General Dance Discussion > Why so few Ladies at Group Lessons?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by rbazsz, May 1, 2011.

  1. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    Lately it seems that at almost every group lesson I go to there are more men than ladies -- sometimes almost 2 to 1! The trend has lasted since at least the beginning of the year.

    It's not just one instructor, studio, or time of day because I go to a variety of lessons and usually it's the same story -- too many men.

    So, why is this happening and do people from other parts of the country notice the same thing?
  2. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    I've noticed the same thing too. I think it came up on the AT forums a while back... the answer from the followers was that after a certain point, group lessons just aren't useful for them. They are often very oriented toward the leader, and in many cases are about teaching patterns.
  3. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    I would think after a certain point group lessons don't help both leads and follows very much. That still doesn't explain why more men are in group lessons, unless there are more men getting into ballroom as beginners.

    Are there really that many more advanced or intermediate women in ballroom?

    I have seen plenty of open ballroom after the lessons where more women came in, but there were still more men.
  4. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    I've observed that after a woman reaches a certain level of expertise, low(er) level group classes do not give her a good return on investment and / or low level group classes actually have a number of negatives associated with them. She gets a better ROI in more advanced classes and / or taking privates.

    I've also observed that there can be a high proportion of dabblers - they take a few classes and then leave because they are happy with learning a few syllabus figures. For them, that's sufficient.

    However, it's rare here to see more men than women in a low level class, usually about 3:2 women to men. Silver-level classes are about 50-50.
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    that was my experience...adn I think that many women have more free time than men, still in this day and age, there are more women working part-time or at home...and that allows for greater ease in taking privates, which are more focused upon their progress
  6. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    For women, this point comes sooner than for men.
  7. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Nope, not in my neck of the woods. Most classes, at all levels, have more women in my area. Come on over to the east coast. :)
  8. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    That was my experience in MA as well--it was less common to have an equal number of men and women and more common to have more women, sometimes no men at all.
  9. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Well, it's a lose-lose for us women. Guys either complain that we don't do the figure they're trying to lead, because backleading would be helpful for when they're learning. Or they complain that women are backleading too much, and won't wait for the guy to lead and thus are "dragging" the men around. There's no happy middle for us. And since learning figures, which is what most group classes end up teaching, isn't helpful for the one that doesn't have a choice in what is danced... (As we can't follow a figure that the guys we dance with don't lead, so why learn more figures than the guys?)
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    exactly...and it isn't fun to be treated as if one's failure to do precisely what a guy intended, no matter how poorly excuted, was a willful attempt to defy and insult him...which honestly, happened far more often than I care to contemplate when I took groups
  11. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    There's a wrong way to backlead, and there's a wrong way to do what's led.

    There's a wrong way to lead and there's a wrong way to rely on a backlead.

    Either each party contributes sincere good faith and recognizes it from the other, or at least one party is unhappy.
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Wooh and fasincation are right, though. It's a no-win situation, and if as is mentioned in another thread there are generally fewer follows than leads at groups (not my experience where I took groups, but it might be in other parts of the country, I'm sure) maybe that's a contributing factor. I have definitely run into some guys who get annoyed that I'm not doing what they "lead" if I dance the class figure, and then they get annoyed if I do what they're leading and it's wrong. And of course I"ve had leads who were clear that we both were trying to do what the instructor says, but the general experience doesn't incline me to go out of my way for group classes.
  13. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Most likely if there are consistently fewer women than men in a region's dance classes, I would chalk that up to demographics i.e a location that has more men, such as Silicon Valley, or near a military base. If there really are plenty of women around, then I might look at other factors. Even then, it's hard for me to imagine that a given class has so many negative issues that it actually would turn off women from attending.
  14. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Nah. I'd agree that I'd be surprised to hear a report that someone was always happy with every partner in every group class; but not that it's impossible to find rewarding learning relationships with group class partners.

    At the same time, I'd agree that there's no single recipe for success. People are people. Whether you do exactly what's led, or you back lead -- you're likely to be mistaken if you think that making that choice will ipso facto establish a good learning relationship. That's only a no-win situation until you take a more expansive view of things.
  15. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    I think our group lessons tend to be evenly split...
  16. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Said from your vast experience learning dance as a follow in group classes?
  17. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    And another reason women quite going:
    Because there's always a surplus of women. After a while, we decide we can dance alone cheaper at home than at a group class. So we quit going. And if enough of us quit going because of a surplus of women, then the problem reverses.
  18. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Partly depends on the studio. There is one that DP intensely dislikes and shuns their group classes. Why? Bad leads who think they can teach better than the teacher, drunks, pseudo-gropers, leads with poor hygiene, leads who appear to be physically incapable of dancing the figure(s), leads who refuse to dance the figure being taught because they "know" better.

    Conversely, we attend a studio which offers silver level classes and none of the issues above have surfaced, at least not in her experience.

    Make of it what you will.
  19. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    No, but I've put in a fair amount of time at group classes and have seen both guys and gals throw up their hands like that.

    "Group class is not for me" -- fine, I won't say anything against that.

    "Group class is a no-win situation" -- I'm not buying. To say, "If I do A or B, things don't work out either way; there's no win," is just specious reasoning. Perhaps (and I contend this is so) the way to win or not win -- whether a leader or a follower -- is independent of whether you do A or B. But if your view of your options is restricted to A and B, then it will seem to you as if you win or not-win regardless of which you pick.

    That's what I was getting at in post #11.
  20. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Well, there's always option C, you both just dance the figure as taught and ignore lead and follow (which seemed to work best with the people who only came for groups/were new if they weren't the type to assert themselves) or D, he actually leads it properly and the follow can follow (usually happened with the "regulars" only, or when someone who was already good came.)

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