Men Pick the Steps

Men Pick the Steps

One of the reasons that dancing cannot help become a major sport of the future is that it is one of the few activities where a man can still be totally in charge.  At least that is the way this sport should be marketed.  In today’s society where more and more often any semblance of sexism is deemed inappropriate and therefore brutish, vulgar, arcane, and whatever else men normally are, isn’t it wonderful to have a sport or activity in which most ladies love to participate where a man can take charge, be assertive, and be the “ONE IN CONTROL”?  After all the man gets to pick the steps, along with deciding when to get on the floor, and he even gets to decide how fast to go.  With these many specialized tasks, it is only natural that we should offer expert advice to help those that have either, never mastered the art, or have forgotten some of the intricacies involved.

As to picking the steps, a man first needs to understand the importance of the starting position.  Upon entering the dance floor check out the crowd.  If they are spaced around the floor, start in the middle of the floor so you can look them over and decide whom you want to get in front of, so as to block their every move and make them look really stupid to their girl.  If they are jammed up in the middle of the floor, start way on the outside so that you can go along the outside of the floor for at least 10 feet, before the crowd shifts and is in your way.  Then you can mumble about how they are going against the grain, and shouldn’t be allowed on the floor.  Said loud enough your partner will be too embarrassed to reply, therefore giving tacit approval, and really upsetting the other couples on the floor.  Repeated a few times, and you will be so despised by the crowd that when they see you going towards the floor, even the men will go together to the rest room, and you will have the whole floor to yourself to do whatever steps you want without any annoying interruptions.

As to which steps to actually use, this involves years and years of study and practice.  So I am certain you will be surprised to learn it all in these paragraphs, but here goes.  Steps that go somewhere are very important.  Whereas seasoned and trained dancers (and other athletes of many persuasions) will actually look in the direction they are going, neophytes, and beginners and all too many “self avowed” expert dancers will try to back their way blindly through the floor.  It is the old, “If I can’t see them they aren’t there strategy.”  This will work if your shoulders are broad enough to move large buildings in a single bound.  For most, it comes to a sudden stop when you hit a larger person, trip over the band’s speaker, or fall over a ringside table.  The sudden stop can be camouflaged with a snuggle and soft whisper of some memorized endearment, but there is no way to avoid the snickers, and outright laughter following the free fall.  So it may actually pay to learn to move in a visually advantageous direction.  Just a thought, guys.

Next, there are steps that change directions.  Obviously most men have no problem here.  We just stop, turn and go the other way, but since we do not come equipped with air bags, our partners suffer the whiplash.  They will not let you forget it either, complaining about a headache for days, so take the time to learn to do this right.  Right after stepping on her delicate foot with your size 13EEE Timberlands, jerking them around is about as bad as it can get.  The philosophy is to plan ahead and see where the traffic is coming from.  If you are really tall this is easy enough.  If not, just shout, blame the other guy, and wait for the men to go off together to the rest room before entering the dance floor again.

Steps that make the lady look good are most important.  Some people refer to these, as the steps that make the lady look good.  Dips, sways, and pick-ups or lifts are just some.  It is true that men remember the ladies swooning after Fred or Gene did the step, and we will take all the swooning we can get.  This is why we try these steps, but Fred practiced on how to do it right so the lady actually looked good for the movie.  Fortunately for most men, big screen replays are not standard at most clubs, so the lady remembers only that it was a dip.  She does not get to see if she looks like a cow or lady, and the man is mostly so proud of himself for doing such a magnificent rendition, she forgets she was even part of the step.  The man exclaims, “Wow that was great.”  Few ladies will bust his bubble, and we figure that silence is consent.  Right.

There are a few other categories, like changing position on the floor, moving to the open spot, dancing in place while others pass, etc.  These and more may be a subject of future lessons, but now you can start with the basics.  Coming soon, various ways to ask the lady on the floor.  This cultural study required years of intensive investigation that you won’t want to miss.

Michael S. Reichenbach

Published in:

Dance Week Magazine

2709 Medical Office Place

Goldsboro, NC 27534

Vol. XXVIII No. 30

July 25, 2003



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