In my 25 years of teaching ballroom dancing, I have noticed something interesting. The majority of my students are women and most of them are married, yet they come alone. When I ask if their husband would like to join them, the answer is mostly no. Most married men don’t dance because they don’t enjoy it and/or they don’t want to make a foul of themselves on the dance floor. Some even feel embarrased in the presence of their partner and would rather come alone.
This is the story of one of my students Edgar, who signed up for dance lessons alone so that he could surprise his wife on their 30 years anniversary cruise vacation. He said that “he is tired of watching his wife dancing with strangers every year while cruising the world and he made the decision to be the dance partner she always dream of.” That’s a love story.
The truth is that is most men would enjoy dancing if they learn how. Many couples come to my dance studio because they are going to an event and “need” to learn how to dance so that they don’t make a fool of themselves, like wedding first dance.
My experience with couples is that many women don’t let their men lead while learning to dance, which is a turn off for most men. The wife is used to being a boss everywhere and she thinks she can do the same on the dance floor. Wrong. If the women let their men lead, there would be a lot of couples learning to dance together. Ladies, stop bossing your men around and he will enjoy dancing with you a lot more.
Also, don’t compare your men with the male instructor. It’s not fair to him because the instructor looks good because he has been doing it for a long time. One time the wife asks: “why are you so stiff? why don’t you move your hips like him, referring to the instructor? I find myself using a lot of pschycology when teaching couples so that I keep both parties interested. Most women expect way too much from their male partners. The later need a lot of encouragement from the instructor and most importantly, from their own partner.
Men are capable of learning how to dance just like the opposite sex. However, men have a much difficult job at the beginning because, not only they need to learn their steps, but also, they have to lead these steps too and their partners expect them to lead just like a pro and even compare them to the instructor.
There are a few solutions to teaching men that aren’t comfortable of learning how to dance. First, start with an easy dance like the American Foxtrot and a single count East Coast Swing. It’s all about building confidence. Second, ask the wife or partner to let him lead, even if he makes mistakes because practice makes improvement. Third, make sure they video the lessons so that the wife doesn’t try to teach him at home. At least he would have something to refer to because lots of couples argue when they practice and get discouraged.
Dancing can be a lot of fun and both men and women are equally equipped for learning how to dance. No one is at a disadvantage. It’s just a skill, just like another skill, it can be learned and mastered.