If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I am taking social dance lessons. It has been one of those dreams of mine since I was in high school.
My friends know me to be a passionate solo-dancer at modern dance clubs (not meat market hip-hop places, but alternative/indie/electronic music). I’m quick with my foot moves and usually catch admiring glances when I’m out there cutting the rug. On the dance floor, I’ve met a couple of boyfriends, one relationship lasting 2 years and another for 6 months or so.
In my 20s, dance clubs were a fabulous place to meet suitors but going to clubs as a 30 year old is probably not the best way to find a marriageable partner. Most of the prospects at modern dance clubs are below my minimum age limit. I still love dancing to indie-electro music, but I have to face the facts and move from dance clubs to social dances in order to meet the right guy.
Switching to social dancing is not such a difficult plight for me. I’ve always loved watching ballroom dancing (tango, swing, lindy-hop and others). I embrace athletic activities and I can’t wait to move/swing/sway around the dance floor flaunting my “evolutionary-fitness” and meeting equally fit men. :)
Recently, in my quest to convert to this style of dance (as quickly as possible) I searched on Craigslist for a private instructor. Found a good deal and a good instructor who is training me in a variety of social dances which are building me up to and developing knowledge base for swing dancing — the ultimate dance I want to learn.
Currently, I’m constantly practicing around my house; you might even catch me somewhere standing in a grocery line or waiting at a street corner for a stop light practicing my triple steps. My lessons are going well, I’m at my 10th one and I’m getting those basic steps down and learning to land my turns better.
Besides learning to become a better social dancer, I’ve found that my dance lessons have been very good mental model for male-female relationships.
An aspect of social dancing that you might appreciate as a trad guy is the importance the lead and follow.
In social dance, leading is all about confidence and leadership. Leading isn’t done forcefully by pushing or pulling but more subtly with a small flick of the wrist or slight pressure to a partner’s hand, back, hip or whatever connection point there is. This subtleness demonstrates that the man has confidence that his partner will follow; and he isn’t second-guessing himself.
I think that there are lots of positive feedback loops happening while dancing. As a follower I start to trust my lead more if he sends clear signals about where he wants me to go next and if I know he’s not going to run me into another couple or obstacle.
If I show him that I trust him, he will also enjoy leading more and I will feel more relaxed knowing that he’s taking the lead. But this doesn’t mean that the man should be over-controlling (esp not in swing) and try to spin his partner around a turn — not trusting that she can do it herself. A good leader will give the woman some freedom to move since it shows your confidence as a leader and also gives her the room to move around more playfully and in a feminine way to make her partner look great.
Anyways, social dance seems like a great way to apply ideas about the nature of men and women– a microcosm of the power dynamics of a male-female relationship (each dance displaying a different flavor along that continuum of power.) Personally, I’m learning to be more responsive and to try to not anticipate the lead and trust my partner. I know that I have much to learn in dancing and also male-female relationship dynamics, but i’m looking forward to that journey.
Hoping to start hitting the social dance scene soon and meeting potential partners that can take the lead on the dance floor and off.
As an HBD guy have you given social dancing a try? If so, what was your experience like?
Fun Related Article:
Why Men Won’t Dance — evolutionary reasons for dancing among men and women.