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

    In my area there are plenty of women so demographics probably isn't a big factor.

    One definite trend is that there tends to be more women for Salsa lessons, while WCS attracts more men. In my group WCS lesson today there were about 150 students -- and all of us men had to stand occasionally on rotations. The last several Salsa lesson had about an even split of slightly more men (sometimes Salsa has more women).
  2. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    I think men are coming into the ballroom in far greater numbers now. Women should revisit their local studios because dancing with a broom isn't much fun.
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    What? Did you say 150 students? How can a class possibly have that many? The only time I see that many people, it's one of those lessons that are held before a dance - but that's different than regular classes to me. And those lessons before dances, at least in my area, attract even more women than the regular studio classes do.
  4. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    150 is not uncommon on some days. On Salsa days 150 might be considered a low turnout. The big turnouts are usually for Salsa, WCS, Texas 2-Step, and Arizona 2-step. The studios that get these large crowds usually feature 2 lessons that are about 45 minutes long, and then the ballroom is open for dancing for about 3 hours. Prices range from free to about $10. The free lessons are at country dance places and range to about any style of dance you can think of.

    Typically men outnumber women in all of these, even the open ballroom. What usually happens is that the lesser skilled male dancers leave early so that the gender gap gets smaller.

    Dancing in Phoenix is a good situation -- especially for women.

    I have been to major studios all over the Phoenix metro area and the demographics seem to be about the same.
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    :eek: If there were routinely 150 at a 'class' I'd blow it off, too. If it's a party, just show up later once the dancing starts. That's a zoo! Way too many people for my taste. (And actually for both my studios I think well past what the fire marshall legally allows on the premesis at one time anyway.)
  6. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    I use Dance Vision instructional DVD's. I take only group classes-no private lessons. I think your implied or stated statement about using a broomstick or stick to practice is an excellent idea-if you don't have a partner to practice with. The next time I use one of my instructional DVD's, I am going to try to practice with a stick or broomstick. Thanks, excellent idea-though maybe not in the context that you put it in.
  7. flashdance

    flashdance Active Member

    I'm on the flipside to this... Just little old me and 7 women... :(
  8. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member


    I like your quote below. I am going to try and remember that.
    Quote from Flashdance
    If you see someone without a smile - give them yours
  9. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I often do the lessons before a dance, but rarely learn anything. I basically use it to warm up and to socialize. I agree it's not a good teaching environment. rbazsz, have you tried normal-size weekly classes apart from the social dance nights?
  10. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I generally agree. I'll participate in the pre-dance lesson to warm up. And to start to make the acquaintance of the women there to ease asking them later for a dance. And so I won't be so much of a stranger for them (ie, they'll get a feeling for how well I can lead as I'm getting a feeling for their following). IOW, it's kind of the first ice-breaker.

    The guys might learn a new step or move. Or at least review one that they may have learned before. So the leaders might learn something, while the followers would be alerted to what they might likely expect the leaders to try to pull off during the dance.
  11. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    I have done classes that ranged in size from just me and another lady (we got lucky several times so in effect got private lessons) to about 20-30 people. Of course the classes with 10-20 are the best because we can get some personal attention.

    I agree with you that the large lessons are best for warm-up and socializing. It helps me get a good feel for who I want to dance with when the ballroom opens.

    I have learned some good moves with large classes however -- the best teachers rotate every 1 to 2 minutes. We repeat moves with multiple partners so we get them burned into our brain. There are always some assistants to help us and more advanced dancers often are willing to help pull us novices along with tips.

    I have had about 6 private lessons so far. That's where the learning of real technique occurs. I agree with everyone here that private lessons are essential to learn the subtle things in dance.

    Now that I have experienced all of those scenarios I am of the belief that dancers should participate in all of them. There is always something new to learn by dancing with multiple partners. Sometimes I feel my lead skills improve more when I dance with women that are just learning because the good dancers can backlead good enough to allow me to fool myself.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think it would also be good to return to the ladies and groups dynamic...and take any further on the dvd vs privates issue back to the thread of that name
  13. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Okay, in the interest of returning the thread to its original topic, I'll bite on the original topic...

