why not permit a female to lead in class?

DancePoet said:
Sabor said:
Personally.. i'm dissapointed at the mentioned studio.. however,

we are all relatively limitted in one way or the other.. both mind and body wise..

this situation here is one of the examples for one of the numerous mind limitations.. in dancing alone..

some places are for people who are limitted in this way.. other places are for other less or even more limitted in various other ways

its variety .. differences.. choices.. normal every day life situation.. what some will lack somewhere.. they gain in another respect something else.. now wether this is overall 'good' or 'bad'.. is a point of view.. at least there are choices available.. always a good deal.
Sabor your wisdom seems to be on target. :D
honeydragon said:
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 :)
Especially for our beginning Salsa or Rueda class, my class gets asked quite a lot if some guys or more experienced women want to take the other class as well, so that the newbie women won't get confused by having to dance as a lead because normally the male/female ratio in that classes is 1:2 and most don't won't to sit out every other dance. A lot of us are always take up this offer because hey who wouldn't want to have some lessons for free.
I always encourage both males and females to learn the opposite role... it gives them a better feel for what they should do when they dance... and it gives me a break when I don't have enough "of one gender"! :)

I learned how to lead on my own, but only beginning stuff, like a CBL and an open break... for spins I had to be told what to do properly... :). I loved every minute of it!

Last week I learned some Cuban Rueda moves from a friend and since there were too few follows I decided I wanted to learn how to lead them! And I had a blast! Of course, my previous leading experience helped me a lot, as I learned the moves very fast! :)

My partner can follow. He's got very bad arm tension if you ask me... :lol: :lol: :lol: But this is because most men feel very uncomfy doing the follower's part... homophobia and stuff :lol: :lol: :lol:
ReneeJoan said:
Can a customer at a retail service establishment who receives unsatisfactory service tell friends and associates about the unpleasant experience and recommend against it? Let’s take it one step further. Can a critic for the NY Times print an unfavorable review of a new restaurant/play/art exhibit? This is absurd. Businesses bank on your positive word-of-mouth referrals. Are they to complain if you spread negative publicity based on your bad personal experience? My gut instinct say, “NOT!”
Now, this is not about a review but about posting a name of an individual and/or studio, with the only purpose to speak badly about him/her/it. IMO that kind of thing speaks poorly of the poster. I would find it bad taste, and applaud the decision not to do so.
honeydragon said:
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.
I think the guys in the beginner's class where I have been leading, are intimidated by me in a similar fashion. Come on, it is not so strange that I am one of the best leaders in class - I have danced this dance a lot lot more than most of them! In the follower role, sure, but lots of stuff is the same. At least one of them does not like dancing with me outside class. I feel like Hey, I try to be nice to the guys from beginner's class and ask them to dance... :( but it is his loss, really.

Pacion said:
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 can relate to the "confusing arms" thing - the only problem I have is, related to me having started to lead while I was not very much more than a beginner follower, is before actually starting the dance. Which hand should hold where? :lol: Regarding this, I can be totally confused at times! and have to rely on rules of memory. "Follower: left hand on his shoulder." and similar. :lol: I am quite convinced that this is a passing stage though; like children who speak two languages from early childhood. Almost all of them go through a stage of mixing the two languages, and sometimes the parents are concerned - but it is a passing phase.

chachachacat said:
How can one possibly teach without knowing both parts??
Maybe by having a partner, who does the other role?
alemana said:
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.
I think this varies a lot between different communities and subcommunities. Here, a lot more women lead in AT than in lindy - although AT have a lot more "man/woman stuff" attached to its image than the fun, jumpy lindy. Why? Gender rates... or coincidence. Some women started leading (also socially) and others realised this was a great way not to spend too much time sitting and waiting to dance, and that it is fun to lead...

alemana said:
policies about not switching roles in a class setting are most certainly 'about' preventing perceived potential discomfort among the students.
My guess is, that this is true in most cases. Regarding the swing society that for some years did not allow you to dance the other role in class, they explicetly said the reason was that they had had people dancing the other role, causing complaints from other students.


Active Member
ReneeJoan said:
Random Mysh:

I guess you're right -- just a silly little "dance crush," but at the time it seemed a lot more profound. I guess that's what a little bit of daylight does for you. Those dimly lit milongas can sure get to you.
Dance crushes are never silly -- they are very, very powerful and addictive, whether romantically inclined or not. See :arrow: Dancefloor crushes.


Active Member
alemana said:
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.
I'm not interested in which specific studio has what policy since I'm not a NYC resident, but I am interested in the overall picture, i.e., are there many studios that don't like "role reversals" among students. Perhaps you could post a summary of your findings?
my posts on this thread have very specifically pertained to the research i did as well as my own personal experience in new york city - *my* teachers and *my* colleagues. i have bracketed my narrative and conclusions as such. if you believe my comments are 'sweeping,' perhaps you are not reading carefully, and/or don't care for my conclusions.

if your experience is different, that's cool! rock on with your bad self.

for the person who asked for a summary of my findings: in *general,* it seems like the bigger, more commercial studios have a better handle on how to be inclusive and open-minded. there were some large exceptions, however. it's also worth noting that salsa/mambo is a very hot commodity in new york city, demand is high, and teachers can afford to be picky and/or specialize.

i had originally wondered if rigidity of gender and dance role might correlate to some measure of "authenticity," "street-ness" (opposite of ballroom salsa) and "latin-ness." the first woman leader i ever met in new york had trained in a well-known and very "street" environment, and told me she had to struggle for *years* there, but perservered because the level of instruction was so high. eventually she was marginally accepted - but WHAT A LEADER, wow. she just blew me away. anyway, her experience gave the lie to that theory, and in general i don't think it holds water.

at a well-known social i attend, instances of women dancing together are rare. last week i noticed a couple who signalled "lesbian," and they were mostly ignored (by that i mean, left to dance with one another.) two weeks ago, i saw a more traditionally feminine duo having a turn together. i only noticed it because a crowd of men quickly gathered to hoot, and i heard the racket from across the room. i walked over to see what was going on, because this kind of commotion is fairly rare at this social. i don't know the couple or anything about their standing in the community - they could've been two famous salseras, or teachers, or out-of-towners, or sisters for all i know.

anyway, that's a bit of a tangent, since we were talking about instruction, not the social scene.
I always dance with other girls at the socials... no one has ever turned me down! Which is more than I can say for guys... :evil:

Anyway, I don't really care if guys don't invite me! Sometimes it's annoying, but at other times I just ignore them or go and ask for a dance myself... of course, I'm usually lucky that I have a partner I can dance with and some students who always hang out with us! :)

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