Are looks important when It comes to dancing??

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Tina, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Tina

    Tina Tumbao

    Hey salsa people, Im new to this forum. I'm from Spain (Tenerife), origanlly latino and I have been dancing latin music for 8 years. Where I live there's a pretty big dance scene, lots of latin dance schools, latin clubs, competitions, etc. Anyways, dancing is a pretty important hobby which I really enjoy and I do almost everyday. My styles are cuban salsa, en linea, bachata, sensual bachata, merengue, kizomba (which is getting pretty popular, since the region i live in is closer to africa than europe).

    I consider myself to be a pretty good dancer, since Im latino and I grew up with that music, the ladies' styling comes pretty natural to me. I know that I wont ever get to be in "so you think you can dance", but I can hold my own. However, whenever I go to social events that my school hosts, or I go to the latin clubs, I often find myself in a corner waiting to get asked to dance and I hardly ever do, so I have to do 80% of the asking. I see that girls that aren't even half as good as me, get asked out more. Girls that don't even have what cubans call the "tumbao", the rythm, or the soul that I put into dancing. Most people tell me is because I dont belong to a clique, so since guys don't know me personally, thats why they dont ask me to dance. I think most cliques are just like high school, they often break up and leave dancing alltogether, so i usually avoid being part of one, too much drama. I have even asked guys in my class to dance and they shoot me down, even when we're in the same class, so they pretty much know how i dance.

    Anyways, one guy told me that even though I dance and I move with all this latin soul in my blood, my looks maybe getting in the way, since Im not attractive. Particularly, my body, Im not stick thin like other girls and thats why guys maybe me put off. I dont go to dancing to get laid or to pick up guys, i go because its my passion and i get a work out as well. Do you think its true? that only hot girls get asked to dance even if they cant move.

    A question for the guys: when you go to dance clubs or social dance gatherings, do you notice women based on their looks or on the way they dance? I personally put my hooking up gear mode on stand-by, since I go with other expectations.
  2. Lawndart

    Lawndart Tumbao

    From the guys perspective... Appearance has nothing to do with me asking her to dance as long as there is nothing radically wrong with her appearance. Number one thing I look for is someone that dances at a level near one. I don't want to bore an advanced dancer unless she is a friend. (Then she knows what she is getting into:p ). Regarding cliques.. well... I'm more likely to ask someone that I know to dance.
  3. Tina

    Tina Tumbao

    Yeah, but would you ask someone that you know but you are not friends with?. I am drifter, I usually do things by myself or maybe get together with a girl friend, but I dont do cliques. People in cliques can get pretty nasty badmouthing other fellow dancers. I usually get asked to dance by my teachers, which is fine, I love dancing with professional advanced dancers and their crazy moves, but maybe they are just being polite plus they have the dance studio image to uphold, so they have an obligation to dance with students. I dont think im ugly, but I am curvy and not like JLo, I wish. Im not morbidly obese either. But despite this handicapp i can keep up with the dancing ironically. Ever since this dude told me this Ive been feeling rather insecure, like whats they point, no matter how i grow as a dancer, ill always be the fat kid that gets picked last in gym class.

    EMOYENO Pattern Police

    I can very well understand where you're coming from. The skinny, younger, prettier girls- WHO DONT COME CLOSE get all the dances!! been there plenty of times and I can write tons of books about it!!!
    Why would you want to dance with someone who is only dancing with you with other intentions in their head?

    I find it very very important that it's all about attittude and the way you handle the crowd. Why? because you are a better dancer than they are * so you have an advantage to attract the good dancers. A good dancer recognizes another good one instantly, so attract those who actually go there to dance- they will go to you.

    Yes it takes time to work the crowd, it is not an easy job, but it pays off!!! Good dancers will instantly recognize your abilities on the dance floor and they will go to you.

    * (note: being humble pays off, but since we are our own worst critic, we also know when someone is really not as good as we are),

    May I also suggest reading the following threads, they might help you a lot:

    Tips: Getting dances:
    tips on social floor work and spacial awareness:
    Have you met the salsa snob:
  5. sunsoul

    sunsoul Shine Officer

    What's important is enjoying each dance and making connections with people. If you smile and are happy then you attract more attention and you make others feel good. Worrying about other girls or negative stuff just snowballs you down. This other stuff may go on, but if your connections are strong, and you are enjoying your dances, then it doesn't matter.
  6. azzey

    azzey El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yes, unfortunately it's true that cute/beautiful girls get asked to dance whether they can dance or not. That's life i'm afraid.

