HOW to DRESS for DANCING. Dance Article
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How to Dress for Dancing
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CLUBS Competition Fifties Floors Followers
Jack 'n' Jill
It's TOO LOUD!
How to PLAY for Dancing
Relative Placement
Vignettes
MMn
HOW TO
AND
NOT

DRESS FOR DANCING
Pssst . . .Wanna see my dance scars?

Wear whatever you like, but be aware that there are some things you can do to make
it easier and/or more comfortable to dance with you . . .  — Marshall@*.edu
 
It doesn't matter [what we wear]. We aren't there to show off
our fashion sense. We are there to dance. —
RMiller@*.net

Posted to UseNet Group rec.arts.dance by Icono Clast on April 1, 1995
[Stamp, Original Comments, Response to Original, Reply to Response]

Regardless of gender, when selecting an upper-body garment for dancing, it is very important that it is cut high in the arm pits and not have baggy or loose sleeves that can interfere with your partner getting a hand to your back. Aside from the inconvenience, such garments can also be dangerous as a Leader might be looking for a way to get around your garment rather looking to avoid other dancers.
          The waist and bodice should also not have excessive fabric. I am not saying that you should wear skin-tight garments nor even tight-fitting ones. I am saying that excessive fabric can create problems and, if your body parts are unusually located, undesired accidental contact.

MMn You should also avoid lace where your partner's hands are likely to be (on the dance floor). Jewellery that will not cut flesh can sometimes catch on lace or other loose weaves.
MMn Jewellery, of course, should be very carefully chosen. Be sure to check your rings, bracelets, and belts for sharp edges or even small points that can catch in your partner's clothing or jewellery. Long necklaces can also be hazardous particularly if you're a fast spinner. Same goes for long hair, particularly pony tails.
MMn Sylvia (of Jonathan and) Sykes had extremely long hair that she braided and pin'd to her chest. The way she spins, her hair would've been lethal!
MMn
Few men would not suggest a short skirt that reveals all when you spin. Enough women are aware of that to keep us happy.
MMn Long skirts that fly out when you spin can often be an interference. This is particularly true when they're cut so that they fly out from higher than mid-thigh. Although I like to see long skirts cut to fly out from just above the knee, I prefer to dance with near-to-knee skirts cut to fly from mid-thigh or higher. The shorter the skirt, the higher the fly-point can be. Long skirts provide the lovely sight of flowing fabric. They can be cut to not interfere with the dance and, for those who care, are modest.
MMn It's very important to me that there's enough room to get my knee 'tween your legs. Many skirts prevent that. It's a minor inconvenience but an inconvenience nevertheless.
MMn
A local woman has a beautiful silver belt made of convex coin-like parts connected by a pretty chain. I won't dance with her when she wears that belt as it has caused considerable damage to my arm. Oh, I didn't bleed or anything but the damage was still visible the next day.
MMn
Another local woman has a very short torso and large and low breasts. Every first-time-of-the-night I dance with her, I note where her breasts happen to be as she has one bra that lets them be so low as there's hardly any waist available. On top of all that, she's gay (Femme) and probably has even less desire than others for her breasts to meet a man's hand on the dance floor.
MMnThis brings to mind another consideration:
MMnIf your breasts are more likely to be where your bra puts them rather than your bra being where your breasts put it, try to wear bras that keep your breasts in the same place from one night to the next. We Leaders learn your body and become comfortable with allowing our muscle memory of you take care of things. But if your parts move around, change position, our muscle memory doesn't know that until too late. That could explain why some of your regular partners sometimes do things you'd rather they not.
 
