What Does a Lady Want in a Dance?

One man dared to asked the question about what women want in a dance.

They say romance is dead, that there is no excitement or mystery, that the feelings of being special have been relegated to a lost past. But I dared to ask what women want in a dance and women are still looking, searching, longing for romance, yet at the same time seem hesitant to acknowledge it. In one breathe they say dancing isn’t about romance, it’s about presence, openness, excitement, mystery and feeling special yet is this not the very definition of romance. There is a strange duality afoot where they rightly don’t believe in the prince charming form of romance yet can perfectly describe romance as if reading from a dictionary. As men we assume the romance that we read is the romance we need to give but should we not look to the actions of women who find what they are looking for in a dance partner. They don’t seem to be seeking perfection but rather they seem to be seeking romance. This is the dilemma we as men face, what we think women want against what women truly want.

They say that chivalry is dead and many a man and women would agree. But ladies still like to be asked, to be escorted to and fro. It’s a part of feeling special, that this dance is just for them. You see chivalry is about the wellbeing of your fellow partner, that they are protected from the mire. A woman would like to know that while in your arms you offer surety and safety, that their steps will be led with precision, their trust in you well placed. They would like to close their eyes and feel the music’s heartbeat knowing that they shall not collide with others on the floor. They say chivalry is dead yet I hear women talk and see how they act, they may agree chivalry is dead but the man who treats her with respect also gains their respect.

They say that trust is dead and everyone is in it for themselves. But ladies want to trust you, they want to believe you can be relied on. It’s a part of feeling special, that this dance is just for them. They want to believe you won’t hurt them, to trust that they won’t be dipped suddenly or trodden on. They allow you close; they allow you to hold them and they allow you to lead them, and for three minutes they want to trust you that you won’t violate that closeness. They want to trust you won’t treat them like an object to throw around, or that they aren’t there for your pleasure. They say that trust is dead yet I hear women talk and see how they act, they may agree everyone is in it for themselves yet a man who is open, honest and vulnerable to his partners needs will find that openness, honesty and vulnerability is returned.

They say excitement has been lost and in the age of adrenaline junkies that may be so. But ladies want that excitement, they want to be thrilled. It’s a part of feeling special, that this dance is just for them. A lady would like to feel graceful, poised and alive; it’s the thrill they search for in every dance. They want you to find out how skilled they are and be pushed to the edge of that skill, but no further. They don’t want the moves they can’t perform, it makes them feel ugly and clumsy. No, the excitement they seek is when music and moves flow together, when their heart beats to the tune of their feet and their body comes alive. They say that excitement has been lost yet I hear women talk and see how they act, they may agree excitement is hard to find but I see their flushed cheeks after a good dance and if as a man the dance has been exciting there is a good chance she feels the same.

They say mystery has been lost and in the age of science that may be so. But ladies crave this very mystery, they want to be intrigued. It’s a part of feeling special, that this dance is just for them. They want you to look them in the eyes as if they are the only person in the room. They want you to feel them on the other side of the connection; they want to know you can feel them as much as they feel you. They want to be lost in your lead, lost in a world of movement and connection, not knowing what comes next but feeling it nonetheless. They want to know that every fibre of your being is concentrated on the dance and them, and through that connection they will feel this too. They say that mystery has been lost yet I hear women talk and see how they act, they may agree they are looking for perfection but I have seen lesser dancers become sought after partners because of this very air of mystery.

They say that romance is dead but I hear women talk and I see how they act. Romance isn’t dead, nor has it been forgotten. Romance lies covered in trashy magazines and badly written novels, but it is still there. I hear them talk and see how they act; they are avoiding the cliché but they embrace the essence of romance. Do not listen to what you assume, they know the clichés are meaningless; they don’t seek a replication of some lines from a book. No, women want you; the exciting, authentic, mysterious, passionate person that is you. They want that directed at them so for three minutes they feel special, graceful and alive, that this dance is just for them. It’s your gift to them, your presence, and in a dance woman know that this is what they truly want.

Authors Note : A special thanks to those women who answered my questions honestly and I hope I did your answers justice.

My latest post for the Good Men ProjectWhat Does a Lady Want in a Dance?

Photo: Flickr/Andrey

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5 thoughts on “What Does a Lady Want in a Dance?”

  1. Very nice piece! 🙂 Sometimes I think good writing is like balancing on a ridge. It’s like that in this piece. I’ll take all the other things you say, but you are right – the R side…I’m not sure about that! It’s good up there, though, balancing, but I can only do it if I accept what’s on either side – and that’s…tricky.

    One other thing. You don’t say “follower” in this piece because the essence of woman is tied up in the word “woman”, not in that bland, neutered term, “follower”. Yet you say “lead”. That term does have more power in it than “follower” and it’s true, your piece is about men and women so perhaps that’s ok. Although what does that say – the leader, the strong, the powerful and the…disempowered, the less empowered, the mere follower? But “lead” and woman? Why not stick to man and woman?

