold/silver dancer- the quality of your dancing does. A lot of people, men or women, don't understand this. They also make the mistake about competitors- they think that if someone puts on a suit and a number that they're a better dancer than someone who doesn't compete. Definitely not always so, the same way people think "Man, he's RICH- look at that house, that boat, those cars..." No, it might just mean somebody's in debt up past their eyeballs. This is kind of a side-note from a couple posts I'd seen earlier, and hope it's not too hijack.
Re: member Hedwaite:
I completely agree, hence the description of said certified medalists dancing. When certificates are rushed, the dancing looks automated & stiff with the only facial expression being one of concentration. The technique is near nonexistent & the lead is a tad blurry. This goes for either men or women. When women do rush through medals, it's for a different reason than men. (for men see above 6 posts) They either think they've got the hang of it, because after all it's just following, even though they have to demonstrate the figures solo. Or that they've been taking lessons for so long that even though they've already forgotten several patterns from earlier programs, they're ready to move on anyway.
the sign of a good dancer is whether or not they own their own dancing...the knowlege of it, the execution of it, the progression of it...
Interestingly, in casino/cuban salsa there is no spinning, so it seems to be import from other dances.
In my salsa venue, there is almost no drinking (that's why bar owners don't like salseros)
In afro-cuban dances, role and way of dancing of males and females are different, so ballroom latin looks quite uni-sex compared to that
And indeed, one (male) salsa instructor once told me to to not try to dance better than my followers (I was used to move much more that other salseros, because I came from ballroom), because many won't like that as you said
The idea that men are particularly step-obsessed while women are more inclined to stay at lower levels to focus on technique is not one that jibes with my experience. I've simply not seen that dichotomy. YMM (and obviously does) V. I'm simply providing an alternate data point. In fairness, I've never been at a studio that had medalist charts.
Wow, we seem to be on a resurrection spree lately. But I think pygmalion nailed it on one of the first pages on this thread. If a woman, who doesn't have a "built-in" partner, has time and money to spend on learning how to dance, why should she not do so, if she wants to? She can go to socials where people do mix and mingle (as opposed to going to couple-oriented socials), or she can compete pro-am. Both are cool options.
I'm not a woman, so I can't be certain. But this is what I've observed in middle aged women who get into ballroom/latin. It varies from woman to woman on an individual basis. Some women don't even fit into either of these 2 theoretical examples. I've run across women who have given me both of these impressions separately whether intentionally or not.
Some women want a Hugh Jackman or Paul Newman in his prime. A hunk that's larger than she is who makes her feel feminine by contrast. A younger guy may give contrast to the age gap & inadvertently make her feel unflattering by default. Especially if a young buck doesn't take the limberness & higher energy down a notch since she might not have it to the same degree as before. A "man's man" makes her feel just right. She won't feel heavy, which will allow her to feel relaxed, comfortable & secure that she won't fall because she's in sturdy hands. She may also on a subconscious level see that with age comes wisdom. This may allow more trust & belief in what he's teaching her.
Other women may like boyish young men like Ashton Kutcher or Scott Baio in his prime. The young blood reinvigorates her by reminding her of the way boys looked when she was the age her teacher is now. It makes her feel younger again when they've gotten wrapped up in the moment of adrenaline & endorphins.
Dance t.v. shows, dance movies, competitions & other personal desires may give a woman an impression of what sort she'd like to have to pretend romance & get a physical outlet with for an hour at a time. If she walks into a studio & is given an intro lesson by a teacher who doesn't look like what she saw & liked in some media or performance, it might effect a potential purchase of lessons. They might really click on a personal level & looks don't matter though, if her needs are geared more towards that aspect.
Young women & senior citizens probably each have their own dynamic reasons for dancing though. There's been a lot of discussion as to reasons why elderly women get into ballroom. But I'm still not really clear on why younger ladies get involved. If anyone has any ideas about that, could you please share your thoughts?
Here's to adamantium dance-belts, I guess...
Don´t think it´s a psychological question, because different styles deal differently with this issue. As far as I can say, it holds true for mambo, salsa on2, and argentine tango. But in cuban casino style the guys always try to outdo and score off the girls. The first principle I once was told in my first tango class was: Restrain, and make the girl look beautiful !
I think it is always interesting/unwise for men to decide what it is they think women want...as it is almost always an insulting assumption....and something most wise men don't do...my experience of most women is that they aren't looking for someone with whom to enact a fantasy, or to be held up...though a few get occasionally side tracked by a crush and some become over reliant on their pro for balance if they are allowed to....and, while they may be aware of what kind of visual they want so that they look well matched on the floor, what they are really after is someone who can....wait for it....teach
Second this. I will admit that if it were otherwise a tie between two guys I might choose the one half my age so that there can be zero confusion as to what my intentions are (dance only!!!) Never been an issue with a teacher, but when I wanted to practice with another student in a class, I did ask the guy who was young enough to be my son.
I'm not a middle aged woman, but I can be pretty sure that there are lots that don't start dancing for these reasons. Perhaps they want a fun new activity that will keep them active and can keep doing for many years?
As for myself, I started dancing in college because I missed having a competitive outlet (such as skating, and music competitions) that I had done in college. I also wanted something to keep me active and social between long study periods. And lets not forget sparkles. Lotsa sparkles.
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