Salsa > Why the weird reaction??

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by thespina13, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. thespina13

    thespina13 New Member

    PasoDancer said in her last thread: "All I could remember was people laughing out loud and ridiculing me for announcing that I'd started taking ballroom lessons"

    I get this too! Lately, when people ask me what I've been doing with myself, I have to tell them about dancing. Espcially since it's reached a level where I have a zen-like clarity about what I want to do with my life, and it includes dancing. Every person, other than my husband and ONE OTHER friend, oh.. and my grandmother ;), have reacted with one eyebrow raised and a "oooookay... Latin Dancing, huh? Interesting. Well good luck with that", as they sort of shake their heads. is it because they have no frame of reference? Is it because dance is something you can't really understand unless you try it? Is it because they don't see me as an athlete? I know they know I'm an artist, an actress... why is it a stretch to include dancing? Is it because they picture elderly couples in fluffly dresses circulating around a remote dance floor?

    At any rate, I have a plan. I'll just invite them to watch me once, and then they'll understand.

    Have you all had experiences like that? Why is it that dance, when seriously taken, is a little weird as a new past-time or career choice?
  2. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Ignorant people tend to ridicule what they don't know or understand. Or are threatened by.
  3. Leggie

    Leggie New Member

    That's true. Add to that the common perception of Ballroom/Latin dancing being something old people did (past tense), and you get to see why mainstream people don't appreciate the full sense of the art. Education is required...once they've been in a situation where knowing how to dance would be desirable, they'll probably admire and envy you more. The question is, can you set up such a situation?
  4. It's Wonderful

    It's Wonderful New Member

    *Warning: Slight hijack ahead*

    I recommend a birthday party which you invite both your dancing friends and non-dancing friends, your kids friends, your neighbors - just make it a big get together in a community center with space that's dancable, and play music non-stop during the party. Traditional dance music, and music more people will be familiar with free styling to. The kids will love it, the dancers will have a good time, and your friends will probably see what your passion is all about! It's actually not all that pricey if you make it a pot-luck and are able to do your own music.
  5. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Agreed on the above posts--I think people have no clue as to what real dancing is all about. Heck, mention salsa to some people and they will (respectfully but annoyingly) make a joke about wearing a sombrero and make a loud noise that they perceive to be something a Hispanic would make (think Martin Lawrence in Blue Streak at the end, before he enters Mexico).

    thes (and others), I think it's all in how you say it. Almost anything said with confidence will get some level of respect. When I tell people I teach ballroom dance, the initial reaction might be a laugh or a weird look, but the confidence with which I say it will immediately get some respect. It's not an arrogance at all, but a confidence--and keeping that confidence if someone pokes fun is all the more important. That helps them see that you're serious about your dancing, it's not a joke, and you're **** good at it (even if you want to be 1000x better :wink: ).
  6. alemana

    alemana New Member

    wow. i never get anything other than deeply appreciative/envious reactions. i give out a dozen business cards a month with studio addresses scrawled on the back to people who see me practicing and admit they are dying to learn. some people say they've always wanted to take lessons, some people i'm sure are trying to find a good way to meet other single people, some women are interested in getting a body like mine so they want to do what i do. a range of reasons.

    sure, it's new york and maybe people are a little more open-minded, plus there's a lot of hispanics here so salsa is everywhere...but still.
  7. genEus

    genEus New Member

    Oh boy, it's as if I started this thread... As an engineer, I have not one friend who is at all interested in art, music, dance, or anything like that. When they ask me what I do in my free time, and I say "salsa" there is a pause that seems to last for an hour, filled with, what seems to be complete misunderstanding, ignorance and disapproval. If I had said that I play video games I would get an understanding nod. heh.
  8. sweavo

    sweavo New Member

    All my engineer colleagues can easily see why I salsa, OBVIOUSLY it's so I can rub up against all those nubile females... *sigh* I let 'em have their fantasy :)
  9. BugBear

    BugBear New Member

    I couldn't get any of my friends to come dance with me. Some of them even think that it is a complete waste of time and money. You have no idea how many times a day I hear something like - "Hey, you really should drop that salsa thing and come with us to the gym..."
  10. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    I completely understand you guys! I work with generally open-minded people, though, and they have come to expect my mid-aisle spins and footwork during slow work hours... But in general, a lot of the people I work with have no (visible signs of) passion or style... except for video games, etc. (which is fine--those things are their passion, which is great for them.) I think that it's a case of coworkers/friends/family/etc not understanding simply because they've never done it themselves, so they have some incorrect picture in their minds.

    I think a lot of people think that I dance because of females. They have no idea that while dancing can be sexy, it's not what it's all about. They probably have no idea that there is a LOT more contact in closed position foxtrot than the club dances I do. But like you said sweavo, I let them live vicariously through me and have their dreams... :wink:
  11. thespina13

    thespina13 New Member

    ALL.... THE.... TIME!!!!!!!!!! And my kids... WE're walking through Home Depot, and they have the BEST floor. When I wear my clogs i can effortlessly do a double with hardly any momentum at all. And then, halfway down the plumbing aisle, I say to my first five year old son, "Hey kiddo... let's see your spin." And he gets all excited and does his little spin and I say "remember how to put your hands?" and he corrects his posture and his hand and arm position and tries again and gets really proud and I scruffle his hair and feel all proud... my husband laughs at me all the time.

