Suggestions and/or Compliments for your Partners?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by UnlikelySalsero, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. UnlikelySalsero

    UnlikelySalsero Rhythm Deputy

    In another thread we discussed teaching and suggestions for your dance partners. As a rule most say they avoid saying anything negative and I agree. Some people will offer suggestions for improvement or worse, try to teach on the floor and offer a series of corrections.

    I tend to reverse the process... I'm looking for the things my partners are doing well, and I tell them about it. Unless they are paying me, I avoid any teaching or tuning suggestions on the dance floor. (If they are paying me, I save most refinements/tuning for time away from the floor, with some minor exceptions.)

    If something doesn't work, I generally grin or laugh it off and work to both cover for my partner and reduce the stress if they appear concerned. (For me it's a dance, not a test, and I hope it's fun for them.)

    If you find the best in your partners and let them know about, I'd be curious how that's worked for you.

    It's worked extremely well for me. If I notice an improvement from a previous dance, I will tell them. I'm extremely careful not to make up compliments, but rather find something that is worth pointing out and honest, so it's obvious it's not just a line from me.

    What about you?

    What happens when you find the best in your partners and point it out?
  2. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    I find the less I'm inflating her head/ego the happier my life is and the less she argues with me about moves that don't go well. There is something to be said about having both partners being extremely self-conscious and internally critical.
  3. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    I am afraid that to comment to someone on they having improved or dancing something better than 3/6 months back will make me come across as patronizing. Therefore I normally won't comment on their dancing skills.

    If the conversation ever gets to dancing skills, explaining/discussing/talking is usually about the person telling what they have been working on or what they want to improve on, etc.

    I am not sure how I can say to someone "You spinning is fabulous now" or "I can feel difference in your following". At most I will comment about the actual experience of dancing I like to dance with her, it was a fun dance, I enjoyed the dance, etc. I think most of the times we know which people like to dance with us and they too can kind of know we like dancing with them.
  4. UnlikelySalsero

    UnlikelySalsero Rhythm Deputy

    Very interesting... I find it easy to tell them I enjoyed the dance or the spin really well. Depending on how well I know them (how many dances). For me, I also tend to do it in context, with a quick "wow... loved that body wave" soon after it happens... Half the time I simply say "nice" or "wow" after they do something cool... nothing too much, since we are dancing.

    If they have improved, I will often tell them, but I agree it has to be handled well, be sincere or it can come across wrong. I still look for what they're doing well, and ignore the stuff that didn't work so well.

    What I avoid is saying anything negative or making any suggestions for improvements.

    I'm still curious what others are doing.
  5. Lola

    Lola Sonero

    I think this post is great, and I especially love this part. I just came back from taking a month off due to injury and I find myself getting complimented more and more often. But they're those vague, "that was great!" kind of compliments. I see them as pity compliments.

    However, on the opposite end of the spectrum there is a guy who, when he does pay a compliment, does the 'wow' like UnlikelySalsero mentioned and then afterwards will follow up with a brief comment like, "I love how you listen to the music and let it make you move". I follow him like I'm in a dream, because not only does he not judge me, but he's honestly paying attention to me and our dance.

    I suppose it's part of building a rapport with your fellow dancers, so that you can really connect when that amazing song comes on.
  6. UnlikelySalsero

    UnlikelySalsero Rhythm Deputy

    Yea, as I think of it I realize I generally don't have some big comment session after it's over. My compliments tend to be quick, and very specific.

    If someone does something really nice and I see it, I tend to "wow... great body wave", "nice!", "nice spin", or "loved how you hit that break" right after they do it.

    I don't want to imply I'm their judge, simply that I appreciate that specific move/sequence or break. Sometimes it's just a grin when they do interesting moves...

    I'm also not a gushing fountain of "you're the best"... or other generalizations, but since I am looking for something interesting or fun, I tend to find it.

    There is also a set of follows who do so, much well, I only compliment things occasionally, since they have too many great things that pointing them all out gets old.

    For them they tend to get the "always fun, save me another" compliment when we finish, along with a couple targeted compliments during the dance. If I dance with them frequently, I let my attitude show I enjoy the dance. And I try to find them later...

    BTW - The best compliment I ever get from a lady is when they seek me out for a dance. I don't need any other confirmations other than that happening a few times.

    I've danced long enough I often can't get to everybody I know most nights, so when they make it obvious they want a dance, it's a big compliment, especially if they are above average and have many other choices.
  7. Lilith

    Lilith Tumbao

    I think it's hard for you to give a compliment that feels patronizing for the follow. Vague compliments are at most a bit boring and impersonal. But a specific compliment like "you're spinning is so good now" or "nice bodyroll" would just make me smile. I can live on compliments like that for a week. It inspires me to work even harder to improve even more.
  8. Salsamakossa

    Salsamakossa Shine Officer

    Hi UnlikelySalsero,

    Interesting concept.. particularly for me because I seem to lead "unusual" moves, according to the feedback I get. So there are those who are always asking me whether they got it right, as well as those who just don't try and I have to "encourage" them to do so by complimenting them.