ADDENDA suggested by bcochran@*.net in 2005:
· If you take an electronic communications device onto the dance floor in the belief that you are so important that the world cannot survive three minutes unless you are connected to it, put it where it won't contact your partner or otherwise interfere, such as making a noise, with the dance.
· Also, please don't take loose change, pens, pencils, and/or pocket knives onto the dance floor.
  MM
ADDENDUM [originally eMail to a local beauty]:
Oh, a suggestion:
MMnWhen you know you're going to a place that's a bit on the dark side, wearing a little accessory or something near your breasts is a good idea if you're wearing dark clothing. Be sure to position it where it will not come into contact with your partner.
MMnIf you get grabbed more than once during a dance, it ain't no accident. Shortly after dancing with you, I danced with a short, large-breasted, short-torso'd woman who was all in black and m'hands went where they oughtn't've several times. She took it in good humor, even made a few humorous comments, and asked me to dance the next one, too, so it appears she knew the hap'nings were unintentional. Part of the reason was the lighting and clothing; part was her build; and part was that she's an inexperienced Swing dancer who wasn't always where she was supposed to be.
MMn
***
A third party, a woman, eMail'd a rim shot something like:
> Well, maybe it wasn't your intent but it might have been hers.
MMn
***
An accident happened while dancing with a black-clad girl who might still be a teen-ager. A while later, sitting together, I suggested that she wear a pin or something near her breasts she knowing full well what had caused me to so say. She coyly replied, bringing to mind the last line quoted above “Maybe I don't want to…”
MMn
With another woman who is an excellent Follower, it appeared to me that a Lead was deliberately not Followed. The result was a handful. She smiled. I suspect, based on the two comments above, that she might have caused it to happen.                                                                                — Icono Clast
_________________________________________
Date: 04-27-97 (00:00)   From: STEPHIEXXX@*.*
iclast@infinex.com wrote
> The waist and bodice should
> I am saying
> You should also
> Jewellery, of course, should be...
> Be sure to...
> Few men would not suggest a short skirt that reveals all when you spin.
> Enough women are aware of that to keep us happy.
> It's very important to me...to get my knee 'tween your legs.
MMn[you would know it if I got mine 'tween yours]
> Many skirts prevent..
> I won't dance with her ... as it has caused considerable damage to my arm.
> Oh, I didn't bleed ...
MMn[poor thing!]
> If your breasts are more likely to be where your bra puts ...
> try to wear bras that...
> But if your parts move around,...
> Be sure to position it where it will not come...
> If you get grabbed more than once during a dance, it ain't no accident.
MMn
For an iconoclast you have a pretty dictatorial attitude about how women should dress.
MMnMy first dance teacher gave us a simple rule which I would recommend that you consider:
FAnything that goes wrong on the dance floor is the man's fault.E
Correlaries:

1) The woman wears anything she wants and the man deals with it.
2) The woman is shaped the way she is and the man deals with it.
3) The woman moves anyway she wants and the man deals with it.
4) If the woman wears glass glued to her gown the man bleeds carefully and avoids
4) getting any on her dress.  (That's what handkerchiefs are for, or do you reserve
4) yours for your nose.)
5) If anything goes wrong the man takes the blame.
MMnThis has been the standard for centuries, and I see no reason to change now.
MMnIn dance, everyone looks at the woman, she is the star, she makes the couple look good. The guy is not a "leader", he is a chauffeur.  All he has to do is move her around in a reliable way so she can do her thing. If he can't drive while she shows off, she should get another driver.
MMn On a more helpful note, I would suggest that you examine your own technique in terms of reaching for the woman.  As a martial artist, I can grab or strike just about any part of your anatomy with great precision with out moving my eyes.  If I have one hand in contact with you I can grab just about any part with my eyes closed.  This is because martial artists practice this.
MMnWe also use very specific angles of attack and hand positions that more or less guarantee that our hands are going to end up in the right place.  If you punch toward my face, for example, the edge of my hand will strike your forearm, travel down to your wrist, and grab you wrist little fingers first.  This works almost every time.  If I went right for your wrist, it would almost never work.
MMn In terms of dancing, if you reach for the woman hand first, you, of course, are going to end of grabbing breasts and in general poking her. Instead try reaching past and around the woman, pulling your forearm back until you make contact, and then sliding your hand in position.  A bump with your forearm if you miss is better than a grab with your fingers. This will also help with your problem of getting tangled in clothes.
MMnAs for your problem with your delicate hands, I suggest you try the Karate methods of hand toughening like driving your hand into rice grains or sand.  It shouldn't take too long before you can tolerate sequins.                                                                                      — Stephie
MMn
_________________________________
Date: 04-27-97   From: MARSHALL@*.*
> Anything that goes wrong on the dance floor is the man's fault.
MMn
. . . dancing is a *partnership* and as such it's really incorrect to say that it's one person's fault all the time for any mistake.  As a partnership, you can't really separate blame and say "you're wrong" or "I'm wrong."  Any mistake can be the fault of the leader, the follower, or both…The partnership has to take the blame/fault together, as the pair they are.
MMn
> 5) If anything goes wrong the man takes the blame.
MMn
. . . generally the man will take the blame . . . This doesn't necessarily mean it's his fault . . . when you're working as a pair, you can't really split blame between the two partners; the partners have to take the blame/fault together…I'll apologize for the mistake, but that doesn't necessarily mean I was wrong.
MMn
> This has been the standard for centuries, and I see no reason to change now.
MM
True, if a woman wants to make it difficult for the man to dance with her, she's certainly allowed to and the man does have to deal with it…
MMnI believe that Icono Clast's point is that there are things a woman can do to make it easier and/or more comfortable for a man to dance with her.  The woman can wear whatever she wants, but I would hope that women would have enough consideration for the men to try to dress in such a way that it makes it easier for the men to dance with them . . .
MMnIf I can't get my knee between my partner's legs because of what she's wearing, I adapt as best I can, but it does make dancing more difficult.  So go ahead and wear whatever you like, but be aware that there are some things you can do to make it easier and/or more comfortable to dance with you…
                                                                                                                                         — Marshall
___________________________________________

