Non-Dancers Can Get Out of the Pool

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I don’t think I am capable of dating someone who doesn’t dance. I discovered this last year when I bought a three

Social dancing...like one drawn-out episode of Elimidate.

month membership to Eharmony. I met a few very personable guys who were not complete couch potatoes and seemed to have interesting things to say. Unfortunately, none of them danced. I included dancing as an important interest, but I don’t think Eharmony is set up to take that piece of information seriously.  And to be truthful, I don’t think I realized how important it was either, until I tried to date a non-dancer.

After a few successful dates, I invited one such date to the local college ballroom club. I explained how things worked:

  • I plan to dance with you lots, but just so you know, I also want to dance with other people.
  • The idea is to dance with a variety of people.
  • Don’t be shy, if you don’t know a dance, just ask someone who does and they’ll show you.

It didn’t work out. We left after an hour. It wasn’t his fault. He gamely went out on the floor with me a few times, where we showed him basic steps for Foxtrot and Swing. And he patiently sat out while I danced with some of my friends. He didn’t ask any strangers to dance, but I don’t blame him–that’s a hard thing to do when you’re new (sometimes it takes a dance or two to get up the nerve).  It was all my fault that it didn’t work. As his date and his host, I felt guilty at leaving him behind to sit while I danced with others, and I felt impatient at the necessity of teaching him steps every time we went out onto the floor. This was selfish, but it taught me something important. I left the dance that night knowing that we were done and that I would never date another non-dancer. Social dancing is too important to me and to my social life to sacrifice.

I’ve been in the position of training-up a non-dancer into a dancer before, and it can be a painful process. It turned out well (he’s still dancing even though we’re now divorced), but I don’t think I have the energy to start from scratch with someone new. Since my Eharmony experience, I find I just don’t look at someone twice if they don’t dance.

Call it impatient.

Call it selfish.

Just call me a dancer.

I wonder how many other dancers share my predilection for dating fellow dancers. I recently had a conversation with a friend who had met a great new guy at a salsa dance. She enumerated his qualities thusly:

  • A great dancer
  • Cute and not too old
  • Attentive–danced with me for an hour

Notice how many of those are about dancing. Now, as she gets to know him, the list will get longer and grow to include many more non-dancing items. But it seems that with her, as with me, it takes dancing to get your foot in the door.

I would be interested to know how other dancers feel about this issue. Are you equal-opportunity? Do non-dancers stand a chance with you?

5 thoughts on “Non-Dancers Can Get Out of the Pool

  1. suburbaknght

    While relationships with non-dancers can work out, they’re harder. For many dancers who really get INTO dancing, it becomes an all-consuming, obsessive activity. Consider someone who is an obsessive golfer or tennis player; think about how much time and money they put into playing, practicing, taking lessons, buying equipment, going to events, etc. and the first issue that comes up isn’t, “Can they handle my dancing?” but, “Can they handle my having such a large part of my life that doesn’t involve them?”

    Then there’s the whole set of issues particularly related to dancing: namely, the public’s perception that dancing always involves feelings of romance or sexuality. Fortunately, this is actually the easiest myth to dispel: the non-dancer must take a class series without the dancer so that he or she can understand that dancing doesn’t always have these associations. A side-benefit is that the non-dancer will have a better appreciation of the work it will take to join the dancer at his or her level and whether he or she will bow out now or put in the effort.

    • Matt

      I have found that girls that dance, or are willing to learn, are a lot more appealing to me, because there is a chance we could learn together and go to social events and have a fun time.
      It’s a great form of Cardio and I don’t want to forget what I’ve learned, and waste all that time I spent learning it.
      Dancing isn’t for everyone, but I love it too much to want to miss it … I took 3-4 year break, and slowly truly to relearn what I practiced, but there is a lot which I completely forgot.
      I am currently getting into salsa and other Latin club dances, and using some of the knowledge I learned during my International Latin and Ballroom.
      Going to learn Bachata in late November and the following year and then take a more advanced course in Salsa, learning and practing it.
      In the Summer I want to get introduced to Zouk and can’t wait to do the 8-week program on 3 house szz

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