    And that tends to get me through the "latin dance, eh? Hm. Interesting." moments.
  12. Shooshoo

    Shooshoo New Member

    Same here :p .

    Also I have lost some weight so when people I haven't seen for a while ask me how did you loose weight, I say it's because of dancing. But my family and friends are used to me starting new hobbies and getting obessive about it.
    My friends always come over for my birthday, so in my last one they demanded that I should dance for them (with my 'dancing' friends). It was was quite funny having 30 people squashed in an apartment watching people dance in a 1 meter radius. They were quite surprised cause I was one of the ones who never dance and I was there giving them a show.
  13. Shooshoo

    Shooshoo New Member

  14. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    :uplaugh: I can only imagine this... too cute! Keep it up and you'll have a great dance partner in, oh, 10 years or so!! It's like an investment! :D
  15. africana

    africana New Member

    i can relate thespina, I don't share my dance life with my family, because it's not something they understand, sadly. Non of them have ever seen me dance salsa. but that's why i hang with salsaholics ;)
  16. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    You're not alone. Every person I know in the university gets that eyebrow raise when I mention dancing. They're, like, "Okaaaaay... weirdo..." You should see the looks I get when they ask how advanced I am and I say "I'm training to become a teacher". Oh. PRICELESS. They don't have to say a word to actually say what they're thinking:
    -University dropout!
    -Not good enough to do anything else.
    -One of those weird folk that don't like having real jobs, like engineering or accounting.
    -*snort* Sure, you'll be a regular Margot Fonteyne. Not.

    People are indeed afraid of what they don't understand. So in the process they manage to hurt people. A lot.

  17. genEus

    genEus New Member

    Only if you let them... Sounds like you're sure of what you want so anything that people say reflects their ignorance, not your choice of activity! ;)
  18. thespina13

    thespina13 New Member

    WEll there's no chance of me (or probably anyone else here) thinking their choice of activity is less than fabulous. And that's what's frustrating, genEus. Their reactions don't make us doubt ourselves, they make us feel alone. At least for me, I get somewhat hurt because I've chosen something that I want to cultivate into a lifestyle... I've never experienced this. I've taken drama in University, because I was good at it and people liked to watch me. I didn't have the burning passion my counterparts did. Psychology was the same way before that. I was compassionate and intelligent, but in second year, when we were assigned to be looking for job experience and do primary research, I was just lost. Yawning. It was irrelevant to me. Everything up until this point has just sort of felt like I've been carried there by the current. I was sort of jealous of my husband, at professional college, fired up by his career choice, getting to MASTER something, geting to meet likeminded people, getting to practice until he becomes so proficient at his skill that he gets people coming from all around the region to be seen by him. He's just my guy! and he gets to aheive that! He gets to actualize himself and become a true human being, a real grownup. Not even many grownups get to become that.

    And here I was, just hanging out at home, trying to have faith that some day it would happen to me. And it has. I never would have suspected that dance was going to be it. But it is. I would have thought that 'I know what I want to do with my life" would have been met with a little more of a pat on the back. But it hasn't. And I guess I'll just have to show them slowly, through time, what it means. But it DOES hurt when people around you have such mediocre and sometimes judgemental responses. It just makes me feel very solitary. That's ok. As Mike Bello says, I'll be a salsa jedi. I'll be alone and mysterious and unattached to everything but the salsa force (and my family). Everyone else can see what that means when it's time to show them.
  19. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    When others make us feel alone, we often want to comply and we get that "fine, I'll be alone--but I'll be happy" feeling. This is normal. But be careful thes--isolating yourself (physically or emotionally) from others can be very harmful and self-destructive! Quite often the way others perceive something depends on the way we present it to them; so, if you begin to think of dancing as something that others will automatically not understand and ridicule you about, then when you present it to them, that feeling may come across in your presentation. In other words, be careful that you don't have preconceived ideas about how others will respond, or it may come across as undesirable or even elitist. I know you would never feel that way! But others may get that idea if you begin to feel jaded about things.

    Let everyone know how happy you are to be a dancer; let it show in the way you talk about it, in your aura; let it radiate in your smile; let it create a glow around you so that others will have no doubt as to how great it is! And even if they react differently, deep down many will realize how good it is for people and some will secretly wish they were doing it, no matter what comes out of their mouth or the look on their face.
  20. thespina13

    thespina13 New Member

    Very very true. Thankfully I don't feel jaded... although it came across in my words. I think the reason I was taken aback by the reaction I was getting was because I was so excited by it, because I was smiling so much about it, and getting a weird reaction regardless. I'll try not to expect it from people though. I'm just puzzled as to why there is this strange perception of dancing that non-dancers seem to hold. Come to think of it, when I heard dance sport was making it into the Summer Olympics, I was a non-dancer, and I was like "HUH?!?!? geez.. there go the Olympics." Of course my reaction has changed since then. But I guess i have to remember that I too once thought ballroom was this thing old ladies in pink chiffon, hairspray, too much makeup and fake feathers did.

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