I've been in the 'scene' for a little over a year. I enjoy the dancing and trust it takes to partner dance with a stranger. I also enjoy the times I dance with my friends. I love learning the dances from my teachers (those championship dancers that I mentioned) and I'm often told I'm good at it and 'one of the best' in the classes I take.
The joy I get from dancing, when I'm able to really get into it is great for me, but it's the social dancing that often makes me want to give it all up.
Bluntly, leads don't want to dance with a fat follow. Leads don't want to dance with a follow that isn't attractive enough to them. I mean, I can't change their mind, you're attract to who you are attracted to. What frustrates me is that should not apply in something as simple as social dancing. That is my consensus. How did I come to it? Observation and conversation.
The Lindy scene has a lot of cute girls. A lot of them can't dance, but they always get asked. I remember standing with a group of five girls, and a song began to play. The five girls, all varying degrees of skill level were all asked to dance within ten seconds of the song starting. Me? I stood there looking around, making eye contact with other leads, only to have some (I shit you not) look me in the eye, go right past me, and go ask someone else.
Did I not smile enough? Did I not do what those other girls did? They smiled, lead came over, they were asked to dance, and they danced. I did that, except the lead asking me falls short. "You need to ask them," I keep getting told. Fine. But when 9 out of 10 times you dance, you are the asker, you get tired of it. It feels very one sided, especially when you see your girlfriends just finish a dance THEN as they are walking a way, get pulled out by another lead.
Yes I'm jealous. I want to get better. I want to stop being seen as a reject. I want to stop bitching about this to unbelieving friends. Some of my friends try to empathize, but they can't. I have one friend, who I really enjoy. She started dancing literally 5 months ago, and because she's cute, she has learned as much as I have in half the time and less money. Why? Because she was lucky enough to get into the friendship fold of the good dancers. Jealous.
I was bringing this up to my friends and some don't buy it. But then I started chatting with some girls I felt may be in the same situation I'm in, and I was shocked to learn that it's more real than I thought. The passing up, the ignoring, the shitty dance because the lead clearly does not want to dance with you, or the blatant 'no' some leads will do to an ugly follow. I was talking to one girl for nearly an hour about it, and we had some of the same stories. "I have a friend who is nearly 400 pounds, and she is the lightest follow I've ever danced with. That's one reason I learned to lead," she said, "so at least one of us would have someone to dance with."
It's so heartbreaking at times. I mean, I routinely go to Lindygroove, and I can't tell you how shitty I feel after I leave that dance venue. I stand with a lot of the other girls, and I'm often ignored. I ask a lead, and I often get a shitty dance because he DOES NOT want to dance with you. I mean, how good can a dance be if someone does not want to dance with you?
There seems to be two types of follows in the scene: A follow who is at some level of attraction to the lead and gets asked to dance chronically, no matter the skill level, and a follow who is so good that you hear leads say, "she's a great dancer" no matter what she looks like. I have to get to the good dancer level as fast as I can because I don't 'fit' in the first category. That's been made clear. I just don't know how to feel about it all. It's exhausting circumventing my emotions for some thing that should be an enjoyment.
I want to get better at it, I want to get good, but this social dancing isn't working for me. I need encouragement.
The first couple are my dance instructors.
They won this competition.
Check out 4:02, its phenomenal.