I regularly go to group classes that are run before many social events. It lets me get insights from other dancers, learn new figures and styles, dance with more partners (ideal for practice) and introduces me to new styles.
However, it has also revealed something else to me. The frequency with which women are simply disappointed with the quality of men they dance with.
I like to think that they confide in me because they don’t think I am not that bad. However, it is possible that they talk of others as a way to give me a message. In either case, it got me thinking that I should get to the bottom of this, and know what issues women have.
I then spent the next couple of months watching group classes more than focusing on my own dance. Probably not the smartest thing for me to do for my own dance, but it turned out to be informative. And confirmed that I probably did disappoint a few women while getting to the bottom of this.
In short, many men don’t try, but still seem to think that they are pretty good.
I noticed the following with men:
- They focus on the right foot placement
- They ignore character as their feet move from one place to the next
- They are scared to try different embraces or use the one recommended
- They focus so much on their own feet they forget to show their partner a good time
These were not common to all men and only a few would have all of these undesirable characteristics. However, there are a few things men can do to overcome these issues:
- Make sure you are at the level you should be at for a group lesson
- Realise that you do it harder at the start – you need to find foot work easy to pick up to do a group class – maybe you need a lot more privates of low level group classes before attending the group classes you want to go to. Do not think you can do the same number of lessons as women and be able to go to the same classes. You might need to attend classes at 3 times the rate to keep up.
- Put some effort in. It’s not just foot placement. Do you want to dance well – putting your whole body and character into it – or do you just want to walk through it? This might be a rhetorical question, but it does have a right answer.
I can’t claim to be the best dancer around, but I have found that if you ensure your dance ability is equal to the lesson, focus on your partners and work on really dancing, then you can get a lot more out of these lessons and be more confident that you are not ruining it for others.
Final note: I have assumed men are leading. If you are a lady who leads, then the above is equally valid to you. Although my experience would suggest you probably need not worry about it; women seem to take leading more seriously.