Rejection in Salsa

Rejection in Salsa is a topic that I have been meaning to write about for some time. But before I start this article let me give some context to non-Salsa dancers, please give me some rope here.

The global Salsa scene is broadly made up of parties and classes. The majority of teachers will insist on students rotating partners in classes. This is to get people to meet each other, make friends and build a community where education can thrive. The club scene is very different to the class environment. These are open to those that want to learn and just those that want to have a good time. People will make friends, form groups, and dance if they choose to or not. Club promoters very rarely have an opportunity to control the mindset of their client base.

One of the most upsetting and often crushing experiences that people tell me about is when they are rejected for a dance. I will highlight 3 verbal rejections i.e. where you will get a reason and 3 non-verbal where you will get a random sentence which results in a no.

In this article, I would like to bring to light the subject of rejection and hopefully give some more insight as to the possible reasons that rejection occurs as well as the reasons were given.

Verbal – I Am Tired

In the Salsa scene, a large proportion of people dance the whole night away. Some clubs have a window of between 2-6 hours for social dancing and it is often the case that people will get tired. When tired people will generally 1) be more selective on the song they dance to i.e. avoid fast songs, 2) avoid energetic dancers since they will find it hard to keep up and 3) avoid new dancers as they do not quite know what to expect.

TIP: If you see someone who is drenched in sweat or looks tired you may get a rejection.

Verbal – I Do Not Like The Song

After a few years of dancing Salsa, most people will develop their own personal taste in terms of music. Some songs will move you but for someone else, they could be uninspiring or even dull. It requires a lot of energy to dance to a song and make sure your partner is enjoying the dance when you are not inspired.

TIP: If you pay attention you could easily spot what songs your potential partner likes. Asking for a dance on a song that they like increases the chances of them saying yes.

Verbal – I am Not in the Mood / Not Now / Maybe Later

Dancing is a release for a lot of people and the feeling that you get becomes addictive. For some the flow of the night is also an important aspect of the overall dance experience; when the flow and vibe of the night are not working in your favour your will to dance dramatically decreases. At this point, the dancer becomes very selective in who they dance with as they are searching for a way to kick-start their night.

TIP: You can spot if a person is in the mood to dance as they will be dancing to every song; you can also spot a higher level of energy. If you see someone sitting down for every other song or spending the night in conversation you can see that dancing is not their priority. Asking would have a high chance of rejection.

Non-Verbal – Heart Set On Someone Else

Most people when dancing is looking for something. A particular experience or feeling that will satisfy them. Consciously or subconsciously they may have their hearts set on someone and may be waiting for the right moment to make their move. You can always see someone sitting down and paying a lot of attention to someone else.

TIP: When you see someone sitting out a number of songs but continuously watching a dancer on the floor bare in mind that they could be waiting. The best thing to do is leave these guys to their own devices and ask at a later time. For the majority of the time, the dancer will be on a high after getting the dance they desired and therefore will be more enjoyable to dance with.

Non-Verbal – Does Not Like Dancing With You

People are not obliged to dance with everyone and as much as you might want to delude yourself, not everyone in the world wants to dance with you. This is not about levels or how well you move or what moves you have but is more of a matter of connection and personal style.

TIP: It is easy to know if someone enjoys dancing with you or not. Do they ask you to dance? Are you always the one asking? Do you have a good two-way connection? Asking someone who you don’t have a connection with has an increased chance of rejection.

Non-Verbal – You Are Creepy / Scary / Annoying

We would all like to believe that we are lovely, and approachable and that everyone wants to know us. But this is pure egotism and could not be further from the truth. I am sure we are all lovely people but in the case of rapport and entropy between people is not just about you but how you connect. Someone who is extremely approachable to one person could be very annoying to another.

TIP: When asking someone to dance who you have a strong rapport with you will generally get a yes. If you do not then you face a higher chance of rejection.

Final Thoughts

Rejection is a big part of life. Whether you have been rejected after a football trial or a promotion at work you will have two choices 1) linger or 2) move on swiftly. From what I have seen all those that linger become resentful end up very negative, jaded or self-destructive.

My advice to all Salsa dancers is to not linger and to move on as swiftly as possible. People reject dances for many reasons and most of the time it is about them and not you. Forget the rejection and do not let it affect your night. Just keep going and keep asking and do not be afraid.

Have you ever rejected someone? What have your reasons been for rejecting a dance?

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