General Dance Discussion > Why are some people so cheap about dance lessons?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by jennyisdancing, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    For all that was good about it, I blame the 60's for this one. Let's face it, even with the new options available, partner dance is kind of like traditional marriage. One man, one woman, the man nominally in charge. Very old-fashioned. Not something appealing to the baby boomers in general. They were still partner dancing in the 50's. Ballroom dancing lost a generation, and that generation did not transmit an appreciation for partner dancing to their children.
     
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    ya know...I am inclined to think this has far less to do with the 60's wrt gender roles opening up, etc...and more to do with people becoming less and less able to appreciate having to acquire a skill, having to wait for something, having to be relational in general...

    i.e...families used to work together in the fields, dinner took a long time to cook and people sat down to eat it together and actually talked to one another ...

    now, our dinner may take 6 minutes and we may eat it staring into a screen...

    all that is to asy that we want things "hot and now"...we don't want to have to do the hard work of interaction...it's one of the reasons we have so much road rage...driving is one of the only times when we actually have to navigate and cooperate with one another and many of us have lost that skill...that muscle, the social one, is limp....

    Ballroom dance is what we need... it may even be peripherally alluring due to it's beauty...but it requires something that most of us don't realize that we SHOULD want...yet, we don't want what it requires of us, just the end result....we have lost (to a great extent) our collective memory of how to be cooperative, collaborative and patient (of late, those things are viewed as weakness)...I have known many people to quit dance at precisely the moment at which they realize that they are not going to get better unless they work significantly harder...and to have to actually do that with someone else, is a further complication for a society that lives an increasingly more solitary lifestyle....ballroom now takes people much further out of their comfort zones than it ever has before in history.... the internet and texting and the many other wonderful things that make life easier, don't neccessarily make it, or us, any deeper...and sadly, most of us no longer even miss it...at least not consciously...

    steps politely off soapbox
     
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Excellent points. Same thing applies to food, information and many other parts of life these days. Most people want something they can quickly and easily consume and then move on to the next activity, without complication or commitment. Investing time, effort and patience? Planning a schedule and following through on plans? Building relationships? Nah. :(
     
  4. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    True dat.
     
  5. megeliz

    megeliz Member

    I think I disagree. I don't think it has to do with people being averse to taking time to acquire a skill. I volunteer at an inner city youth center, and these kids can do amazing street dancing. They can do amazing things with their bodies, and spend countless hours honing their craft. It's not aversion to learning a skill, but maybe it's an aversion to the music and haughty culture that is generally associated with ballroom dance. My mantra is to dance to the music you love. Maybe ballroom is being lost to these generations because the music doesn't move them.
     
  6. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    My posts were referring more to adults. If kids are learning hip hop, that's great. I'm glad they're motivated and having fun. But so many people give up those kinds of passionate hobbies as adults, and are content to just sit around drinking or watching tv because they feel everything else requires too much effort.
     
  7. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    This is me and my mid-life crisis speaking. Isn't it rather common that people lose their passionate side as they get older? I mean, we often do jobs we aren't really passionate about, we have chores, responsibilities and other obligations, life gets kinda stuck in a rut and it takes some mental effort to get out of it and try something different.
     
  8. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Oh yes, absolutely it's a common situation, and it's a shame. Believe me, I've been there - single mom, stressful job, long commute, a pile of chores at home. It's all the more reason to find something that is fun and fulfilling. Dancing is my sanity, my oasis. I guess I encourage friends to dance because I think maybe it will be that way for them, too. Of course it may not be. If they choose something else to get fired up about, great! It's just such a shame to see so many people just so stuck that they choose to do nothing at all.
     
  9. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    "Now you kids just get off my lawn before I call the cops..."
    Not everybody used to take ballroom lessons to learn how to dance, any more than tennis players or basketball players did. I waltzed long before I ever took a ballroom lesson. Somebody you knew and trusted showed you how. Or you learned by watching. How many Cubans do you think took classes before they started dancing Casino? How many teenagers in the 40's and 50's took lessons in swing? How many street dancers take lessons?
    How many people learn to drive, or learn to use a computer? That certainly an acquired skill.
    The point I'm getting at is that there is no lack of inclination to pick up skills, like dancing. There is just not anymore the exposure of ballroom dance as something normal that normal people do. It's still there for certain subcultures, but not in the mainstream.
     
