Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Friends Don't Let Friends Dance Big

I hated dancing in a small space when I started. Now, I realize that it's a positive challenge to keep my partner safe, have fun, and dance to the music on a crowded floor. Sure, I've modified some of what I might do without others on the floor; but the reality is, sometimes the floor is crowded at the good clubs. Dancing in a small space can be a blast, ASSUMING the people around me have some clue.

Picture This...
I'm at my favorite club the other night and it's prime time. Johnny Polanco's band is burning and the floor is crowded with sexy couples. I find a spot that's smaller than I'd like, but very workable. Then, this guy comes on the floor next to me and starts dancing like he's the only one on the floor. He throws his partner into me, and then into my follow a few seconds later. My partner was unhappy, and the look on her face showed she was very uncomfortable. I spent the rest of the dance in defensive mode, keeping my partner away from him so I would get bruised instead of her.

My partner thanked me for protecting her, and this guy's follow apologized to me when the dance finished. I assured her that I knew she's at the mercy of the lead, and it's not her fault if she gets danced into another couple. This idiot was clueless. He hit me and others while throwing his partner around like a rag doll, and one couple left the floor because they got tired of being stepped on. But he was in his own world; I'm sure he thought his partner was impressed with his "cool moves." He never said "sorry" or acknowledged that he had abused others around him. He simply carried on as if he were full-blooded royalty who owned the place, and the rest of us pawns should've been genuflecting, groveling, and respectfully leaving the floor to its rightful king.

He had a table of four guys with him and they had to see the destruction left in his wake. But nobody pulled him aside and said "Hey, when it's this crowded, you need to dance tighter."

It can be sooooo simple: Try taking smaller steps! And practice your dancing assuming you have limited space. I've seen some fantastic couples grooving in postage stamp-sized areas, and I've come to respect the skill involved.

If your friend is dancing inconsiderately, be a real friend and let them know. As long as this guy remains clueless, he’ll do it over and over. Somebody needs to lend him a clue, and since he’s your friend, let him in on the secret that everybody else knows.
If I'm not in bed by eleven at night, I go home.
-Henny Youngman


  1. I totally agree with u, Don. It is a very important part of the dance floor etiquette. If I happened to dance with "ego maniacs" I as a follow would use my "tricks"- I would slow down a bit, start looking around at other couples that I am getting bumped to b/c of his careless lead and just use my facial expressions to show him that we need to respect others' dance spots.
    If this doesn't help - I would smile and whisper- can we be more carefull so I wan't get killed on the dance floor? Ususally it helps- but sometimes- it is hard - there are some " clueless idiots" out there.

  2. I agree. IF you can get their attention and if they respond to hints/looks, then that is fine. I start nice and if they ignore me occasionally I've gone on the offensive and slowly backed my rear end into their space, making sure he knows if he wants to take obnoxious space, I'll return the favor. But it's a silly game and you and I shouldn't have to do that sort of thing. Unfortuately, the type of guys who are inconsiderate will read this and assume we are not talking about them.

    Does anybody else have some strategies they use for these types of leads?

  3. As the follow, other than severe social conditioning or laziness, is there any reason she didn't say to her lead "You know you danced into 2 or 3 other couples on the floor, right?"

  4. I suspect that depends on the dynamics of the situation. Being a guy I can't totally put myself in her shoes.

    For one thing, if the guy doesn't pay any attention to the space around him, I doubt anything she says will make a difference. He's already too into himself. (If he didn't notice he danced her into others, I doubt he would pay attention to her AFTER the dance.)

    In the beginning, most women put up with whatever happens, thinking that is the way it is. I suspect a more mature, stronger follow would have walked off the floor. (They should, if they are stronger they will have lots of choices for partners.)

    The format of the dance puts the burden on the guys around to influence other guys directly, with the ladies mostly supporting by saying "no thank-you".

    I'd love to hear what the ladies find as the most effective strategy for this situation.

    Awareness among the men is critical, as I may be blind to things that are obvious to others. That's where having real friends can help.


I love feedback. Your thoughts, feelings and comments are appreciated. Civil disagreements and other points of view are always welcomed!

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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero