Joel and Clara Marasigan

Women Trying to be Men


Probably one of my biggest pet peeves out there on the ballroom dance floor is women trying to lead! OMG! Ladies: stop resisting the man and trying to control him! Maybe you do that in your personal life or at work, but there’s no place for it on the dance floor!

women-trying-to-be-menDon’t get me wrong, I’m not an anti-feminist who believes in traditional gender roles. I do not believe that women must stay home to cook and clean, while men fix cars and bring home the bread. I believe that women can be just as smart, powerful and successful as men can. After all, these days, the traditional roles of man and woman have changed. In some households, it’s the woman who is a powerful executive and the man who is at home, taking care of the children. In many cases, both the man and woman work and therefore share the duties of the household. Either way, it doesn’t really matter in the end, as long as things are getting done. It’s called Division of Labour. In life, how you divide that labour is a choice to be made between you and your partner.

In ballroom dancing, there is NO CHOICE! The division of labour has been decided for you. The man is the lead and the lady is the follow. If you want to dance, you have to accept this! If you can’t accept it, then ladies, you should give up your right to wear the pretty dresses and makeup, and put on a tailsuit and take the role of the man. These days, ladies are actually able to assume the role of the man, through the ‘Not So Strictly Ballroom’ competitions for the gay community. However, if you want to continue dancing as man and woman, (as I suspect that it will be nearly impossible for you to convince your partner to switch roles and put on a dress and high heels), then you’d better just accept the fact that you are the woman!

Being the ‘follower’ does not mean that you have to be passive or submissive. What many of you ladies don’t understand is that you can still be a very powerful and expressive dancer, even in the role of ‘follower’. Unfortunately, the word ‘follower’ often elicits the wrong feelings for the woman (but that is a whole other topic that we will explore at another time). The ‘follower’ should in fact be very active, just active in her own role, not taking over the role of the man.

Remember, ballroom dancing is about a man and a woman. The man is the lead and the lady is the follow. If you want to dance in harmony with each other, you need to have a division of labour. Understand your roles and stick to them. Otherwise, look into another form of dance, which only involves one person. Ballroom dancing is a team activity. If you can’t accept the rules, don’t play the game!

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