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Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by ExperiencedNewbie
4/26/2006  8:18:00 AM
dennis_t,

I can think of two instances in which a man would decline a lady's invitation:

The first one is injury. I've injured my knees doing swing dancing, and when injured I'll tend to avoid swing to avoid re-injuring them.

The second one is: If he doesn't know that dance... and I'll agree that he should say so, and ask if another dance is possible.

I've been doing ballroom dancing for just under three months. I've done some international folk dancing going back thirty-five years.

Prior to taking beginning ballroom group lessons, my dance list was fairly odd by the standards of the ballroom dance community: heavily weighted toward international folk dance, pre-foxtrot, Jane Austen era and pre-colonial, even Shakespearean dance.

Being 5'10" tall myself, I have experienced ballroom dancing in group classes with several partners, most (but not all) shorter than me. I have enjoyed the dances I've shared with the one student who I know is taller than me (at least she's taller than me on the dance floor in her heels).

We've been paired up for individual dances as part of the group class
setting -- as part of the partner rotation required by the instructor. I haven't been in a social situation where she's asked me to dance, but I would accept if I knew the dance. While on the topic of this one tall student, I'd like to say that in the weeks I've known her, I've seen her go from clunky to graceful in half a dozen ballroom dances.

At the newcomer level, I know perhaps a dozen ballroom dances now. I can still list a handful that I don't have a clue what to do.

I can waltz, but not Viennese Waltz. I can't mambo, samba, quickstep or jive. I swing East Coast style, and modified without the triple-step, but I wouldn't know what to do with West Coast Swing and the only videos I have found for it are at an advanced level... so I'm not ready for them yet. I'm not really confident in my Lindy Hop, Charleston of Jitterbug yet.

All my instruction to date has been American style, I know practically nothing of Internationl style. Over time, these will change.

If I was asked to dance a dance I don't know, I'd have to decline regardless of who asked me. In the reverse, I've asked for the next dance, only to have to defer because the next dance was one I didn't know.

Where I live, there are two conflicting monthly dances: the one I used to attend regularly (square/contra/round) has instruction at the beginning of the evening in the basics, and instruction in each specific dance before that dance, all evening, and instruction in the dance steps (calling) during the dance itself. In that scenario I can dance every dance.

These past two months, I have been attending a ballroom dance that has perhaps 30 minutes of lesson in the middle of a three-hour program of ballroom dance music.

I am thoroughly enjoying ballroom dancing, but I'm also giving up a lot more dancing where I'm confident and competent in order to attend the ballroom dance. The percentage of dances I can dance is going up as I learn more ballroom dances, and yet the style alone isnt the only factor that determines whether I am dancing a specific dance or not.

I'll use this example to make my point: Several weeks ago I attended a group Jitterbug class, that had open free dancing afterwards. It was my first time in that venue, and my first time with that group of dancers. I had my first half-hour of East Coast Swing group instruction literally earlier that evening -- that and plenty of enthusiasm. After the group class ended, I asked several ladies to dance with me. I kept asking, and I kept polite. It took two and a half hours to get a yes response. If I had left the venue on rejection, I would probably have never returned.

I have the analytical faculties of an Engineer: I can slice and dice this experience like a professional. I realize that the dancers were somewhat cliquish (arriving a departing in groups), had experience dancing with each other, and I am outside (older
than) their age range by a decade or two. Many times I was waiting for the opportunity to ask without interrupting the ongoing conversation, only to lose the chance to another lead who would simply offer his hand to the follow and she'd get up to dance with him. I'll chalk that up to they already knew each other.

Another good thing that did come out of that evenings experience, was that I approached the lead of a very good dancing couple, and asked how long they'd been dancing, and how to learn to dance well. That lead me to additional group instruction in Lindy Hop and Charleston at my local university - even with a late start half-way through the semester!

I look forward to the future when I have a regular dance partner to practice and dance with, as it seems to me that that would be similar to when I was engaged/married in that I'd know who I can dance with, even before I know what dance is coming up. I've just compared that to knowing who you're going out with, without knowing where you're going...

Whatever we do to get past the butterflies and actually have someone to dance with is the mechanics and the enjoyment of dancing is the motivation.

In a social dance situation, I'd love to be asked to dance. Her height would not be an impediment to me - it could be a point of interest. I'm still new to Ballroom Dance. I understand the social dance floor is not the learning environment that the group class is. If I don't know the dance, I'm still going to have to decline. Ask me to dance, and I'll
(probably) say yes. If I decline, I'll explain why, and the reason really won't be you. That's a promise.

ExperiencedNewbie
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by dgcasey
7/6/2006  11:10:00 AM
I asked several ladies to dance with me. I kept asking, and I kept polite. It took two and a half hours to get a yes response


Two and a half hours?!!

