Where are the Men?

Where are the Men…??

“Where are the men?” is a question often asked to the adult dance parties and group classes I’ve attended over the past 15 years. The easy answer is that they don’t like to dance and prefer less vulnerable activities to pursue in their free time. Many people speculate that men don’t want to look silly doing something, or that they don’t like feeling awkward and clumsy. I can certainly understand where this is the case. Putting one’s ego on the line is a challenge none of us like to take.

But, the truth is much deeper than this easy explanation. In Europe, lots of men dance with their wives and partners, usually at least once a week. The same is also true for Canadians. I am told there are restaurants, clubs and other venues expressly offering a night out for dancing. Unless you are in South Florida for Salsa or in North Myrtle Beach for the Shag, one is not likely to find this same phenomenon. (Obviously giving credit due to Lynn’s Speakeasy, Villa Antonio’s for Latin Night and Johnny’s Hideaway for Shag night, there aren’t many places to dance that aren’t studios).

There are notable exceptions as well with free style dancing. Younger people go to clubs and free style as part of the normal 20-something courtship ritual. In the Latin communities, Salsa dancing is pervasive and the best male dancers are revered by men and women alike. Argentine Tango aficionados can be found in every culture and community, being connected by their passion for Tango. The best male dancers in this world are elevated to an even higher status due to their abilities to “lead and follow: with an intoxicating effect.

So, why are US men who do not fall into the Latin or Argentine categories so bashful? Is it that once a male turns 30 or gets married he looses his rhythm or his machismo? The more complex answer is actually more likely that our culture is the culprit. This is itself fascinating because such a large percentage of the US population claims European heritage. However, a darker part of our US cultural evolution emanates from our Puritan heritage. These folks didn’t dance at all and they scorned anyone with a bit of fun in their personalities (anyone remember “The Scarlet Letter?”)

And there is another dark side to this reluctance that is best portrayed in a scene from the movie “Men Who Stare at Goats.” In this scene, George Clooney’s character is explaining to Ewan McGregor’s character how Jeff Bridges ran the paranormal unit in the Vietnam war, and described how Bridges told his recruits to “dance like no one is watching”-just let go of their inhibitions. One recruit, Kevin Spacey’s character, refuses. We get a flash-back from his life where he is about 14 years old, in his bedroom, and dancing wildly. His father bursts into the room and throws something at him and shouts: “Stop that! Are you a queer or something?” This immediately hurts and embarrasses the boy and of course he is never the same again.

The point being that in addition to having a cultural hangover of Puritan condemnation for any expression of freedom, we men also have dark suspicion that if we dance and enjoy it, we might be homosexual…Better to be bashing into each other on the football field or chasing a little white golf ball around the links than get caught dancing!

I say “Malarkey” to all of that! The truths are that women love men who dance with them. They love the “lead and follow” element of dancing that has no other equivalent behavior. They love the suggestion that a man who dances well-attentively, creatively, and passionately-will have similar qualities in other couples activities with dancing being the best indicator of how he’ll perform.

If any men need a role model, go to a Salsa club and see who gets the prettiest girls. Go to an Argentine Tango Milonga and see how the men are more likely to be flirted with by the women hoping for a dance with their favorite. These are unmistakably machismo events, and are the remaining place in our amorphous culture where it’s OK for men to be men and women to be women, and these differences are celebrated and rejoiced.

Lastly, feeling gawky when learning anything is completely normal, so that is not an excuse not to dance. Has anyone felt at ease hitting a golf ball for the first time? It’s doubtful. So, the sooner men get over their ego’s resistance to looking silly the better because it doesn’t matter to your dance partner. She just wants to dance. And as a man learns how to “lead and follow” with connection, attention, creativity and passion, his whole world will start to change. I guarantee it!

-Jim Manly

Hugh’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Please join us for our dance party and potluck on September 12, 2014 at 9:00PM-10:30PM. Hugh will be doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge immediately following the party. Please stay, watch and participate in all the fun!

What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive nerodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease and encourage donations to research. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation. So far, this challenge has raised $62.5 million in donations!
 

Hugh's ALS Challenge Invitation

 

Hugh has been nominated to do the Ice Bucket Challenge and has asked if students would like to donate. For every $5 donated, your name will be put into a drawing for a chance to be one of the people who gets to dump a bucket of ice water over him. For a $20 donation, it is guaranteed that YOU WILL dump a bucket of ice water over him! All proceeds will be donated to ALS to assist in furthering their research towards a cure.

Please bring a towel (maybe one for Hugh as well), a change of appropriate clothing and shoes for this will involve a lot of ice and water. We would like to make this a potluck, so bring your favorite dish to share with everyone and we encourage you to bring cameras for picture taking as well in order to capture this great moment! 
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask one of our staff!

Sincerely,  

TGDanzport Staff

Groovin’ At Our Woodstock Themed Party

For all you crazy cats and groovy chicks who missed out on our Woodstock Themed Party, here are some awesome pictures to get you psyched to come to our next dance party on September 12!

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Are You Taking the Easy Way Out?

An artist will take months to paint a masterpiece. An author will take years to write an award-winning novel. An athlete will take a lifetime to train themselves to their full potential. These great aspirations take time and effort and energy. With one bad stroke of a paintbrush, one missing piece of an idea, one wrong move for an injury, it can all be undone. They must start over, or worse, it’s lost forever…

Destruction is so much easier than creation, hesitancy easier than commitment, giving up easier than moving forward, guarding ourselves easier than trusting others. Why do we shy away from greatness? Why are we afraid to reach for our dreams? Because we feel that putting ourselves out there, to make an effort to try, makes us vulnerable. Knowing how easily our endless efforts can be undone is daunting, but we need those fears and struggles in order to appreciate our accomplishments; those rare moments when we’ve created something beautiful, when we’ve committed to something worthwhile, when we’ve moved forward towards something we want, something great and when we’ve opened ourselves up to another and weren’t let down. It doesn’t always work out the way we hoped, but when it does, it’s magnificent, it’s magical and that’s when we find ourselves truly living. When we truly live, we inspire others to do the same.

One of my favorite quotes and eye openers by Zig Ziglar: “We deny our talents and abilities, because to admit them would commit us to using them.” We are more often afraid of achieving success than we are of succumbing to failure. So take a leap of faith. Inspire someone. Do something for yourself, something more, not just what’s expected of you. Ask yourself: Are you taking the easy way out?

 

Written by Hugh Rowe

Edited by Kimberly Wong

 

Congratulations!

We would like to congratulate the TGDanzport Formation Team and students who represented and participated in the Colorado Star Ball June 19-22, as well as in the Colorado Country Classic June 26-27.

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Also, congratulations to Dawn Mersich, with teacher Hugh Rowe, who won both the “A” and “B” Rhythm Scholarships at the Colorado Star Ball Championships on June 20.

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