Monday, March 31, 2014

From "Wall Flower" to "Dancing Machine" – HOW TO GET MORE DANCES

This blog, originally posted back in November 2007, is dedicated to an iFreeStyle student and friend who, like many shy intermediate salsa, bachata and cha cha dancers wanted to know how to “crack the code” on how to get more dances… This one is for you! Enjoy my friend and I hope it helps!

If you’re SHY or NEW to the Latin dance community in your city, it may be scary to ask complete strangers to dance.  You might be a beginner (stay tuned for more on that), or you may have been dancing for a while and you don’t understand why experienced dancers aren’t asking you to dance. We all have some insecurities and fears of rejection, but know this… rejection has happens to EVERYONE.  The best of the best dancers out there were obviously NOT the best when they started.  You’re not alone.  And there’s ways to get out of the barren dance experience.  

It’s partly a numbers game…  The nature of partner dancing requires some sort of explicit or implicit invitation to dance.  Many times in one night.  Sometimes the answer is “yes”, sometime “no”, or sometimes “later”.  We put ourselves out there and rejection is a real possibility. The frequency of this invitation also invites more opportunities for “no’s” and yeah, that might not sound very encouraging.  If you want to be a dancing machine instead of a wallflower, prepare to put yourself out there.  It’s going to take some courage and know-how to maneuver your way to success, but chances are good that results will come fairly quickly if you give these tips a try.  

These 10 tips on HOW TO GET MORE DANCES apply to both men and women ☺

  1. Smile :) This seems pretty basic, but many people don’t realize that they might have a miserable look on their face – frowning, angry, bored, blank… Someone who wants a fun dance is looking for someone who looks happy and fun.  Check your misery, diva attitude and stress at the door and get ready to have a good time!
  2. Show welcoming body language.  Uncross those arms, face the dance floor, pay attention, stand up, put your drink down…  Like #1, your body language can either say “I love dancing!” or “stay away from me”.  Be yourself and show your happy, fun loving personality - we're drawn to people with a positive outlook and vibe!
  3. Easy Access.  Be near the perimeter of the dance floor (not ON the dance floor unless you want to get smacked in the head or irritate those dancing).  Unless you’re one of the top dancers, most people aren’t going to travel to the other side of a room, behind the plant, or reach across a table to ask you to dance, especially if the person is shy or afraid of getting a “no”.  So, make yourself available.  Easy access, in this case, is a good thing.
  4. Dance on the sidelines:  If you’re not dancing with a partner, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance or enjoy the music.  Many experienced dancers look out for people on the sidelines who show a good sense of rhythm and are enjoying the music.  So why not do a bit of advertising?  Move to the music and show them you can groove!
  5. Be gracious while you are dancing. Many people pre-select their next dance based not only by dance ability, but also attitude and how they observe people treating his/her partner on the dance floor.  There have been many AWESOME leaders I’ve seen on the dance floor who make their partner feel inferior, and that is a BIG TURN OFF.  Also, ladies are notorious for giving that dreaded “bored” look.  This is a guy’s worst fear.  Keep in mind that people may be watching, and a bad attitude towards other people could lose your ticket to a dance with someone awesome, and even worse all of his/her friends.
  6. Thank you partner after each dance.  It’s just common courtesy to thank your partner for sharing 3-5 minutes of dancing together.  You’ll likely be more memorable and perhaps get an invitation to dance again later.
  7. Put together the best you.  Okay, many of you are not going to like this one because it seems shallow.  Hear me out…If you put together a great outfit, shoes that look good and feel good, nice hair, smell good… you’re likely going to feel more confident.  And people are naturally more attracted to confidence.  This doesn’t mean look slutty, or that you need a million $$ outfit with dark shades in a nightclub to look cool.  Present the best you possible. And when you can back up that up with confident dancing, you’ll be on your way to super-dancing-machine status.
  8. Go out dancing more often.  When dancers see you out regularly, they start to recognize you as someone in the community.  People naturally connect with people who enjoy similar things.  With each new dance, you’ll meet new people and even develop a “favourites” list!  Those people know people who know people.  It’s networking.  Soon you’ll have a new group of dance friends who you can enjoy dancing with on a regular basis. Success!!
  9. Share. If you’re out with your friends, make it a point “share” favourite dancers with each other.  You’re getting the endorsement from your friend that you’ll probably enjoy the dance.  And it helps to grow your network of people to dance with.
  10. ****Be proactive & just ask.  This is by far, the easiest and fastest way to transform that barren dance experience to an oasis of dance filled nights.  If you want to dance with someone, ASK.  Simple.  Take control of the situation and go ask them yourself (nicely, of course).  And ladies, it’s equal opportunity in the dance world.  Gone are the days when men do all the asking (although it’s still nice when he does).  So unless you like being a spectator all night, learn to get over it and just ask! 

These tips are doable, right? Ultimately, pro-active people get more out of life. So don’t wait.  Ask. Give some or all of these tips a shot and see how it goes.  Take charge of your night and you may just kick yourself in the butt for allowing yourself so many dance-less nights… Go get’em.  Have fun!  

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