Question by User just4style42
I keep getting turned down for dances and it kinda messes with my self esteem, so I’m curious if maybe I’m doing something wrong, or if my experience is typical. I’d say that I go to a lot of events that play salsa and other latin music, but the number of actual dancers, whether seasoned veterans, or persistent beginners is not in the majority. I think this may be part of the reason that I get turned down. I’ll ask somebody to dance and they’ll usually wait a second while they look me up and down then say no. I often get people who turn me down cause they have a boyfriend or fiance, which I find a bit puzzling. I do lindy hop as well and dance with plenty of married women and women that have boyfriends and it’s not an issue.
Is it possible that there is just a divide in the ettiquete between the dances, or is it a divide between people who dance frequently and people who are just on a night out with they partner? I think I get turned down like more than 50% of the time, whereas with lindy hop, or even bachata socials its maybe 10%. I’m not great, but I do get a good amount of compliments from the people I dance with. So I don’t think it’s an issue with my dancing.
Also I’ll ask some of the people I do know and a lot of times they’ll say “no thanks, I’m tired/taking a break.” I find this hard to believe. I try to dance most songs and almost never take breaks. I’m there to dance not to sit around. Overall I find this all really discouraging. It sucks to have four girls in a row turn you down. Then I have to try to keep track of everybody who’s said no as I try to find somebody to dance with. But I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. I dress well, I don’t make unwanted advances, I dance decently, I’m cleanly etc.
And it’s such a disparity from person to person cause I’ll dance with one person and they’ll praise me and think I’m way better than I actually am, then I’ll have other girls who pretend not to see me and turn around to talk to somebody just as I’m about to ask them. Does anybody have any insight into my situation?
Some places are just very cliquey. You won’t get dances unless you are part of their circle. Some Latin clubs are more of a bar scene, i.e. for hooking up, then you are judged based on if they want to sleep with you, not if they want to dance with you.
I would go to socials, people tend to be a lot more open to dancing there, because well, that’s the point.
Then to try bar/clubs you have to just know the area. For example where I live there are not a lot of good dancers, but everyone tend to be friendly. A 20 minute drive and that area have better dancers, but they are very unfriendly, and there’s a group of good dancers from the local college with their noses up in the air. I stay away from them. The thing is, while they are better dancers they are really not much compared to a city about 45 min drive away… Etc you get the point. Know your area.
If you want to break into unfriendly territory, it takes time. You have to be a regular and become familiar. It helps to go with your own people, so the night won’t be a bust, and then try to Branch out and dance with the locals. Once they know you it’ll be easier to get dances.
But if you see the “elites”, like the group from the local college I mentioned, just stay away, they are not worth your time.
Salsa music =/ social dancing.
If you’re at a social, people are there to dance and socialize. If you’re at a bar, people are there to drink. Learn the difference before you end up in trouble
Latin parties are for drinking and bad dancing. It’s a bar night. If they are not into you, you probably get turned down
You should definitely try places that are sponsored by salsa dance studios ..
In my experience as a follow, I only say no to people when:
1. I have danced with them before and they were so rough that they’ve hurt me,
2. They are someone who has hit on me and I’ve turned down but they continue to do it,
3. They’ve touched me inappropriately,
4. I’m in a serious or in-depth conversation with someone else (this happens a lot, especially since salsa is the only place I catch up with certain people! Or if I’m in an interesting conversation with a new person),
or 5. I’m actually too physically exhausted to dance. This does happen. I danced too much a couple nights and almost passed out. The last time was three hours of non-stop dancing in heels with no air conditioning and half a bottle of water. I didn’t want to turn anyone down and everyone was so good so I didn’t listen to my body. I had to walk to the seats with my vision starting to black out. So some of your follows might actually be tired when they say that’s why.
I’d suggest sitting and observing for a while one night and make sure to listen to subtle clues. Are they treating everyone else the same way? Do they seem intimidated about dancing? Even with everyone except my #3’s, I’ll dance with them every once in a while to see if it’s changed. This is obviously just one follow’s perspective, but most of this has applied to all the dance scenes and types of venues I’ve frequented.
It also might not hurt to ask someone from the scene who you trust. I like to think that I would tell any of the above what the cause was if they asked. I think it’s nice that you’re trying to figure it out. It shows that you respect other dancers and yourself. Good luck!
Edit: Add on 6. They are so drunk they make the dance unsafe for us or dancers nearby.
lots of possibilities…
if it’s a latin-style restaurant that happens to have some dancing, this can be normal… they often didn’t come to dance with you (or anyone else for that matter). you’re interrupting them in what they were doing. the fact that you’re getting 50% to say yes is a big up.
if it’s a latin-themed bar/club in some white downtown area or a mostly-white-people-bar that happens to have a latin night, it’s also pretty normal. in this case, most women are still acting on the social convention of white hip-hop/edm clubs where a girl dancing with a guy means she’s interested in seeing where things go. occasionally you’ll meet a girl who has done salsa socials and they’ll be fine with a dance, but nothing like at a social.
