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Thread: Stop calling me a man!

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    How's it all going Double Trouble? Has been a few months of practising
    Getting good enough to getting the leads uneasy enough to up their leading game? Got a printed top to explain things simply yet Double Trouble?

    Maybe seeing it less as resistance, as yet to see the light of some positive aspects?
    There's a sexist undertone to calling leads and followers guys & gals.
    It's shorthand stereotyping. I can see why in part - "Leads! Your footwork...." is a bit more formal than "Guys! Your foootwork".

    The "10th commandment" is an eyebrow raiser. Maybe they got stuck at 9 hehe. I think it's graceful segued to "THE TEN MOST IMPORTANT THINGS".

    The lead leads. The follow follows. Taken as it is, aren't they banning back-leading or hijacking?

    From my perspective, it's a great Blink-type shortcut to find out all sorts of interesting things about the people who're reacting to the situation (views on gender roles, openness, dance teaching, dance learning style, how secure they are about themselves and their dancing). On top of a person's comfortableness with closeness to the same sex, holding hands & such to do the dance - there's pride, secureness in ability to dance in there too.

    People can help out by stopping promoting a link between gender & dance role (lead/follow). (Maybe even think about the whole concept of why in the dance, lead can't be a role passed between the two dancers).Simply just use lead/follow more.

    A woman being able to equally if not better be able to lead than a guy? Ooh, that might just be a hit to the pride of some men!

    Learning both sides of the dance is a great thing to do. Shame it's frowned upon, and not seen for the benefits, including making you a much better dancer. For a guy not to have been led misses out on understanding how what their lead is like, and what is going on the other side of the dance.
    What would you do if you wanted to get so good at a dance, that you could teach it?
    Well, if done right, i'd imagine it'd be learn to dance both lead and follow!

    Why some prefer female teachers - because you know that they've got the female styling, the following down, and have worked hard on the lead (they're up in front of everyone demonstrating it). Male teachers seem to need to overplay/satirise female styling so it comes across as a joke, whilst teaching female styling/follow movement.

    Do women ever complain about dancing with a female teacher as a demonstration follow? (Apart from embarassment/nerves of everyone watching!) As a side note - are Ceroc Taxi dancers required to be able dance both roles/know the steps from both roles?


    Dancing normally as a beginner lead at a ceroc gig last night , the vast majority of follows I danced with last night were great sports, and whilst left visibly bemused & confused, they had a smile on their face whilst dancing and were game for humoring a beginner for a song or so.
    It was fun to be able to ask one of the lasses who looked like they'd sucked on a lemon due to my (currently atrocious) lead ~"You should lead me, I don't think my lead's strong, and it'd be great to learn how to lead by feeling how it's like"
    The face of "You want me to lead" expression were priceless

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Trouble View Post
    Me "I've got more balls than you, Love"
    Love it

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by t0mt0m View Post
    How's it all going Double Trouble? Has been a few months of practising
    Hi t0mt0m, welcome to the forum.

    I've been really lazy with my leading and have defaulted back to following recently, but I'm concentrating more on my Lindy Hop at the moment - one thing at a time.

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by t0mt0m View Post
    People can help out by stopping promoting a link between gender & dance role (lead/follow). (Maybe even think about the whole concept of why in the dance, lead can't be a role passed between the two dancers).Simply just use lead/follow more.
    Firstly, I really don't think same-sex dancing works most of the time socially. With the best will in the world, dances are not inherently designed for optimum performance as same-sex couples. It's possible to put on excellent performances, and it's possible to create interesting shapes and movements, with different genders, but in the main, many dances don't work quite so well as MM / FF.

    Taking Tango as an example, a few obvious problems:
    - Heels - it's much more difficult to follow if you don't have heels to help posture.
    - Height - women are shorter than men on average, and in a progressive dance it helps for navigation if you can see the couple in front of you.
    - Shape - most men are not really the right shape for dissociation; they're not as flexible as women generally.

    That doesn't mean it's impossible to dance that way, of course, any more than it's impossible for a short man to dance with a tall, non-heel-wearing woman. And none of this is set in stone - there were several same-sex couples at a Tango venue I went to on Friday, for example. But frankly, they were all a bit problematic; the MM couple were all nuevo style, and the FF couples were pretty poor floorcraft-wise.

