Sharing The Joy Of Dancing


"You be the girl" are four words that can strike terror in the hearts of men. I have my male students dance a lot as the lady (usually just elements). Men are usually a little self conscious when they first dance as a lady, but soon they realize how important it is for them to be able to understand the feeling they are trying to generate for the lady.

The man's general mentality is that if it feels OK to him it feels OK to the lady. This isn't necessarily true. The man typically does not realize the extent of how the lady is affected by how he moves.

As an instructor, it is often very hard to communicate to the man the feeling of the element that is being taught. It is very important that the man understands the feeling he is trying to give his partner for a specific element. Men do not do things unless there is a reason. Just telling a man that something should be done a certain way is not good enough. He must be shown how it affects his partner when he does it that way. One of the best ways to communicate this is to have him feel it as the lady. The most common response is: "I had no idea that I was doing that to her". The man normally approaches things in an overt way when in fact the feeling is generated in a much more subtle approach. It is usually surprising to the man how such a seemingly little thing can have such a big affect on the feeling of the movement for the lady.

Men and women have very different mentalities when they dance. The men are first concerned about the mechanics of the element (what he has to do to get the correct response from the lady), then move on to the music and maintain the character of the dance. During this period of time he has to also figure out what to do next. While all of this is going on he has to dance the lady to create that feeling of oneness. This is a pretty tall order. If he is trying to intellectualize all of this, his head will explode. That is why this all has to be molded into a feeling of how that element is to be danced.

The man is trying to lead in such a manner that the ladies movements are very natural. Some times the man's movement is unnatural to make this happen. The lady tries to dance what feels natural to her. The man can do unnatural things because he is initiating the movement not responding to a lead.

The bottom line is that the man needs to know what the lady should be feeling when he is leading a specific element. He also needs to know what he should feel like when he is leading it correctly. Now mold these two feelings together so he knows how the whole two-headed four legged animal feels as he executes the element.

Occasionally I reverse it and tell the lady: "YOU BE THE GUY". Ladies are sometimes too hard on the men because they don't understand how much is going on all at the same time for the man. It takes the man longer to learn his part because there are so many different pieces to it. The lady dances in the moment and the man physically dances in the moment but is already planning the future. Once the lady finds out what is involved in leading they usually don't want anything to do with it.

Men, DO NOT BE AFRAID, dancing as a lady is a good thing. Your overall dancing will improve ten fold.