Salsa > Asking experienced followers to dance.

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Jamie, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. Jamie

    Jamie New Member

    *sighs* ... I feel so awful.

    Why do I find it so scary and intimidating to ask more experienced followers to dance?

    Last night I was in a club where the standard of dancing was really quite high (relative to mine). There were lots of more experieneced (than me) followers and no matter how much I wanted to, I just couldn't ask them to dance with me and I felt really intimidated by them.

    I was thinking that they'd not want to dance with me anyway, and it looked like they were constantly scanning for a great dancer and they didn't want to waste their time with me.

    To be honest, most of them looked totally fantasic / gorgeous and so very elegant and moved like cats or angels or something and totally composed. How could I not be intimidated!?

    I guess a part of the problem is a lack of confidence / courage on my part. I just wish I knew how to get over that. I probably am getting more confident in time (much more confident now than I was say 2 years back) but right now I don't feel too hot :-(

    They also did a demo last night (2 really really good dancers) and that was the most beautiful thing to see. Seeing the the way they moved left me totally awe inspired. I would love to be a good dancer but I think I need to feel more relaxed and natural and a bit more confident asking the experienced followers to dance.

    Also, I've noticed that when I do feel a bit intimidated by a follower that I'm dancing with, I tend to give up control and not lead the dance. I guess this is part of the same problem.

    Anyone got any insights? Useful suggestions? Words of encouragement?

    Please :)
  2. Danoo

    Danoo New Member

    its just your confidence
    all you need is to ask a few "experts" to dance and say your quite new to salsa
    you can build your confidence by going to more clubs and asking more and more people :)
  3. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Jaime, just give it a try. At worst she will say no (which I hope she wouldn't) at best she will say yes. :banana: Do you have a female teacher? Maybe you could try/begin by asking her for a dance?

    One of the things I try to keep in mind throughout life is - if you don't ask, you don't get. :D With that in mind, I picked up my courage with 76 hands and asked an experienced guy to dance several years ago.

    I have been dancing for several years and for me, sometimes I have the *best* dances with beginners/inexperienced dancers on a night because they are doing *simple* but effective steps and there is time for me to play, enjoy the song and help boost his confidence rather than a more experienced dancer who appears to be looking at no one else other than himself in the imaginary mirror :?

    When I know I have asked a teacher (one of the 'world famous ones') to dance and I have never danced with him before, I sometimes say - "Please be gentle" and give them a big smile.

    Sometimes, they would smile or laugh and then often we would have (for me!) a dance that would take me up into the heavens. The dance would be heavenly not because of fancy stuff, but their leads are invariably great and if I can dance with them, I can dance with anyone else. If that high does not happen with 'normal dancers', I now have the confidence (after dancing with the 'greats') to know that it is not all my fault - because I was able to dance with the 'greats' and had compliments from onlookers afterwards, the knockon effect is the greater confidence I then have as a dancer. :D If I then dance with a 'regular' lead and he wants to try and tell me that our dance (or even I! :evil: ) was no good because I did this and this wrong, I can then tell him :tongue: :lol:

    In your case, you may find that your lead/technique or even style improves because the more experienced dancer may be encouraging and she may be more responsive to what you do ie. can do a single spin in her sleep rather than having to think about it. This means that you may not then have to work/think too hard and can then think/focus on another aspect of your dancing.

    Whatever you do, do continue to dance with those your level or below because you will be sharing/giving back some of what you received from the experienced followers.

    If it is of any help, think about joining our "How many strangers can you dance with" Day :wink: :D Then you can hopefully look at it from the perspective of the experienced dancers being 'strangers' to dance with rather than focussing on their dance ability and thinking whether they will say yes or no.
  4. Danoo

    Danoo New Member

    well said there
    i always ask my 2 female teachers to dance

    ps. this is the only forum i know with loooooooong replys :p
  5. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    then read faster :tongue: :lol:
  6. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    My thoughts since I am intimidated by asking experienced salsa dancers:

    1) Damn she's hot and cute.
    2) Damn she moves as if she really likes dancing spins and turns a bunch.
    3) Damn, I don't know how to do that move or set of moves that make her look really hot on the dance floor. :oops:
    4) Damn she's hot and cute.
    5) I can't lead worth a flip and could potentially break an arm or something (hers or mine). She wouldn't dance with a sappy new leader like me. :oops:
    6) Damn she's hot and cute. I said that already, didn't I? 8)