From: ORSawyer (orsawyer@*.*)   Date: 1998/01/30
> [Icono Clast] does not make a very good case for leaders
> [Icono Clast has a] pretty dictatorial attitude about how women should dress.
MMn
Yes he does,, but when he was talking about how clothing can get in the way (regardless of skirt lengths, bras, etc..) he is right, clothing can have an effect on how easy/difficult it is for a leader to give good leads.  Will I adjust to your clothing?  Of course, but you can make it easier for me if you considered the fact that my working around your choice of dress distracts from my lead, distracts from the dance in general, and potentially can impact other couples on the dance floor, depending on how much adjustment I have to make.
MMM
> Anything that goes wrong on the dance floor is the man's fault.
MMn
I have heard this too.  In the sense that it is Gentlemanly to assume fault in the case of a misstep or misshap, yes, especially when you are dancing with a new partner or a beginning dancer it is important to be sensitive, because first of all, everyone has a bad day, second, if they are new, harsh words could turn them off from dance altogether, and third, you may want to dance with them again, and annoying them would not be a good way to start off a dance partnership.
MMnHowever, it is sort of arrogant to assune that if a follower missteps it is soley because of the quality of the lead, and therefore cannot possibly be the follower's fault.  Like I said EVERYONE has bad days and makes mistakes, and no one, man or woman, is perfect.
MMn
> 1) The woman wears anything she wants and the man deals with it.
MMn
This is true, but if you are deliberately making it hard for me to dance with you, I will simply stop dancing with you and find someone else.
MMn
> 2) The woman is shaped the way she is and the man deals with it.
MMn
Absolutley true.  And vice versa of course.
MMn
> 3) The woman moves anyway she wants and the man deals with it.
MMn
Not true.  Again, if you are deliberatly making it hard for me to dance with you, then I will not return for the next dance.   It is up to the follower to follow the man's lead and NOT go off and do her own thing independently.  The leader cannot be responsible if you are doing things that he is not leading.
MMn
> 4) If the woman wears glass glued to her gown the man bleeds carefully and avoids getting
> any on her dress.  (That's what handkerchiefs are for, or do you reserve yours for your nose.)
MMn
Umm....this seems a bit ridiculous.  I would hope it was put in here for sarcasm, because   If I am bleeding, I am leaving the dance floor, and I will not be back to dance again with you in a dress that cuts me up.
MMn
> 5) If anything goes wrong the man takes the blame.
MMn
Again, though he may take the blame, it doesn't mean it is his fault.
MMn
> This has been the standard for centuries, and I see no reason to change now.
MM
(I know this is stretching the point, but) So was slavery, and inequality between the sexes.  Things change, people move on.  I think it is time for you to stop being so inconsiderate of the people you dance with.  I will bet anything, that any leader on this newsgroup will choose a relaxed, fun, considerate, partner, over a parter exhibiting the qualilties you speak of, any day.  Even if the fun, considerate follower has less experience, or not as good a dancer.
MM
> In dance, everyone looks at the woman, she is the star, she makes the couple look good.
MMn
What?  A good dance is a result of a partnership between a leader and a follower.
MMn
> The guy is not a "leader", he is a chauffeur.  All he has to do is
> move her around in a reliable way so she can do her thing. If  he
> can't drive while she shows off, she should get another driver.
MMn
If that is what a follower expects, you are right, I am not merely a mechanism for you to display your ego and arrogance.
MMnAnd while I will not be your chauffer, I will open the door for you to get out, then lock it.
MMn
> examine your own technique in terms of reaching for the woman…
> . . . if you reach for the woman hand first, you, of course, are going
> to end of grabbing breasts and in general poking her.
MMn
Yes, this is true, it is considerate of the leader to carefully bring the woman into dance position.
MMn
> As for your problem with your delicate hands…[to] tolerate sequins.
MM
Kind of a snide remark.  Fact is, sequins, depending on what they are made of, and how they are attached, can scratch, and are not the most comfortable thing to have your hand on when you are trying to give leads.
