by Steve Hill
This is that daunting question. You have paid your dance class fee, you can count up to eight and you have danced with 15 fellow students without their suffering a broken toe or nausea. Now the class has ended and it’s a jungle out there!!
The question “Would you like to dance?” is seen by a majority of women as one that men should ask. And, as it is men who are expected to lead the dance, it is very daunting to go from attending lessons to being confident enough to ask a stranger.
Here are some tips and observations to ease this transformation:
1. Do the lessons and learn it. If not satisfied try other teachers and see which one suits you.
2. Chat to your fellow students. They are probably as nervous as you, and will almost certainly dance with you later on.
3. If you are asking an experienced dancer, explain that you are a beginner. Some will turn their noses up – they will die bitter, sad and friendless. The majority will be sympathetic and give you tips as you dance.
4. Always thank your partner for the dance, even if it was grim.
5. If you see two or more women together, ask “Would either of you like to dance?”. If the dance is not a complete disaster, you are almost certain to get a dance with the remaining friend’s.
6. Don’t grope. Any downward sliding of your right hand from your partner’s back is likely to result in ostracism and purgatory!
7. You’re refused! The nightmare scenario! You should not feel that this is your fault. Turning down a civil request to dance is plain rudeness. Some answers are common and can be countered with a little encouragement or gentle humor:
“I’m only a beginner” – reply with “Weren’t we all!”
“I’m not very good” – reply with “I’m not inquiring about you morals!”
“No” – reply with “Which leg is broken?” or “Is it my shirt/flares/after shave?” Remember that you’re the one who’s making the effort here and summoning up all the courage. Occasionally I’ve been so irritated with a haughty refusal that I’ve answered back with “Why are you here then?” or “I’m sorry – this is a dance club – the Library’s round the corner!”. I’ll leave this kind of response up to your judgment.
Above all, if you smile, are well-mannered and clean, most women will tolerate a lack of dancing prowess, and if you’re a keen student and enjoy a variety of dance partners, your transformation from Salsa virgin to Juan Travolta will be rapid!