    My suggestion is that you try asking, but making it clear you're a beginner willing to learn and improve. That way she doesn't think you're just asking her to be touched and groped (that is to say, a creep).
  7. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Four things to try and remember about "experienced" dancers are:
    a) they were once beginners
    b) females may look as if they enjoy dancing spins/turns but in fact, what you may be seeing is the joy in/of dancing <period> and not that she particularly likes all those spins or turns
    c) you don't have to work hard to make her look hot, she can carry that :wink:

    and last but not least
    d) they have pretty much the same bodily functions/needs as you do - eat, sleep, bath, and need for oxygen/breath etc etc :wink:
  8. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Honestly I don't think that feeling ever goes away. The worst that can happen is not that she'll say no, there are much worse things.
    1) She simply ignores you.
    2) She says no and the dances immediately with someone else.
    3) She says yes and looks bored throughout.
    4) She says yes and then never wants to dance with you again.

    I just wanted to get those out there to let others know they are not alone. In my personal opinion these are much more damaging to the ego than a simple rejection.

    That said, My advice is to dance with one or two advanced salseras per night, dance one, (MAYBE two) song with her and then don't go back to her again that night. The rest of the night you should stick to dancing with those girls that feel that they are about the same level as you or less.

    There are some really nice advanced salseras who are simply a blast to dance with as you get more experience you will start to know who you feel comfortable with and who feels comfortable with you.

    As far as giving up control during a dance, sometimes this happens with some girls. Some dancers go off into there own little shine world when they are dancing with someone they don't really know. Just keep your lead consistent and let your personality come through in your dancing. Sometimes it really is better to be having a good time rather than doing millions of spins.
    In all honesty many times the girls don't want to be spun alot especially when the floor is crowded.
  9. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    It's something that builds up as you get better. I know when I first started dancing I had a problem doing this too, and I'm not a shy person by any means! :lol: But these days I cherish the opportunity. I immediately search out and grab dancers better than me. I've realized when you radiate confidence you will not have a problem getting anyone to dance with you!!
  10. Jamie

    Jamie New Member

    Hi Pacion,

    Thanks for your reply!

    I really liked that bit about saying 'please be gentle' ... would you think that appropriate for a lead to say too? (or maybe something to the same effect).

    I shall defo bear that in mind though and have a more appreciative attitude and be open to learn from her.

    Last night I did try and do the thing of asking as many girls as possible to dance in one night, and I notice I find some girls a lot easier to dance with than others and it's not always how good a dancer they are but how comfortable and at ease I feel with her. I danced with one girl about 9 times and we kept singing each others praises all night.

    I am now wondering if I am something of a creep *shudders* becasue some of those salsa ladies are very hot and cute and I feel very attracted to some of them. That has to be part of what I find intimidating. If I don't fancy a girl I can dance with her just fine and enjoy it. If I am dancing with someone I like I kinda clam up / lock up and just revert to latin basics ...

    No way will I give up on dancing though, it's just been too much fun when I do get it right. I do need to address this shyness and fear of asking experienced dancers to dance though.

    I really like the idea of just saying I'm new to salsa / please be gentle with me. I shall give that a go and see how it works.

    Thanks everyone for your help.


    :D :D :D :D :D
  11. huey

    huey New Member

    Hi Jamie,

    Just to say I feel very similar dancing Lindy Hop. Although dancing with a highly attractive beginner follower is great, dancing with a highly attractive experienced follower is pretty terrifying. I think it's because the part of me that fancies the girl is saying I HAVE to make a good impression and give her one of the best dances she has had. I put myself under pressure. It's very different if it's an attractive beginner. It's sometimes OK with an unattractive experienced follower (although these can be intimidating as well).

    I've been to a few Salsa dances and noticed the Salsa scene seems more sexually-charged than the Lindy Hop one. In other words, people pay more attention to dressing up, looking sexy and dancing sexily, especially the ladies. It seems that the accent more on showing off your sex appeal, and the Salsa dancing is more obviously sexy than Lindy Hop.

    What about talking to people and developing a social network of people you go to dances with? Men and women whose company you enjoy and who you feel comfortable dancing with.
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Nope. Creeps are people who make the ones they dance with feel uncomfortable. It is perfectly natural for people to be attracted to each other, but it is inappropriate to use your dance with such people to feel them up etc.
  13. Danoo

    Danoo New Member

    that sounds like girl problems :p
  14. Jamie

    Jamie New Member

    I know exactly what you mean by 'putting yourself under pressure', I think you're 100% right there. I do just the same, and it's no good!.

