General Dance Discussion > why not permit a female to lead in class?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by starry, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    :applause: Starry! I would have done the same thing in your shoes! :wink: Because you know the owner, if you had named and word got back to her, she would know that it was you and a good acquaintance could have been spoiled. She may have thought - why did you not talk to her about it etc etc she could have done something about it for the future (as she could not do anything about it at the time/past).

    I know there are "advantages" in naming but at least for females who want to lead, they at least now know that not ALL studios/instructors allow it and therefore may undertake some research first.
  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    There's still a big difference between two women (or two men) enjoying dancing together, and a dance together that ends with a "smouldering kiss". One is about the activity of dancing, the other hints at being about a far larger slice of life, even if in fact it's little more than the natural conclusion of a really wonderful dance.
  3. blue

    blue New Member

    Oh yes, I was trying to point this third possibility out. I kind of think it sad that people tend of thinking about dancing the other role as a pure learning experience, not an experience in itself.
  4. alemana

    alemana New Member

    Actually, the way almost all things change is at the level of the super-personal. Not from the top down.
  5. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member


    I meant reaction-wise. From what I've seen, guys wanting to follow get more weird looks than girls wanting to lead, unless they're dancing with someone they know and as a "we're being silly and having a blast" thing. It seems to be more ok in the WCS and hustle world than in the ballroom world, though.
  6. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I very nearly ended up with a broken rib that way yesterday!
  7. dancin_feet

    dancin_feet New Member

    So how does this attitude hold up when there is a female instructor who has to dance the male lead part? Seems a bit of inconsistent rubbish to me. Though I have asked at my studio if I can take classes as lead and it's been suggested that is is not allowed. Didn't bother to take it any further. Was a bit miffed at the time, but I have been teaching myself and practising at parties with a friend of mine (who is also teaching herself to lead). We help each other out and have surprised the studio owner a couple of times by getting up and leading each other through a rumba or cha at a party.

    I haven't bothered to ask again if I can take a class as a lead. It's much more fun teaching myself and surprising people at parties! :twisted: Even some of my dancing friends have been surprised when there is a lack of leads and I'll grab them for a dance saying "But who's leading?" :shock: I say I'm leading and they are quite hesitant but once we get going, they are pleasantly surprised.
  8. blue

    blue New Member

    In a way, maybe it is good that there are places that allow it and those that do not. I mean, we can choose to go to different places according to what we want to do and not.

    I have seen men who were very uncomfortable about dancing with other men; skilled guys who were brought into class as we had a shortage of followers, and they did the follower's role. Am I naïve to think that homophobia is deeper ingrained in some men than racism in some white folks in the 60s?

    I think we have to accept that this is very common; and I would personally feel pretty bad if I felt that there were women in the class who did not like that they had do dance with me because they expect to dance with men. I would prefer to dance with followers - either sex - who are not uncomfortable about female leaders. Now this is more of an example that I use to illustrate. I don't think this really is an issue, with regards to female leaders; but to male followers, sure.
  9. alemana

    alemana New Member

    hi everyone - i did a bunch of research today on studios and teachers in new york city, to find out what their attitudes and/or formal policies are on letting women lead and men follow.

    it yielded some very interesting results.

    if you would like me to share them with you, please just send me a private message and let me know where you want the info sent.
  10. alemana

    alemana New Member

    i should specify - this was for salsa only, although some of the bigger studios have policies that touch every style they teach, of course.
  11. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    Sabor your wisdom seems to be on target. :D
  12. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    Ah ... short lived ... back to his regular sense of humor. ;) :lol:
  13. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    :lol: :lol: :lol:
  14. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    This maybe true, but there is still a burden of proof in questions of legal liability. If truth can't be proven then someone gets in trouble for saying something they shouldn't have, no matter who is representing them.
  15. amrimi

    amrimi New Member

    This sounds really strange to me. So far I had lessons in ballroom and salsa/rueda and since there are never enough men in the class some of the women always have to lead. Unfortunately this luck always hits the tall women like me. Last year I was even dancing the male part in our little rueda amateur show group, which made me feel very silly, because there I was posing as a man even so I look very female.

    Sometimes we do all girl ruedas with one or two other girls who lead a lot which is a totally different thing because its all girls and nobody is try to pose as a man.

    One thing I noticed though is, that some of the girls in our group feel uncomfortable dancing with the one lesbian lead in the group. There is one rueda call that is calles "a la romantica" where you have to dance real close with your partner. One day I was dancing with that lesbian lead when this call came and she said to me very surprised, you're the first one who actually dances really close. But I don't know if that was the case because the others where uncomfortable dancing with her because she was a lesbian or because I was the only one who would dance in clubs therefore be used to dance very close on crowded dancefloors.