    Could you be more specific about how that has worked "extremely well" for you? Are you referring to them coming back for another dance? Seeking lessons with you? Could you expantiate on this? And since you teach, is this part of the reason you hold back, so as not to sound like you are pitching your services? :) :)
  9. GayleR

    GayleR Son Montuno

    Who doesn't love to receive a compliment, if it's sincere? A quick hug accompanied by
    "thanks, that was great" at the end of the dance can do me for days! I love when a lead says, "Niiiice". I get jazzed when I surprise the lead in some way and get a big smile! It's great to be told I've improved. My favorite is when a guy will tell me I am soooo light. Yeah man! If you had fun dancing with me...bring it on!

    And I never leave the guy without thanking him and smiling (even if it's been a train wreck or we don't connect). OK, if he's a jerk, maybe not. I almost always express my delight if I am enjoying the dance or he does something cool. Over the past year one of my favorite leads has gotten really, really good and I made sure to tell him I noticed. I think he was delighted.

    I do not want to be taught or corrected. But if I miss a move sometimes I will ask the guy to try that again for me, emphasizing....for me (implying that I was the one who didn't get it).

    Oh yeah, and if I'm just having an off night...I just head home early.
  10. acpjr

    acpjr Tumbao

    Ditto. Do you get more numbers now? ;)

    What works well for me is giving followers a sincere "thank you" at the end of the dance. I do this in order to get yes-es in the future. I suppose it's equivalent to saying "I like dancing with you" which I think is all that is necessary when paying someone a compliment.

    Do you really do this to the most advanced follows? Or the common follow? I can't imagine having a dance with Emily Alabi and telling her afterwards "Nice spinning" or "Nice job." Of course she's a good spinner. Of course she's a good dancer. She's one of the best in the world! Who I am to tell her that?

    Unless I'm in the mood to dance for dancing's sake, i.e. every song, I usually sit back and watch before I approach to see who I think who would be a fit for me to dance with. When I do this I can never be pleasantly surprised only disappointed because the reason I asked her to dance in the first place is because I though she had a light follow, was on time, and was fun to dance with. If they are, really all I can say is "Thank you" which is shorthand for "Thank you for agreeing to dance with me. Even though you've never seen me dance before, you still said yes. I enjoyed our dance. If I ask you again in the future I hope you will agree once more."

    I feel the risks of pointing out what followers do well aren't worth the payout (if there are any.) The risks are 1) she feels patronized and 2) she takes it to heart and whenever she dances with you over does the thing you pointed out in order to elicit your reaction. There was this one follower I used to dance with who liked to shimmy when we were in shine position. Let's just say she was "blessed" and was jiggling all over the place. This must have made me blush or something (I did give an embarrassed little smile and giggle) because she noticed and kept doing it ad nauseum when we danced. It became more annoying than cute.

    I'm more in favor of telling a follower how you feel, only after the dance, if you're itching to compliment her. "I like your style" "I had fun" "I like dancing with you." I don't see how you could go wrong (unless she hated the dance, in which case she's probably dreading you asking her again in the future.)
  11. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I try to avoid anything that's relative, e.g. "wow your spinning has improved!" unless we've already got a dialog ongoing about some part of her technique.

    Sometimes I'll drop in comments (like "nice!" or "wow!" or "yeah!") during the dance but last weekend a partner said that was putting her off. Not going to stop that one though. Another thing is to respond physically -- so if she puts in a little body roll I might mimic it a little later, or make a big act of being amazed or impressed by it. That sort of pantomime stuff is fun and lets her know that her effort is being appreciated. Again it depends on her character. Finally, after a dance nowadays I usually just limit compliments to "I really enjoyed that thankyou!" or "Lovely!". Sometimes I worry that it seems I'm trying to avoid complimenting her actual dancing but in fact it's that I really am not judging my partners' technique, only the energy I get from them while sharing the dance.

    Just to give lie to that, I had a dance at the weekend where I'd just had a conversation with the girl about how she doesn't get asked much and is making an effort to do more asking. During the dance I noticed that she span and followed really well, (having known her since she started dancing) At the end of the dance I said "You don't need to be hesitant. You could ask anyone in this room they'd be happy to dance with you."

    As to the effect I find that the displays (verbal or physical) of appreciation almost always pay dividends; she feels more free to express herself and experiment and the dance often becomes a really fun game.
  12. UnlikelySalsero

    UnlikelySalsero Rhythm Deputy

    A few things: I get lots of repeat dances, and unsolicited ones from their friends. I'm short on time today, but I'll give you more details as soon as practical. (I'm teaching later today... and have a heavy work day...)
  13. UnlikelySalsero

    UnlikelySalsero Rhythm Deputy

    I agree... it's about balance. Too many "wow" or "nice" and that is almost as bad as offering suggestions... a sprinkle here and there works great.
  14. salsamarty

    salsamarty Rhythm Deputy

    I always say thank you at the end of a dance but if it was a really great experience I’ll gush a lot more. With regular partners I will often tell them that I always enjoy dancing with them. When followers ask me to dance I always thank them for doing the asking. Sometimes a beginner will think they are not doing a pattern correctly when in fact they are doing it just fine. You can see the doubt in their face. I’ll always complement them on doing the pattern right and I can see that it boosts their confidence. If a follower is doing some nice styling and/or shines I thank them for making me look good.
  15. vancouverguy

    vancouverguy Sonero

    I found it's risky saying something to a follow about her dancing while dancing with her.

