Salsa > How do I understand why do women dance?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by ticolora, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    I've been whining about number of patterns for a while now.

    Yesterday I ran an experiment with my regular partner. I told her that I want to try something for one dance, but didn't tell her what it was. And for the whole dance I did these patterns only:

    follow's right UAT
    lead's right UAT
    CBL (vanilla, no variations, no turns)
    right side pass with double turn
    shoulder catch

    To my surprise (and as y'all were saying all these time), she said that she enjoyed it very much. "I felt like I'm flying" she said. When I asked if she noticed anything about this dance, she said that I did more than usual of shoulder catches (which is understandable).

    For me the dance felt awkward, I felt like I'm telling same joke at a party over and over (but everybody is enjoying it).

    As I have said million times before, it doesn't make sense for me. But my question for you is - what can I do to understand women's attitude about this? Should I do more following? Or is it one of those things that as a guy I'm not meant to understand (just like flowers)?
  2. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Women don't all dance for the same reason. I think the mystery to you is that most partners will cares about how the dance feels, not how it looks. Just go with it, even if at the moment you don't understand it. And believe us when we all tell you the same thing repeatedly. ;)
    JTh, atk, FancyFeet and 3 others like this.
  3. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    A) believe us when we tell you what we say that we like. Doesn't matter (it really, really, doesn't matter) if you personally would like something different. If you want to please us, believe what we say we like!

    B) as a follower, we usually don't know what's coming next. We don't know whether you are going to do the sequence you just mentioned, or something different. Each next move is a surprise for us, even if the move that happens next is not surprising in and of itself (another basic or another underarm turn is still a surprise when you don't know what's next).

    If you want to try to feel this sensation, try doing some following, perhaps with your practice partner or with a teacher. But you can simply believe us, because following may feel different for you, or you may prefer different things. You are not trying to learn how to please you if YOU were a follower. You are trying to please the actual followers you are dancing with, right? ;)

    As the lead, you know what you're going to do next, and you personally, apparently, keep close track of what you just did as well... so you know what moves you did in what order. When I follow, I often couldn't tell you what we just did in detail - in order to keep following, followers have to keep focused on the moment, not on the past steps that were just done. (So for instance I might vaguely remember that we did a lot of turns vs a few turns, but I'm not likely to realize that all the cross body leads you did this song had no variations to them. Or how many times you repeated the basic in between other moves, etc.)

    C) Now that you know this... can you possibly just relax and lead the things you know how to do (e.g. the moves you listed above, in whatever order you feel like) and try to enjoy the dance and have fun dancing with your partner? Yes as the lead you have to plan what is next, that's your job. But you don't need to obsess over the details to create enjoyable dances. Really. Truly.

    Have fun! :D
    atk, FancyFeet, RiseNFall and 2 others like this.
  4. Yes!!!

    Quoting raindance:

    ...can you possibly just relax and lead the things you know how to do (e.g. the moves you listed above, in whatever order you feel like) and try to enjoy the dance and have fun dancing with your partner? Yes as the lead you have to plan what is next, that's your job. But you don't need to obsess over the details to create enjoyable dances. Really. Truly.

    Have fun! :D
    atk, RiseNFall and Mr 4 styles like this.
  5. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    If my follower smiles after our dance and says yes the next time its total victory. Making my partners happy makes me happy. Those peacocks that have to show off to flatter themselves have issues. Just sayin
  6. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    The age-old question men have pondered for centuries yet never determined: What do women want? ;)

    Actually, people dance for different reasons. Also, different women have different standards for assessing whether they enjoy dancing with someone. And sometimes their standards change. For example, there is a man who prides himself on never taking lessons -- my description of him is a "Python on Feet". Yet some women like dancing with him. One told me that she liked dancing with him when she first started but later came to decide she didn't.

    Dance with lots of women. Work to improve your own dancing. Pay attention to clues from the different women, what they say directly and indirectly, and come up with your own answer over time.
    atk, IndyLady and LateToTheDance like this.
  7. Analogy of social dance following, from a guy's perspective. Thoughts below are just mine.