    Anyway, I tried some of the things that were mentioned before on this thread (explaining I was a relative beginner etc) and it worked wonders!!

    Every girl I danced with tonight was great, and kind to me, and we had a good connection. Some of them were defo hotties too, but I was just seeing them as people and that made all the different. Maybe it was that I was dancing on home ground (my home city) and I know most people on the salsa circuit here.

    It just felt soooo right. I was being really playful too, not at all serious, and that seemed to make a big difference both to my dancing and how well I got on with the followers. Really hard to explain, I just felt different, good, and had some kinda breakthrough that was brill.

    I recon that for me, it's just a case of cutting out the sexual attraction element, and just flow and have fun. I felt like a little child tonight, and it was really ace !!!

    I think everything comes down to how you feel, inside, something that I'm totally at a loss to find the words for. Anyway, that's everyone here for your encouragement and suggestions.

  15. brujo

    brujo New Member

    The best advice I was given on this subject was:

    1.) Do not say 'Want to dance?'. Rather, say 'Can I have one dance with you?'. This makes it more comfortable for her because she knows that if you suck big time and just end up doing basics, it will be for only one song. And she is more likely to say yes.

    2.) Ask for her feedback afterwards. This will show you the areas you can improve on, and really puts a human face to the really intimidating dancer out there. A lot of the intimidation comes from the unknown, and once you become a 'face' in her mind, the next time ( even if it is 6 months later ) will be less intimidating.

    3.) Do NOT try to impress her. Chances are, she has seen all the fancy moves that are humanly possible. There is really no move you can do that will make her go 'WOW'. So just relax, stay with the music and have fun. Lead the moves that you know smoothly and comfortably. I am sure she rather you do six basic steps well rather than try dangerous advance moves that you do not have practice with.
  16. tacad

    tacad New Member

    One cool thing is that as you improve the follows will start complimenting your progress which is very encouraging! :banana:

    You can actually see them enjoying a new move you have learned or your improved technique.
  17. Jamie

    Jamie New Member

    Thanks Brujo.

    I've seen the 'can I have one dance?' thing before on here and I thought that it may sound 'forced' / slightly unnatural ... but I shall certainly give it a go ... probably a good one to use when I am dancing away from home (in another city).

    Asking for feedback too, YES!, fantastic idea, thank you. I will defo do this one. Apart from all the other reasons to do this, it will help me identify areas for improvement.

    Completely agree with your 3rd point too, don't try and impress her. I've felt myself trying to do this in the past and it feels awful, plus, makes me dance a lot worse than I do when I'm feeling relaxed.

    I was thinking about breaking things down in to like a process with stages (but not being too rigid at all with anything). Something like:

    Start of slow.
    Relax and get a good 'connection' with partner.
    Slowly add moves in to the mix.

    - Jamie
  18. MacMoto

    MacMoto Active Member

    After a particularly energetic dance, I often go straight to a less experienced leader and ask for a dance so I can have a dance at a more relaxed pace. It's a delight when the leader doesn't make me work too hard and just enjoy the dance with me.

    Sounds good Jamie. Good luck.
  19. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Often times I have found that advanced follows are more impressed with a few moves done well and an overall fun dance rather than a whole lot of difficult to execute patterns and moves where you have to concentrate to follow everything.
  20. Cist

    Cist New Member

    As posted the main point is self confidence. The second thing is impressing your partner. if you can manage both there wouldn't be any problems. In my first year of dancing I never asked sbdy to dance except for my training partner. I am a much to shy person. but as my experience and hand in hand my selfconfidence grew, I tried to ask some of the beginners. .... it was still a hard task ....every new evening it was like inventing the same task new.

    but after another 6 month i got used to ask followers, also very attractive followers. now after dancing almost for 3 years it is still a challenge to ask the best of the best for a dance. this summer e.g. when edie the salsafreak held a workshop in vienna she asked me the following evening if i wanted to dance with her.....and guess what...i told her i acutally couldn't because i was too tired. well, it wasn't a lie but of course this feeling was welcome, because I WAS afraid of dancing with her. :shock: Really stupid but that's the way it still is for me...this experience shouldn't demotivate anybody, however, just shows how I still feel when asking real good followers for a dance.

    maybe a positive statement. when i went to belrin for educational purposes just a few month ago, i didn't know any dancers or clubs. guess what. i went three times to three different salsa clubs and every night was a blast. although i am a rather shy person, i hadn't any problem to dance all night with lots of different people. i have never had so much fun going out in foreign countries before i startet with salsa! :D'

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