General Dance Discussion > Dance Schools can be disasters for the lonely and vulnerable

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by VronskyWasSoVain, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Hi. This is my first post in this forum. I'm a relatively new dancer (been doing it for 4 months) and I'm glad I started. It's done wonders for my health, physical fitness and my confidence.

    Don't want to get into detail about my background. I am 34 years old. Asian Male. I am shy but not necessarily introverted. There's a difference. An introvert chooses to be alone but a shy person is someone who yearns to be social but cannot due to personal insecurities. I have a good career. I have good family and friends. But I am not satisfied with my dating life as well as my interactions with women.

    After the failure of my last relationship over a year ago, I decided I needed to make a change. I needed to become more confident. There are all these people out there who tell you to "just be confident." The thing is, at least for me, blind confidence doesn't work. It needs to be backed up by concrete things. I decided to strike my insecurities at its core. One of my deep-seated insecurities is dancing. I recall during my youth that my most anxiety-inducing moments involved social events that involved dancing. I always envied the guys who could dance and have fun with the ladies.

    I think most of us chose to learn to dance due to a specific situation or life event that occurred. For me, it was due to a series of failed relationship with girls. One common thread I noticed was that the girls I dated were interested in dance.

    Dance schools and the dance world is a completely new world for me. I didn't know what I was getting into. I simply googled dance schools that were convenient locations nearby and I found one. I stumbled into it one evening to take a practice lesson and didn't know what to expect at all. I never grew up around dance or knew anyone in this particular industry.

    I've been satisfied so far but one issue is that I am attracted to my instructor. Yah it's common. I know that now after reading this forum and doing more research. But you gotta understand for someone like me who has never known anyone or done anything dance-related, it's a strange new world for me.

    And no, I'm not just physically attracted. As you all know, most dance instructors are physically attractive in some way. All the female dance instructors at my school are good looking in some way. But with my instructor, she has an attractive personality too.

    Look, I get it. I work in the consulting field myself. I know it's part of the business model. This is how dance schools make money. You're supposed to like your instructor.

    But I feel that in other ways, it's a recipe for disaster because although I can only speak for myself, I suspect a lot of people decide to take dance lessons due to dissatisfaction with something in their personal lives. I suspect I'm not the only male student who is single and dissatisfied with his dating life as well as his confidence with women. Most guys don't like to dance due to North American culture. It takes something dramatic to have happened in his life for a mind shift to occur where he actually steps through the door to decide to learn to dance. Usually it's something emotional like a break up or just feeling in a rut of his personal life.

    And then suddenly, he's thrust into the arms of an attractive female teacher. Someone whose not only physically attractive but also has an attractive personality. Where for 45 minutes a week, she focuses all her attention on you and has a positive attitude throughout. Over time, she wants to see you succeed and is supportive and believes in you. This is a refreshing change from how guys like me are viewed by women he meets in his own life. Never good looking or tall enough, not charismatic or funny enough, not loud and popular as some of the other guys. Always something wrong with us. And here is someone who seems to be rooting for you and supportive of you. Not only that, but you're in close physical contact and develop a sort of rapport that way. It's truly unlike any other teacher-student relationship where the touch barriers are usually never breached.

    Except she's like this with all her students and it's for her own self-interest and the dance school's interest for her to be like this. Not that it's necessarily disingenuous. I'm sure dance teachers have students they prefer teaching over others. They're human and some humans get along better than others.

    But the simple fact is, had she met me in any other circumstance, she probably wouldn't have given a damn about me, just like most women I meet.

    I am not blaming anyone nor am I bitter. I like my dance school. I like my instructor. Overall, it's benefited my life and I'm glad I took up this new hobby. I also realize dancing isn't something you get good at overnight. Like anything that is hard, it's a long term thing and it will take time, patience and hardwork. I enjoy the discipline and the way it makes me feel. I would continue even if I had to change instructors to someone who I wasn't attracted to. I like dancing for dancing.

    However at the end of the day, I'm still a single guy with an unsatisfactory dating life and not confident even though everything else in my life is good. I have a good career, good family, and a few close friends. But I feel lonely and I'm getting older and so far nothing I've done has worked. When I go out socializing and I talk to women, I'm either met with just general friendliness or with disinterest.

    I can see how dance schools can be a disaster for me. It's like, after being ignored by women for my entire life and having only had a handful of relationships that didn't work out, suddenly there's this attractive woman who you're in close physical contact with once a week and who seems to be supportive and even appreciative of all your faults.

    I can see how vulnerable people like myself can totally get heartbroken in situations like this. Luckily, I've done my research and I've read articles and threads about this and I've decided that it is what it is and that it's the nature of the business. No one is malicious here and no one is at fault. But at the same time, we're human. You can't help how you feel about certain people.

    But I guess this is the true test of one's devotion to dance, isn't it? So even despite not being able to ever have anything more with your instructor or to any of the instructors, are you gonna continue? Does your love for dance override all of that? I think for me so far, it's a yes. And maybe that's all that matters right now.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
    Lai Lai likes this.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I just posted about my experience here at the coffee shop. Both of the men who talked to me said they had the same anxiety. I did, too. You are really not alone in having those feelings.

    But, I hope you aren't taking classes just to take classes, or to have a teacher/student relationship with this teacher. (I've tried not to write this next sentence, but, here it is.) You need to take the skills you have and go somewhere that they do that kind of dance. If it's a strictly ballroom kind of dance, maybe take some swing, salsa, country-western? lessons. Just go out there. Tell yourself that you are just going to watch people, listen to music, whatever. Just go and get comfortable being at a place where people dance.
    Even, as I advised another member recently, go somewhere that they give free, or inexpensive beginner lessons, and expect people to rotate partners. It's a great way to meet people who are also beginners. (And a great way to meet people even if you've been dancing for years.) And when the lesson is over you can ask one of them if they want to practice to one song. Newbies often leave early, because they don't know that much. NOT A PROBLEM.

    I also wrote recently about young guys who have noticed how comfortable I seem dancing when and where I dance. I do have slumps where things just aren't working for whatever reason. I keep going out, not for the love of dance, but the social benefits that go along with it.

    But you have to get out there.
    IndyLady likes this.
  3. I been to social dances. Usually people go with friends or it's couples going. My friends don't dance so I go alone and I kinda feel like an invisible loser.
  4. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Here is what I have found out, over the years, about dancing. I'm pretty introverted in general and I'm not usually comfortable in large groups of people and trying to figure out all of the social rules and interactions. However: at a dance, the fact that everyone is there for a purpose -- to dance -- simplifies the social interactions a lot. There are only a few rules, and they are pretty easy to understand:

    1. You can ask anyone you want for a dance.
    2. If they say yes, dance with them! Q.E.D.
    3. They have the right to say no. There are various reason why a woman might say no; a lot of them are temporary (out of breath, thirsty, blister on foot, need to use the restroom, etc.). So if a woman says no, give her another chance later.
    4. If a woman turns you down several times, or she is snotty about it, guess what? You don't have to ask her again! Her loss. Ask someone else. Typically there are more women than men at partner dance venues.
    5. Be nice to the women you dance with. Don't criticize their dancing or get on their case about missing a lead.
    6. Share the wealth. Don't just focus on the pretty young things. That's what the mashers do, and the women know who they are. Dance with a variety of women.
    7. This goes without saying, but: Don't use a dance as an excuse to feel up a woman. She knows if you are letting your hands go where they should not be. It is inevitable in partner dancing that partners will inadvertently touch each other in inappropriate places now and then. Experienced dancers know that accidents happen and don't pay it much notice.
    Loki, FancyFeet and IndyLady like this.
  5. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    One other goes-without-saying: Good hygiene. Brush your teeth, put on deodorant, wear clean clothes.
    Loki likes this.
  6. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    Oh good! Finally a controversial post. These forums have been dead for a while.
    Will get popcorn ready- wait I don't like popcorn. Maybe just some Chardonnay will do..
  7. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    Maybe there's a need for a beginners' subforum - etiquette, weight, dress, hygiene, costs, crushes on teachers, and anxieties.
    IndyLady likes this.
  8. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    When I started dancing I was extremely shy and even had some very strange ideas in my head. That would probably relate to the fact that I had been molested as a teenager, and had a father who had held us at gunpoint and was absolutely bonkers.