  10. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    You have a wonderful and inspiring view of how dance fits in your life... :cheers:
     
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I am not talking about young people in particular...and definitively not young people starving for something of substance...frankly, we saw, in Mad Hot Ballroom that ballroom can work for that as well...heck, I am talking about the general population, the average consumer of ballroom lessons...the problems that arise from poverty aren't even on my radar wrt to intention of this post...I am talking here about folks who have always had it easy...not folks who enter life with the deck stacked against them
     
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    :(...I wish no one ever had to stay in that place overly long..after years of work that made me unhappy, I am terribly grateful to have made a change...and I think that is part of the crux of it...letting life happen to you or making it happen for you
     
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I disagree...I see alot of inertia...aside from ballroom...but, wrt ballroom, it has been far more acceptable lately than for decades...people would rather play a video game...quick, solitary and disposable....they artn't cultivating much of anything out there...honestly, I have no burning desire to convert all sorts of people to ballroom...as you note, many other cultures, (I would not call them sub-sultures) still place a value on dance and understand its many benefits and I think makingit easy is a first step in fact...a neccessity, which is why zumba has become so huge...easy and partnerless....but ballroom requires some longer term committment...imo, we simply aren't into that by and large...yes, there are pockets of it...i am talking seeping general trend here acroos the US in terms of folks who have the means and time to pursue ballroom of their own volition
     
  14. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Well, the thing is, where do you do it once you learn it? Clubs don't do ballroom. There aren't the high-end supper-club type places with dancing any more, at least not in any number. That circle of society barely exists any more who'd think of 'ballroom' per se to do socially. It doesn't get dramatic enough results to count as fitness if you're only doing it at a beginner level so it can't take the place of those kinds of classes.

    Another big off-putter is the perception you need a partner, and if your goal isn't just to take lessons or to do pro-am (once you find out that exists at all), it's actually true--you need a partner to ballroom dance. For an increasing number of people, they don't have a built-in one in the form of a significant other or spouse (which also eats into availble time as for single people, there's no sharing any sort of housework or chores or errands--you either do it or it doesn't get done, no matter how long you were at work, how tired or sick you are, and how much you'd rather do something else.) Very few people want to put the time, money and effort into something and then when they go to use it, they spend half their time or more sitting around doing nothing.

    And I think there's quite a bit of truth (though shows like DWTS are helping change that a bit) to the idea that "ballroom" sounds like something stuffy old people do to boring music. And in the case of Standard the second part at least is true. Not to mention I'd hate to be some poor beginner who ran into a Serious Standard Dancer (tm) who...well, talks like the threads on Standard technique wind up sounding on here. I'd run screaming, too. I think more people would find they actually like Rhythm, Latin, and Swing simply because the music's more accessible (people can complain all they want about using pop music but a lot more people will dance to that than to something that sounded like the Greatest Hits of 1940 Tea Rooms) and there's a little more room for free-form expression. Even then, there's still the question of 'what do I do with this skill once I've acquired it?'
     
  15. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    +1 I know many folks who seem quite content to spend their free time surfing 500 channels of crap on their satellite systm. Although I suppose one could argue that discusssion forums are inherently no different. LOL!
     
  16. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Excellent post! Excellent. I was surprised to find that most cruises don't have any kind of ballroom dancing - it's all club stuff. You have to specifically book a dance cruise, even if you're not interested in lessons aboard.
     
  17. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    :) heh
     
  18. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yep. and the more rarefied the skill, the harder to find a place for its use & enjoyment.

    still...the skills required to be mad-good as a dancer may take time & work to acquire, but they also affect aspects of life outside of the realm of dance. they require a person to change on a personal level, and not just physically. those acquired skills transfer into and affect other areas of ones life.

    so...if as a dancer who has invested in the cost of training you do find the opportunities to use those skills limited, you still have changed or evolved as a person. you've brought an experience of something freer or more dynamic or more connected/joyful/emotional/positive/vital into your life. and that's a pretty good trade for one's money, IMO.
     
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    To me, "No tangible benefit" means I just wasted a lot of time and effort acquiring a skill I can't use. (Yes, I hate college majors that have no direct application, either.) There's no point in learning or buying something you can't use. That just means you blew resources you could have put towards an effort that would get you something in return.
     
  20. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I'd say driving and using a computer are essential these days. Especially in US, with our car-centered culture (unless you happen to live in NYC - which is cultural outlier, IMV). Other stuff, like basketball, and, alas, dancing - not that essential. So I think there's a difference between picking up a skill because you absolutely must have it whether you like it or not, and choosing to learn something because you want to.
     

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