help me find my happy medium groove
April 13, 2011 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Dancing 101: I need to find my middle ground between grinding on guys and dancing like my grandma.

okay, so I know this is a silly question. But it has come to my attention that I have two dance modes when I'm dancing with a guy- I either dance like I'm in sixth grade (y'know, like this) or I dance in a way that makes guys think I'll go home with them. I am in fact not shooting for either of these effects (no, really).

I just feel like I get a lot of comments about the way I dance-- either people are joking about the foot of space I'm leaving between us or, when I knock it up to the next notch they're saying 'woah' (one of two different 'woah' inflections: for people I knew previously a 'woah, i didn't think you'd dance like this' or, for people I just met a 'woah, cool, this chick totally wants me to grab her ass'). I'm clearly missing my happy medium here. How can I find it? I need a normal dancing 101 catch up that helps me understand what amount of contact/level of closeness is appropriate for who. Did this just come naturally to everyone else? Will it come with practice?

fwiw, I'm comfortable dancing alone and in groups. I'm in my early twenties, dancing at parties and clubs, to hip hop/reggaeton/club remixes/etc.
posted by geegollygosh to Human Relations (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Re: 'go home with them', for me that has/had more to do with length than intensity. If a girl dirty dances for a 2-5 minutes but then moves on, there's no confusion.

Re: 'wants me to grab her ass', I'd say keep facing the dude and not grab his hips, but don't be afraid to go in close now and again. Most guys won't go straight for your ass, but will touch you increasingly intimately to see how much you're comfortable with. You can move off at any time.

If you're still getting your ass grabbed right away, you might be at very horny dance parties and wanna switch it up.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 6:29 PM on April 13, 2011


Guys are stupid. Show them any attention and they think you wanna fuck or marry them. Decreasing your grinding will not lead them to thinking that you aren't their potential bringhome.

Dance for yourself, not for others. If someone violates any restrictions you have, either drop 'em or make it known that its not ok.

Besides that, I don't know what to tell you on this online text-based forum.

Good luck, and NO, you aren't doing ANYTHING wrong...guys are just kinda silly.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:44 PM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


oh yeah:

"'woah, i didn't think you'd dance like this'". WTF is that supposed to mean? Haterz will always hate on people being comfortable with enjoying things that they can't. Ignore them.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:46 PM on April 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


How do you dance when you're dancing by yourself (as in, not with someone, not as in alone in your room after the shower, though I guess they might be the same...)? I do a little bit of hip wiggling and arm moving. When I'm dancing with a dude, I usually just do this sorta close to him with no contact, or a hand on his shoulder or around his neck.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 7:16 PM on April 13, 2011


You can be a totally cute dancer without acting the ho. Believe me. And I don't agree that decreasing the level of grinding wil l *not* make a difference. I dance with boys, and somehow avoid the creep-titude withinimal effort.

Watch some Britpop videos. Think about how Edie Sedgwick would dance. Modify to taste. I think it's pretty cute to solo dance for a while, then place a coy little hand on his shoulder. Then remove hand and resume understated 60s/Britpop dancing. (Dear lord, no Austin Powers parody.)

I know this sounds dumb, but you asked. Good luck!
posted by functionequalsform at 7:30 PM on April 13, 2011


Best answer: Perhaps increase both the distance and the (slightly innocent) flirty stuff. Less physical contact, more eye contact, more riffing on the lyrics (simple example would be pointing at him when the song lyrics are "you"), riffing on each other, etc.

Basically, less physical connection between you and him, more playful energy connecting you to him.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:33 PM on April 13, 2011


Response by poster: yeah, hal_c_on, I get what you're saying (that it's not necessarily something I'm doing), but I guess I'm sort of looking for ways to make the way I dance non-sexual but fun (and not a flashback to jr high) when it's not appropriate. Like when I'm dancing with a friend, or with someone I'm not at all interested in. And yeah, I realize this isn't the easiest question to answer over the internet, hah.

and: You can be a totally cute dancer without acting the ho. Yeah, that's what I'm trying to ask.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:38 PM on April 13, 2011


hal_c_on: "Guys are stupid. Show them any attention and they think you wanna fuck or marry them."