    In my area, group classes are primarily targeted at beginning social dancers. It's a small(ish) population, not being in the middle or near any big cities, so the people don't really change much. There are, overall, more women than men who dance, but the women are more serious about it. Overall, the numbers in the classes are pretty close to even, but that's because the surplus of women don't regularly show up.

    The women typically learn quicker (the whole learning curve at the beginning thing again), and keep progressing towards competition (typically pro-am), or just show up for the social dancing and skip the lessons because, frankly, they know the steps and the classes aren't teaching more advanced technique than they already know.

    The men, meanwhile, regularly show up to the group classes to reinforce what they know and learn new steps, which is awesome, and then stay for the parties. They are dancing purely for social purposes and very few have much interest in competing. And for the record, most of the men who compete - especially at higher levels - also don't show up for group classes.

    So, short answer - the group classes in my area are typically beginning dancers, beginning steps, and beginning technique, and many of the women are already past this point so they don't get a whole lot of gain out of the class. Now, I'm of the camp that you can *always* learn something if you're willing, but I fully admit that it isn't high on my list of priorities, when I get the same benefit of dancing with multiple partners and following different leads by just showing up to the dancing after the lesson.
  14. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    Perhaps studios need to find a way to give women an incentive to attend group lessons. It's in the interest of women and studios if beginner men stick around to advance their skills, and that's not going to happen if the experienced women only dance with the small number of good leads.
  15. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Please don't misunderstand - I'll dance with pretty much anyone, experienced or inexperienced. Just not typically at group lessons, because the value isn't necessarily there for me in the lesson. But I will show up to the dancing afterwards, and happily practice my skills - and the lead's, no matter how inexperienced. You are correct, it is in the interest of women and studios to help out the beginner men, but there still needs to be value to the women in the instruction to make it fair all the way around.

    It might help to have an incentive of sorts to attend group lessons, but I don't know what that would be - other than higher level group lessons, which would defeat the purpose of helping the beginner men.
  16. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    There's a difference IMV between coming to a party and dancing with everyone including beginners and paying for a group class which is well below your level and doesn't do anything to advance your own skills.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    some of the best-run, most effective groups i've attended have been large like this, for salsa. it can be done, if well-organized, fast-passed, and military-drill-style. and there were always more men than women in those classes.

    i may be a lone female/follower voice here but...i don't share the "lose-lose" mindset regarding group lessons. not my experience, in any dance style, standard, latin, salsa, WCS, or hustle. there's always something to learn and focus on, no matter the leader... even if it's applying the lesson to the basics of personal balance, foot action, quality of turns, sensitivity to connection (even identifying when it's not there or when a pattern is going awry is a lesson), graciousness, and leaving one's ego at the door.

    anyway, IME it's usually been in the more advanced groups where the men out-number the women.
  18. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    +1! Same applies to leaders.
  19. kckc

    kckc Active Member

    I would agree, except that the last time I tried group classes, there was so much time spent on getting the beginners up to speed that the ratio of actual dancing to standing around was extremely low, so actually practicing those things you mentioned was difficult at best. Also, I was constantly getting the "why are you here, you are so good" question, and that is something that makes me uncomfortable. FWIW, I also will dance with anyone who asks in a social situation. There are beginners I love dancing with and advanced types who I couldn't follow if I had a map.
  20. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yes, i've experienced that as well. with small classes at small studios, that may happen more frequently. in those cases, i've been fortunate that the technique aspect of the lessons was always good, so i still had things to work on & practice while the instructor was slowing things down.

    but if it happens regularly in a larger studio with adequate "levels" to minister to the needs of dancers of differing experience, i would take it up with the instructor...or find a more appropriate class. there are instructors who have a mindset where they would not do this -- they expect dancers to have mastered some basic fundamentals so they don't interfere with the learning of the other students, and i prefer those instructors in group settings.

    i'm also used to experienced dancers in the WCS & salsa community who reinforce this in class -- who will confront you for being over your head if you can't do the basics. and...good for them for reinforcing the intent of the group. :)

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