    A few weeks back, I was providing lead help in a class of beginners (mostly ladies) and told one of them "if something goes wrong like that, just keep dancing". A short time later while doing a CBL variant where the guy twists his body on three to his left and holds her right hand to pull her through releasing it on six and continue around to face her, I released her hand on six and got both of her hands in my ribs tickling me. I was so surprised I let out a yelp and then started laughing my *.s off only to hear "JUUUUSST KEEEPPPP DANNNNCING!" :D

    To bad she had a boyfriend. There's something about a smart *.s woman that I find attractive. :mrgreen:
  16. Flujo

    Flujo Sabor Ambassador

    I usually say "wow" or give a similar compliment when my partner is really into the music or is a good spinner. She'll usually return a nice smile. Or maybe she finds the look of complete and utter awe funny.
  17. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    ROFL. I love the ticklers! They're so rare that it's always such a surprise!
  18. bas

    bas Rhythm Deputy

    Let me start with a big disclaimer, I'm probably the least experienced dancer to comment on this thread so perhaps my point of view is different because of lack of experience.

    I never correct anybody nor do I make suggestions when we are dancing. The only feedback I provide on the dance floor is positive. After all, the main reason most people go social dancing is to have fun. I don't know too many people that go out thinking 'Wow. I'm so looking forward to getting criticized tonight'.

    Not only that but, I'm supposed to be leading this dance. If my partner does something 'wrong' then, in my experience, usually one of 2 things happened.

    1) I didn't lead the move properly
    2) I lead a move that was above my partner's level

    Either way, she made a mistake because of something that I did or didn't do. How could that possible give me the right to criticize her?

    Aside from that I think that mistakes are often made because of nervousness, not because the person lacks skill.

    Especially less experienced dancers (meaning any partner with less experience than you) are often pretty intimidated when they get on the dance floor. Especially if they are dancing with somebody they consider to be a better dancer than they are. Criticizing and/or correcting them will only make them more nervous which in turn will lead to more mistakes.

    Giving positive feedback on the other hand will allow them to relax more which leads to a much better dance.

    Most of my the feedback I give is very short like 'wow' after a move that really impresses me and usually gets me a big smile in return.

    All in all I think a dance is supposed to be fun and negative feedback has no place in fun. Neither has teaching during a dance as it takes away from the experience of the moment.
  19. bas

    bas Rhythm Deputy

    My mom is a florist and she's definitely one of the best in her field (I know I'm biased but other florists say so as well ;-) ).

    Do you know what truly makes her happy? An honest 'that's amazing' when somebody sees her work. That's all it takes.

    Yes, she's been doing it all her life. Yes, she's good and she knows it. But yes, a simple, genuine compliment is all it takes. Especially as she so rarely gets them these days because everybody already knows and expects her work to be flawless.

    Perhaps it is different for salsa dancers but in general I believe you can't go wrong with a genuine compliment. And like I said, maybe I'm wrong but I seriously doubt that Emily Alabi would be offended if you said 'Wow. Dancing with you was even more amazing than I thought it would be'.
  20. Roo

    Roo Son Montuno

    I think of two partners that I have reading this thread... One is a teacher from when I began ages ago. He complimented me on my spins improving after I'd stopped taking lessons with him & had gotten much better from 'floor time.' Years later, I still remember that comment b/c it was so genuine. He also does the 'niiiice', laughing, etc. when dancing. Usually it's great, but I think it's become his habit so much that it feels less genuine these days & doesn't mean as much to me.

    My other friend does not teach but is quite good. He does the playful imitation & huge reactions approach mentioned by sweavo above. I feel more comfortable experimenting & growing with him than anyone else. I think that's really significant- as it goes beyond just feeling flattered.

    Also, just as a random statistic- 70% of communication is tone & body language.. 30% is what you say. So yeah, if you compliment someone it could come off really poorly or come off as patronizing. But if you really mean it & are just naturally gushing- great.

    I also get relative compliments sometimes as to my follow as opposed to other follows- it's one of the few times that comparing to others can work. It gives me feedback on what I'm doing well & reminds me that amazing dancers still have something to work on that I'm not seeing. ("your follow is so light & you follow so quickly- some people are really trying to lead still")

    I think it's important that when you compliment that you're coming from a place of what's working for you & what you like versus a place of expertise (even if you have it.)

    And I agree about the florist thing. Well, that she's probably one of the best. ;) And that as we get better we generally get less compliments b/c it's taken for granted.

    And to note: most of this thread is from leads about follows... I frequently laugh when he does something unique that surprises me. I smile. I smile a TON if I see him actively trying to protect me from dangerous dancers & especially if he's just learning floorcraft (thank you!) But this is a good reminder for me to disperse more of those little compliments to my new friends that are learning & probably have to get their nerve up to ask me.

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