It is a well-known fact that there are a lot of people who start dance to meet people – with an eye towards dating.
Does that mean that social dance is all about the sex? Is it all about finding romantic partners, either short or long term? Or is it something else?
There’s no denying that at the intro level of dance there is a component of looking to meet romantic partners – for at least some people. There are lots of guys who end up in my Beginners class to meet a girl (or because they’re dating a girl who likes to dance). There are a lot of people who begin to dance after the end of a romantic relationship, looking to fill a void. There are girls who want to become sexier and learn how to move in a sensual way.
If you go to a nightclub that happens to play Salsa music, you’ll see this. There’s a ton of people who know a few basic steps, spend most of their night chatting, and focus their dancing on people who they’d like to get to know more – off the dance floor. But, these are rarely the serious dancers in the room. Same thing with free intro Kizomba classes and other sensual dances: the intro levels get an influx of people who are there for the jollies instead of the dance.
Despite the fact that many people start dance for these reasons, I don’t think it stays that way if they continue in dance. Dancing well is just too much work.
There’s also the other extreme: pro dancers who spend social dancing romancing newer dancers because social dancing is just the same-old at that point. They love their dance and treat it as an art – but social dancing is probably one of their only chances to actually meet people. Social dance floors are their place of work, their bar, their social hub, and their friendship incubator. It’s an all-in-one – and if you add alcohol, it can sometimes become their pick-up venue.
Dance does make you more appealing to more people. A lot of dancers will only date someone else who dances (which, ironically, narrows the dating pool). You do get to go to sexy events and meet lots of attractive people.
But really, I could go to a bar and get all the sex I want. Yet, I choose to go dancing. In the beginning, part of it was because I could connect with people without the expectation of giving my number or going back to their place at the end of the night. I’m sure there are others who feel similarly.
To me, what is unique about social dance is that it can be like a nightclub that is not all about the sex.
Have you ever tried to explain social dancing to non-dance friends? Especially if you are a Latin dancer, it is hard to describe to non-dance friends that you can take a different partner every song, share 5-10 minutes with each other, and then move on – no romantic feelings involved.
Even harder to describe are platonic ‘dance crushes’: people that make you feel all melty inside when you’re dancing with them, but as soon as you’re off the dance floor? Low to zero attraction (usually).
I have had dance crushes on men who are 65+. I’m certainly not romantically interested in them, but they’re so totally in the category of ‘making me feel all lovely’ when we dance. One in particular is definitely not limited to me; most follows who know him feel like their night out at Tango isn’t complete with at least one dance from him.
I also have a serious partner. He dances with other (sometimes very physically attractive) women, I dance with other (sometimes very physically attractive) men. Plus, Brazilian Zouk is on the sensual end of the dance spectrum. Yet, neither of us – no matter how sensual the dance – end up in a situation where our romantic mind is confused.
There are also children and teens who social dance. Don’t you dare tell me that dancing with them is sexual.
For some, sex and dating was never even a reason to dance in the beginning.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t meet romantic partners while dancing – it means that you’re not dancing for the purpose of finding sex or romance. It means you’re dancing for some other reason:
- A general sense of finding community and friendship
- A love of the actual dance
- Stress relief
- The athleticism, or staying in shape
- The music
- The opportunity to travel
- Just something to do.
This list isn’t exhaustive. I wanted to dance because I love the arts. I love people. Bam. Social dancing = art + people. I did not start social dancing because I wanted more sex or more romantic partners. Most of my friends are in the same boat.
Even for those who did start dancing because of the romantic possibilities, a lot of the ‘sexuality’ dissipates when you get to the intermediate+ level (or sooner, in many cases).
Dancing well takes work. A lot of work. It takes drills, practice, lessons, time, energy, and a level of fitness. That’s a lot of effort to put into finding sexytime partners. If a dancer has made it to at least an intermediate level, there’s probably something else that is keeping them in dance besides sex.
Plus, strong dancers generally love dancing with proficient dancers – regardless of physical appearance. At that point, it’s about the fact that two non-sexually-attracted-to-one-another-people can have an awesome dance – without the desire to go to bed together.
Of course, many good dancers do have a significant sex life – but it’s usually not their reason for dancing. For them, it’s a nice perk that goes along with the energy, fun, passion, socialization, music, and movement that are part of the social dance package. At that point, sex and romance become much the same as they are in the ‘real world’: just a side focus in an otherwise multifaceted life.
For example, some people go to university. At university, you may meet a romantic partner – but it’s not the primary concern. Your degree is the primary concern, but you might meet some great romantic partners during your time there. There may also be a small portion of the university population who decided to attend because they wanted to meet an educated partner.
Sex and romance is part of the social dance world – but it is not the focus. The focus is on the dancing and the people. Social dancing is NOT all about the sex, even though romance and attraction play a role within the scene.
What do you think? Is social dance all about the sex? Leave your comments below.