I want to learn bachata, but I’m not too thrilled about the idea of men touching me like that. Would it be possible for me to only dance with other women? Or does it not work like that?
You can dance with whomever you want. If you want to dance with women I would recommend learning to lead. Typically women learn to follow and men learn to lead. Depending on your local scene people may be weird about women leading.
You can dance with whoever you like (men lead women, women lead men, women lead women, men lead men), that said as others have posted if you want to dance with other women, you’ll be better served learning to lead and inviting people actively at socials since the social norm is that the men invite the women to dance.
Also look into Dominican Bachata which is much more footwork focused and far less body-move than sensual.
Sure, you can dance with another woman, not unusual but I agree learn to lead and follow. And just start with basic Bachata steps in closed position with minimal body contact. Work your way up to Sensual Bachata with closer hold if that’s what you like.
I also wanted add that even while dancing bachata there should be some distance between partners. It can be sensual, yes. But if someone is very clingy, especially for the first dance, this someone has very bad dance etiquette.
And while social dancing it is totally in your right to just leave the situation if you feel uncomfortable. I had to do this a few times but it’s an exception. Usually people are very polite and can read body language well.
You can go to lessons (or social) with a friend and request that you dont change partners and you can just dance with that person. And in social if you learn to follow look for the female leaders or if you learn to lead you will have plenty of women to dance with.
If you don’t want to dance with men, you don’t have to!! You can decline as many men if you want! Like many others have said, if you want to attend socials and dance with women, you should probably learn to lead, since most women learn to follow. It shouldn’t be assumed that someone will like the role of leading or following just because of their gender.
Bottom line: you should always feel safe and respected when you’re social dancing, and if you don’t, you have every right to change the situation(:
I know so many women (myself included) who love to lead! You can totally dance with other women
As others have said, you can dance with whoever you want. But in almost every class or club, the majority of the dances are going to be men leading and women following, so it might be very difficult for you to avoid dancing with men unless it’s a private session or a small group. You’re free to decline anyone who asks you to dance, but saying “no” to every man who asks is quickly going to get awkward. So my advice is try to overcome your discomfort by remembering that bachata looks a lot closer than it actually is. If that isn’t feasible, then pursue another type of dance that doesn’t involve partners, like zumba.
Get to know men and women and dance with the people you’re comfortable with and trust. This is best done by taking classes or joining performance teams once you’ve mastered the basics.
You can also tell the leads you prefer traditional bachata to sensual, which should cut down on the touching you’re likely talking about, but these guys will need to know/care about the difference to get it.
Sure, the “women are followers, men are leaders” mindset was already steadily leaving my local scene before covid lockdowns, I don’t think that’ll have changed when we start up again. You do what makes you feel comfortable!
But I want to address the underlying problem, though: what do you mean with ‘men touching you like that’? If you want to minimize touch to handholds, and the occasional semi-closed position, limit yourself to traditional bachata. Even bachata sensual should always be done with utmost respect for the dance partner.