Do you know what men want on the dance floor?
Today I am going to talk about what men want on the dance floor. It is only natural and fair to write about it after creating an article about what women want on the dance floor, so here it is…
Ladies, have you ever wondered, “What do men want from me on the dance floor?”
When I first started to dance socially, a long time ago, salsa dancing was, and still is, a powerhouse in the Latin community, with tons of dance school everywhere as a result.
I learned, by socially interacting with people, that most dance schools teach patterns. They only teach moves, and often I hear instructors give leaders painstaking details on how to do a move, how to do it that make them look good, and this is the part I love the most, that the follower will “just know what to do.” Well, yes and no! Another thing you don’t hear is ” what men want ” from you, as a follower, in the dance floor
If you have been a victim of this style of teaching at some point along your dance journey, allow me to explain to you what men really want from you when you’re out there dancing.
So, let’s begin with what men want…
The simple concept
As a follower, there are three simple concepts you need to know about us, meaning male dancers.
What Men Want is to Be the Best.
I believe this is a little known truth: Women may dance more in general, but the better dancers tend to be men. “But, why?” you may ask. Because of men’s egos. When men’s egos get involved, once they realize they can be the best at their craft, they will often push themselves even harder to accomplish and maintain the new-found feeling!
In a nutshell, what men really want is to show off their skills, as it engages their competitive nature and demonstrates suitability as a dance partner. Ladies, this is the perfect opportunity for you to give us a quick compliment if the occasion calls for it, or just give us a pretty smile … just saying!
What Men Want is to Be Protective
Whether you admit it or not, women are drawn to the confident male archetype; the powerful but polite gent who can handle any situation without losing his cool. Am I right?
What men want in women, as dance partners, is to acknowledge our inner confidence. Partner dancing is perfect for this, as you can see, because some of our jobs are to guide and protect you, to show you a fun time, to make you feel safe, and to make you feel beautiful while you’re dancing.
So, take a moment, if you can, to let us know something you like about our dancing in general. Like showing appreciation for looking out when that couple dancing next to us was doing all kinds of crazy stuff, yes.
And the not so obvious
We Want to be Ourselves
We all grew up with similar stereotypes, like women did. Men are often expected to be interested in sports, rarely show emotion, and hide their sensitive side.
The reality is what makes a man adore a woman on the dance floor is when she allows him to express the hidden parts of his identity through exploration of movement, whatever that might be.
Ultimately, for both men and women, dance is about finding your identity, your dance persona, and your style. We don’t want just to be told we are handsome or that it was a good dance. We want you to know that we always were those things, and that it is ok to be ourselves.
Ladies, sometimes silence is your best ally and friend.
Now, let’s get the non-dance related, obvious stuff out of the way.
Ladies, we know you love to dance and so do we. As men, it is our biological natural for us to seek physical contact with the opposite sex. Partner dancing provides a safe and fun way to achieve that. Don’t you agree?
I feel the need to get this non-dance related part out of the way so we can focus on the fun dancing part…
Here is what men want in women, whether they are out dancing or not.
1. Feel attractive. Have a neat and clean appearance.
2. Show you great personality. Be friendly and outgoing.
3. Love to dance. But, have a life off the dance floor as well
4. Be attentive, affectionate, and sweet. Remain even-tempered with a good sense of humor.
These are some of qualities men do not like in women:
1. Having bad hygiene. Presenting a messy appearance.
2. Displaying a cold, unaffectionate disposition. Using foul language or having a loud and abrasive voice.
3. Exhibiting neurotic personality traits. Being a complainer.
4. Speaking critically about the way a man leads or dances. Being a control type.
I would say that the majority of guys find it easier to feel closer to a woman who is a good listener and appears interested in what they have to say. Men also enjoy being complimented about their dance ability, intelligence, and appearance. We are all human beings after all.
This is what man are looking for in women at social dances.
Be assertive with your basic steps.
I am referring here to dance 101 stuff. It’s the beginning. It’s also the core of intermediate, advanced, and professional dancing. These are what men are looking for in women at the dancing event.
• The rule number one of following: Follow! Do not do anything you have not been lead to do.
To become the kind of follower men like to dance with, you have to agree to let you and your body be their instrument, so to speak. Dancing is not passive, to be clear. It’s active. Technically speaking here, hold and manipulate your body in such a way that the leader can make it go where they want.