    An advantage about being able to lead is definitely that you can teach things to your non dancing friends. In most of the classes I took so far we would even switch roles from time to time so that the leads will get a better feeling for their leading and vice versa.

    About two weeks ago way too few women happened to show up for our rueda practice. Therefore our male teacher who is a very proud macho cuban had to help out as a follow, which was very funny to watch. He could do all the moves alright but we could really see how uncomfortable he felt in his new role, evenso our female teacher does the lead all the time because normally we don't have enough men.
  16. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    ROTFL!!! :lol:

    I think I can see why some studios/teachers may not want women to dance as leads. It may be that they want the woman to focus on following and that they could get their footwork mixed up. I have actually heard something like this as a reason why some teachers discourage women from leading. I have also heard some women objecting that they came to dance "with a man" and as such, would rather wait for the next available male lead rather than practice with a female lead.

    From my own experiences, I used to dance the lead in classes quite a lot and then found it was hampering my progress as a follower, eg. now where do I put my left hand? On his right shoulder or on his shoulder blade, underneath his arm, or even worse (!) try to hold his right hand in my left hand :? :lol: I then went through a period when I wouldn't dance lead because I was mixing up the two roles. I know not everyone mixes up the roles and I am in favour of role reversal BUT there are some good reasons for saying "not in my class".
  17. alemana

    alemana New Member

    i don't believe that the underlying reason for a refusal to teach a woman to lead has much to do with instructor concern for a student's progress. every serious follower i have ever met, and all my instructors, can dance the opposite role and learned so on purpose.

    a specific student may not be well-suited to getting 'too much' information and a teacher may decide they 'cannot handle it.' but policies about not switching roles in a class setting are most certainly 'about' preventing perceived potential discomfort among the students. my research today confirmed that.
  18. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Alemana, "teaching a woman to lead" is different to "allowing a woman "to lead due to a shortage of men".

    From the above, I would guess that starry is very competent.

    Also, because it may not have been YOUR experience todate, it does not mean that it is false for everyone else who has experienced it nor that your comment above applies to ALL teachers. Quite frankly, your comment suggests (to me) that there are no teachers/instructors who are concerned for a student's progress and I am sorry but that is a sweeping comment to make as I have been very fortunate to have BOTH male and female teachers who were genuinely concerned about their student's progress (good dancers means good PR/advertisments which is worth more than the money in the long term).

    I know some very "serious followers" AND instructors who either don't or cannot dance the opposite role. I never asked them whether it was because they didn't want to or didn't know how. This did not detract from their ability or "awesomeness" as followers or even instructors. I don't know you (obviously) but you seem to be making some very sweeping comments/generalisations.
  19. honeydragon

    honeydragon New Member

    This is an interesting thread. I had a conversation with a guy friend a few times about women leading, and he thinks it's great. There's a few women-leads in our swing dance scene that he has utmost respect for and is always trying to steal their cool moves :) I dance with these ladies all the time. However, I just noticed recently that although he watches them dance and steals their moves, he never asks them to dance.. His response to my question: He's extremely intimidated by them. He actually told me that during his first Lindy workshop, the Lead next to him was a young girl around 16 years old, and althought he thought she was very cool for being able to lead, he couldn't help but feel intimidated at the same time because she was leading and learning faster than he was. So.. he actually felt discouraged and almost didn't come back, but later on in the evening, he found out that it was the studio owner's daughter with 10 years of dancing experience. So he felt better and continued with his lessons.

    But anyhu, my point is. could this dance instructor be putting his foot down about.. NO- I only want men to lead and women to follow in my glass... because..

    1. This being a beginner's class. perhaps he thought that Starry would learn to lead faster than the men in class.. ? and intimidate them and they'd run away and not return? In that case.. he'd lose students.. and Starry. you should take this as a compliment-- he took one look at you and thought.. uh oh, this lady's going to be better than all my men-newbies and intimidate them.. eek

    2. Again.. this being a beginner's class.. and I think someone else mentioned this as well. You being a woman.. but doing the Lead role in class. Other women in class may not realise that you are leading.. and might be looking at you (to copy) and confusing their footwork and their moves.. We all know that beginners don't always look at the instructor, they tend look at the person next to them as well

    Just my thoughts :)
  20. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    "I know some very "serious followers" AND instructors who either don't or cannot dance the opposite role. I never asked them whether it was because they didn't want to or didn't know how. This did not detract from their ability or "awesomeness" as followers or even instructors. I don't know you (obviously) but you seem to be making some very sweeping comments/generalisations.[/quote]"

    How can one possibly teach without knowing both parts??

Share This Page