    The only really superb and natural follower I've seen in Tango is Flavio de Brito - he's the only man I've actually wanted to dance with socially.

    All that said:
    Quote Originally Posted by t0mt0m View Post
    Learning both sides of the dance is a great thing to do. Shame it's frowned upon, and not seen for the benefits, including making you a much better dancer.
    Absolutely. There's a real benefit in learning the other role, at least to a point, because that knowledge it will definitely help you in understanding your "main" role.

    Again, in Tango, I regularly get everyone to reverse-roles in my classes. And I'm personally doing a follower workshop in a few weeks also.

    But I think it's important to distinguish between learning and social dancing.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Firstly, I really don't think same-sex dancing works most of the time socially. With the best will in the world, dances are not inherently designed for optimum performance as same-sex couples. It's possible to put on excellent performances, and it's possible to create interesting shapes and movements, with different genders, but in the main, many dances don't work quite so well as MM / FF.

    .
    I dont know, ive had some great same sex dances..... Lory, Maxine, just to name a couple have been some of my most memorable of an evening.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Absolutely. There's a real benefit in learning the other role, at least to a point, because that knowledge it will definitely help you in understanding your "main" role. <snip> But I think it's important to distinguish between learning and social dancing.
    I agree - I think it's something that both lead and follow need to feel comfortable about, for to work for it to work well socially.
    CAn't and probably not wise to push it on people whilst they're learning, but at the same time - I don't think it necessarily right to promote guy=leader, female = follower you can be neutral about the language and say leads, followers.
    In MJ/Ceroc - do women be leaders if there are a lot more females than guys in lesson? Seems female leads are accepted if a class is female heavy (at least in salsa) - yet guys seem a lot more reticent about being a follow (probably much easier for a guy to be led by a female lead, than a male lead).

    Having that "so this is how my/the correct/incorrect lead feels like" moment is useful. That and understanding the why behind the lead itself - empathy in a way, that you're seeing what you're doing from your partner's perspective (e.g. you learn just why correct hand position is needed, so you're giving clear lead signals for example; or where a firm lead is needed. Appreciating what too much spinning and whirling feels like as a follow probably useful too! (I'm awful at that so far ).

    How do you implement this? Training females the lead steps, and males the follow steps, then swapping roles as a start? A female who is happy to lead and follow is an great partner!

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble View Post
    I dont know, ive had some great same sex dances..... Lory, Maxine, just to name a couple have been some of my most memorable of an evening.
    Well, you can get away with it to a point in traditional Modern Jive and other swing dances. But it goes quite pear-shaped, quite quickly, when you look at in-hold dancing.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Firstly, I really don't think same-sex dancing works most of the time socially. With the best will in the world, dances are not inherently designed for optimum performance as same-sex couples. It's possible to put on excellent performances, and it's possible to create interesting shapes and movements, with different genders, but in the main, many dances don't work quite so well as MM / FF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble View Post
    I dont know, ive had some great same sex dances..... Lory, Maxine, just to name a couple have been some of my most memorable of an evening.
    I am quite happy to dance with other females, the only problem I find are their breasts getting in the way (do men find this?). It can actually be really useful feedback when dancing with another woman, so have used this as a learning tool. When I used to taxi, Iíd often get women come up to me and ask me to dance with them.

    I used to enjoy dancing with JayJay (remember her?) and could try out any new moves drops etc on her.

    I also like to dance with other female leads such as Trouble and Batgirl, as you can steal the lead off of them and vice versa.

    As for men dancing with men I have watched some fantastic dancing, and they seemed to be enjoying it.

    Oh yes I do enjoy dancing with men as well by the way.

    So I think it depends on the individual and possibly the reason why you dance.

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    Sexual Differences in Dance/Sport

    I think it's well established that there are differences between the sexes when it comes to sports like dance.

    I remember when I used to fence, when my national ranking at foil was jumping around between 50 and 100 for the men I don't remember ever being beaten by a woman. And I could be beaten easily by some of the top men

    However, I would have been laughed at if I'd insisted on competing with the ladies - and I did rather like the idea of wearing those plastic breast protectors

    What I'm getting at is that there are sexual differences* and they should be celebrated, not seen as an excuse for complaints and litigation

    *In my case, quite small diffrences

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    One thing I've noticed is that when I see a lady doing a lot of leading and seldom following a male lead I find myself more reluctant to ask her for a dance.

