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Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by belleofyourball
11/27/2009  8:42:00 PM
Don't be depressed and don't quit. There isn't a single person who didn't start where you are. Every lady you've danced with has been a beginner. I'm sorry there are rude people out there. DOn't let them take your dancing from you.

I have danced for a long time. In that time I've learned that dancing has a steep learning curve. There are some things that are so hard to learn and look so easy it's nauseating. There are times when I feel like I'll never get anything and then...a breakthrough.

You haven't been dancing very long. Especially since you've quit twice. Men have so much more to learn than women and it takes longer to get to that first magical place because of this. Get back in the game. Don't dance with rude women and the women who ask...dance with them. Tell them how you are feeling and ask them questions about your dancing that can inform your progress. More dancing=faster progress.

As far as stepping on a woman's feet....the truth is that everyone steps on someone's foot once in a while. It's an occupational hazard. I've had pros who have done it and amateurs who have done it and to be brutal, I've stepped on my own feet and grazed skin off with my heels.

In group lessons....a woman should know her own movement well enough that your own ability shouldn't be keeping her from learning. I've danced with the gamut from good to bad to inbetween and I've learned the most from the 'bad' because I've had to be strong and really know my own part. I can tell you a ladies part and a man's for most bronze level steps because of this.

One last thing...and I don't know if this is any help at all. The best leads in my experience are the confident leads. The man can make up a step and do bizarre things that have nothing to do with any recognized patterning or footwork, but if he is confident and not wishy washy with his lead then it is a simple matter to follow. Know where you want to go and go there.
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by Jazdiva59
11/28/2009  5:57:00 AM
I am a lady only a few years younger than you who has been dancing for a little under a year. I still very much consider myself a beginner in many ways; however, my skills have improved a great deal since I began and I have taken private lessons in speciic dances for about six months. I have found that, although private lessons are much more expensive than group classes, they are worth their weight in gold, and make a huge difference for many people, so this is something you might want to consider.

I understand your frustration when ladies let you know in one way or another that they do not want to dance with you because of your skill level. I had this happen to me early on with several "gentlemen" who made no bones about being frustrated with my lack of knowledge of more advanced steps. Many of those same people are now happy to dance with me, but I still remember the embarrassment I felt in the beginning. This was perhaps amplified for me because of the fact that, as a person who had done other types of dance over her life, and also a great deal of nightclub "freestyle", I considered myself quite the dancer when I began at my dance studio and figured learning ballroom would be a piece of cake. It was quite the humbling experience in the beginning!!

I do have one comment with regard to your being reticent to ask "very attractive" ladies to dance, or not wanting to ask somebody whom you see has a higher skill level than you. Although I know you have experienced what I can only categorize as rudeness on the part of some ladies (I would NEVER leave a man standing on the floor in the middle of a dance because he only danced the basics) - but please don't make assumptions based on these criteria. As my own dance skills have greatly increased, yes, I admit that I sometimes now feel a little bored when I am asked to dance by a gentleman who is obviously a complete newcomer, and frustrated by the "two left feet" thing, especially if it is a dance that I have learned really well and love, such as the smooth dances. Also, although I am no spring chicken, I am generally considered very attractive for the age I am, and I have experienced situations in which men I would have loved to danced with and get to know better have avoided asking me because they saw I could do a particular dance really well and they were afraid they would look silly to me. I would not have looked at it that way, and when I DO get asked to dance by such gentlemen what I generally do now is think of it as a good chance to review my own basics and perhaps even help another dancer along a little bit. Sometimes, too, these men are fun to chat with while dancing. Since they are not very advanced they are not concentrating on all sorts of different patterns and it can feel relaxing. And just because a lady is "very attractive" does not mean she is going to laugh at you or put you down. Yes, I know it has happened to you, but when a person behaves that way, just remember that they may be attractive on the outside, but not on the inside and don't feel bad about yourself.

As far as stepping on a lady's foot, I can tell you that I will always fondly remember the time I stepped on my own foot while trying to learn Viennese Waltz.
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by terence2
11/28/2009  7:44:00 AM
I hate to tell you this, but you are not unique.

You are going thru the normal reactions and frustrations that many beginners encounter.

I have them in my classes on a weekly basis.. the difference ?.. they dont quit.

Perceptions about dance are rarely reality.. you WILL get there IF you persevere.

AS to you age.. I have had beginners in their 70s ( some still with me ).

When you ask someone to dance, make it very clear you are an ABSOLUTE beginner.. you may be surprised at the responses !
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by quickstep7
11/29/2009  11:05:00 AM
Don't get yourself down. We have all been beginers thinking at one time or another we cannot dance, but the truth is you can. Eventually, everything will fall into place and you will wonder why you were getting upset at al.

I have been dancing for a while and can tell you there is a learning process and how fast or slow you progress through it doesnt matter.

Dont let anyone take dance away from you. There is a dancer inside and one day it will come out. Trust me! Keep smiling :)
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by Ladydance
11/29/2009  1:41:00 PM
I'm sorry you are not happy but I do have a few questions. What happened to your partner when you left the group lessons? Did you leave her without a partner for the rest of the session. Also, are you moving up without mastering the basics? I have seen men take our beginner level and not get a single basic step. Their pride won't allow them to take the level again so they move up. Their partner expects them to know the basics and when the men don't, the women are upset and leave. Take the beginner session as many times as you need to and if you have a partner who is also new to dancing you should not have a problem.
When you ask a lady to dance, explain that you're a beginner and then don't apologize a hundred times when you make a mistake. Be pleasant throughout. It is no fun dancing with a beginner who scowls through the whole dance.
I don't know if any of this applies to you but keep dancing, it will get easier.
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by Hold
12/13/2009  7:23:00 PM
Same thing happened to me, the dance floor can be a cruel place for beginners. For me, it's the other way round. My dance class are all females, and even my instructor is a female. We sometimes get the more advanced gentlemen to come in to help out, but I got the feeling that they don't like to dance with us because we don't have the skills. However, what we can do instead of giving up, is to hang in here, and learn as much as we can from all the sources that we can get our hands on. And of course, practice, practice, practice!!! Once in awhile, go out for social dancing with people who are lower level than yourself, or don't dance at all, so that you can show of for a change. This may boost your ego and get you back into the dance studio with much more confident!
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by Days&Nights
12/13/2009  8:38:00 PM
Do NOT, repeat do NOT, give up and I say this smiling. Get out there and keep asking, keep trying and eventually your physical "muscle" memory of what steps, figures and such you love to do and that come easier to you begin to take over. As for being left on the dancefloor - unless you were totally crude and offensive - it is her loss - as it is time on the dancefloor to dance. And take the attitude that "the only thing they can say is "no" ". I speak from experience of being the follow to a really really poor but really nice guy lead. It took him months and months to get a pattern he could handle in a social setting - him being in his late 50's. Now, all the ladies ask him to dance because he will not say no to anyone - even a beginner "newbie". Take the previous posts, put on your dance shoes, and get out there. No worries. oh, one last note: group classes are just that - groups with a garden variety of personalties. Take it one class at a time, nothing is nicer than a patient lead to a follow.
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by pgruener
12/14/2009  7:58:00 PM

I'm the same age as you and understand your frustration.Over the last year and a half I have had many thoughts of never getting the hang of it and have wanted to give up. Fortunately I have had a lot of encouragement from instructors, my wife and other students and I'm enjoying it more each time I go. There are still days when things just don't go right and I have noticed that even more experienced dancers have some bad days. Take advantage of every opportunity to practice, participate in group lessons and take some private lessons. It will definitely pay off.

As others here have said we all started at the begining like you and I. So far my only regret is that I did not start sooner, not because it would have been easier, but I missed some opportunities to enjoy dancing. Don't give up.
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by gola123
12/15/2009  3:25:00 AM
Have you tried to do sequence dancing first? It easier to learn than ballroom, but most of the dances are based on ballroom or latin dances. You can pick up the steps of the sequence by watching the couple in front as you dance along (everybody dances the same steps at the same time). And many of the dances are demonstrated on YouTube these days. Try it, and I'm sure you will find that you will be able to progress to doing "proper" ballroom and latin afterwards.
Re: Not sure what to do---depressed
Posted by kaiara
12/15/2009  8:40:00 AM
Don't give up. Be honest up front about you being a raw beginner and don't worry about how long you may have to keep calling yourself that.

Keep taking the basics class, over and over and over again if you need to, each round, work on another small bit of what you are learning.

I have taken our basics class five or six times now in Waltz. Every time I work on a different aspect of MY part of the dance. Each time, I get a bit better and more men in class are glad to get me as a partner.

I try to say something positive and encouraging to each partner, especially if they are newbies.

Sometimes the guy will say I am the first partner they have had who let them struggle to lead without trying to "help" them.

Each class I am the person who learns most from my partners.

I have taken the mid level class twice. Each time I have found spots where I need more work on the basics and I return to a basics class.

Build a foundation well and eventually you will be good on the dance floor.

Have fun!

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