Question By User enetheru
I’ve been practicing my sensual bachata lately, I want to be good, but my personal space, and comfort requirements are rather limiting at the moment.
I’m very lucky to have a friend who helps me to exit my personal space and enter into hers, however I am finding the intimacy a bit overwhelming at times. My propensity is to fail into lust, which is undesirable both for me and them, after all its dancing.
And of course it goes without saying that this is in full respect to the person I am dancing with, making sure that they are at their own level of comfort in terms of dance intimacy.
Also when I consider dance intimacy, its not in terms of things so crass as grinding, but of the soft caress of a cheek, the almost kiss, making good eye contact, very close holds, the push and pull of flirting, the invitation and the almost but not quite acceptance. Tantalizingly getting close to the limits, but never going over them.
For expert dancers, how have you entered into a hyper intimate space whilst dancing and been able to maintain your limits? is it a matter of practice? do you just not have the failure mode I describe?
And a related question, how do you protect yourself against the failure of others who might take things too far and desire more? I imagine this becomes a problem the ‘better’ a dancer you become. For normal life, the answer is rather simple, don’t put yourself in the circumstance that there could be failure, just avoid it if at all possible, but for dance, it’s kind of the point to ride the line.
When it comes to intimacy not being a creep is the most important thing. Women will tell other women about you, and they’ll tell their guy friends – there have been plenty of times that I have been grabbed by a woman so that they can avoid dancing with a creepy guy they were warned about by someone else.
You also have to remember that you are dancing firstmost, that is how you maintain your limits. The focus should be on the music and your partner for those 3-5 minutes, not being as intimate as you can be. All the things you listed as ‘dance intimacy’ can happen within Bachata, but you shouldn’t be dancing with the intention of those things happening. You are in a social scenario in which everyone is dancing with everyone. Once the dance is over you are both free to do as you please – you do not owe each other anything. If someone ‘desires more’ as you put it you simply tell them no.
You should also leave it up to your partner to decide how intimate the dance will be, especially if it is the first time dancing with them – ensure that you pay attention to any signals that a partner gives you. Your relationship with the person is also key, my close friends will dance more intimately with me then they will with other guys and vice versa simply because we are comfortable with each other.
Rapport is necessary for any human interaction, if someone came into the club disheveled and smelling gross nobody would dance with them, any human interaction must first be bounded by rapport, but someone has to take the initiative and make the first move in all circumstances or nobody would even make friends with each other. overwhelmingly that burden has fallen to men, and we have a balancing act whenever we interact with women, dancing is no different. Taking incremental steps and gauging reaction over time until you find the limits, or you reach your own limits(could be just friendship), could take months to build trust, but once that’s done, people start asking things of you. My dance partners are asking things of me that I’m simply uncomfortable with, which is why I am trying to learn how to be comfortable with it. I want to give them what they want.
Unfortunately not many people know how to actually dance bachata sensual and get straight up abusive and invade your personal space while you dance. I don’t mind dancing with you but don’t touch or caress me if you don’t know me. With my close friends and people I know who I am personally comfortable with I can be very intimate and sensual but you won’t like the person you see if we just met and you so much as try to caress me on the cheek in the club. I legit had one guy who first of all didn’t even give me room to dance with anyone else in the club and then he was touching me all over and had the nerve to ask why I was acting distant. He almost got punched out I will just say that.
I see some overreactions in the comment section. I understand where they are coming from, saying that the goal of dancing sensually and intimately is creepy. At the same time, I know you see the same sensual bachata professionals that I do, and they are dancing incredibly sensually. That sensuality makes the dance beautiful and I understand why you want to recreate that in your dancing. So, I see your thoughts as mostly inspired and curious rather than creepy.
That said, I 100% agree with the tone of these comments that suggest you find someone you are comfortable dancing with and practice with them. If that person is at a similar level to you and has a desire to improve like you do with sensual Bachata, you should get together once or twice a week to practice those more sensual moves. You will get a lot more comfortable dancing closely, and you will learn what that sensual connection feels like for dance sake.
As for the question regarding limits, that will vary from partner to partner, and you should be able to sense if your partner is comfortable dancing a more sensual style. But that line that you refer to can be a part of the fun of dancing. For the most part, dancing will be highly platonic and friendly fun. Every once in a while, you’ll dance with someone and have a great connection and the dance will be more flirty and/or intimate. I think this range of connection is felt by dancers at all levels. And, to say that romantic couples havent met on the dance floor would be crazy. So there is always the possibility of something coming from the dance.
From your post and from the comments, it sounds like you understand that there is a line that should be respected for your partners comfort and for yourself. I enjoyed reading your post because I think it speaks to a lot of what people think when being inspired by sensual bachata and zouk. Keep up the practicing and social dancing!