    So the reason I say all this is because I was kind of a weirdo when I started. I'm sure I did a few strange things and I definitely had some attraction toward instructors. But overall I didn't do anything terribly wrong and the people in the dance world really helped me.

    In time I became very comfortable with myself as a related to people of both sexes. I was no longer shy as before. I didn't shake in the presence of a woman that I was attracted to. And in time I didn't go home thinking endlessly about the instructor. Maybe at first I did a little. Ha ha.

    But dancing can do so much if you give it time and of course try to separate your emotions from the logic. Don't spend all your money at once and go slowly over a period of time. And I guess I put a suit and some dance lessons on a credit card and blew my credit many years ago. I have long since recovered.

    So I guess you could say that dancing did cause me some troubles but I wouldn't take it back for anything.
  9. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    I'm going to make this easy for you.. if you stay in shape and become a confident social dancer you will have ladies lined up to dance with you... and if it's a salsa club ...

    Partner dancing is one of the the best ways to gain social ease imo. After you get through beginners hell. See thread on this
  10. DL

    DL Well-Known Member


    I hope it doesn't come across *too* badly, but my unfiltered reaction to that comment was this: "You've come a long way, baby."
    Borazine and IndyLady like this.
  11. I'm currently in beginner's hell but I think I'm mid-way through. People are very supportive. I think I will work my way through it.

    My barriers to me seem purely psychological. There is no physical reason why I cannot learn to dance decently. I am musical. I play guitar and piano. I'm actually an audiophile. I am physically fit and healthy.

    And I think my crush on my dance instructor is only cause she's my first ever instructor ever. The first is always special in some way. I don't think we'd be compatible at all anyways outside of the studio. Probably are very different people. The emotions that come with my crush on her will dissipate over time I think.

    I will likely switch instructors in a few months anyways.
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  12. Thanks. Good to know what I'm experiencing is quite normal.

    I don't really have much else going on in my life. I make pretty decent money in my career and I'm single and I don't really go on vacations or travel. So spending money on dance lessons is I guess my "vacation".
  13. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    Yes I have!
  14. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    Don't feel bad. Don't get down on yourself. You are not the first person to have a crush on your instructor, and you won't be the last. Enjoy the dance! Have fun with the learning process. There is a lot to explore in the dance world.
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  15. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    I see what you did there.
  16. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    I was going to avoid posting in this thread, but honestly a bulk of what you said is spot on and has been discussed to death already. You can also say that for those that have been dancing awhile they can also be soul-sucking sources of drama in our lives... especially at the "competitive" (at least, perceived), studios.

    There's no sense in continuing beating these topics to death.

    You always have to remember not on why you started, but what also your motivation is to continue to dance.
    Loki, Mr 4 styles and IndyLady like this.
  17. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    Hmm I don't. I'm pretty dense when it comes to that.

    I'm actually pretty exhausted by the end of the day to try to figure out any kind of double meaning in any post.
    FancyFeet likes this.
  18. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Well-Known Member

    It may have been discussed to death as you say. But obviously, it's not resonating or has enough meaning with some of the poor souls who are dealing with it. So we can shut it down because it's been discussed to death already. Or we can show some empathy to the person that found us and is reaching out for reassurance, answers, etc.
    I was and have been in that position. So I tend to lean on the side of empathy
    Mr 4 styles and MaggieMoves like this.
  19. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    "You've come a long way baby" is a slogan for Virginia Slims. "Unfiltered" could have been a play on words regarding cigarettes.

    I doubt it was anything intentional or pointed. Just a funny coincidence for those that caught it.
    j_alexandra and IndyLady like this.
  20. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    "You've come a long way, baby" was used as a slogan for a cigarette campaign in the late 60's (Virginia Slims) and "unfiltered" could be also be a reference to a cigarette.
    IndyLady likes this.

Share This Page