Thou shalt…

DID you know in Indianapolis there are more men dancing than women? Thank goodness things are a bit different in England –- and may it remain that way forever.

That bit of information — is that a one-off, or the norm? — came from a column by Erin Lamb, a successful instructor in Indianapolis. Here are her thoughts, mainly for women: No, but thank you. Another interesting post, from Indysalsero, a salsa-addict from the same populous city: Rejection on the dance floor. For men. While both specifically talk about the salsa scene, I think all social dancers can glean something from their posts (though I do beg to differ with Erin on at least one point). Do check them out! 

Let me add my own thoughts to the mix. What follows is from a man’s perspective, born out of two-and-a-half years of watching social dancers in England (both ballroom and salsa). This is my rant to all those gorgeous creatures fringing the floor, waiting for a man. Feel free to step on my toes if I am not talking sense:

Thou Too Shalt Ask
Men like to be asked, too. So please, don’t go all dainty and ladylike on us — not all the time, anyway — and stand around the fringes waiting for our hand. Try walking up to us and asking instead. We are insecure beings, you know that. It gives us great pleasure when a gal takes the initiative. :-)

Thou Shalt Ask Men Who Have Asked Thee
Yes, you are a fabulous dancer. Yes, we love dancing with you. But don’t take us for granted. We’ve asked you four times — so how about asking us? If you don’t, what you are telling us is this: ‘I am not so keen to dance with you, but if you want I might oblige.’ Sorry lady, we no want.

Thou Shalt Avoid Cliques
Try not to cling on to your girlfriends. Nothing frightens us more than having to come across and ask one girl from among a bunch. In our heart of hearts we are all chivalrous gentlemen, and it pains us to make obvious who we consider the fairest of lilies (especially to the lilies).

Thou Shalt Not Chat At Song-Ends
Is important to catch up with your girlfriend, agreed. But please end it before the next dance. If we walk up and see you deep in conversation, we will keep walking.

Thou Shalt Position Thyself
Right, there’s this lovely guy — bless his twinkle toes — whom you just have to dance with. But he’s popular, and girls just cut across the floor to grab him. How do you get his attention? Try this: move over to his side of the floor early. Position yourself where he would walk off — and make your move confidently as soon as the song ends. It will save you the inelegant dash across the floor.

Thou Shalt Accept Gracefully
Whatever else you do, don’t give us the ‘Oh-okay’ attitude when we ask for a dance. That isn’t okay with us. Pretend you are pleased. And keep pretending — unless you really don’t want to dance with us again.

Thou Shalt Smile At Us
Dance with us when you are dancing — not with the guy in the far end of the room. Concentrate on your partner, look at him. Occasionally smile through the pain of being stepped on… We don’t just want to dance, we want to dance with you.

Thou Shalt Not Refuse A Dance If Thou Can Help It
Don’t do it unless you have a very, very good reason to (maybe the guy mistook you for his wife and snogged you on the floor… or maybe he is a ‘dangerous’ dancer… something like that). It’s downright rude and will work against you. One, it might frighten off the less-confident men; two, some confident men, who may also be sensible, might decide not to ask you since you are so uppity.

Thou Shalt Make Up If Thou Has Refused
Let’s say you had to refuse us a dance because you were already committed. No worries. But ensure you grant us the next dance — and this time, it is up to you to walk up to us and say, ‘Shall we?’ That’s elementary etiquette.

Thou Shalt Be Good To Beginners
Don’t go for the good ones alone. It takes a lot of courage for a beginner to walk up to you. How about walking up to him, instead? Okay, you might not enjoy the dance, but look at it this way: the more floor exposure he gets, the better he becomes –- and, hey presto, there’s another ‘good’ man on the floor! So how about making a point to pick up a beginner every session?

Thoughts, anyone?

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