What the heck is wrong with the ladies at that studio? (Notice how I avoided asking what's wrong with you? )

I've only been dancing since Thanksgiving, but I can only remember being turned down for a dance one time in that whole time. And she came up and asked me to dance a couple of dances later. It turned out she didn't know anything about ChaCha, but didn't want to admit that. We've danced many times since then.

I think one of the reasons I get asked to dance a lot is because, 1) I've gotten a reputation of being a decent dancer, not great but decent, and 2) I get dressed up to go out dancing. I walk into the studio dressed in a minimum of a dress shirt and tie, sometimes a full suit. Not only have I figured out that ladies love to dance, they also love to dance with a guy that looks like he took more than five minutes getting ready to go out that evening.

But, two and half hours? Are you kidding me? I'd find a new place to dance if that were the case for me.
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by Serendipidy
4/18/2008  6:17:00 PM
I'll add my bit to this. Where I live at a social dance, or a teaching class there is always played a Progresive Dance at the beginning of the evening where every few bars usually eight the lady moves on to the next partner. These Progressive dances can be and usually are Foxtrot Tempo. Jive or Cha Cha. They are all set pieces which everybody here know. The idea is to get everybody to meet each other early in the evening, usually to get the ball rolling.. They go under the name of Progrssive Jive or Cha . Samba. The Foxtrot Tempo have the names The Stroll. The Barn Dance ( this is the best known and the most often played of all ). There are many others. I just picked the most danced. It is esentuall for these dances where we change partners every eight bars that the music is eight bar phrased with a four bar introduction.
This has an added bonus. At a very early age we know what is meant by phrasing , without it we would find it awkward changing partners in a Progressive Dance. Not often but it has happend a disk that is not phrased correctly is put on. Everybody will stop and look to the music person who will quickly appologise and put another disk on.
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by Rita_Gwen
2/6/2006  3:57:00 PM
Thank you for your answers, guys. It helps. I have some problems in this area - I'm rarely been asked to dance, and i know at least two reasons - first, I'm tall (5'11") and this may confuse some people, and second, I still know very little of smooth dances and have to sit them out. So I was thinking if it is OK to ask people for dances i know well (most of the Latin and Rhythm).
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by doorknob
3/18/2006  7:02:00 AM
If you are more comfortable in some dances then yes ask guys for those. And if you decline one of the others be clear that you would be happy to dance something else.
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by Quickstep
3/17/2006  10:43:00 PM
Rita Gwen. If the man is alone . That is not with a partner or girl friend. Then why not ask. It is probably better if you know he can or cannot dance before you make your way across the floor. In recent years it seems to have dropped off here, but there was always a number of Ladies invitation Dances as well as an Excuse me Dance where men or ladies could cut in whilst the dance was in progress. Best of luck
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by JimInBuffalo
3/22/2006  4:45:00 PM
Rita, My understanding, and from what I have observed in most social situations locally, is that it is most acceptable for a lady to ask a man to dance. From the practical side, most dances that I go to have far fewer men than women. If you are a single woman at a dance then you need to ask or you will be waiting a long time to get a dance in. This is the biggest complaint that I hear from ladies in our area. I have discussed this with other guys and we are very flattered by an invitation to dance. I never look at it as anything beyond a social dance and it is very good for leaders or followers to dance with new partners to hone their skills. I spoke to a lady who is taking lessons from a chain studio (AM) and her biggest fear right now is that she cannot dance with anyone except her instructor. I told her to get out to the local dances and ask as many men as possible to dance with her.
My contention is: if you learn the steps and practice on a regular basis then you should be able to dance with anyone else who is at the same level of instruction.

Please if you are out and there is an available man, ask him to dance, you won't regret it. -Jim
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by Foxtrotter52
4/26/2006  5:25:00 PM
I usually ask the ladies to dance, but if a lady asks me to dance I will always accept their invitation. I love to dance and am flattered when someone asks me to dance. Women should ask men to dance, sometimes guys get a little nervous and won't ask.
Andy
Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by Jim
4/26/2006  7:51:00 PM
My social dance buddy is a very accomplished dancer and she is very aggressive socially. She will ask anyone to dance, especially if she feels that they are a good dancer. She very seldom gets rejected. All the guys seem to like dancing with her.

It helps if a lady can dance when asking a guy to dance. Most guys, including myself welcome ladies to ask us to dance.

Most beginners are a little overwhelmed and shy when they first start dancing, but as their skills increase--they get less timid.

Re: Asking a guy to dance
Posted by darcy
7/1/2006  4:14:00 PM
Don't worry just ask!

Of course I'll dance with you!

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