Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by dancin_feet, Mar 10, 2004.
Ah, the age old question... the eternal mystery.
Why boys don't dance...
You go somewhere for 2 reasons:
1. - you have no choice
2. - all you friends are going there
3. - you are looking for new friends
1. In my case, I started to take dance lessons because I was in Grade 12 and I knew I will have to go to Prom and I would have to dance. Some guys go with their girlfriends to learn at least The 1-th dance during their wedding.
When you start, you will like dances you’ve already learned. I started with Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-Cha and Jive and I liked them the most and hated Tango Samba and Passo-Doble. Later when I learn them I started to like them.
So, if we want boys like dancing it has to be a compulsory dance program in schools (like in some countries (Russia in ex.).
2. Before that, if your parents are not taking you there, nobody will go to take any dance lessons, unless your friends will go there. Boys will follow their friends to the baseball, basketball or to the hockey ring. Because some parents take boys there (sport arenas) and girls to the ballet, more girls start dancing and their girlfriends follow them.
So it’s again mainly parent’s choice – where their kids will find new friends.
Girls are usually first asked to dance (by boys/ men) so they have no much choice – unless they want to be call rude, when they refuse. That way they start learning earlier and will develop the desire to learn dancing earlier.
At that point, boys are far behind them and are not going to ask girls, who already know how to dance. And because they have to ask, they will avoid that and stay even further back.
So, don’t tell boys they have to ask girls, because they don’t want to be rejected. Make it 50/50. Boys and Girls choice!
Another reason is that girls are following and most of the times they don’t know even the steps, blocking, and pulling men, not giving even 50% the power of men. Not even listen to the music…
They think, I can follow and learn fast, give me just a good partner.
Well, first they should see their video how they look with a good dancer and why that good dancer is not looking as good with them!
3. The last category, men who are looking for new (female) friends are either single (looking to get laid) or just separated/divorced. I would avoid the first ones and look for the other ones.
There is usually more men at the Single Dance places and sometimes Lady get there for free.. So it looks like at certain age, there are more men dancing than women.
But those who get that dancing bacillus will dance for life.
I know why guys dance. Why DON'T guys dance?
Dance programs often end up being good at recruiting more of who they already have, rather than who they need to balance who they already have. Studios are often eternally short on men, yet the occasionally class or college team that ends up short on women may also find that pattern hard to break.
There could be many reasons, but two are probably key. One is that the dominant demographic is probably the one that the setting can well serve, and the missing may well have needs that it is not ready to provide (example - its not uncommon for those male dominated classes to have a woman dancing as a leader, because that is ultimately the role for which the class has greater value). Second, the presence of visibly succesfull advanced students in a given role plays a large role in the appeal to new students in that role, but if the few students in ones role are stuck in awkwardness, this is a major disincentive - and perhaps rightly so, because it may indicate a lack of resources to help them outgrow that.
Compulsory dance programs would cause more boys to dislike dance really. Being forced to do something would show some that they like it but a lot would not simply because they were forced to do it.
I refuse to blame women for men not wanting to dance, save the women who won't dance with beginning men... the last thing that I want as a guy is to have a useless skill because no one will dance with me (I was one of the guys that didn't have a partner most of the time in my intro ballroom class... it was discouraging but I ended up partnered with a TA most of the time).
I almost agree with this. The percentage of guys looking to get laid is pretty high (I would say most of us are, we enjoy it) and that translates into guys who dance as well. I'm always looking for more female friends because people that I can stand for continuous extended periods of time are hard to come by and more often than not they're girls. Plus I know I wouldn't have found a guy willing to call and wake me up every day because I was in the habit of sleeping into the afternoon if I had a choice.
Weighing in on the original topic, I think that guys don't dance because ballroom is much less mainstream now. Guys do dance, just much less formally.
Less mainstream? With all the dance shows on TV now? I wouldn't say that.
Anyway, what non-dancing guys tell me is that basically they don't dance because they feel awkward and uncoordinated and feel like they will make a fool of themselves. What they don't say (but is obvious) is, looking like a fool will defeat the idea of impressing women.
Of course, the answer is to take lessons, but I think many men don't even want to try that for fear they won't succeed and will look bad in front of women in the meantime. Beginner dancer's hell really keeps some guys away (and some women, too, who also fear looking foolish). I personally did fine with group classes, but I had previous dance background and didn't have as much social anxiety about dancing, as so many people do.
I wonder if it would help if more studios offer an affordable beginner's package which would include a few discounted private lessons with no long-term commitment. Then the beginner could get up to speed with no one watching except the teacher. At most of my local studios, the privates seem to be marketed more for advanced dancers, or for wedding couples.
Because they aren't exposed to it from a young age. If it's a normal progression in the scheme of life, then it's just what they do.
For example, my son doesn't know anything other than "everyone in our family dances". He's in ballet/tap and is the one and only boy in the "baby classes". I think he's the only boy under 12 in the entire studio. But his little backside will be in dance class until he leaves home.
