General Dance Discussion > Pet Peeves at Dances

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Phil Owl, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Whoa. Point of order.

    Married or "coupled off" partnerships don't owe single people a thing. They paid their dues to show up and dance together, not with everyone else (for the most part), unless they choose to. If that's what they want to do, that's their business, and they are NOT expected or required to trot single people out. It's kind to do that, it's more fun when you mingle, but not when someone feels they're so entitled as to take something off of someone else's plate just because they don't have their own. Not. Cool. Please don't think I'm busting anyone's chops over this observation. It's only my opinion, and I'm only one person on this forum, but it brushed my fur backwards with the undertone, and if I'm mistaken I apologize.

    If it's a singles specific dance, then maybe the house can arrange for some suggestions for dance hosts to arrive together, but make sure they "cover everyone" or as many people as they can- but not to an ordinary social event. USA dances and cruise ships have dance hosts- the former gives free admission and a pretty label-ribbon to wear, the latter actually screens, hires, and pays these people because IT IS AN ACTUAL JOB. Doesn't mean it isn't fun, but their specific purpose is to cater to unpartnered dancers. This is why we specify a difference between single dancers and unpartnered dancers. Single people are looking for a dance partner, and maybe something more. Unpartnered dancers need somebody to dance with for that specific circumstance.

    Generally, if I show up partnered to a dance, we dance together, but also pick up a few friends for one or two dances along the way. At the places we teach and at events we host, we try to scatter around and include everyone, but otherwise, it's our fun night off, and the whole point of that is to have a good time.

    Ballroom dancing is a partnered style of dance. Whether people "mate for life" or "play the field" doesn't matter. Social dances provide opportunities for people to have an evening of fun talking with friends, maybe having a few snacks or drinks, dancing with each other- whoever that each other happens to be, and then closing down some other place after the studio kicks you out after midnight. It is known.

    There's always line-dancing. (No, really- just can't seem to kill it with fire.)
    dbk, wooh, twnkltoz and 4 others like this.
  2. demoiselle

    demoiselle Active Member

    Pet peeve: leaders who try to do turns while gripping the follower's hand.

    I'm "looking forward" to a group swing class tonight with a leader who is new and not very controlled. He also insists on closing his thumb tightly over my pinkie when leading turns, twisting it somewhat painfully. Last class, I told him he was hurting me and asked him not to close his hand on my finger, but next time around the rotation he was doing it again.

    It's the first time I've been concerned about getting injured in a class. Still debating how to handle it if it happens again tonight. If I get a chance, I may approach the teacher beforehand and request that he go over proper technique (again) for how to hold the follower's hand during turns. Part of me is wondering whether, if this leader twists my pinkie even once tonight, I should just step away and stop dancing with him.

    Any advice? I don't want to embarrass the guy, but last week warning bells were going off in my head and speaking up did not help.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
    architeuthis likes this.
  3. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Definitely talk to the teacher before the class. If at all possible, ask for help during the class. When something is going really wrong, I usually ask the teacher to come over if the class is small enough. You might try claiming your finger is already injured and putting some tape on it--that would make almost anybody careful! In any case, if he's hurting you, stop immediately. I personally would give him another chance to fix it, but it is your finger!
    demoiselle likes this.
  4. demoiselle

    demoiselle Active Member

    RiseNFall, thank you for the advice. Is my fear of getting hurt in this situation realistic? I keep having visions of a swollen or twisted or god forbid dislocated pinkie, and they are not happy thoughts. This person was already rather rough to dance with before the finger clutching started. When class ended last week, I was just very annoyed, but I am finding that as the lesson with this particular student comes closer, I am actually feeling anxious about putting my hand in his, and I've never felt that way before, even with leaders who seem to want to twist their follower into a pretzel . . .
  5. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    So, looking at the other side of the coin here: if I'm an unpartnered woman and the job of a dance host at an event is to dance with unpartnered women, then when a partnered woman starts to angle for a dance with a dance host, am I allowed to tell her to back off and stick with the guy she came with?

    It just seems that the partnered women have the benefit to pick-and-choose who their pool of partners might be, in a way that unpartnered women cannot.

