/ All rights reserved, February 2007 / Joe Donato is a popular teacher of American Style Ballroom as well as Argentine Tango, and the Latin Rythym dances in the Philadelphia area, USA
It’s a world-renown tradition that re-emerges in pop culture every few decades or so, and has recently been sweeping the nation, the television, the movies, and your kitchen floor. Though it may be rare to find a man who does it well, it is a time tested activity that gets burned into our psyches with every Disney cartoon we feed our kids. So if ballroom dancing has such a dramatic hold on society, and on our women, why are so few men interested in it?
At the same time, the majority of dance instructors and studio owners are female. They may be excellent dancers, and may have excellent people skills, but being a member of the opposite sex, their brains are not wired like a man’s brains. When they teach, they appeal to the feminine nature of the dance. But the typical male is not motivated by “feeling light and free”. The average Joe is not concerned with being able to move his hips like a Cuban. He is however, motivated by being able to make his woman feel light and free and floating. If he can get a woman to move her hips like a Cuban, and a smile on her face, he just might be interested.
I was forced to ponder this question after I chose this as a part-time career just a few years ago. I was looking for something that kept me physically active and away from a chair and a computer screen, yet was a little more intellectually stimulating than UPS. Little did I know what profound effect it would have, not only on my financial stability, but my social life, my personal relationship with the opposite sex, and my overall peace of mind, body and spirit. Though I still remain to be the only guy in my circle of friends who is in on this little secret, I’m looking to change that. Here’s my take on why there are so few men who embrace this activity:
It is my conviction that the number one reason why more men don’t dance is because instinctually, men shy away from anything that has the potential to make them look incompetent in some way in front of their woman. It’s a natural primordial instinct. The only thing worse then not impressing a woman on the dance floor, is completely disappointing a woman on the dance floor. To an inexperienced man, the dance floor is not as much a place of energy, and fun and stimulation on all levels, as much as it is a giant examination table.
So how does he do that? Simple: In dancing, what the woman needs, is a good leader. She needs her man to be able to lead her around the floor. If the man can learn to do this, he truly does not need fancy steps to put a smile on the woman’s face. It’s really that simple… and that difficult! But it doesn’t have to be an elitist skill, reserved only for the incredibly gifted. Being a good leader is a practical, purpose driven, acquired skill.
When my dance teacher was first teaching me Argentine tango, she made it a point to only teach me the basic cross step, and then said to me “If you can do that, and nothing else, you’ll make a lot of women happy and they’ll want to dance with you all night long.” That was all I needed to hear. I focused on just getting that step down, and didn’t get preoccupied with fancy footwork, dramatic turns, or fancy hand flair. I had a specific task set out to accomplish, and it wasn’t “be a good dancer”. That’s a vague, broad, general goal. This goal was far more purpose driven. It was “get confident with leading the cross step ’till it’s a no-brainer”. There can be a lot of multitasking in Ballroom Dancing, but when you’re learning, don’t get caught up in it. There’s no need to be out tromping around on the floor, failing at the five different things. Men are methodical creatures by nature. We tend to only master one thing at a time. If we start to multitask in the learning process, things can get messy. And when things get messy, we feel incompetent and the woman feels “unsafe”.
Being a good leader in any dance is one of the first, and most important of many individual disciplines, that make you a better dancer each time you go out on to the dance floor. You’ll experience victory, and a sense of accomplishment, in small increments. But when you start to add them together, you’ll be amazed at the progress you’re making. You’ll actually start to enjoy the process, instead of just enduring it. And if you persevere, satisfied women will follow. Trust me. (Note: It is illegal to reproduce this article without the expressed written consent from Joe Donato & DanceWay.com Team)
Joe Donato has been teaching ballroom dancing in the Philadelphia area for three years. What started out as a part time job during the off-seasons of his Video Production business, has turned into a passion and a nutritious part of a well-balanced lifestyle. He is proficient in traditional Waltz, Tango, and Foxtrot as well as Argentine Tango, and the Latin Rythym dances as Rumba, Salsa, Merengue, Mambo. He also has a passion for Swing (Lindy, West Coast, East Coast, Jitterbug), and can be found frequenting Swing, Ballroom, and Argentine Tango dances all around the Philadelphia area. He excels in getting people who have never learned to dance, to achieve confidence quickly. He is also passionate about privateadvanced instruction, where he can personally devote his attention to taking individuals to a completely new level of dance that they didn’t know they could achieve. Visit his ever-evolving website www.ballroomjoe.com and browse some of his informative articles, or for information about his classes