    I imagine following in social dancing could be like riding Space Mountain, or at least how it used to be (we have not been in many years). The ride is going to go up and down, and left and right, and that's about it. Unlike some other bigger coaster rides, it will not go through water or through scary scenery, or way up high outdoors, and it won't plunge far, but because it is very dark in there, you do not know what is coming next, and that anticipation and surprise makes up most of the fun.

    I think that, removing the possible fear of roller coasters or bad dance leaders for some, that's just one way - of many - that followers enjoy dancing. And, they get to enjoy some of the dance going backwards, not seeing what's happening in terms of floor space and possible collisions. How exciting is that, as long as they can trust that there will be no collisions or forceful moves?

    Anticipation is sometimes as good as or even better than the reality of any life experience and that element of pleasant responsive surprise is something we don't get to experience as leaders.

    That's my guess. Women dance for many reasons. Is that anticipation and surprise a part of what some followers want?
    raindance likes this.
  8. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Can I give you some life advice? You would understand women in general and followers in particular much better if you would just listen when they tell you what they like--and believe them. We have been telling you for MONTHS that a simple dance with just a few different moves, danced well, is more preferable to a large variety. MONTHS. Several of us have said it, not just me. Several leaders have confirmed it from their experience. We all have varying backgrounds and levels of experience. Yet, you refuse to believe us, because it's not what you think you would want. You've started multiple threads, all basically about the same thing. Maybe stop projecting your preferences on us and you'll learn something. Do you do this in your romantic/sexual relationships as well? Because I can tell you, that is not a recipe for a happy relationship (maybe for you, but not for your partner).
  9. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Consider music. In most forms of music (even in classical, to an extent), there is going to be repetition, to one extent or another. It helps the flow of the song by establishing the rhythm and the pattern, and it enhances the enjoyment of hearing the song by repeating the good bits (within reason) so that they become fixed in the brain. Nobody complains just because a song doesn't have a million changes. Some songs do, but most don't, and of the ones that do, a lot of people find them tiring or bewildering to listen to.

    Now, what you'll find when you listen to a song more closely is that, even in the repeats, there are often subtle variations -- slight changes in time, rhythm, melody or harmony. Things you have to listen to closely to be conscious of them, but they enhance the enjoyment of the song. It's the same with dance: you can dance the same pattern a number of times, but with very subtle variations. In fact, you may be doing this without realizing that you're doing it. But it's the best of both worlds: the repetition helps you and your partner "get into the groove", but the subtle variations prevent it from becoming boring. I'm not even talking about putting a different ending on something; just small differences in timing or shape or emphasis. That's what makes for an enjoyable dance. Once you have a lot of experience with a partner, and she is comfortable with dancing with you and feels like she has a good connection with you, then you can get more adventurous with your pattern choices.
    ticolora likes this.
  10. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    As for "why do women dance", although it might be an interesting intellectual exercise (we've done it here in any number of threads), when you're at the dance on Friday night, it's over-thinking the problem. Did she dance with you? Did she enjoy it? If the answer to both questions is "yes", then her specific motivation isn't worth worrying about.
  11. SoAndSo

    SoAndSo New Member

    I can understand your distrust to those "simple words" very good. Too many people - specially women - are trained from birth to never exposure their desires. Probably not to themselves neither, so many people simply don't know them.
    Women who act by their own desires often are grouped as "bitches" ...

    Well, and the words defile what you are seeing in reality.

    The guys who are getting the most attention by women are the ones of the it crowd. They know great techniques, they know fancy moves and they look great. Their girls know the hottest moves and look even better. Oh, and most of them are rather young.

    Wait, all of the above are about status. They are about being seen by others, being valued from the outside, about looking good. Would you believe me, that those people usually (in a fully grown scene) are by far not the best dancers around? That the girls dance with these guys because they have tons of status, not because they deliver the best dance?
    In other status oriented subscenes the status symbols are different - i.e. overly expensive Havanna trips and the amount of private lessons you are paying your teacher for - but the mechanics are the same.