    You say “lost in his lead” but I want to be lost in – something but not his lead exactly, or at least not that I’ll admit! For sure, I’ll put my trust in the right guy and allow him to dance *with* me, but “allow him to lead” me? That’s a step too far. I would feel too collared.

    Guy’s don’t ask girls to let themselves be “led” (on a wild goose chase), they invite girls to dance with them.

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  2. Hi Felicity. Thanks for your comment. I will see if I can answer you as best I can.

    This article is primarily about dancing but there are definitely similarities to relationships. The relationship side I will leave alone because this article wasn’t about that. But romance and sensuality are a part of dancing (but not usually sex or lust ) and with some girls for me that connection can also be intimate, but it’s not a relationship, it only lasts for a song.

    I do Latin dancing so leading and following are defined roles, it doesn’t particularly matter who does them but always one must lead and one must follow. (There are male/male dancers, female/female dancers, men who follow, girls who lead, which role you learn in class is really up to you, but you won’t dance with many men if you choose to lead and I wouldn’t dance with many women if I learned to follow.).

    So firstly I will define what leading is. Leading has two primary functions in dancing. Thinking of the moves in advance and secondly a series of signals to the follower about the immediate move to execute. Beyond that leading is hard, it normally takes guys about three times longer to become as good as the ladies on the floor. Firstly I have to be aware of how a series of moves joins together, which foot the ladies weight is on before initiating any move and finally I have to take into account distance between us, other dancers and mistakes, mine or hers. Finally if the lady decides to do some styling I have to allow her time and space to do so (she will initiate this lead when she wants to do this).

    Following on the other hand is about listening to the lead and performing the move. In some respects it is simpler but the lady can then do a whole pile of styling and bonus moves. The follower has a chance to add grace, sensuality, style and movement to each of the moves the leader directs. In reality it is up to the follower to make a dance look freaking awesome and it’s up to the leader to provide the follower the opportunities to do so. It is why the guy never looks like he does as much as the lady, his work is mostly in his head, the ladies work is with her body (yes I am aware of how that sounds but dancing isn’t about sex or dominance).

    As for strong and powerful. Hahahaha. After 14 months of continually putting your ego and confidence on the line and having it handed back to you mistake after mistake as a leader you just hope to god you can lead well enough to have a good dance half the time. I still have dances where my mind convulses and I have no idea what the hell I am doing and I feel so sorry for the poor lady I asked onto the floor. Remember the ladies are twice as good as the guys after twelve months and us guys are very much aware of the difference in the skill level of our class mates. It does click eventually and this is where the lost in the lead comes in.

    When you have partners you are familiar with they can close their eyes on their dance floor, trust you will lead them well and the follower literally becomes lost in the music and movement. For the follower there is just me signalling, the music and her looking freaking amazing, and indirectly that makes me look amazing. There have been times I have been complimented by an observer about how well I danced but in reality my partner trusted me and she took to the music and flew. I didn’t do much more than I usually do.

    On a side note many girls eventually learn to lead (the guys role) to increase their skills, not as many but some guys will learn to follow. I currently have a friend who is learning to lead and I follow her (not very well lol). She calls herself Ray and I call myself Luciana when we do this 🙂

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  3. Hi Luke,

    What is it then that women avoid when they hear “Romance” and yet we love to dance? Why do we do that?

    “…you won’t dance with many men if you choose to lead”
    Actually, I spent Saturday afternoon and evening doing a lot of just that… 🙂

    .”…Thinking of the moves in advance ”
    Urk.

    “…a series of signals to the follower”
    Aagh.

    “Beyond that leading is hard”….”how a series of moves joins together”…”mistakes”…”styling “…”performing”…”look freaking awesome”…”his work is mostly in his head”.
    Urgh.

    🙂

    Maybe we do different dances although your views on “leading and following” are common among people who dance (a kind of) tango too.

    “As for strong and powerful. Hahahaha.”
    Well, that was kind of my point. But I think those things are implied by the word “leader”. For the reasons you give and many others, it’s good to separate those ideas. But anyway, I don’t dance with “leaders”. I dance with guys. With men. And with girls. Women. 🙂

    “Remember the ladies are twice as good as the guys after twelve months”
    Perhaps a good reason for guys to start by learning the other role first…
    “…some guys will learn to follow. ”
    Indeed. The road to dancing (tango at least) as the guy is a long and arduous one if you try without first “getting” the dance in the other role – and absorbing the music that way too.

    “close their eyes on their dance floor…trust you…lost in the music and movement.”
    Ah! 🙂 🙂

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  4. Luke, I read your first dance article posted on the Good Men site and I think I may have posted a comment. I am going to read that one again after reading this one. Ironically, I have danced all my life and have yet to meet the “dance partner” of my dreams (meaning a steady partner to dance with as well as the metaphor for an enduring romantic love). Your beautiful prose that so eloquently describes the joys of both dancing and love inspire me to keep swaying and stepping to the rhythm and the melody and you have convinced me that the dreaming and the dancing are noble pursuits.

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