Monday, February 04, 2008

Ladies Get Asked to Dance More Often

At the risk of being totally off mark and of divulging too much about myself, I will attempt to answer a question commonly asked by followers, “Why don’t I get asked to dance more often?” There is often no rhyme or reason as to why I ask someone to dance or not. There are however some things that I think most leaders consider when deciding with whom to dance at any given point in time.

1. You are an excellent follower. If you are an excellent dancer able to move easily from one style to another, you will dance more often than most- not always but most often. There are times when I just want to dance with the best possible dancers I can or with my favorite dancers and I will structure my asking for maximum pleasure.

2. You dancing is flirtatious. You may not be one of the top dancers but because you are playful with your dancing, then leaders will search you out. After all, it is not just about technique and execution, it is about having fun in an engaging and flirtatious way. A smile, a playful adornment, and an engaging personality go a long way.

3. You continuously improve your skills. If every time men dance with you, you surprise them with your improved ability to follow, they are more likely to come back for more. We remember a lot about followers and if we forget, it comes back to us right away as soon as we start dancing. So surprise us by improving you skills and make us want to dance with you.

4. You highlight and show your physical assets. All right, I admit it, most men are visually oriented and if you are sharing some of your physical assets, we are drawn to you presence. I know some men have a penchant for dress with slits, myself, never mind. So stimulate us and encourage our imagination to run wild.

5. You are pretty young thing (PYT). If you are pretty young thing, we will ask you to dance- at least initially, until the novelty wears off or until we find another PYT to favor. Most PYT unfortunately do not dance very well and they disappear after they find that the good dancers no longer dance with them or upon finding a boyfriend.

6. You’ve developed a social/personal relationship with the leader. Be sociable, talk to people, and relate to us as individuals and you will find your self dancing more. I do a fair amount of asking around the food and drinks because this is where I get a chance to interact with people I enjoy. So get up off your chair and say more than hello.

7. You ask. In the U.S., gentlemen generally accept a dance request from someone they know. Don’t be shy go ahead and ask. We may say yes though, sometimes, I will suggest dancing later if I am trying to dance with a particular person in the next tanda. We may of course ignore your request or say no. Asking visiting instructors specially when you haven’t taken their workshops or taken private lessons with them may not get you positive results. If men continually say no to you, then make an honest evaluation of your following skills and your social interactions with leaders.

8. You are available to dance. When there are not a lot of leaders, you will dance more. As I’ve said previously, come late and stay till the end if you want to dance more. You will be more likely tire your feet from dancing when the crowd thins out and you are still there.

9. You danced with them when they where just beginning to Tango. There are certain women we will always try to dance with because we remember their encouraging words when we were new to tango. I also can think of a couple of sultry dances I had with particular followers when I started dancing. Those dances are still etched in my tango memory and while we may not always dance with these followers, we do have them in our radar and will regularly ask them to dance with us.

10. You are a beginner. Many of us who remember being a beginner, go out of our way to welcome beginners and invite them to dance. We may not always do it immediately and we may not do it every time we see you, but we will ask you to dance because you are new to tango. This is our way of giving back in appreciation of the women who danced with us when we were still neophytes and stepped on many a follower.

11. You were in a workshop or class together. The leader will feel more comfortable dancing with you because he already knows how you feel and how you follow. He may also want to lead things that only followers in the class or workshop are likely to follow.

While this is not an exhaustive list, it does give you an idea of why some will ask you to dance and what you can do to dance more. It is also a good to look at the flip side of the coin, as there are reasons, some rational others irrational, as to why men will not dance with you.

1. You are correct them all the time. We want to dance not be scolded or told what to do or not do.

2. You dancing is getting worse. Either you are not taking classes or your body is less flexible.

3. You do the same things all the time. You are too predictable and too repetitive. The same old same old is not enticing to leaders.

4. You didn’t dance with them when they were beginners. We have good long term memories and we remember.

5. You danced most of the night already. Sometimes we skip you because you have plenty of leaders to dance with.

6. You refused to dance with them recently. Saying no when we ask you, can bruise our sensitive egos and it takes a while for us to ask you again.

7. You do not have a personal relationship with them. If you are just another face in the crowd, you are just another face in the crowd.

8. We don’t see you regularly. We will tend to dance with followers we see regularly.

There may be other reasons and at any point in time, one or more reasons may apply though the above reasons may not apply to all men, nor all of time and not necessarily in the listed order.

To dance more, I suggest that you become a better dancer by taking private lessons, classes and workshops, entice us visually, get to know us personally, dance playfully, get up off your chair, and stay as late as possible.

Florentino Guizar, a social dancer first and foremost, teaches tango with Isabelle Kay throughout the San Diego area.


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