socials and “salsa clubs” (dedicated specifically to salsa/bachata, not much reggaeton if any) are a different story. assuming it’s a social and you’re getting shot down hard:
there’s a possibility that they see/know you and just think you’re a bad dancer. plenty of girls do this. if this is your case, just comes down to getting better. if you get good enough, there are plenty of women who will even ask you to dance… usually awkwardly while you’re talking to your friends.
there’s a possibility that they’re so unattracted to you they don’t want to dance with you. at socials, this doesn’t happen to many guys usually, but definitely the bottom 10% of guys who are just so offputting get a hard time. maybe a really bad dresser, or obese and lacking confidence, or smells bad. we’ve all seen this guy at the salsa club. he usually doesn’t even know it. i will say though that good skills can make up for obesity as well as being short. one of my friends is this obese mexican guy and he even wears t-shirts making fun of how fat he is. he’s so good though (he teaches lessons) and girls don’t hesitate to dance with him. another friend is this tiny peruvian guy, maybe 5’4″. girls above maybe 5’8″ reject him automatically, so once he started avoiding the tall girls, his rejection rate fell to zero… he’s just very good and the not-tall girls will accept his skills over his shortness.
there’s a possibility you never learned when and under what conditions to ask a girl to dance salsa. you must recognize the signs of “she’s ready to dance” vs “she’d only say yes to maluma right now”. one of the easiest signs is whether she has a drink in her hand. if she does, you’re going to have to be top 10%+ of guys by attractiveness, or you have to know her already for her to put that drink down. following this rule alone (don’t ask unknown girls to dance if they have a drink in their hand), i went from getting rejected sometimes to not being able to remember the last time i was rejected. and i dance a LOT… multiple times a week for the last few years, dancing with literally thousands of women total. if she’s staring at you flipping her hair and smiling, she’s interested and will probably say yes even if she has a drink in her hand. if she’s sitting at a table, especially with who appear to be family, don’t bother… wait til she gets up.
there’s a possibility you never learned how to ask a girl to dance salsa. say nothing because odds are it’s too loud to hear anything anyways and it just makes you look silly. just put one hand out inviting her to connect. i usually give a slight nod too attracting attention to your hand. you do not reach for her hand. it’s like that old scene from the movie hitch… you go 90%, she goes 10%. if you go 100%, you’re that creepy asshole. if you go 90%, you’re the confident suave guy. if she turns you down, give a smile and a nod and move on to the next one.
not saying any of those in particular are what’s happening with you. just that these are the biggest possibilities
If you’re going to a club not a salsa social perhaps the optimistic way of looking at it is that 50% of the women may be into you!
If you get rejections at socials it could be because they are snobs, think you are there just to pick up women, or if they are a beginner they might be intimidated if they have seen you dancing at a high level. Could also be that people might know you dance one style and they dance another, eg LA vs casino etc.
As a lead I tend to not ask women who have horrible breath, terrible body odour, dance in a way that I fear will injure me, have absolutely no sense of rhythm, or have rejected me in the past in a way that seemed unfriendly (will sometimes revisit again a second time just to see if it’s a pattern with them and then blacklist) hopefully you aren’t exhibiting any of those qualities.
Try socials and clubs where people are really there to dance!
As a follow who casually goes to salsa socials (once a month, if that) let me tell you you are not alone. I’m tall, 5’8” on a good day, so a lot of guys don’t want to dance with me. I’m also not part of the cliques that go to these socials, and it’s pretty obvious that they mostly prefer to dance with each other (I get it, I prefer to dance from those I can learn from, especially as a follow).
However, it does start to feel personal after a while. I stopped going for months because I would pay a $10 cover and then dance with maybe 3 people over a 2-4 hour period. I try not to ask men to dance because I feel like it sort of throws them off (the few times I’ve tried this, I get a lot of eye rolling).
I’m engaged, so I really only go to events where people are just there to dance and nothing more. I also try to make myself look available and ready to dance, but I get really tired of trying to play the nightlife games because honestly, I’m past that point of my life. I’m trying to get back into salsa, but it really really sucks to go to an event and stand around watching all of the short girls get asked, regardless of skill.
Sorry for the rant, I guess I’m just glad to hear that other people feel this way, even the leads.
Are you going there alone? I experienced it’s always easier to “get in” when you go there with some friends. Then you can also see easier where you are, like if all of you get rejected for example. Then you also can sit, relax and observe – when someone takes a dance with your friend and enjoys it, it’s also likely that they will dance with you the next song.
I get rejected ALL the time. Mostly cute girls too. But to an extent I think it is because I intimidate them. Both as a dancer and sexually.
Another reason I think is because of this: I never ask a second time if a girl rejects me even only once. If a girl does not have the “social ethic” and agree to dance with anybody [under reasonable circumstances] that rejects me. I put them on the list and show off that I am the best dancer right in front of them.
Girls will think of you as arrogant– only the arrogant women– but that is your swagg. If you do not establish swagg for yourself the rejection will hurt you so much you won’t be able to continue to dance.
You could be forgiving [I never do], but I do say that the guys that don’t let one rejection get to them and keep trying do seem to have an air of influence that I do not; but they do not have swagg. I look down my nose at them and keep moving.
To an extent you have to make sure that there is nothing about YOU that turns girls away.