Im a 24 year old guy that started going for Ballroom and Latin dance classes. I did it to help me with my confidence. Most of the women at these group classes are middle-aged, while there are a couple that are my age. The couple of young girls my age, I danced with but both had an excuse that their feet hurt. These were at two different times. The first class, one young girl couldnt dance with me AT ALL because her feet were hurting her badly. The second class, I danced with another young girl and we danced for a while, but she had to stop because her feet were hurting. Now this is probably just an excuse. My mom thinks so because she said its the #1 excuse women make to get out of dancing. I even did some research and its true. When women cant stand dancing with someone, they say their feet hurt so they can break away. The reason young women are like this is because they want to dance with a good leader.
Now thats what I find strange. This is a BEGINNERS class. So, I dont understand why these young women cant be cooperative and dance with a man who is also beginning. Youre not going to find many men at these dance classes, let alone one that can lead like a pro. So, what theyre expecting is a bit unusual. At least, Im not stepping on her feet or anything. And I try to be gentle when dancing. Some men do step on feet and theyre rough when leading. And the instructor told me that Im one of these few men thats picking up real fast. So, I know I will dance well in no time. It just takes time. I just wish these young girls would give me a chance.
And its funny. When I dance with the older women (40+), theyre all perfectly ok with dancing with me. They know were all beginning and they appreciate my effort. Yet, the young onesforget about it.
So, why on earth are young women so picky with whom theyre dancing with at a beginners group dance class?
Unless you have other intentions in mind, the age of your partners during a group lesson shouldn't matter. And it could be that the younger girls sense that you have other intentions in mind. That's not to say you do, but their perception is their reality. So keep that in mind. Otherwise, don't let it be a distraction of any kind. Concentrate on becoming a skilled and confident dancer, and partners who have the same goals and enjoy dancing will be available without much searching. You'll want a dance partner you are comfortable with once you move into one-on-one private sessions, if you go that route. This dance partner could be of any age. I have seen women 50 years old dancing with a partner who is 70, so there's no real "rules" in that regard when one is learning.
There is another possible angle on this sort of situation (and I'm not seeking to suggest that it applies in this particular case).
Women not infrequently dance because they want men. This is particularly true of an older generation, who sometimes want the men more than they want to dance. One is the means to another. If the man in question JUST wants to dance, the ladies may well (correctly) interpret the signals, and move on, to other prey. We men will usually do well to stay very well clear of such entanglements.
It can work the other way too, of course: the man wants a partner (a mate) not a dance partner. As long as each party is honest about what they want, there is no harm done, but there is a good deal of exploitation, of all sorts, in the dance world, as in the world at large.
So many good points made here. There are many whom I don't care to dance with because of skill level or a total lack thereof, I'll have nothing to do with the women who attend social dances hoping them to be "meat markets," and then there are the frotteurs who use their legs to explore more areas than the necessary points of contact: avoid smooth dances with them at all costs. Women should consider this advice, as well.
I'm sorry that you are being treated badly by the young women. It happens at our studio quite often. These girls want to dance like they do on TV and not put the work in that a partnership requires. I have had girls call me at the studio and ask for a new partner because "I learned a step faster than him" or the classic "I want a better dancer than me". Even if I had other young men (which I don't), I wouldn't find them another partner. I tell them I'll put them on "the list". I know you'd like to dance with girls your own age but dance with the older women (30 and up) who appreciate you until a young girl comes along that will put in the effort.
I teach dance and this is a common issue how ever I do think it is the Instructors responsibility to teach these young ladies patients and why leads have a more challenging time picking up their steps.When I teach the young ladies they are also taught thank their leads. In the long run when they are older they will have leads to dance with. When leads get milage they will only dance with the ladies who try and appreciate them.
For now you are learning and who cares about age? Get good and let the younger girls start to wait in line to dance with you later.Right now just set yourself up for your future. Really when you turn 30 who is going to go to a Rave?Ballroom and Latin is always in style and always will be.
Try dancing with some of the older women. They probably know how to dance and will be thrilled to dance with a young man. You will learn confidence and skill. Then if you go out to a dance club you will wow the young girls with your skills!
There's a lot of good info in this thread. I'm a little older but definitely not middle-aged. I got into this about two years ago to meet new people (and yeah, there was that male ulterior motive of meeting women). I'm always excited to see other amateur younger guys getting into this since it's rare where I live. I need competition.
Here's a few pointers based on experience:
1) You mentioned you do group classes. Take private lessons, even if it's only once every two weeks. Tell the instructor you want to focus on lead and not presentation. Write that bit on a piece of paper if you want, and look at it before every lesson to keep your goal on track.
2) As mentioned before, DO dance with the middle-aged women, and not only that, make friends with them. They are established (and thus regular figures at the studio), generally have no agenda, and hey, if you're lucky, you'll have a few in the group that were "one of the guys" when they were in their 20s. These women will rock a barstool better than most of your guy friends. Practice makes perfect.
3) I said middle-aged women "generally have no agenda." Physical appearances change and treatment of guys change, but the one thing that stays the same is the treatment of other women - I've seen 80-year-old women act catty towards each other like they were 19. Use the female pecking order to your advantage. Studio girls come and go (mostly go once they realize they might actually have to TRY), but your new friends will size up anyone who walks in that door within a quarter of a second. If they shoot her down, you shoot her down.
4) High school girls don't apply to these rules. They haven't become pretentious yet and are just happy to dance with younger single guys. Usually they're quick to learn to follow, too. And they're generally happy - I hate saying it's rare, but, such is life. Respect the age barrier and just enjoy the friendship. Do be careful of psychotic helicopter parents, though.
5) Stick around. I now train with independent instructors and am competition-focused, and no longer belong to a studio, but last Friday, I was invited out to a public ballroom night by one of the barstool-rocking women mentioned in #2. Right after showing up, she told me there were a few 20-something girls that I knew, who were sitting at the other end. I spent most of the evening at the cool kids' table. Oh, and there's the beautiful amateur (and pro!) partners who satisfy even the most shallow of men's checklists.