Ok so this topic has already been addressed by the awesome Chilly over on his blog here. I already let him know how much I enjoy his posts and you should too! But as a female dancer, I’d thought I’d give my two cents on this topic..
With the gender assigned roles that seem to more or less come as given in Salsa with the men as leaders (read dominant, macho, the ‘picture frame’ etc) and the women as followers (think delicate, sexy, feminine, the ‘picture’), there is a lot of hesitancy on the part of women to ask men to dance. This certainly isn’t because they are meek, timid and pathetic, most women I see doing their thing on the dance floor are anything but! However, we all know the story: a lot of the time women are the ones who might make the most effort to dress up and look good, and as a result, they would like to think that they are an appealing prospect to a male dance partner. There is nothing more demoralising than starting out the night feeling confident, feeling that you don’t look half bad and yet it feels as though no-one is asking you dance. I myself have had this feeling on many a night in the first couple years of dancing and frankly, it sucks… my favourite song was playing and yet there I was standing miserably on the side.
So let me share with you my own advice on this:
1) There is nothing wrong with asking a guy to dance
Frankly, my passion for dancing and the music playing meant that I got over this one pretty fast. I know for a fact I’m decent follower and I brushed my teeth… so really, what do they honestly have to complain about? Not much! Experience the liberation.
2) Men like being asked to dance
Go on, I dare you. Ask a guy you’ve never danced with for a dance. Watch his face light up in mild surprise> do you see any anger or resentment going on there? Probably not. If you do, the guy is a total douchebag, at least you know to avoid him for next time.
3) If you’re a beginner, be selfish
Yep, I said it. I am literally condoning selfish behaviour on the internet. Let’s not pretend, for the first few weeks/months/ year of dancing there is a good chance you are going to be awkward, stiff, trip, unable to spin or anticipate his moves. I had all of these problems and often I would feel my cheeks warm with shame. But then, I got over it. See the thing is, we followers have a great advantage… every time we dance with someone new in the first few months we are learning something new. Even today, a lead might pull out a move I’ve never done before and it’s the best feeling when you both enjoy pulling it off. You aren’t going to improve as a follower without practice in the real situation. Fact. But unlike leads, we can progress in the social dancing area at a much faster rate than they can. So go for it and don’t bother apologising too much! That guy will not have suffered that much by dancing with you and you will have gained infinitely from it.
Men and women; if you are an advanced dancer, be kind and take enjoyment from dancing with beginners and make sure they feel at ease. No-one is asking you to spend your whole night dancing with them, but always try to dance with at least two beginners/improvers when you go out.
However, if you really still hate asking men to dance, I’ve got some tips for you that I will be sharing next week.
Bisous Salseros and Salseras!