Teaching on the Dance Floor

Unsolicited advice on the dance floor, no matter how well intended, can be awkward, especially if it comes from a stranger. And I’m sad to say, it’s usually from us men. I have watched guys try and give advice to women and it really comes across as condescending. I watched one guy spend at least twenty minutes with this one lady and it seemed like he was talking to her like a child. I really wanted to go up to him and tell him “Just dance with her for crying out loud.” As guys, there is a boost to our ego as we come across as the ones that are “In the know.” And from my days on the golf course, I found out that everyone had their own opinion on what to do. And frequently, I would get contradictory advice on the same day.

I’m even reluctant to teach someone a pattern when I’m out dancing socially, even if I have some sort of relationship with her. And then it’s only if she asks how to do a certain move. I have a few friends that will ask about certain moves I’ve learned other places. And I’m happy to work it out with her, especially if it’s a fun move. But it’s only after I’ve danced with her for a while and gotten to be friends with her. We’re trying to figure out a new pattern on move.

If we’re in class, then that’s a different story. I figure that we’re there to help each other out. I’ve had women tell me how my lead can be better and I’ve given advice to women on what would make the lead easier to give. But it’s more of a learning environment, rather than a social one. And if we’re in the practica after class, then that’s the place to work on new things and the patterns we learned in class. That’s our laboratory to experiment.

Partner dancing is always a co-operative venture. We’re out there to have fun. We’re out there to make each other look and feel good. We dance Socially for the social aspect. We go to class for the learning experience.

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