After reading several blogs from women, I am driven to write again on the subject of men criticising women on the dance floor.
Why do they do this? Does it cover their own insecurity? Or perhaps they really do think they are the greatest tango dancer in the world and we should all learn from them?
I am not a psychologist I can only guess, but what I can say is that it does have an effect on the women; it often drives them away,
Surly this is not what we want; I would think that men have enough of dancing with me in the classes and would prefer to dance with women. Drive them all away and I will be all they have left.
Standing mid floor giving instructions, will not only upset the woman but also all your fellow dancers. We don’t want to come across a bus stop every time we come round the floor, neither do the ladies expect to be the object of everyone’s annoyance. Whispering instructions may be preferable to standing mid floor causing embarrassment, but let’s face it the men also would not like being criticised. Some times with beginners I will offer advice on posture and stance, we can’t lead anything if our follower is not there, but I will never tell the lady where she should move or say she is a bad dancer. If something I have led does not work I will assume either I have not led it well or that the woman is not ready for this particular move. I will leave it there and try something else, after all I have enough in my repertoire no one is watching us, and we are not in an exhibition.
A good leader will feel his way to the ladies level and only exceed her level where he thinks she can follow.
I have often been asked to give classes; I decline because as a shift worker I cannot regularly give my time, also I am not trained to teach. True, most dance teachers are also not trained to teach, but here we have a teacher who is, so I will bow out and just give the beginners my time and stick to some one to one coaching.
Now the business of picking fault is not the total reserve of the men out there. This may come as a surprise, but even I am not immune.
In Amsterdam 1998 we attended beginner’s classes at Tangomagia and the way some of the more advanced women picked on me almost killed my tango career there and then. Had I not been with my wife and able to say I did not want to change partners I truly think I would not have stayed the course. So women, I know how you feel.
My dancing still is far from perfect and still I get women who delight in picking at my faults, fortunately after this long, I know what most of my faults are and just ignore the critics, most of the time. One or two just annoy me, so I vote with my feet and dance with others. No one is perfect and believing you are will not make you a good dancer or teacher. Often in class I will spot faults in others that I myself have. This is not hypocrisy, knowing my own faults helps me see them in others, and hopefully if caught soon enough I can stop others developing the bad habits that I seem to be stuck with.
So my advice is: Women, dance only with those men who please you, if someone constantly picks on you, it is due to their inability. Better to be sitting down listening to the music than being miserable while you dance.
Men, dance for pleasure, not to show off, and if a woman does not get what you are leading, do something else. You are not there to teach but to give your partner pleasure while enjoying yourself.
When you stop trying to be something you are not, and stop trying to make your partner something he/she is not, as a couple you will look better, be better dancers, and enjoy your dancing so much more. As I often say basics danced well can look great where as bad dancing never looks good, no matter how advanced it is.