This is a question solely to you, guys. I know that a lot of ladies have issues in this area. Do you think it is appropriate when a lady asks you to dance in social environment? It looks like there is a lot of prejudice on the subject and it would be interesting to gather some statistics on that. Thank you,
Hi Rita, I always encourage ladies to ask for a dance. It's not unusual, even when you know someone and would like to dance with them, to find them away from their seat or already dancing when you think to ask then at end the evening realizing you didn't get to dance with them. Sometimes men would love to dance with someone but let their insecurities get in the way. Sometimes we are just distracted and too dumb to look around, and miss the opportunity to dance with you. Help us out, most of us will be happy that you asked.
Women defintely should ask, for several reasons. 1) I do not know of a single instance in which a man would decline a lady's invitation. 2) Some times the man ends up on the opposite side of the dance floor and have trouble getting to you. 3) Maybe we haven't noticed you because you're hiding in a corner. and 4) to show you care.
I want to stress #4. It's gentlemanly for a man to invite a lady to dance. I am happy to do the inviting but I do expect her to do the asking once in a while. If she never asks, I'll just assume she doesn't enjoy dancing with me and I'll stop asking her.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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
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.
The way I go about asking a guy to dance is to say "would you save me a waltz tonight" or "save me a foxtrot if you can". That way, if he doesn't come get me no one knows that I have been turned down, and if he does come to get me it looks great and it shows that I am approachable to other potential partners in the room. What I have trouble with is, at least in our town where there is a USA Dance chapter of which I am a charter member and past president, that the married couples absolutely will not ask others to dance. We recently had a members only dance as a free bonus event. Myself and another single woman were the only two singles in the whole room and it took 45 minutes to have someone ask me to dance. When its your own dance comrades/colleagues I find it to be very hurtful. We just live in an area that is "couples" oriented with few singles so I have to ask others to dance. Maybe this is a whole other post
Go ahead and ask. I would ask you to consider that the guy might not want to dance with you all night.
One dance per guy, per evening, is plenty.
Some women ask five or more times during the evening. This is unfair to the men. The men paid to get into the hall, and they may not want to spend the whole evening teaching you to dance. (Or worse, fighting you for the lead.)
If you try to follow, most good male dancers will like to dance with you. If you insist on doing it your way, most good leaders won't enjoy dancing with you.
A better plan is to smile when ever a guy looks your way. Another thing to do is stand near a place where there is traffic.
Last night a women stood on the edge of the floor and swayed with the music.
I ended up asking her to dance three times.
You should remember that if you ask, the man has a right to say no. If you can not take rejection, don't ask.
I went to a social dance in my hometown, and there was a woman who came from about 40 miles away to attend. But she had no partner with her. I knew this from talking to her earlier in the evening. My wife encouraged me to ask her to dance so she wouldn't go all night without a spin on the floor. So I did, and she really appreciated it. My point? This is a case in which the lady should have been asking a few men. If she was uncomfortable about us having our own partners or wives with us, she could always check with the lady first. Most that I know would say it was OK. Far better to ask than not to dance at all.