    That being said, if you're in a proper Salsa venue (and not just a pick-up latin mix night) then real dancers will want real dance partners to dance with most of the time. The criteria for a dance partner is not necessarily how good she looks (though obviously it doesn't hurt), her personality or how friendly you are with them. Though those things do help a lot.

    A good lead can find those things in non-dancers or beginners who will be impressed by anything he does, so why not just stick to them? Because other than the pick-up guys real dancers want to dance and enjoy themselves (whether or not they're looking for someone special) so how well she can dance to the music makes a big difference.

    Here are some ideas for things that turn-on and turn-off a lead.

    Turn-ons for a leader:
    - Playful and fun.
    - Good personality.
    - Dances on-time.
    - Follows well.
    - Has good/great connection.
    - Dances musically.
    - Dances my style.
    - Enjoys the music I like to dance to.
    - Not critical.

    Turn-offs for a lead:
    - Hides in the corner.
    - Looks like they don't want to dance with you.
    - Smells bad.
    - Rude/obnoxious.
    - Bad follower.
    - Not fun.
    - Off-time.
    - Bad connection.
    - Hurts/painful.
    - Hates dancing your style.
    - Doesn't like the same music.
    - Critical.

    A gorgeous girl or great follower can hide in the corner all they want but they'll still be asked to dance more than most.

    Followers with a couple of the turn-offs and none of the turn-ons may never get to dance.

    Everyone else has pros and cons and may need to do a little work networking, making friends, showing that you can dance well etc before you get asked.

    If you're an unknown quantity and you don't hover next to the dance floor looking like you want to dance then guys will likely go for who they know first or their preferred partners.

    Even if you're a hot-shot where you stand makes a big difference to getting dances all night long.
    Every club has a hot-spot or hot-zone. An area of the club that is the best location to get asked or to ask others. Usually it's near the dance floor. You may notice some good dancers congregate in that location and naturally go back there after their dances.
    Big10 likes this.
  7. azzey

    azzey El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yes, if I think I'll enjoy the dance. If she's an unknown quantity then is it worth the risk or should I go with someone that I like to dance with already?

    So in order to be more popular the question you have to ask is how can I make the dances my partners have more enjoyable? Could be by adding a positive or maybe taking away a negative. For me I often find as an experienced dancer that I have to be careful how much complexity, rhythm, body movement and musicality I put into a dance with a less experienced follower. So I try to adapt to the partner and the song. Try not to overload them with too much. Some followers can be very "busy" with their movement which not every guy can handle and appreciate.

    I find with Latino partners who have experience of Tumbao but don't dance to a count as such that I should be a little more relaxed about strict musical timing of the dance and just play with the rhythm. Again, not all leaders are good at this. If you're the better dancer it might help it make it more enjoyable for the lead if you pay attention and adapt to him in some small ways.

    Attitude is super important as people often sub-consciously pick-up on your mood.
    If you're giving off "keep away" signals, sitting down with your friend, not looking like you want to dance and are fun then that could work against you being asked.
  8. azzey

    azzey El Sabroso de Conguero

    I think this is good advice. Even experienced/advanced dancers work the room. They're just much better (and practiced) at it than most other dancers.
  9. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yes, looks are important. Probably one of the three main good ingredients. Looks, friendliness, danceability. There are bad ingredients too. I agree with azzeys post #6.
    So I need to learn how to dance while I'm looking good, heh. Or become friendly, which is much harder.
  10. premier

    premier Shine Officer

    Yeah, people are by default more inclined to dance with people they know and strangers they think are attractive. But for the most part luckily they dance with other people too :)

    What can you do? Get to know people. Yeah, I know, it sucks, but you might be pleasantly surprised ;) As far as being a big girl, well, from hard core dancer's perspective there's nothing wrong with it. If you're a nice girl and good dancer/follower, I wouldn't have a problem dancing with you. You could consider loosing some weight too, if you feel that's something YOU want to do. No doubt it helps your dancing too :)

    I think it's interesting that people in your class don't want to dance with you. It might be something you do in the class? Do you tend to correct your partners in the class? Remember you're working with fragile male egos here. Don't correct/offer advise/criticize the leader even when you know you're right, unless you're specifically asked for it. This applies even more so on the dance floor.