    If you look around you will sometimes see guys that do not fully belong to one of these groups (often times loosely associated, sometimes completely unconnected) who are often times dancing with women of the kind "how does that guy get a woman like that". And those women have the biggest smile in their face (not the fake one the show dancers have) and the dance actually is of a high technical level but usually far less fancy than the ones of the it crowd.
    Those are the guys you got to look for, when you are looking for what the women want from the actual dance as those are the ones getting the women several levels above their out-of-dance status. (Of course they often dance with less status high women too - but then they are harder to find.)

    Some of them seemingly dance rather simple - you need a 2nd look to see how good they actually are - some of them have a tendency for fancy and playful dancing, but there are some categories, they usually are classes above the primes of the local it crowd (an vice versa, the show primes are usually several levels lower than assumed - which is said to be true for quite some international stars too).

    - leading / following : most of the fancy moves are learned and a huge chunk is simply back leading. A good lead can increase the follows level even if she is already above him and a good follow can make the crappiest lead look and feel good.
    - lead-follow-communication : you know, that the lead-follow system is not all about move execution and floorcraft, right ?
    - creativity and flexibility : a creative dancer may vary the same move on the fly and make that far more appealing to the follow than one who simply has studied a thousand moves
    - originality : Many show dancers dance their fixed style, either learned and copied or - for the stars - as a personal brand. A great dancer dances a different dance with every woman and probably to every song too while always keeping true to himself.

    Every of these mechanics is worth a book just to scratch the surface. But this text is more about helping you to understand, that what you are seeing on the dancefloor is the same fake i fell victim to at the start. And that many of the women are attracted by the status surrounding these people and do not even bother the quality of the individual dance - they just preassume that the dance is great and don't allow themselves to have fun with "lesser" dancers. Yes, i know more than enough prime-follows that prefer sitting out and evening to dancing with a single guy beneath their status.
    But then i have guys coming to me an ask me: "Have you ever looked in the mirror? What are you doing, to have THEM swarming you?" - Pointing on a bunch of hot girls, 10 years younger than me that eagerly wait till it's their time to dance with me, while i was just dancing with some chubby middle aged lady.

    You are aware that people are sitting in hundreds chanting old songs, hiking through the woods for hours, cuddling with their spouse in the grass on a sunny day or are simply taking drugs and alcohol in many cases are aiming for the same goal - the world is all right, everything is in harmony, fine and easy.
    If you want to be a member of the it-crowd, well, take the guides to "how do i become popular". If you want the women to actually enjoy the dance itself, this can help you.
    For the start the question for you should be: "How can i make both of us feeling this way?"
    ticolora likes this.
  12. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    Women dance with many leaders. They each have their own style, and sometimes different patterns. If you lead 5 or 6 patterns, then she is on to the next leader. You may be bored with 5 or 6 patterns but she is not dancing only 5 or 6.
    ticolora, IndyLady and LateToTheDance like this.
  13. I never thought of it that way. Excellent point DerekWeb!
  14. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    I understand what you are saying. This particular thread isn't about validating the statement. This thread is about "What specific actions can I take? On mental models can I adopt to better understand motivations that define women's drive to dance?" Because I believe that if I understand fundamental rules - I will be a better lead, by catering to those fundamentals.
    I also did start the question with admitting that you all were right, because I have empirical evidence of that now. So I am a believer now.
  15. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    What's an "it-crowd"? Do I want to be a member of it, or were you being sarcastic? And if you were serious, do you have any recommendations for "how do i become popular" guides?
  16. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    So go back and read our responses to your previous threads. All your answers are there.
    opendoor and IndyLady like this.
  17. Hanginon

    Hanginon New Member

    The question is really "why do people dance"?
    Because it is intrinsic to our nature and it is fun!
    Small children dance, indigenous tribes that have never had contact with the outside world dance.
    "Not dancing" is the learned behavior, and usually occurs when we start to become self conscious of ourselves.
    "Dance like no one is looking" maybe goes a little too far, but you get the idea.
    raindance and IndyLady like this.
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    That's what it is. I told you before.
  19. ticolora

    ticolora Member

    You did. You were right. I still don't understand why it is what it is. I would like to identify the very specific emotions that such a simple dance produces, that way I can tailor my dance to produce more of that result.
  20. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Continue to work on your leading. Pretty much forever. ;)
    IndyLady likes this.

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