Shall WE DANCE?
or Tell me why you’re just sitting here and not on the floor dancing?
“I’ve been turned down 3 times in the last ten minutes. Man, these women don’t want to dance”! Ms. Typical Lady: “I’d love to dance, but none of the guys will ask me”. I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, what’s happening here? Is this crazy or what? Here we are in a nice club, good music, and with people who want to dance. So tell me! What’s missing? The reality ladies and gentlemen, is that the above scenario happens too often, all too often. The men want to dance, the ladies want to dance, but no one is dancing. I believe that there a few things that can be done to improve the situation. Here are some suggestions. After all, the job of asking (and risking being turned down) falls on us, guys. But like all things, we deal with it, right? The real question is how can we improve the odds? That’s not hard, quite frankly. Some of the suggestions fall in the category of the totally obvious, but in some cases, NOT. Give them a shot. The worst that can happen is you make a few new friends. A more realistic outcome is that your only problem will be needing time to rest those tired feet. Now that’s a good thing to complain about. Consider the following.
1. Practice Good Grooming
You do not have to be GQ. Ladies are impressed by the TOTAL package. Pay attention to detail. Ladies will notice the little things. Musts are: the hair (whether on the head or face) clean and groomed; pants and shirt pressed, and be sure the shoes are clean and shined. When you dance Salsa you will be doing footwork. Attention will be on your feet. Women will check you from head to toe in less than a minute. Remember the first impression was made when they gave you “the once over”. Be sure you pass.
2. Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)
This is major. If you look like you’re having the worst day in your life, you probably will! And more importantly no lady will want to be anywhere near you, and neither will anyone else. So the bottom line is relax, let it go, and be sure a positive attitude is projected from the inside out. Smile. Start feeling good about something. Nothing can be that bad! PMA makes you receptive. I agree that PMA doesn’t change the world however, it definitely does change one thing–how you see the world. PMA can lead to lots of opportunities.
3. Be Cordial (Friendly) On and Off the Dance Floor
Take the time to greet people by saying “hello”. Now understand cordial means friendly and sincere. It’s called manners. Most people know what manners are but seldom use them. Employ them and soon you will find that you too, are warmly greeted by others. Ironically, the greetings will be coming from some of the very people who would say nothing to you before. It isn’t that all people are stuck up. They too like you, may be hesitant to say hello. Well go ahead and start the conversation with a smile or a hello. It works wonders. By the way, try to say good-bye at the end of the evening. If you can, thank the ladies who danced with you. They will remember and look forward to dancing with you again.
4. Dance with the lady
Take the time to see the lady. Talk to her. While dancing, find some element that she does well and compliment her. Remember I didn’t say make up something, but rather to find something. Credibility matters. Dance WITH the person, not for the spectators. Don’t put on a show for the audience. This is not a stage. You are dancing with a lady, not putting on a performance. The point is to make dancing with you special for her. If at all, showcase her. Remember every woman in the room is watching. Their perspective is that the way you dance with other women is how you will dance with them. Make sure that women see dancing with you will be wonderful. At the end of the dance say thank you and escort her off the floor. Don’t leave her standing there.
5. If She Looks Good, You Look Great
Dance with the lady at her level. The other ladies will see how you treat a woman on the floor. Every woman will project herself into that dance. The message you want to send is that a woman will have a great time dancing with you. Since you will be dancing with a variety of women, there will be ample opportunity to “Show Your Stuff”. Remember this is partner dancing; lead and follow. You as lead, are the choreographer, outlining what will be danced. SHE, not you, will be executing. It’s her show, not yours. She should be center stage, not you. The better you are at making her look great, the longer will be the line of ladies waiting to dance with you. Now that’s a tough job, but it’s rewarding.
6. Dance what you know, not what you’re learning
No one wants to be your guinea pig. Especially not a lady who is out to have a nice time. Imagine two guys. One has a working knowledge of about a hundred or more, twists, turns, and other moves-almost. The second guy only knows 10 or 12 moves but the difference is he knows them well, can execute them comfortably and with precision and clarity. Since he knows his moves well he’s able to concentrate on the fun stuff, not “the double twist, triple reverse, cross-body with spin”. Now which one would you want to have for a dance partner. Save the experiments for dance class with people you know well enough to try new moves.
7. Learn how to do “The Lead
Learning “lead” is not automatic. Men, its only one of about four things that are your task exclusively! True you get to be “in charge” of the dance. Along with being “in charge” comes a full set of responsibilities. Ladies, please note! The lead is serious business. (If you are interested, Mark Balzer’s FAQ on “Leading and Following Tips” is an excellent discussion of this very complex topic.) But, in summary, leading is the leaders’ responsibility and following is the followers’. Remember that the lead is TBC–Tender But Compelling; making crystal clear your intent. Tailor it to the unique qualities of the lady with whom you are dancing.
8. Dance with Beginners
Guys, dance with the beginners. Remember, the time line from beginner to good/great dancer for ladies can be very short. Ladies will remember a gentleman who danced with them when they were learning. They will remember that you were gracious, friendly, and made the dancing fun. The key here is that they will not forget you. More importantly, they will tell their friends and as time goes on, seek you out. Conversely, they will also remember who would not dance with them. Fellows, that is not a list you want to be on. Additionally, remember that if you are to improve your “lead”, dancing with beginners who don’t respond well to the lead, forces you to “do your best”. Yes it’s a challenge. Beginners demand more not less. Dance with the beginners for an additional bonus. At no extra charge, you get to meet some really nice people.
9. Floor craft
Always be aware of where you are on the dance floor. This is Club Dancing. As such, expect to find people dancing on all sides. Hopefully they are as skilled and careful as you. That means employing “floor craft”– paying attention to where you are and what moves you dance with the lady. Floor craft is also watching out for those who are totally oblivious to the fact that there are 50 other couples on the floor. It may seem their only goal is to crash in to as many people as they can. Don’t dance your lady into them. Protect her from the “moving hazard”. If you do it well, she’ll not even notice it. It simply becomes another element in the lead. You soon begin to see space on the dance floor as a fluid asset to be used in conjunction with the dance elements that you and your partner execute. Remember to share the floor. Dance SMALL, not BIG. As you become a better dancer you find you no longer require as much space.
First, Last, and Always, you must maintain rhythm. It is not optional. So get on rhythm, stay on rhythm, and don’t ever (in your whole natural born life, or at least while on the dance floor) go off rhythm. Ladies will immediately notice if you’re off and most likely will resent having to change or go off rhythm with you. They hate it. So work on getting rhythm down cold. Gentleman remember, if you are on rhythm the door opens to thousands of dance possibilities.
11. Dance To and With the Music
Be inspired by the music, not overpowered by it. Tailor your dancing to the music. Establish rhythm with your partner. Pay attention to how it starts, and dance accordingly. You want your dance to follow the musical elements, so stay with the rhythm. And even thought the music is starting to feel oh so good, don’t get so excited that you start whipping her around like some rag doll. After all she’s your partner, not your puppet.
12. Finally, Relax and Have Fun
Remember you are out here to have fun with another person. Dancing is a social activity. So relax, enjoy dancing, but be responsible. Dancing, with a few exceptions, does not pay the mortgage, car note, or the rent, so don’t take it too seriously. If the lady makes a mistake or you do, don’t worry about it. Let it go, apologize, if warranted, and move on. It’s no big deal unless you make it a big deal. And as one lady says: Laugh, Live, Love, and Salsa!
Article by Sam Boone
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