    Also there's possibility that you're doing something very annoying from the leaders perspective while dancing. Like being very heavy, not listening to leads or just not match the leader's energy. Maybe ask a trusted leader for his honest opinion?
  11. wildbill20056

    wildbill20056 Sabor Ambassador

    I suspect looks are only relatively important to folks who are relatively early on in their Salsa journeys, and to those few sad individuals who view Salsa as their alternative pick-up venue.

    If you seem like a fun, responsive person to dance with, and approachable, then I wouldn't hesitate to ask and see how it went.

    I think the guy you got 'advice' from is probably a complete twit and not to be paid attention to.

    Were I you I'd simply focus on two things: get to know people, make friends, and get dancing as visibly as possible. I think Emoyeno is totally on the money, and I'd go with her advice anyday.

    Also Emoyeno, you're a gorgeous lady, so if the men are passing you over for the 'skinnies' I can only think they are lacking in taste and confidence. After all maybe they are only boys and not prepared to handle dancing with a grown up woman!
  12. azzey

    azzey El Sabroso de Conguero

    In my opinion size, weight and good dancing aren't that correlated. It's how well you move that body weight yourself that's important.

    I've danced with some fantastic dancers who are very large but are very light as they move themselves easily and follow very well. I've also danced with many stick-thin girls who push and pull you around like a rag-doll even after they've done classes with decent instructors and danced socially with others.

    The only issue with size is with a few moves where you might need to wrap your arms around their body, that's all. Leads have similar problems with verry tall vs very small or vice versa. You can easily avoid doing those moves and still have a fun dance if that's an issue.
    Big10 and wildbill20056 like this.
  13. miércoles

    miércoles Nuevo Ritmo

    Can't speak for the entire male population of Tenerife but looks are of no interest to me. The wife and I will probably be in Candela one night this weekend; I'll dance with you! :D
    Mientras que sea casino que no tengo ni p**a idea de otra cosa jejeje :D
  14. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I can't speak for your region of Spain as the only place I have been to and danced salsa was in Barcelona. My observation there was that many of the leads were Latin American guys and most of the follows were northern Spanish women.

    In most salsa scenes in the US that I am familiar with, good dancers get asked a lot more often than non-dancers or lousy dancers regardless of looks...but within the 'good dancer' sub group, better looking dancers get more dances if all else is equal.

    My own take on this is that there is nothing more frustrating as a lead than being stuck with a non-dancer for an entire song. If someone new shows up in a venue where I am a regular, I usually take a 'test drive' when a merengue is playing. I consider merengue, the 'beginner checkout dance'. If my partner is on time and can follow I'll ask again for a salsa later on. If not, its no loss, I wouldn't have danced the merengue at all under normal circumstances. If I am travelling and I am the 'newbie' in a venue, then I usually watch for about 2-3 songs and typically choose the ladies who can dance but may not be the obviously most popular dance partners in the venue. The strategy for me is to be seen as a competent dancer. Older or less attractive dance partners who are not getting asked all the time by the other (incumbent) leads are my first choice since my goal is to get on the dance floor with a partner rather than going down the path of 4-5 turndowns from popular follows and missing out song after song.
    Big10 likes this.
  15. SalsaGipsy

    SalsaGipsy Capitán Del Estilo

    I agree with all the posts above. Just want to add a few things.

    First of all, make sure you are not overreacting. I know it is very difficult to be objective about things that make you unhappy. For example one might have a few good dances but not be asked by the one person they really wanted to dance with - and then they think it's a bad night, nobody wants to dance with them, etc. I've seen it happen many times, so, make sure this is not the case with you. Try to concentrate on the positive experiences, remind yourself about the good things that happened. I am sure that there are people who ask you to dance and enjoy dancing with you. Appreciate those people and make the most of those chances. It will make both of you happy and happy people are more attractive. There! :)

    Secondly, maybe your scene is very follower heavy? Do you often see mostly girls standing and waiting to dance? If that's the case it might not be anything personal that you don't get asked much. The leaders have their friends to dance with first, then other people they know they will enjoy dancing with, then other people they only see rarely and have to use the opportunity to get a dance, and so on. If you don't stand out in some way they might not notice you or might not have the time to ask you.