MMnOn a side note, it has been my experience, in my study of martial arts, that those who talk most about their ablities, are the ones most often called upon to prove them.  When I speak of how my martial arts experience has helped me in dance, I don't think I have ever used the terms striking or grabbing.  This is not the side of martial arts that you should bring to your dancing.  Things like  balance, self control, and fluidity are of the most benefit.                                               — ORSawyer
MMn
____________________________________
From: morse@phwave*.*   Date: 1998/02/01
> Anything that goes wrong on the dance floor is the man's fault.
MM
I have heard this also, and I agree with it, but be sure that you really understand what it means...
MMn
> 5) If anything goes wrong the man takes the blame.
MMn
Yes, I am willing to take the blame for what goes wrong during the dance. Sometimes this means that I take the blame for making a technical error, but not always.  Sometimes, I lead a move that is too advanced for a particular lady to follow.  In this case, I take the blame for not making the proper judgement about my partner's dancing ability.  I've yet to encounter problem 3) or 4) at any dance
venue I attend.  If I do, I will take the blame for not being able to recognize someone who obviously is not yet ready to take their first step on a dance floor.  (4 is being offered in jest, right?)  Statement 1, 2, and 3 are absolutely true, as long as you remember that "the man deals with it" includes the option of not asking the woman to dance in the first place.
MM
> This has been the standard for centuries, and I see no reason to change now.
> In dance, everyone looks at the woman, she is the star, she makes the couple look good.
MMn
The attention is probably most exclusively the focus of the dance in Latin dancing, and still your above statement is too much of an oversimplification.  The man is not passive; to really make his partner stand out, he must actively project a background of masculine strength (without looking all tight and tense) to serve as contrast against her  feminine movements.  At times, the man must be hardly moving, yet still be dancing.  Don't think that because great male dancers make this look easy, that it really is easy.
MMnAnd in International standard, or closed position American smooth, the whole point is can two people come together and move as one.  And when you get just a little taste of this feeling, it really is incredible, and you suddenly realize that really learning to couple with another person is much more exciting then trying to execute all the steps you know during a dance.
MMn
> The guy is not a "leader", he is a chauffeur.  All he has to do is
> move her around in a reliable way so she can do her thing. If he
> can't drive while she shows off, she should get another driver.
MMn
1.  The man absolutely does NOT move the woman.  She moves herself, in response to the lead.  For this, and many other reasons...
MMn
2.  The chauffeur analogy is not good.  Here's a better one. A dance is a  conversation.  It takes two people to have a conversation, and you don't always know where it's going to end up after it starts. Unless of course, you plan to say the same thing to whoever talks to you, no matter what he says.
MMnSo are you interested in having some really passionate conversations, or do you insist on always working from the same script, no matter who you dance with?                                 — Morse
MMn
______________________________________________
From: Robert R. Koblish (Xn3hat@*.*   Date: 1997/04/22
AB} My preference is that people take off rings, watches, bracelets, or
AB} an other potentially sharp objects before they dance. I've received
AB} several nasty hand cuts from jewelry worn by partners.
MMn
At the risk of saying "Me, too!" — PLEASE remove bracelets and watches — they get in the way and can hurt you and/or other dancers.  Same can hold true for rings, but not to the  same extent.
MMnLadies, when you select a top to wear to a dance, consider its coefficient of friction.  Those shiny, shimmery fabrics are nice to look at, but can be so slick as to make it awfully hard to hold on to you.
MMnSleeveless tops are best avoided.  We all sweat, and it can be a gross-out to feel a clammy armpit (particularly whilst swinging).  A damp T-shirt is infinitely preferable, IMO.
MMn
__________________________________________
From: John Salter (jsalt@*.com   Date: 1995-01-31  (comment found/added January 2005)
Jamie Hanrahan, Kernel Mode Systems (jeh@*l.com) wrote:
: The only downside of the evening was that I didn't notice that one of my partners was
: wearing a scale metal belt until I got my hand too close to it while she was spinning... It still
: hasn't completely healed.  (Whoever you are, that's a GREAT belt, but not for dancing!  Ouch!) 

