Question By User azurewingz
I’m an improver. My movements aren’t as fluid as I’d like them to be, and sometimes if the song is long enough, I run the risk of running out of moves. I know most of the songs, know where to put in a body roll when the song slows down, but still a while to go before I can dance to the “song” and not just use the beats as my guide. I still love the dance anyway because learning to dance has been a great way to keep my social anxiety dulled down. I go ask people to dance and 90 out of a hundred times, I can genuinely finish the dance with: “It was a pleasure to dance with you” Last night, though, a dance experience really hit me hard.
Lady comes asks me for a dance and I can tell she’s a pro even as she’s walking in. I’ve never said no to a dance if I can help it, so I reply with “absolutely” and lead her to the floor. Three bars into the dance, I’m in over my head. As a dancer, she’s fantastic. She knows every beat of the song and she intends to dance how the song was intended to be danced to. I , on the other hand, am struggling. I have nowhere near the skill to lead something on that level.
Her facial expressions, body language is screaming at me she needs me to lead her properly to the song and not my amateurish attempts at at the routines I know. I did try my hardest to improvise. But tho look of utter contempt I kept getting from her really kept whittling down my confidence and I started second guessing my lead. I knew it. She knew it. There was a portion I suppose was meant for a shine. I figured that a bit too late. She snatched her hand away and went at the shine with gusto. While I might be comfortable doing shines for a bar or two in salsa, doing that in Bachata is still the stuff of nightmares for me. I follow along as best as I could, then tried to reconnect. To my utter shock, my hand was promptly batted away. For the rest of the song she refused any physical contact.
That was the point I dissociated, I guess. I just kept doing my basics , turns in front of her, as that was all my brain would allow me. She kept dancing in front of me, pulled stunning moves. It was a farce. I couldn’t bring myself to say thank you or go for a hug as the music ended. The rest of the night was terrible for me. I’m lucky enough that I have friends who I can dance with, try new moves with , and they’ll happily dance with me, laugh with me at my good ups and enjoy the dance nonetheless. If not for them, I’d probably have not returned to the dance floor that night. But the experience did leave is mark, as my social anxiety is back in full force and even a complete beginner can tell that I’m second guessing every move that I used to do flawlessly. I know that I will go back dancing.
I know I’ll keep at it never stop trying to get better, enjoying the dance myself and never stop trying to give my partner for the dance the best experience I’m capable of. But I’ve taken giant leaps backwards thanks to that one dance. And I can’t help but feel like an utter garbage that nobody would want to dance with right now. I know it’s irrational but it is what it is. Dancers of Reddit, I’d be really grateful if anyone shared their thoughts and suggestions. Anything that boosts my confidence the next time I’m about to doubt myself, anything that bolsters my determination no matter how low I get, I’ll be grateful for.
She was very rude. I would even go further and argue that you’re wrong. From what you described, she’s not a pro. She’s not even a good follow. By what you described, she wanted to dance by herself and was absolutely not interested in connecting with you. There’s a world of difference between being a good dancer, and a good social dancer, and this experience just showed you why.
Ask any follow you want that have had some experiences in the dancefloor about what is the single most common thing they remember from a good lead, and they will tell you one of two things:
– His lead was very confortable;
– His posture and attitude.
I am yet to meet a follow that considers the amount of steps or tricks the lead can do as something essential. Improving the confort of your lead is not easy, I will give you that, but your posture and attitude is something that has 0 to do with how many classes you have or take. It’s all you, and your willingness to look at your follow, and *SMILE*! So at the very least, rest assured that you can be a great lead even if you just smile and do the basic step. No follow remembers what amazing steps the lead did. All follows remember the joy from the lead, because it radiates to them.
You also have to give yourself a break! You’re berating yourself more then she ever could, in your text you assume she must think terribly of you, and you write such harsh words for yourself. That’s a thought pattern I see in a lot of leads when they’ve had an experience like yours. You deserve so much better from yourself.
Here’s something that has helped me in the past, I ask myself: Why do you assume other people’s expectations when they dance with you?
Hi OP, that follow sounds like a really unpleasant person. Please try to remember that in the Bachata Family these people are the exception and not the rule. It’s for follows like her that the blacklist exists.
On another note, I don’t know if you’ve ever danced follow as an experience, but it is a totally different way to dance. Follows are always reacting on a very low level to how you guide them. This means that most of the time, unless you’re just doing basic and simple turns, the follow won’t really ‘see’ if you do a pass 2 times in a song, and even if she does, she won’t mind. All this to say not to fret if you find yourself repeating a certain pass 2/3 times during a song.
She sounds like a dick. Honestly, if a girl ever bats my hand away, I’ll say “thank you” and walk away. She can dance by herself, since that’s what she wanted anyway.
Anyway, in terms of confidence, I would say two things 1) When you are second guessing yourself is when you have to force yourself to commit hard to anything you feel like doing. Your lead will get shittier if you question yourself; there is no doubt. So just commit and even if you happen to do a move that you’re not happy with, at least it will be led well. 2) Get really good at doing a basic with some body movement. When girls are just starting out, they just want to dance with someone who has good movement. Then they get better and they want someone to do fancy moves. Then they get way better and they just want to dance with someone who has good movement. Get good at grooving to the music and not being too over the top and you’ll always have that as a backup, if not a default.
You’re not going to click with every follow, I have one or two people I don’t ask to dance because neither of us enjoy it. That’s ok.
Your situation was well beyond that. She was probably acting out some insecurity. Maybe felt rejected by someone and needed to show them up. Some urgency pushed her to asking a random to dance with specific expectations. and that was not your fault. She has demonstrated that technical skill doesn’t guarantee self-confidence.
You could have walked away from her once she made it clear she was not going to dance as a partner. She should have apologized and walked off the floor with you if she couldn’t keep dancing with you.
It’s an important lesson when you find yourself with a less skilled partner to turn it down a bit, working on the basics they can follow and practice lead techniques to advance it modestly.
IMO, she is an asshole.
If she asks you to dance knowing that you are a beginner, she should try to adequate to your level so you can enjoy it.
Years ago, some girl did something similar to me in salsa, when I was still a beginner. In the middle of the song, she started to do shines on her own then refused to dance together. After a solid minute of her doing her diva shines, I left the dance floor while she was still dancing alone.
You shouldn’t think too hard about this situation, there are stupid people everywhere.