    I know, I know, there's not a clean-and-easy answer to this.
  6. demoiselle

    demoiselle Active Member

    That doesn't seem fair to the partnered woman. At least to me, part of the benefit of an event/practice party is getting a chance to dance with a teacher/pro for more than the eight or sixteen or thirty-two counts of a group class partner rotation. Someone with a regular partner needs the experience of dancing with a more experienced partner, too. Especially if the event is a studio practice party, a fair chance to dance with the hosts/pros should be a reasonable expectation.

    Of course, I think that it is good form for a couple to split up and dance with others. I encourage my husband to ask other women to dance (especially since there are usually more women than men, and I'd feel a heel to keep a leader entirely to myself) and he often does. That said, my husband does not necessarily feel comfortable leading a woman he has never danced with in class, because he is a fairly new leader.

    If my spouse declines to ask others to dance, should I be judged for dancing with a pro for a dance or two over the night? Or penalized by the pro/teacher/host by passing me over?

    ETA: I have a goal of learning to lead myself, so that I can also dance with unpartnered women at socials. However, I would need to be able to dedicate classtime to learning to lead, and at my level I feel like I need to focus on one part at a time.
    wooh likes this.
  7. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    First and foremost, PLEASE note that I'm just playing devil's advocate here and not getting snippy with anyone:

    One potential reaction: "Hey, you've got a partner. Is it MY fault that the man you came with is an inexperienced dancer? Don't take the dance host out MY pool of partners just because you now want to dance with someone better."

    A different reaction might result if your partner is actually better than the dance host. In this scenario it's then the unpartnered women who don't get a chance to dance with a superior dancer because he and his partner choose to stick together. Fair to her?

    As I said, there's a bit of goose-and-gander in all this. No easy answer.
  8. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    a dance host is there to dance with everyone. The people who come in as a couple paid the same money to get in as you, so they have access to the same perks as anyone else. The fact that they came with someone simply means that when the lady is dancing with a host, the man is then free to dance with someone else. If, as it is in some situations, the dance host is a good dancer, then he may be more in demand than the man who came in with a partner, but does not mean that there is any hierarchy. And if, as in some situations, the dance host is simply a person who has agreed to dance with everyone, then they have an obligation to dance with whomever is available or asks them.
    wooh, raindance and demoiselle like this.
  9. demoiselle

    demoiselle Active Member

    I'm not offended at all. It's just that when I read your devil's advocacy, I couldn't help but think "Why should the woman be penalized for her regular partner's decision not to ask others to dance?" I am sure there are many couples who are jealous of each other and don't want to share, but in the end, even if they are willing and eager to share, one half of the couple can't force the other to dance with unpartnered people.

    I think your counter example is interesting, and certainly it would be unfortunate for the unpartnered person who doesn't get to dance with the advanced dancer. I've been in that position (I go to more practice parties than my husband), too. There's a pair who dance at quite a good level, and the lead is great fun to follow. I only get to dance with him once every three parties because they mostly stick with each other.

    I think there is a distinction with a party that students pay admission to. I think it is a reasonable expectation for all "students" at a party to get a chance to dance with a host/teacher/pro. That's part of the service provided, right? But I don't think it's a right for one student to expect a chance to dance with another student just because they are advanced. It would be nice, and I think it's polite for couples to split up that way, but I'm not convinced it's comparable to the expectation of a student/client to dance with a teacher/host.
    raindance likes this.
  10. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    D, as you become more 'advanced', you will see this in a much different perspective. You may become very popular, but find that the socials become much less enjoyable due to the fact that you are now dancing with so many people that dance worse than you that it becomes a chore. You may find that rather than dancing and using your dance skills that you are paying a pro to teach you, you have to 'dumb down' what you do to accommodate others. And, you might find that your higher quality dancing works as a disincentive to getting asked to dance - many men who have stopped the learning process might find you unwilling to do 'their way'...
    twnkltoz and demoiselle like this.
  11. demoiselle

    demoiselle Active Member

    Bailamosdance, are you saying that as I get more advanced, I'm likely to become more jealous of the teachers/hosts' time, since the my experience with other partners is likely to be less satisfying?
  12. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    You will learn a whole new skill set.... how to work on your fundamentals with these less advanced leads, while still following their less advanced leads.
    j_alexandra, demoiselle and RiseNFall like this.
  13. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. Many times, you will make a comparison of quality of dance / floor time / enjoyment and you may often opt for skipping a social to practice, for instance.
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  14. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Many times I hear that, and also many times I say that to my beginner students, especially in groups I teach, but I never say that to my more competent students.