Cool! War wound stories!
Was dancing WCS on a (somewhat) crowded floor, leading an underarm turn, when someone bumped into me, moving me arm up, and her bracelet caught me  under the chin. Two inch gash from a sharp edge. Had a scar for a week. Warning: Blood on the dance floor makes it hard to spin. Disclaimer: Don't try this at home! ):
MMn
______________________________________________
From: William R. Mattil (wrmattil@*.*)   Date: 1997/04/22
Robert R. Koblish wrote:
> Sleeveless tops are best avoided.
MMn
Good plan...
MMn I once competed Intl Std with a young lady that had a beautiful sleeveless ballgown
and afterwards had a real nice patch of [deodorant] on the sleeve of my tails. Main problem
being that this was Friday night and I was scheduled to compete again on Saterday as well.
Therefore: nosleeves = no deoderant

MMn
_____________________________________
From: Valerie (vstark@*.*)   Date: 1997/04/23
> Therefore: nosleeves = no deoderant
MMn
An alternative is a product called Lavilin.  It is a "long-life" deodorant.  You apply it to clean
skin before you go to sleep and wash it off in the morning.  It lasts anywhere from 2 days to
2 weeks, depending on your body chemistry.  This stuff worked on a blacksmith of my acquaint-
ance, a gentleman who didn't have running water in his home and spent most of his time slaving
over a hot forge....
MMnIt is moderately expensive, but it lasts a long time.  You can order it from 1800/LAVILIN. 
They also make a product for feet, which I can't vouch for, not having used it.  No, I don't work
for them nor do I own stock in their company.  I'm just happy to recommend a product that
may make dance more pleasant for everyone!  ;-)
MMn
Ooooh, and both sexes should trim their nails!  Youch!
MMn
__________________________________
From: Victor Eijkhout    Date: 1997/04/22
Robert R. Koblish writes:
> Ladies, when you select a top to wear to a dance, consider its
> coefficient of friction.  Those shiny, shimmery fabrics are nice to look
> at, but can be so slick as to make it awfully hard to hold on to you.
MMn
And conversely those little ringlets that shine so pretty practicaly scrape the skin off
a guy's arm if he doesn't have long sleeves. I hate those!
MMn
> Sleeveless tops are best avoided…A damp T-shirt is infinitely preferable, IMO.
MMn
Oh, I dunno. I have fond memories of that lady who asked me to towel her down prior
to dancing a song :-)
MMn
____________________________________
From: Conna (gandi@*.*)   Date: 1997/04/22
I have to admit, my "opposites" class is giving me a new appreciation of the importance of materials that minimize the offensiveness of the unavoidable sweating.  hahahahahaha.  But, the gross-out of sleeveless had not occurred to me yet.  <shudder>
MMn
______________________________________________________
From: DEBORAH WOODYARD   Dwoodyar@*.*   Date: 03-06-97
Subject: Ladies latin costume question                                           
(. . . how to put it politely I don't know...) How do you stop your undies from riding up when you are wearing a latin dress?
MMnWe have had a friend disqualified from a competition for showing too much cheek…[how do we] control this problem.
MMn
_____________________________________________________
From: JULIA MALONEY   juliamoloney@*.*   Date: 06-10-2006
Subject: Ladies latin costume question                                      
I have a solution:
MMnWorking  with ballerinas for quite a while, I noticed they all seem to have peculiar habits which involved hair spray. They spray it onto their panties and under the panty line. When asked why they did so, one  responded “It stops the undies from riding up.” So maybe that’s the answer and time to start bulk buying “extra strong” hair spray.


_____________________________________________
From: MARK BALZER   m-balzer@*.*   Date: 03-07-97
First you have your thighs pierced.  Then you buy some "hog-rings" and a hog-ring plier (available at any upholstery shop), and...                                  Mark "the next Tool-time guy" B.
 
________________________________________________
From: Bonnie Austin   (bkaustin1@*.*)   Date: 1998/02/01
A thought on the creeping panties problem:  each woman is shaped a little differently (big surprise, (-:  huh?), but a good seamstress can design a panty that will dance properly without riding.  It may take some trial and error, but it is worth the effort to feel comfortable on the floor.  For an unattached panty I've had some good luck with Elita brand, number 3404.  I can get them at The Bay (Toronto).
MMn Also, a comment on the increasing popularity of pants rather than dresses or skirts for swing dancers.  If I can wear pants and not have to worry about how high my skirt is flying or what is showing, why wouldn't I? Again, it is a comfort thing while dancing. One less thing to worry about so I can enjoy the action.
 

Pssst . . .Wanna see my dance scars?
 
Your comments will be considered for inclusion.
 

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