More like: Society is stupid. It expects men to be predatory and women to be meek and when we reverse these expectations even a little bit, we're suddenly being transgressive! This explains why people may respond with hostility.

Practically speaking, you might consider going with a guy that you already know and trust. I was that guy with a female friend and it ended up being fun for both of us.
posted by grammar corrections at 7:41 PM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: A couple of questions for you...

Where is your dance located in your body? Some dances are ass dances, some dances are hip dances, some people dance mostly with their feet or their arms or their shoulders or even (yes, really) just their heads. And of course, there are infinite combinations and variations. Based on the reactions you're getting, I'm guessing you're probably mostly a hip/ass dancer -- I think hip/ass dancing tends to be perceived as more overtly sexual. Perhaps try moving your dancing into different parts of your body? Play with arms & feet if you're not already. See if you can dial back the hips/ass without totally freezing your entire body (á la middle school) -- let your hips move naturally, but see if you can focus your attention on your arms or legs or shoulders or head instead. If that's not making sense to you, try watching other folks on the dance floor and see if you can identify what they're mostly dancing with. There are different norms in every scene -- can you identify the norms in yours by watching others?

Also, what are you doing with eye contact? Extended eye contact can often be taken as an invitation on a dance floor. Are you making heavy eye contact when you dance at a distance? This could provoke reactions like the one you describe, with someone being a little weirded out by the discrepancy between your distance and your eye contact. And if you're making eye contact while dancing close -- that's definitely a come-on at the dance parties I've attended. Try putting your attention elsewhere -- eyes closed, looking around the dance floor a little more freely, staring into space, whatever feels comfortable.

Obviously, these opinions are very subjective, so take what works and throw away what doesn't! Ultimately, I think dancing is one of those skills that's better learned in person than over the internets -- you might get a lot out of going to a dance party and just watching different people for a night instead of dancing yourself. And don't worry too much about what people say -- keep having fun!
posted by ourobouros at 7:59 PM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


yeah, hal_c_on, I get what you're saying (that it's not necessarily something I'm doing), but I guess I'm sort of looking for ways to make the way I dance non-sexual but fun (and not a flashback to jr high) when it's not appropriate. Like when I'm dancing with a friend, or with someone I'm not at all interested in. And yeah, I realize this isn't the easiest question to answer over the internet, hah.

Oh. Well in that case, get to be a BETTER dancer. When I was a student at a college with a well-known ballet program, I'd often see the ballerinas at the clubs. They were GOOD. I mean real dancers. They were doing their thing and it didn't matter if they were dancing with guys, themselves, or in a circle of girl. They all focused on THEMSELVES. It was kinda awesome.

But then again...they were competitive dancers, had been for years, and probably considered it homework. I was freaking impressed EVERY damn time...and so was anyone else whose jaw was on the floor.

I see it every so often at a club, and the body of the girl looks like a dancer's body. slim torso, strong legs, fancy feet...they are focusing on the dance and their bodies, not the dude who's providing backup.

excellence is fucking hot. get excellent at dancing.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:06 PM on April 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best answer: This may not be part of the issue for you, but remember that you don't necessarily have to match or exceed what your partner initiates - if he pulls you in real close, you don't have to start grinding on him. I think sometimes women feel stuck there once they get pulled in (I used to). Dance close and intimate for a little bit and then pull back and re-establish some distance, even if it's just a bit of space between you. As others have suggested, show what fun you have dancing on your own but with the energy of your dancing directed at him. Like -harlequin- said, it's about being playful with this person - for me, it's about sharing the joy that I feel in dancing and in the music with someone else who hopefully is loving it just as much.

Another factor is the music you dance to - everything you listed is pretty sexual, which means that's what comes naturally when you try to express that music through your body, so it makes sense that you'd be dancing that way a lot of the time. But if that's not the message you want to send, minimize the super-close sexy dancing. Dance sexy at him rather than with him, if that makes sense. This will make a difference!
posted by sumiami at 11:52 PM on April 13, 2011


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