How to Get More Men to Dance

Any female ballroom dancer knows that the majority of classes and socials she goes to is going to have considerably more women than men. And that means longer waits between before paired with a leader.

True, there are increasingly women who learn the leader's part as well, but this remains in the minority. And the reality is that most women would rather dance with men, and vice versa.

I used to think men's aversion to dance came from seeing it as something only for "sissies". In my own research however, I realized that sometimes there are men who want to dance, but don't. And that's a tragedy.

Tune in for why I believe this is - and what both women AND men can do about it:

Transcript:

Hey guys! My name is Ian Crewe. I'm an instructor at the Joy of Dance Centre in Toronto, Ontario, and the creator of Social Ballroom Dance: Where you can learn your dance, at your place, on your schedule.

Of the different group classes that I teach, one of the most common complaints I hear is, "there aren't enough guys!" And they're right - the fact is your average guy is a lot less likely to get into ballroom dancing,  and they're are a lot more likely to quit soon after they start. But why is that?

This is more, I feel, than simply wanting to appear macho, or avoid dancing because they see it as something that only "sissies" do. The truth is your average man is very sensitive to making mistakes publicly. In their minds it correlates with appearing weak in front of others.

Now, this didn't used to be so much of a problem. When we were younger, we were still developing various skills that we needed to be successful, we were finding our chosen field of interest, so a lot of mistakes were inevitable, and we had to make peace with that.

But your average middle-aged man is a lot more secure in their line of work their spouse, their marriage, and their, hobbies, and they have stopped expanding their comfort zone.

For these people, dancing is a particularly terrifying prospect because a) you're gonna make a LOT of mistakes, and b) you have to make those mistakes in front of the opposite sex. And that is your heterosexual man's worst nightmare.

It doesn't help that ballroom dancing is often seen as kind of effeminate. There's a lot of competitive dancers, male dancers, who go out there in the  skin tight leotards and the rhinestones, and that does not exactly help that image (not that there's anything wrong with that).

But to the men who feel that way about ballroom dancing, let me just say that, if you want to dance in a more masculine way, you can! It's all about just expressing the parts of yourself that you want to express. The great thing about ballroom dancing is you can express anything that want to express, and you're doing it in a place where it's socially acceptable - it's pretty much all good over here.

Ladies, if you have a spouse, or a boyfriend, or friend, or whatever who is interested in getting into dance lessons with you, it is so important that you stay patient with them and use encouraging language.

As a general rule, don't correct them unless they're seriously in danger of hurting you; let the instructor work it out with them.

The fact is - and this might seem silly to you - but a lot of guys view any critiquing of their abilities as emasculating: they start feeling like they're being told that you can do their job better than they can, and I've seen a lot of dance couples stop dancing, because the man was getting sick of feeling "less than" in front of his partner and he just dug in his heels.

Now that said, men, don't let your fear of dancing put you in a cage! Life is too short to always stay within your comfort zone. Get to know your fears, and more importantly, get to know what goals or activities they are preventing you from accomplishing. Recognize that you are limiting yourself by giving in to those fears.

Now, I'm not saying that you need to jump straight into a dance studio, but that doesn't mean that you can't still learn to dance.

One of the reasons why I have modified my website now to offer online dance lessons (more on that soon), is so that people like you can learn to dance in the comfort of your own home. So that when you do go out to that social or that dance studio, you have the confidence that comes with the knowledge of knowing more about what goes on in the dancing world, so you're not just going in blind and feeling awkward the whole time.

And let me just say that for men: if you're single, there are a lot of interesting attractive woman out there who LOVE a guy who can dance.

Ultimately, I think we need to make a cultural shift; we need to educate both guys and girls that dancing is okay. Usually if we see an activity that is not as common in society, we're much more likely to see it as strange. But the more common a male dancer becomes, the more okay we're going to be with it.

So I hope you found this interesting or thought-provoking, and if you had any questions about it, you can message me on my Facebook fan page, Ballroom Dancers Anonymous, or you can email me at ian@socialballroom.dance, again that's ian@socialballroom.dance, and next week are we are beginning a new theme, covering how to be more popular as a social dancer.

So until then, happy dancing!