General Dance Discussion > Dancing, a Woman's Sport

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Black Sheep, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm not optimistic either, SwinginBoo! :cry:

    You should see the little kids at a school where I do volunteer work. If you ask the three-year-olds about ballet class, all the kids raise their hands to participate. By the time they get to that sexuality identity age (about five or six) the boys will not dance. Truthfully, there's not a single boy in the ballet class. Dance is for girls, remember. :x Sad, isn't it?
  2. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    I actually went to check out the "Super Street" class at my gym last night – not so much for hip hop but as a change of pace for my cardio...and guess what? Yup, you got it...I was the only guy in the class. Needless to say many guys who are into the gym scene are probably key exemplars of the "dance is for girls" mentality...
  3. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Checkin in.

    Followers progress faster than leaders for a simple reason. A follow is only required to learn how to use frame, keep her feet under her and moving in the rhythmic pattern of the dance, and let the leader move her.

    The leader mus learn how to keep his frame, keep his feet under him and moving in the rhythmic pattern of the dance, move the follower, and then learn all the patterns that are associated with the dance, as well as choose what works best with what, listen to the music, and for swing dances be able to improvise new moves to the music.

    So the follower gains an early depth while the leader is still struggling with breadth.

    A leader should not ever rely on a follower to recognize the pattern and fill in the rest. The follower should never attempt to anticipate what pattern is being lead and try to "help" and do it herself.

    There is a difference between a leader suggesting a direction and then letting the follower improvise off that suggestion and starting a pattern and expecting her to complete it for you. I think Vince you were refeing to the former yes? I'm kinda stickler for symantics in dance discussions. I'm a little O/C that way. Sorry. :oops:
  4. d nice

    d nice New Member

    My hip hop classes are often have at least twice as many women as men.
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Amen to this, d nice. And this is exactly what many inexperienced leaders expect -- they expect the follow to read their minds. :shock: :x And then have the nerve to get upset or think you're a bad follower if you don't fill in the blanks after receiving a bad, late, or non-existent lead. It really doesn't help anyone in the long run if the follower jumps in there, second-guesses the leader, and does the patterns. Then the lead has no idea that he's not really leading well.

    A good follower can help a lead, though, by waiting, keeping the connections as best she can, and by following what is actually being led. Then, perhaps in the long run, both the lead and follow develop the skills they need to be effective in their own roles.

    Just my opinion here, folks. :D
  6. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    The nerve of you Jenn! Giving your opinion! Why aren't you giving mine? It make so much more sense...just ask me! :tongue:
  7. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    No problem Jenn. I do it all the time with Jonathan and Damon, and they jump back with both feet. I think there is an understanding of this among the moderators/administrators. We're not being picky, just trying to "open" up the thread . . . but then sometimes, we are being critical.
    And I've found, we all can take it! Everyone in the forum can . . . well, maybe not every one!
  8. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    d nice,
    Absolutely that's what I meant. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I would never let a follower complete a move by herself.

    We're happy you're the way you are . . . it keeps "on our toes" . . . literally!
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, and I forgot the most important way a follower can help the lead. By being supportive, and not critical, especially of new leaders. A little kindness goes a long way.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh, and one more question, just so we can beat this topic to death! :lol:

    Is there a difference between dance genres in terms of what is more or less acceptable for a man to dance? Here's why I ask: I've never seen a cowboy in a C&W bar who had a problem with two-stepping. And those Latin guys in salsa clubs seem to view their ability to do salsa as a demonstration of real machismo. But the ballroom guys I know are, at least at the beginning, dancing because of necessity or the coercion of their women. What gives?
  11. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    I'll take a shot in the dark and venture to say that it's about cultural identity and assumptions. Whether it's a culture one is born into or merely adopted by the individual. I can see how that would be the case with the two examples you've stated. "Cowboys" dance Country Western, we all know what we think a cowboy is. I feel that the men who dance Latin are assumed to be particularly suave, tall, dark and handsome ladies men, again I think that everyone knows what that is (whether or not everyone's thinking the same thing)

    What modern culture readily identifies itself with waltz? Who dances waltz? (agian working on assumptions and that there's a 'type' of person who does this) Alright, a ballroom dancer dances waltz... again... what is a ballroom dancer? Who is this? There's not a neat little box these people fit in... or, more importantly, the appearance of one (a favorite past time of Western Civilization).

    I also feel the need to note-- particularly in reference to Hip Hop-- that those who dance are not nessesarily the ones who take classes to learn how to dance. I would imagine that most boys learn this through interaction with their friends and peers. They look and learn... experiment. Also I think that there is an inkling of truth that a lack class participation may due to the assumption that manly men don't need help (the stereotype of never asking for directions illustrates this) and to take a class automatically puts him in a weak position... there is something he does not know, that he may not be good at, and that he will need help to learn and would have to be willing to ask and make mistakes-- this can be very difficult for the delicate ego.

  12. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Pesky things those!

    Seriously though, I think you're onto something. Of course we're talking about generalizations now and, as such, they don't have universal applicability. Salsa, for instance, also has a different image across class differences in Mexico (just to give one example). But that, at least in part, is where you're really getting at the crux of the matter – that appearance can often be more salient then substance.
  13. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    That's quite an interesting point Kristen. Very observant of you :wink:
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I was thinking something like that myself. I grew up in a house full of dancing house parties, where guys never seemed to be self-conscious about dancing. But then, they weren't waltzing. They were just jammin, and nobody worried about taking lessons or using proper technique.
  15. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Now it's my turn to be the devil's advocate . . . I don't this has been resolved yet!

    Who learns faster, or was that quicker? Leader or follower?

    A lot has to do with what dance we are doing. For instance, if we are doing a Waltz, the leader and follower are (fundamentally) doing the same steps . . . for what ever reason . . .

    How about the Cha Cha . . . basically the same - even in cross-body leads, both are doing the same steps!

    And NC2S . . . both the same!

    And for you C&W dancers . . . how about the 2 Step . . . again the same steps

    Now, I agree that sometimes there are exceptions to this . . . to get on the same foot, i.e., both on the R foot then L foot . . . (chasse' in Waltz).

    Now take Swing. Same steps??? I cannot speak for Lindy, but in WCS, the steps, or footwork can be very difficult. Especially while just learning. And this is due to the fact that leaders "steps" (footwork) and what they do with their "body" can be so different from the one who is following.

    So, both the lead and the follow must "do" their part of each move. Each must know what to do in the pattern. A follower is not always in the grasp of the leader . . . just holding on by the fingertips . . . and she must learn to follow just as the man must learn to lead . . . especially in Swing versus some other dances.

    In closing, I think that both the lead and follow learn to do their part at equal paces. In Swing, I also think there are more "open position" movement, therefore the lead is somewhat intimidated to get the follower back "in the slot." There are basically 4, 5, or 6 ways to do just one move . . . say a "whip" . . . and the lead must be ready to make his move to keep the dance going. Which now presents another problem . . the slot or the frame. Which does the follower follow?

    It's a dual job . . . I believe the bottom line . . . is that there are more female dancers out there, so the chance for success being "faster or quicker to grasp" is much greater with the females!

    Jus' my 2(ents . . .
  16. d nice

    d nice New Member

    While the leader and follower are executing the same "step" in a lot of dances, the leader still has to learn the various patterns and how to lead the follower through it. The follower, with good frame, and knowledge of her footwork, does not generally need to know any of the patterns.

    As to which the follower should "obey" the frame or the slot... the answer is always the frame, with the arguable exception of choreography where the leader is out of position, and if the follower stays in the slot the leader can get back onto the pattern.

    If you watch the old clips the slot in wcs was a matter of convenience. It was only in later years after codification of competition and instruction that the slot started to dominate the dance, being held as sacred. Watch the champions, the slot is present, but there are numerous places where they clearly break the slot and "drift" either returning to the original slot or eventually establishing a new one. This can be seen in champion level competitition divisions as well as extremely experieced social dancers.

    The slot is a convention, the music is the master, the leader the guide.
  17. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    I think frame is definitely the most important factor here. It dictates where you go (slot or no slot), and what you do (patterns). Without frame we'd all be a bunch of machines just reciting patterns in a slot.
  18. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    Here's another vote for frame! The frame is the connection IMHO who cares where you are on the floor or in relation to your previous move as long as there's comunication and you're not bumping into people.
  19. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    I agree. The slot is only SO wide and the lead must turn his upper body, opening that door, to bring the follow down the slot.

    Which leads me to another question for the woman . . . do you "assume" a specific count all the time . . . say, as in WCS, a 6 count?

    Why or why not? If you don't, how do YOU know whether its a 6 or an 8 count or more move? Is it a hunch, a feeling? A definite "stop" by the lead before moving on??? What?
  20. will35

    will35 New Member

    I am a little reluctant to jump into this fracas, but I'd just like to say one thing about socialization. It is fairly common knowledge that during a certain era in Buenos Aires, women were bound by the custom of chaperoning. Nice girls didn't go around any old place dancing with strange men. There were lots of men, and fewer girls to dance with. When the available girls danced with the men, whispers went around about how good the leaders were. So the men were in an intense, but friendly, competition with just enough comraderie to keep things together. Since there were no girls to practice with, the men learned to dance with men. In the practicas, the young men first learned to dance as followers, that is, as women. They danced as women for a year or so, and the older boys were learning to lead the younger boys. When the young boys were finished being the women, they started to learn to lead the newer boys around. The women learned what they learned at home from their family members. But remember, the competition was amongst the men, mostly. These old milongueros who learned to dance as women are legendary. They are the best Tango dancers on earth. They had to be good to even dance with any woman at all. And yes, Pygmalion, from what I have heard, Nito Garcia did his time in the all male practicas, too. He was a childhood friend of Pepito Avellaneda, I believe. Nowadays, there are three women to every guy dancing. What difference do you suppose it has made? I believe in Tango dancing, the leader is the captain of the ship. I might be wrong, but there are a few women who like to dance with me. I'd give my left arm to go back to those days and sit in (as a woman) on just one of those practicas with Avellaneda and the greatest milongueros in the world. Of course, there are some people who still follow this model in Buenos Aires. There are still young milongueros who learn to follow before they learn to lead.

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