India is a country known for its rich tradition, culture and values. We are known all over the world for our great music and dance forms. In fact our God of dance is ‘Natraj’ and our most flirtatious Lord Krishna is also known for his ‘Ras Leelas’. Before we perform any form of Indian dances we pray to the lord of dance ‘Lord Shiva’, Shiva known for the magnificent Tandav. But inspite of our dance gods being all male dancers Indian men are shy to dance, they feel that dance is not for men or what you hear most often ‘Real Men do not Dance.’
But is this true is the question. What makes us men feel that we have two left feet. Is it our upbringing or is it the society we live in and are morns and myths. Most men who go to a dance class are either looked down upon or are made to feel that they are doing a ‘Girlie thing.’ Who decides if it’s a ‘Girlie thing’, I am sure Lord Shiva and Krishna did not feel so when they began to dance.
Today with the western dance forms getting popular, male dancers are getting out of their shell and stepping into their dancing shoes. But do they still face criticism and emotional lectures from families before stepping onto the dance floor of a class. With my experience of teaching dancing to thousands of students in India, I would say ‘Yes.’
Even today when a boy walks onto the dance floor first question he asks is ‘Will I be able to dance’, ‘Is it very difficult’, ‘I am here because my ladylove wants me to dance.’ These questions make me feel that we men doubt our learning capabilities. But just the effort that he has taken to come to a class makes me feel that there is HOPE.
Many men feel that it’s the upbringing that makes them think this way. From a very young age they are made to stay away from dance and dancing stuff. Their parents tell then to go out and play various games and sports without being aware that some form of western dances like Latin and Ballroom are a part of Olympic Games. Later some of their male friends discourage then from dancing saying only girls learn to dance. But do they realize that best way to woo women is on the dance floor, and it’s a great way to share an emotional bond. Like cigarettes and coffee breaks gets people together, dance is also another form that creates great bond.
Today men are showing great interest in learning various dance forms, mainly because they want to impress girls, but when they take it up seriously their wrong attitude changes and they start to learn dance for the sake of self pleasure and expression. I am sure that soon the myth ‘Real Men do not Dance’ will break one day and we will see ‘Men do the Real Dance’
Dos and Don’ts of starting to dance:
- Do not worry about what the world will think, just follow your heart
- Join a good dance class (depending on what style you are inspired to learn)
- Be open to learning new steps and hand moves.
- Once in class, initially one feels shy to dance, so do not bother about that, remember all your batch mates are new dancers
- In case you are not getting the step, relax, ‘Rome was not built in one day’
- Dress correctly (clothes and shoes) for the class, it is very important to feel right.
- Make friends in the class and go out dancing with them, you will learn more watching others dance too
- Practice what you learn daily, remember ‘practice makes one perfect’
- Understand the mood and attitude of your dance, try to bring it out in your body language, remember ‘Dance expression is most important’
- Use your dancing skills to make new friends and not to show off your skills to others, ‘a show off dancer does not go a long way’
Artscape By Sandip Soparrkar