I'm a follower, and this is the first time I'm in a relationship with another dancer. Now, when we go social dancing, none of the leads ask me to dance. It's very frustrating- do leads really only want to dance with people they can "pick up?"
This is super interesting, and I might be able to offer some perspective as a lead.
It's probably inaccurate to assume that leads are avoiding you because you're "unavailable." You've been in relationships before, and you're in one now, so the relationship isn't the difference.
It sounds like the main difference is that your partner is there.
That dynamic does change how other leads think and behave around you - but for most leads, it's not as much about hookupability up as you might think.
For most of the leads who are not inviting you to dance, there are plenty of other reasons they would hesitate. Here are a few reasons I've caught myself hesitating when a follower's partner is also in the zouk scene.
- If it's the beginning of the night, "they'll want the first few dances together."
- If they're sitting or standing near each other, "I'm interrupting, that would be awkward."
- If the partner is a very advanced lead, "90% of her dances are better than what I feel like I can offer tonight."
- Simple empathy. Many people struggle with watching their partner in a close intimate sensual embrace with someone else. Many leads would just assume that your partner would feel uncomfortable with that too- because they themselves might.
When we're dancing, I might have occasional thoughts like "is this too intimate?" "What moves are appropriate here?" Self-auditing a dance is normal- but when the follower's partner is there they become a primary concern.
That makes the silky-smooth flow state and all the joy that comes with it just a bit harder to reach. Overthinking sucks.
Don't be too hard on the leads, or assume they're thinking with the wrong head, or blame your relationship. This just looks like social psych 101 stuff.
The #1 thing you can do is take the initiative and ask. Most leads would love to dance with you, they're just uncertain about the protocol here.
Also, between dances, if you want to invite invitations, don't hang alongside your partner chatty-chatty-like. Make eye contact. Smile. All of the "yes, ask me to dance" stuff.
If your social events have multiple rooms, or if you also do other styles, switch it up. You're in the zouk room and your partner is doing kiz.
Yes, it would be ideal if you didn't need to make these adjustments, but...
humans are humans.
Once you have a few favorite leads who have the situation sorted out in their heads (yes, both of them), you'll get asked by them every time. Soon other leads will see that and feel more comfortable asking too.
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