    I'm not sure why. It's a bit of "maybe she doesn't want to dance with men", a bit "maybe she wants to practice leading", some "she leads better than me, I'm scared to ask her for a dance because I'm not good enough" and possibly other reasons I haven't thought of yet.

    Joyfully on Saturday I spotted one such lady lead stood inexplicably alone near the dance floor and had the courage to ask for a dance. I (still) can't follow so didn't offer her the chance to lead, but fortunately she had no hesitation agreeing to dance.

    It was wonderful - probably the best follower I danced with all weekend, and one of those dancers that brings you up nearer to their level. That one dance (over two songs - at her request) made my entire weekend.

    I don't resent her choosing to lead a lot, I do regret not asking her for a dance before now, and I have renewed desire to be able to follow so I can experience her lead..

    I just find it odd that I feel discouraged from asking ladies that regularly lead if they'd like a dance.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Hey Cederic - please don't not ask the lady leaders to dance.

    There is a good chance that the reason she is leading is because she is fed up having to battle or stalk to get a dance with a male lead because of the cr@p gender balance at the event. It could be that she considers that it is much better to dance with a lady - and actually dance - after all, that is why she is there - than to stand on the edge of the dancefloor like a spare part.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by sunnybunny View Post
    Hey Cederic - please don't not ask the lady leaders to dance.
    I do ask a lot of lady leaders to dance. It's when a lady dances 80-90% of the time with other ladies that I find myself reluctant to ask. partly for the reasons above.


    There is a good chance that the reason she is leading is because she is fed up having to battle or stalk to get a dance with a male lead because of the cr@p gender balance at the event. It could be that she considers that it is much better to dance with a lady - and actually dance - after all, that is why she is there - than to stand on the edge of the dancefloor like a spare part.
    If there's a gender imbalance then there are often ladies that don't/can't lead sat out too, so it's easier to find them and ask for a dance, and/or I find myself being grabbed as I leave the floor.

    I'll try and force myself to ask more lady leaders for a dance - if they do want to lead they can always just say no

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    Re: Sexual Differences in Dance/Sport

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    I think it's well established that there are differences between the sexes when it comes to sports like dance.

    I remember when I used to fence, when my national ranking at foil was jumping around between 50 and 100 for the men I don't remember ever being beaten by a woman. And I could be beaten easily by some of the top men
    Perhaps the pool of women fencers is much smaller - fencing not being an obvious female sport.

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    Re: Sexual Differences in Dance/Sport

    Quote Originally Posted by frodo View Post
    Perhaps the pool of women fencers is much smaller - fencing not being an obvious female sport.
    Fencing is not an obvious sport. It's a minority sport.

    As far as women in fencing is concerned, our only gold fencing medal was won by a woman.

    Consider tennis, which is a much more popular sport. I've heard that you'd have to get as low as 500 in the world rankings before you could find a man that the top woman player can beat!

    However, on the face of it you could claim sex descrimination if Mr 499 were told he couldn't enter a women's tennis competition because he's the wrong sex. But only if you were very thick.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    [this is my op-ed for the week. in other words, I've quoted some people out of context and got on a high horse since that makes it all the more interesting.]

    Some of the comments on the natural differences between men and women had me checking the website url to make sure I wasnít reading an anti-suffragette archive from the 1890s.

    The fact is that any real or imagined differences between men and women are no longer justification for organisations prescribing roles based on gender. A competitive sports organisation may regulate itself based on sex-differences, but a jive night is neither a sport nor a competition. Prescribing roles based on sex at a jive night is much like making the women do the cooking and the men the plumbing at a home management course. I imagine you get more women on cooking courses and more men in plumbing, but I donít imagine any organisation legally enforces this.

    But then there is an important difference between jive and plumbing, (this is where the panto starts) and here it is:

    If you go to a speed dating night (unless advertised otherwise) you would expect the men would date women and women date men.

    But if you go to a reputable sports massage course, men will massage both men and women, and the other way around. If you expect otherwise youíve signed up for the wrong kind of massage course.

    So why are the expectations of a jive night more closely aligned with speed dating than with massage, even though massage is far more intimate than almost any regular jive class? In my opinion, its to do with sex.

