Would fewer women dance if they had to lead?

Most of the classes I have attended have more women than men. It seems the men drop out faster than the women. I know about "beginner's hell" in salsa.

I'm wondering if we traded roles, would there be fewer women dancing? What if it was customary for the women to ask for a dance?

Would the ratios change?
Well, I am a Ballroom dancer and absolutely not that familiar with dancing in Latin clubs but in my experiences I have found that most women work the floor pretty good. At most of the dances that I attend the women are not bashful about asking men to dance and it is acceptable practice.


Active Member
Difficult to say. Women are trained from the very beginning to not think and anticipate. The inclination is still there, but kept in check. If the women had to lead, they would probably quit at the same rate as the men in the class. There are still more women than men dancing everywhere except here (2:1 men to women). Having the women ask for a dance does not impact this at all as women here are very aggressive in getting the better leaders.
In all my classes, we have to switch for a few days. The women lead and men fallow. There have been a few classes where if there are more women then men, the some of the women lead.
I think that the disparity between the number of male dancers and the number of female dancers has more to do with the social stigma that men have to face in learning how to dance. There is still this cultural bias that men don't dance, dancing isn't manly, etc. Women are supposed to be into dancing and good at it and are less likely to be self-conscious about learning.

I find it interesting that at my local club there are more white women than men, but there tends to be more male Latinos than female Latinos. I think it is more socially acceptable in Latino culture for men to dance; it is considered macho. So I think it is more a societal or cultural pressure that men feel, which leads to many of them dropping out early on.

I do not deny that leading can be very daunting for men at first, but I don't agree with the misconception I often hear that leading is more difficult than following. Yes, the man has to think of what moves to do and lead them to the music, but the advantage the man has is that he can choose the moves he wants to do. If he has difficulty leading a particular move, he can simply choose not to do it and focus instead on the moves he feels comfortable with. Women, on the other hand, while they do not have to worry about directing the dance they do have to be prepared to follow any move, not just the ones she feels comfortable with. So I think it is equally difficult for leader and follower.

It is also interesting to see the growing trend of women learning how to lead. This is becoming more and more common in my dance community as well as other communities that I have observed. With men MIA and with gender roles becoming more flexible, women are more and more learning how to lead so they can dance with each other. And in a few areas, women are leading men. Somthing to think about . . .

Dance Ads