I think it has become alot more acceptable now with the TV exposure. DWTS is the only thing that the non-dancing audience sees and for the men, they can see that the leaders in the show do not act or look feminine. For men who do not dance, you can point out that:
1. The man can become graceful while still remaining mighty and dominant.
2. Be accepted by his male peers.
3. Get a great workout.
4. Interact with alot of women.
I put the list in that order because guys care more about their own image first.
This could work, but only if the typically low rankng teachers who end up doing the work are able to teach a path out of the kind of awkwardness that the lessons are meant to overcome. Often they are not, because their knowledge is more of patterns layered on top of a personal natural ease than the kind of precise functional expertise needed to turn the unnatural into ease. In effect, the moderately masked problems you can see in the teachers own dancing end up as unconquered obstacles to their less natural students.
Well, of course it would depend on the teacher's skill. If the studio is smart, they will assign beginners to the type of teachers who can really handle this assignment well.
Why is it that "low ranking" teachers are assigned to beginners anyway? My view is, you need the best teacher at the beginning, to have a positive experience, lay a solid foundation for your learning, not learn bad habits, and be motivated to continue your lessons. Fundamentals are everything and if you don't have that, the patterns don't mean much, as you point out.
I'm happy to say that my studio does not reserve its top teachers only for advanced levels. Even the beginner classes are handled by excellent instructors who are, for the most part, national-level competitors. It's been a big help to me to learn from these people.
I don't teach at a studio...but I imagine teacher who have been at a studio longer have already (to some extent) established a group of students they work with. Newer teachers have more availability schedule-wise to take on new students...perhaps.
Not necessarily. Following is a link to MSNBC Making a Difference segment of Nightly News back in May. Chicago schools has implemented mandatory program for kids. (remove spaces in www)
w w w.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/30833505
It works well too. My sister was involved with it a bit when she was a teacher with Chicago public schools, and my pro is one of the dance teachers. Also know one person involved in administration of it. All of them say the kids love it, boys and girls.
I agree with that….
Low ranking teachers don’t teach the presentation, movement, top line, controlling of the toes and ankles and even proper timing.
In Quickstep, for example, there is not big difference between “Slow” and “Quick”. For me it’s dancing off time (not on beat). The same is in other dances….
Those low ranking teachers are not paying enough attention to ladies. For them ladies will follow, if the man is good. Many ladies are lacking energy , mostly because they don’t know the steps, alignment, don’t even follow the timing.
Dancing is not just up to the men – it’s 50/50 partnership and if the lady doesn’t know the steps, how can she help the partner?
Man is the driver, but he’s not a mover or the one who's holding her in the air…
She has to produce some energy as well, for example when she moves forward to the man’s right side (i.e. Running Finish)
I know one guy who was so frustrated with women, because they don’t want to learn, but listening how good they are, who were using him to teach them and later dump him to take more advanced dancer…. , that he stopped taking any lessons and going dancing.
I think this is a very dangerous generalisation. EVERY teacher started out as "low ranking". Just because someone is new to the profession - which is what I'm assuming you mean by "low ranking" - doesn't mean they aren't meticulous about the *details* or even care about both halves of a student partnership.
Further, if by "low ranking" you actually mean "hasn't placed in a professional competition", then I would disagree even MORE strongly with your statement. Competitive rank is not a guarantee that a teacher will be any GOOD at communicating effectively.
Can someone tell me when Russia made a compulsory dance program in schools? Just curious, because I spent the first 20 years of my life there and I don't recall dance ever being part of required educational program. We had music (aka signing) and drawing, both ended somewhere in 6th or 7th grade. I graduated from HS there in 1990.
It’s not what I mean by “low ranking” professional. When our previous amateur national champions turned “pro” they were at once high profile professionals. Most of the top amateur couples wanted to book some private lessons (even they’re very expensive).
But when couple years ago another guy, who couldn’t find a dance partner (Silver Level), started giving some lessons to beginners at the social club, has made himself “pro” – but in my opinion “very low ranking”.
Still now I don’t know of any competitors taking lessons from him and I don’t see him dancing at the Pro-Am competitions as well.
The quality of students (and demand from them) makes the teacher low or high ranking.
Yes, I agree with that ...
and if he/she won’t “communicating effectively” they will loose good dancers and will become “middle or even low ranking” “pro”.
Last weekend I saw one of the previous top teachers in the region, in a social club, dancing with completely beginners and looking for a job.
He is not organizing any competition, has not his own studio any more, is not judging any competition for the last couple of years….
He advertises himself even on Internet but has not too many students and the only lady competing Pro-Am with him was his girlfriend.
He is about 70 years old, but not only his age, but rather reputation among competitors and competition from new professionals lowered significantly his ranking among professionals.
This may have had something to do with those guys having realized that 'The Guy Who Can Dance Gets The Girl' is a fairy tale.
In reality, the tallest, most aggressive guy with the biggest wallet gets the girl.
Oh really? That's not been my experience. My experience is that the tall, aggressive guys with the big wallets need an iron skillet upside the head to keep them in line. They think they can drag a girl off by her hair and she's supposed to be impressed by them. Blech.
Give me a compact, energetic guy with mad dance skillz and I'm a happy camper. Height/looks not an issue.
What do you mean, "get the girl"? For dancing? Or for more? It's not clear (at least to me) from your post.
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