    One example: one fundamental in partner dance is frame. Dancing as man with a very beginner means compromising all your frame work to make the dance 'work' for the beginner. As the flow wanders out of the frame and pulls you off your feet, the compromise is always to make the follow feel better, so you give up your frame to allow the follow to regain their center, for instance.

    Another example: another fundamental in partner dance is timing. Dancing as woman, when someone dances off time, you will compromise and actually 'dance' with them. it is three minutes out of your life NOT reinforcing your dance quality and prevent you from learning, for example, where the syncopations could exists in a cha cha cha, or how to make a line look good in waltz.

    It's a really nice sentiment to always dance with everyone, and I do that of course in socials, but I do not ever think of that as either practice, or reaffirmation of dance skills. Remember, the worse dancer always has the better time...
  15. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is my experience with dance hosts as well. In my earlier example, I'd been responding to Hedwaite's scenario in which dance hosts were there specifically to cater to unpartnered women (not a scenario that I've run across).
  16. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member


    Not so much this, it's mostly that they are intimidated by advanced ladies because they are afraid the advanced lady will think less of them for not being a better dancer. Not because the advanced lady is unwilling to accommodate their dancing - if that's the case, the lead probably thinks highly enough of himself that he doesn't actually consider the advanced lady a superior dancer.

    Is this based on experience? I've never known any women who think, hey, this social is going to suck, I think I will spend Saturday night practicing in my basement instead. I certainly have never skipped a social for that reason. Even if I know the dancing is going to be subpar, at least I'm hanging with my friends.

    I'm sensing some condescension towards less experienced dancers who do not meet high standards... be careful about cultivating that attitude. There's always someone else better than you, ask yourself if you want them to feel that way about you.
    wooh likes this.
  17. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I'm going to try to do this without quoting five earlier messages.

    Demoiselle, how does your husband feel about women asking him to dance? (Particularly is the woman seems friendly and not threatening--somebody who I danced with after he had taken a long break from dancing recently recently how nicely I danced with him. I remembered the dance, but not that he had "forgotten everything".)

    Cal, are you comfortable asking leaders to dance? Would you do so if an instructor had asked the follower in a couple?

    Bailamosdance, a leader has to actively interfere with me (timing WAY off, puts me off balance, etc.) for me to not think that my time was well spent on the floor, though I am intermediate rather than advanced.

    Hedwaite, I agree with you that couples have no obligation towards the rest of us. If it is a small studio dance, the general atmosphere is "inclusive" and I think everybody tends to dance with everybody. When the couples aren't splitting up part of the time, it tends to be because of discomfort. I'm trying to convince a couple of the newer leaders that the more-advanced-than-them followers are perfectly happy to dance with them and they should feel free to ask! I do try to read body language, and when it looks like a couple wants to sit out together rather than dance with other people, I obviously pay attention to that. At a larger dance event, it's a very different matter.
  18. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    This, in my experience, is the more common outcome than an experienced dancer becoming jealous of instructor's time. In my own case, there was a long stretch where I never missed a Friday night practice party. Ever. These days, I only go to them when the itch strikes me. Which is significantly less often than weekly. (Introverts of the word unite! Separately, and in the comfort of our own homes!) When I do go (rather than getting in some practice after work but before the pre-party group classes start), I'll certainly grab a dance or two with the instructors, but I wouldn't want to monopolize them. In general, I feel like treating socials/practice parties as being more about being social and less about getting in any sort of practice to be the wiser course. At least for me. Others' mileage may vary.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  19. demoiselle

    demoiselle Active Member

    RiseNFall, my husband has always said yes to anyone who asked him to dance. He likes it. (He will also follow if asked!)

    Also, as he's gotten more practice and familiarity with the dances and the other students at the school, he asks others to dance more frequently.

    I'd say that we split up an average of every third or fourth song.
  20. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    As you get more experience, you will develop habits that, to a certain extent, will protect you from getting hurt. I have no way to judge in this particular situation, but yes, a leader can injure a follower by being too rough, and it is more likely to happen when the follower is also relatively inexperienced. In my experience, it is also more likely to happen in a class because the leader is trying to learn something new. The vast, vast majority of leaders will try very hard if you say "OW, that hurt". They usually over compensate. Definitely talk to the teacher, though I know that's not always easy to accomplish. If I had to, I would talk to the studio manager who could more easily grab the teacher for a moment and explain the issue.
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