Ballroom Dance > [social dancing] When it's okay to criticize your partner

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Dr Dance, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    It's not a lifetime commitment. It's only three minutes of your life that you are devoting to your social partner. Therefore, as a general rule, criticizing your partner is usually a gauche faux pas on the dance floor.

    But this thread is devoted to those exceptions where it's at least okay. I'll start:

    When (s)he hurts you. Bad technique is rampant. But when it causes you pain, the safety margin line has been crossed. This would be the time to nip it in the bud! If it's painful, then it is wrong. You have a right to speak up for yourself to end the hurtful actions even at the expense of your partner's ego. Be polite at first. But when that fails, being blunt is better than not stopping it.
  2. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Honestly, when it comes to social dancing, that's pretty much it. It's social dancing. It's three minutes or less, it's optional, it's supposed to be fun. But if you hurt me, I have every right to "criticize." Though in actuality, unless it's enough to may me say "ouch" at the time, I'm probably just going to avoid dancing with you again.

    Ok...if you're rude, mean, or creepy, I have a right to criticize too - but that's a criticism of your rude, mean, or creepy behavior, not your dancing.

    And yeah - be polite at first, whatever the circumstances. Social dancing is as much about social graces as it is about dancing.
  3. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I do a lot of social dancing, can't remember where a bad follow caused me significant pain. Of course as leader, you have the opportunity to control the situation better than a follow. I rather suspect that pain is inflicted by leaders on followers more often than the other way around.

    But would agree that when mild discomfort increases to actual pain, that the offended (whichever the role) has the right to speak up.
  4. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    Here's the thing:

    It's not okay to "criticize" your partner, really. Don't confuse "criticism" with communication. It's okay to say "this is hurting" or "that was inappropriate" or to just avoid them whenever the need arises, but I think sometimes people confuse that with "you know nothing, Jon Snow."

    The problem is that we will likely burn up six pages of talk on this, and we will solve all these problems among US- and the people who really DO need to work on this are either right here with us and aren't aware that they're doing something wrong, OR will never get the instruction and make the changes they need, so we'll be preaching to the choir until another thread pops up about it.

    I think people over-think (and I over-talk) these things and expect absolutes when it's not possible. I went through a phase where I couldn't eat cheeseburgers (right???) because I was sick of biting into one of those weird hard things nobody can explain and gagging every time I did. Then, I remembered all the other wonderful things I liked about cheeseburgers, and how I didn't ALWAYS get one of those awful little things, and started to eat them again. Now, I do pass on some half-eaten cheeseburgers to my cat, but I still eat more than my healthy share of them. I remember the things I like about them, and if the bad part gets too bad, I just switch to pizza for awhile.
    wooh, Miss Silly, twnkltoz and 3 others like this.
  5. Rhythmdancer

    Rhythmdancer Well-Known Member

    As a preface, I am interpreting the word criticize as meaning giving pointers, corrections, critiques, and in some cases denouncing of certain practices.

    For me in general, it depends on my rapport with the person I'm dancing with. Some people will actually ask me what they should be doing different or ask for my opinion in general. The only time I really actually criticize people is if the person gives unsolicited critiques on me and they clearly have no idea what they're talking about. Sometimes with people just starting if I see that they're opening to receiving criticism. I'll tell them small things like don't look down or stop trying to think too much but only if I realize that this encourages them to keep dancing. Some people do that in such a terrible way that they discourage people from continuing. I'm very careful as to when I give advice though.

    As a general rule, I believe if someone ask you to dance a dance that they cannot/dont know how to dance you have every right to criticize or refuse to dance with them. Do not ask someone to dance VWaltz or Samba if you don't know it.
  6. DL

    DL Well-Known Member


    +1 again
  7. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I don't even like receiving "small pointers" on the social dance floor…. Certainly let me know if I'm doing something that hurts you. Other than that, I'll ASK if I want any information. As a follower, I let somebody know if something they are doing has the potential to hurt me (or actually did hurt me) and other than that I say, "thank you very much" and give out as many compliments as are genuine. Everybody I'm dancing with is taking lessons and their teachers are far more qualified to improve their dancing than I am.
  8. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    For social dancing, I'd be very leery about criticizing someone when they ask for it unless I know the partner well enough... such as my regular partner. We both agreed to help each other in a positive way... and even then, only in small doses at a time. And she is my exception.
    Loki and Rhythmdancer like this.
  9. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Here is the list of things that you can criticize in ANY partner in any dance form:


    You're welcome lol
    Mr 4 styles and nikkitta like this.
  10. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I don't criticize but I take corrective action. If a woman pushes my left arm behind me or out to the side, I force her arm downward so she has nothing to push against and save my shoulder from being dislocated. If she waddles (doesn't collect), I press my right arm stiffly against her side to force her to step back straight with her left foot.
  11. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I've developed my own defensive techniques here and there. For example, a WCS follow who wants to use our connection as a leverage point to move herself across the floor will be led such that the connection point is her little finger.

    I been told by experienced social follows that their method to handle leads who use their arms instead of their bodies is to become very heavy by stiffening their arms.
  12. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    And one can always add them to the DND list. Saves time and effort, but does reduce the number of partners available.
  13. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Part of the fun can be how to dance through adverse situations, like less skilled partners and on crowded floors. Sometimes there can be too much "fun".

    Depends on your point of view and where you are in your own dancing.
    ocean-daughter and Hedwaite like this.
  14. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    It depends on your standards. My Argentine Tango teacher told me that "Quality is always more important than quantity." He also said "For some people, bad tango is better than no tango."
  15. Rhythmdancer

    Rhythmdancer Well-Known Member

    I agree with that.
    Rather than have a DND list I just dance with everyone. I pick dances I don't really expect to enjoy with people with the people I'd rather avoid so I fill their need to dance with me for the night.
  16. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    HMMM! How do you know they have a need to dance with you?
    Hedwaite and Lioness like this.
  17. CaliChris10

    CaliChris10 Active Member

    one should Never criticize or critique on the dance floor...This is social dancing..if you don't like the way someone dances don't dance with them again..simple as that!
    Loki and Bailamosdance like this.
  18. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    [QUOTE="CaliChris10, post: 1057049, member: 81928"..if you don't like the way someone dances don't dance with them again..simple as that![/QUOTE]

    ... and if they ask you to dance???
  19. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    ... and if they ask you to dance???[/QUOTE]
    You can ALWAYS decline an invitation. No explanation is necessary.
    dbk likes this.
  20. Rhythmdancer

    Rhythmdancer Well-Known Member

    "Please save me a dance by the end of the night" this has been said everytime I go dancing. Or someone will run across the dancer floor to get me before I ask someone else. Perhaps need is too strong of a word, desire is better suited.

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