    To repeat, I donít think the justifications which compare jive to competitive sports have anything to do with it. They guy who leaves Andyís class because he is partnered with another man is not objecting to that manís height or ability to dissociate. He does not walk out of the class if he ends up with a women taller than him, or one that isnít wearing high heels or any of the other (frankly) silly reasons put forward as to why men can not follow and women can not lead. He is not concerned with the manís ranking, or any supposed genetic propensities that make the competition with other followers unfair. He objects because at some level he perceives dancing as a sexual activity, and he doesnít want to be engaged in a homosexual activity.

    A heterosexual man will happily put his head between another manís legs and shower naked next to him afterwards as long as you call what they are doing Ďrugbyí. But he will not happily hold hands walking down the street. Why?

    Same reason. Hand holding is associated with sex, whilst rugby isnít. Where is my team mate during the scrum again? (hint: the panto has started).

    So what Iím saying is, organisations that do not let men follow and women lead in their classes are reinforcing the belief that dancing is a sexual activity. Which isnít surprising since its easier to sell a sexual activity than Ďa gender neutral contact based dance to modern music.í And isnít necessarily Ďbadí. As a society we may as well decide some activities are related to sex and other arenít. When drunk you can put your arm around another mans shoulders and still be a bloke, but you canít hold his hand.

    But what is weird is that for many of us who have been dancing for a while, dancing is rarely sexual. At least for me, and I would love to see more organizations take the lead and promote dancing as a sexually neutral activity. In other words, it can be very sexual. But it can also be artistic, fun, playful, platonic, aggressive, boringÖ a platform for a whole palate of possible emotions and kinds of relationships.

    Besides which, at a purely technical level, if more women lead and more men followed, we would have more people better at both.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amir View Post
    But if you go to a reputable sports massage course, men will massage both men and women, and the other way around. If you expect otherwise youíve signed up for the wrong kind of massage course.
    I think you will find that it is possible to stipulate the sex of someone who is going to be hands-on. At least in certain circumstances. For instance, my daughter responded to a job ad to join security at Gatwick that said words to the effect "women wanted". This was legally possible because women search women and men search men. The law makes this possible. There is no physiological reason why you can not search members of the opposite sex. But the law recognises that you have to make some exceptions.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amir View Post
    But what is weird is that for many of us who have been dancing for a while, dancing is rarely sexual. At least for me, and I would love to see more organizations take the lead and promote dancing as a sexually neutral activity.
    I agree with this. In fact, the more I dance the less I find the actual act of sex "sexual"

    Quote Originally Posted by Amir View Post
    Besides which, at a purely technical level, if more women lead and more men followed, we would have more people better at both.
    I think this is correct. But I'm sticking to my guns that men should not line up as women because an embrace from a strange man might cause offence to other men and it's not what men signed up for. Rumours that you "have to dance with other guys at Andy's classes" might also cause me to lose income and that's much more important.

    A huge number of couples say they met 'dancing' and it will always be true that dance is a great medium for meeting the opposite sex. For most men the art of the dance is secondary to their main purpose.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    Rumours that you "have to dance with other guys at Andy's classes" might also cause me to lose income and that's much more important.
    Have you considered that there might actually be a huge demand for that, especially in the Brighton area, which appears to have appointed itself as the Gay Capital of the UK.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by sunnybunny View Post
    Hey Cederic - please don't not ask the lady leaders to dance.

    There is a good chance that the reason she is leading is because she is fed up having to battle or stalk to get a dance with a male lead because of the cr@p gender balance at the event. It could be that she considers that it is much better to dance with a lady - and actually dance - after all, that is why she is there - than to stand on the edge of the dancefloor like a spare part.
    But you can have fun being the lead at the same time. It need not be a chore.

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    For most men the art of the dance is secondary to their main purpose.
    I sense a poll in the making...

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    Re: Stop calling me a man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    For most men the art of the dance is secondary to their main purpose.
    That would have described my original intentions, however, I quickly learnt that I actually enjoyed dancing anyway and my 'purposes' were reversed in importance.

    IMO, whilst it is important to have the freedom to choose. That is a man should have the freedom to choose to follow in a class and a woman should be able to choose to lead; but also a man leading should be able to choose not to lead another man and a woman following should be able to choose not to be led by another woman.

    Now there, I believe, is the complication that will prevent it from ever becoming acceptable. The teachers would need to make it clear at the beginning of the class that this is the situation and the resulting issues from leaders and followers choosing who to dance with in lessons would be a nightmare.

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