Followers, be comfortable with your own body when it comes to dancing. Allow the leader to move you around the floor and to guide you through the steps. FYI… this doesn’t mean he is going to get frisky with you, but with your permission, he’s going to take you places, so to speak.
• It’s about connection, not how good you look.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more sad to me than seeing followers focus on styling more than on the connection with their partner leader. Of course, styling can be fun. It can even be important. Ladies, this can be very bad for your dancing if you, can’t get it under control.
But, there is a time and place for everything in life including dancing. Confidence and assertiveness are very attractive traits that can carry over your dancing. There’s beauty in simplicity. So, try to keep it simple and feel confident with your own natural styling and allow your smile to do all the talking.
What men want in women, and perhaps the hardest part of being a follower, is patience.
I know this can be hard because you might be terrified about not being able to follow what comes next. Our bodies inherently want to carry themselves where they’re going, along with our own interpretation of the music, based on our own preferences.
Ladies, what men want is for you to wait for the lead to come get you, to animate you, to make you feel alive. Plain and simple.
• What Men want is for you to have a good frame 110% of the time.
Ladies, frame is another key element to communicating with your partner. Without it, you won’t be able to follow what he’s leading you to do.
What’s a frame? Your frame is the configuration of your upper body. When you hold it in the proper way – with your limbs in the right place and with the right muscles engaged – your body will be able to properly feel what signals the lead gives it.
This is a quick reference to proper frame.
What men really want is for you to hold your frame steady with natural tension, subtle enough to simultaneously communicate and be comfortable.
Step on time
• Step on time and be on time.
Maybe this will go without saying, but one of the most important things all dancers need to do is be in harmony with the music. This means listening, being one with the music, and taking your steps on time.
What men want in women, and these are some of the most important things you can do for your dancing, is to be careful, be on time, and always put your feet down on the right beats.
Ladies, stop backlead leading!
I started both leading and following at the very beginning when I was becoming a ballroom instructor, many years ago. It was a requirement in order to become a professional dance instructor. So, I worked at both roles, danced in both roles, and obviously, taught in both roles.
This is a very different story, because what men are looking for in women in the dance club is the dancer who understands her place in the dancing arena. Do you remember the rule number one of following? Exactly; you follow! It doesn’t say anything about backleading at all, does it?
I am not saying, at any point, that you don’t have the necessary skills to do it. I know female dancers that possess the ability to show you something new by backleading . The thing to know is that there is a time and place for it.
So, Ladies, avoid to urge to backlead during your dancing. This will make things more enjoyable for your partner, even if he is a total beginner.
We want you to own your crap and stop complaining.
Dear Ladies, I am pretty sure you’ve probably heard at sometime during your dance career that if there’s a mistake, it’s always his fault. I want to tell you that this isn’t always true.
What men want, as leaders, is to compensate for a follow who is struggling. This might be as easy as slowing down, changing the moves you use, or being more clear on what you would like. But, the fact is that we aren’t supposed to compensate for all the mistakes that happen during the dance.
Compensation is a great thing. But, there’s only a certain amount we can compensate for.
Learn to own the idea of not having the right techniques so you can avoid making mistakes, like not being able to step in the right place, not being able to maintain your balance, or that you are backleading.
Please, take ownership of those mistakes and stop blaming it on your dance partner.
By doing so you might find that mistakes can be made into beautiful, creative things. Why? Because good partners can also adapt to mistakes.
Do your best to compensate around them. Take responsibility for helping to fix or avoid a mistake. Work on your skills to improve yourself and your dancing.
Check this link to help you practice the right way if you are really serious about owning your stuff. The right mindset will help you with the mechanical part of practice. I know because I was there myself when I first started to dance.
Stop the love or hate relationship with leading.
I am pretty sure that you know that the opposite of strong is weak. The opposite of light is heavy. Well, I believe that light and strong leading are not opposites. Better yet, they co-exist.
Perhaps, followers, the question to ask yourself is do you prefer a weak lead or a strong lead? Do you actually know if you have a preference?
I would guess that most followers would say without thinking to much that they don’t enjoy a weak lead. Do you know what that means to you? Are you referring to the skill level, the clarity of the leads, or the physical strength of the leader?