    Finally, make some friends. Doesn't even have to be leaders, followers too. Surround yourself with happy people, chat with them and be social. It will improve your experiences even if you don't dance more. And it will build your image as a nice, friendly, happy person. Everybody likes to be with (and dance with) such people. :)
    Slowdance, Big10 and Smejmoon like this.
  16. premier

    premier Shine Officer

    Yeah I have similar experiences and I didn't mean to say there's correlation between body weight and being light. But the fact is that physical activity like dancing is more effortless for yourself with less body weight, which usually translates as better dancing.
  17. Benergy

    Benergy Changui

    I think quite obviously looks will get you more dances. Just like better looking people get the job or the partner they desire....

    I could tell you what wants me want to dance with someone but that's just my personal preferences. So rather than that ill give general advice.

    Look nice. Dress well and be well groomed and smell good.

    Stand right next to the dance floor where ever there is the most people.
    Smile and look like you are enjoying yourself even when you're not dancing.

    Don't stand alone make eye contact with people and keep your body language open.

    Be friendly and say hi to people. Even of you don't become part of a clique acknowledging people with a nod and a smile and a hello will help you (evenness do with regulars)

    Compliment people on their dancing. If you like something someone does then tell them. People love compliments and it shows you appreciate dancing. You can do this even if you are not dancing with the person and were just watching them.

    Perform. Not everyone wants to perform but when you do people notice you more and you'll get more dances.

    Learn to lead. Dance with guys and girls.

    I could probably think of more but I have to get back to work. How this helps! : p
  18. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Shine Officer

    I'm rather simple minded, but I think just by getting to know other people in your scene, you'll raise your being-asked rate. Doesn't mean you have to be part of a clique. I also stay away from cliques, since no matter how good a dancer you are, clique members will always prefer dancing with their own friends over you.

    I'm also a drifter of sorts, but I have gotten to know some really cool people who I can always depend on for a dance. I don't care if I do the asking or not. Of course, i'm a guy and so it's expected of me to do the asking :)

    As far as looks goes, in my scene, looks may get you in the front door, but if you can't dance, word will spread like wildfire and the only other guys that will be interested are the ones looking to pick-up.

    I see many tremendous follows who aren't 10s in the looks department, but who are consistently dancing sans breaks. They are confident, approachable and get asked plenty of times.

    My own personal traits I look for in a dancer are as follows: friendliness/fun factor, approachability/confidence, dance ability and then looks.

    Of course, if I see a friend, I go to them EVERY time.

    This is my rulebook and I follow it because it has produced the best results. Keep going out there and see what works for you. The goal, in my opinion, is not care about any of it (and not to let it bring you down!) and just dance!
    Smejmoon likes this.
  19. azzey

    azzey El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yes this particularly applies to the best leads. They will be in demand most. The best leads will usually (unless they've just moved there) know all the best followers. Not just the ones who come out regularly but also the ones who come out irregularly. At those times you'll be competing against old friends, regular partners and the latest favourites all at the same time. When I have nights like this I often get complaints that "you didn't ask me", when I know there were many girls I didn't get to ask.

    The new "untested" girl in the corner is the last one I'm thinking about at that point unless she dances with someone else and demonstrates she's a great follower.
  20. Tina

    Tina Tumbao

    Wow this is awesome advice. I do admit however that when I joined the dance studio 2 years ago I wasnt a very good follower and I was often very bossy, but Ive grown alot since then. I try to get noticed by joining other dance styles like tango or kizomba/zouk, so that people could see that Im a very ecclectic dancer. I go to every social event. I participate in workshops, I show off with the teachers in class and in parties so that people could see my dancing skills. I even join the begginners classes when they're short on girls so that I could teach the less experienced leads, so that people could see that I dont discriminate. I dress salsa approprietly in class and parties, emulating the clothes my teachers wear as well as owning a pair of ballroom shoes and dancing sneakers and leg warmers. I complement the girls more than the guys though; I just dont want them to think Im trying to hit on them (since most guys in general are repelled by me, but thats fine, im used to it). I just thought dancing could be an escape route and that i wasnt going to be judged on my looks like i am in real life. Anyways, Im still depressed.

    PS: miercoles, I LOVE CANDELA. I go there almost every weekend. Ill probably go the weekend after this one. Send me a private message or heres my adress: pennylane153 aroa (es que no me dejan poner la direccion con @). besos

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