More Getting More Dances

31st March 2009

"I have my pride... for her I chuck it." ~ ~ Wolverine.

Introduction: A Maestra's technique

I've been pondering this quote from MsHedgehog, especially as I've heard similar from other women

"Standing at the edge of the dance floor, smiling around, and fidgeting in time with the music worked for me, roughly 100% of the time. Taking the class, or sitting down and chatting in a friendly way to the other women, also both worked well."

Why does it work? And what's the male equivalent?

Say "No" to the Cabaceo

I think in part it works because it sacrifices part of the cabeceo's protection.

The cabeceo is essentially there to allow you to pick and chose your partners without causing offence.

A "verbal cabeceo" has developed among intermediates and beginners in the London area at least, where they will actually ask out loud if you'd like to dance. Which can be refused politely by blaming that you don't like the music or that you don't feel like dancing or you're tired.

No-one's feelings get hurt. (As long as you don't immediately accept someone else's invitation to dance.)

But if you're sitting there fidgeting away to the music and smiling, you're going to have to be a bit more inventive with verbally turning someone down without making sound like actually you just don't want to dance with them.

The Catch

And that's the catch. The more openly you project "I want to dance" the more likely you are to be asked, but you also increase your odds of being asked by random people. This may not be a bad thing, especially if you're just after dances.

Human beings don't like rejection. So if you're a guy and you're calmly projecting that you're merely going to the bar to get drinks, frankly you're making it riskier for the women to cabeceo with you because it looks like you're going to turn them down.

Which one of these two women would you try to cabeceo with?

(especially if she didn't have the cup of hot chocolate in her hand)

Conversely when you finish a tanda if you project "Wow that was fun and I want to keep dancing" it's much safer for women to cabeceo with you.

Back to the start

Which comes back to the original problem - how do men project "I'm interested in dancing" from a seated position? A "fix" is that it's simply much easier on the dancefloor after a tanda. So focus on getting on the dancefloor first. Knowing a few people there makes this easier, which is the reasoning behind women wanting to take the classes. It gets them a few introductions.

Likewise chatting to the other women can get them introductions. After tandas I've been asked to dance with various friends / relatives.

I repeatedly shoot myself in the foot in tango by finishing a tanda, escorting her to her table then going back to my table to have a sip of coke. I've now left the dancefloor entirely, by sipping coke I'm showing no interest in dancing and by the time I'm finished the next song's already underway. Opps.

(What not to do)

Hunt the fidget

The other way to get onto the dancefloor is simply to look for the women who are fidgeting to the music.

There is a degree of the kamikaze about this. Assume that she is going to say "yes". Walk towards her, not too fast, you need to give her time to pick up on you. Again Cabeceo as if it will definitely work. And it probably will.

The way to mess this up is to misjudge the timing of your initial approach. Women fidgeting to the music tend to be alert and subtly looking around. But you still need her to be looking in roughly your direction. Coming up in her blind spot ain't gonna work.

Likewise you need to give her a bit of time to process that yes you are interested in dancing with her and you're not in fact smiling at the cutie behind her.

Oh, and smile. Smiling is good.

Also get yourself together before you start walking. As soon as she sees you, you are an advert for yourself. If you are hunched up and paying no attention to the other dancers near you, she'll have second thoughts.

Bonus points for walking in time with the music.

Please email any helpful pointers on getting more dances to

 - Christopher O'Shea, 31st March 2009

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