Maybe you’re referring to a ‘strong’ lead as someone who makes you move, or someone that makes something happen in a dance. The word ‘makes’ is important here because it implies that an action results from the forceful input of the lead. Right?
The missing link
Ok, here’s the thing, Ladies, what men want you to understand is that you are missing the point. What you need to grasp are these missing links called ‘frame’ and ‘precision’.
A skilled leader is the kind of dancer that makes you, as the follower, feel both secure and clear about what you should do. The well-mannered use of frame should move the follower’s body precisely, without being pushy and full of confidence. This means he is strong AND weak leader. Yes!
A skilled leader, uses precision leading techniques, and is willing to negotiate a request during the dance. They are a leader who is precise enough in movement to let the follower know exactly what they want, but also aware enough to give the option for an ‘out’ if the follower needs it. In this situation, ‘being forceful’ is not a good thing.
Ladies, this is just the tip of the iceberg regarding this controversial topic about leading and following the right way. Take this information and see how you can apply it in your dancing to help you improve your skills as a follower.
Ladies, calm down your magic hair, really.
Beautiful hair is a magical thing for women, and for men as well. Hair can enhance your natural beauty, but sometimes it can be your worst enemy.
Ladies, your beautiful hair can at times keep us from enjoying ourselves when we’re dancing.
We’re conscious of the fact that learning to dance with your hair down is an important skill for the modern-day dancer. No matter what style you grew up dancing, keep your hair out of your face, and out of our face as well.
To keep your hair out of our eyes, use something like a long elastic headband, pull some of your hair into a hip topknot, or French-braid the hair along your forehead. Please do something along those lines… I’m just making suggestions.
Whether you’re turning, spinning, or just doing a dip, remember that the movement of your hair is part of the dance. Practice how it would look and feel with some of the steps mentioned above so you never get caught looking like an amateur. One word: Hairography (it is no joke). I found this useful article on Dance Spirit. If you want to know more about Hairgraphy, click this link
What men want you to avoid being passive-aggressive.
Have you ever had an unpleasant dance? Maybe your partner squeezed your hand too hard or stepped on your toes? Hmmmm… what did you do?
Did you fix your face into an angry or bad-tempered expression to teach them a lesson? If you did, allow me to enlighten you with a little thing I call the ‘passive-aggressive syndrome.’
Now, what is the ‘passive-aggressive syndrome’?
‘Passive-aggressive syndrome’ is when a dancer uses body language (or, in extreme cases, even words) to indicate to their partner how unhappy they are with the present situation. They do not offer any constructive criticism as to what the issue is or how to fix it.
The symptoms and solutions
Consider these some of the common symptoms:
So… what men want in women is for them to remember these three simple words: Have Fun Dancing! Life is too short to worry about things that make you unhappy. Maybe it’s more than seven words…. The point is, stop this syndrome from taking over your dancing. Let’s leave the passive-aggressive thing at the door, and pave the way for a better, kinder, clearer, and happier dancer.
I believe we all know that these little things happen, and sometimes it is so common that we don’t pay too much attention to them.
I experienced this when I was dancing with this lady many years ago. She stepped on my right big toe so hard that as soon as I finished dancing, I went to sit down for the rest of the night. I was not able to dance for like three months or so.
Did I act ugly to her? No. Did I make a big deal out of it? Nope. Do I still dance with her when I see her out dancing? Yup, still do.
I guess the moral of the story is: We can’t control what’s happening to us BUT we can control how we react to it.
Remember, consistency is key. Progress doesn’t come from doing something once in a while, it comes from doing something every day.I want to share with you one of my favorite quote
“ Discipline in your dance training equal freedom of expression on the dance floor “
So, being a male dancer is about the partnership between performing well and dancing consistently at all times, with any partner. But, most of the time, it takes the right energy, attitude, and skills from you, the female partner, to accomplish this simple task of having a fun dance.
Ladies, what makes a man adore a woman on the dance floor are things like keeping the passive-aggressiveness under control, managing your pretty hair when you are spinning, and fighting the impulse to take control of leading (backleading).
Remember, never stop learning how to develop body awareness and hair awareness when you are dancing. Be good at using your frame to help you follow your partner. As you can see, what men want is to have fun with you in the dance floor. Yup!
So, do you consider yourself a good follower?
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