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Putting yourself out thereI was with my dancing friend one day in (surprisingly) sunny Seattle to see a buddy and we found ourselves with a night off. Naturally, we looked around and did our best to see where the hot Latin dance night was. After some ace investigative work, my friend found a place that would suit our needs and was apparently ‘the place’ on Saturday nights.

Personally, I absolutely LOVE going out to a new city and dance with new people. The feeling of being new brings me back to the days when I first started dancing. I really get fired up to dance and dive head first to have a great night when I’m surrounded by new people. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be that particular evening.  We came to find out that there was an event happening that same weekend and most of the more experienced dancers were out of town either performing or simply patronizing the event.

I thought to myself “NO problem!” I’m sure there were cool people there to dance with and I was eager to find them. We arrived to a large room and a ton of people jamming and the vibe was definitely great. I recall scanning the room and looking for people I was interested in dancing with. Not knowing the scene personally, I assumed it was an ‘on1/Salsa’ city but to my surprise I saw a few women dancing ‘on2’ and I decided to approach.

This one particular girl had just finished dancing with one of the flashy show-off guys and was walking back to who knows where when I politely asked her:

“Would you like to dance?”

I swear I still think I must have stepped in dog-poop on the way there or something because she gave the the old up and down look over and followed up with:

“I don’t think so.” Turned around and kept walking.

I was shocked! I don’t claim to be the worlds hottest guy or the nations best dancer but I am 100% certain that I can have a great dance with almost anyone I dance with. The funny thing was, a girl who saw the whole scenario play out commented immediately afterwards: “You’re cute, I woulda said yes even if you couldn’t dance.” This girl who delivered her crushing blow almost took me back to my starting days in a bad way. I used to fear rejection and not ask women to dance but I have long since abolished those insecurities.

As fate would have it, she saw me dance and later came up and asked me to dance. Apparently, I was worthy of her time. Perhaps she didn’t feel it was her job to dance with newer people but who knows? I actually looked her in the eyes and said “no.” and she had the nerve to say:

“Don’t be like that” to which I quickly replied:

“No, YOU don’t be like that” and walked away.

Tactful? Perhaps no, but it felt good at the time! The reason I bring this up is because I want my MMA family to consider how your actions affect others. I totally understand that you might not like a tune or you just finished an eleven minute orchestra marathon dance. I would argue there are polite ways to turn down a dance. Consider the whole situation as you never know who you are rejecting.

Almost everyone can understand you being tired or needing a break, it’s all in the delivery of the message. Take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of someone who you reject and see if you’d like to be spoken to that way. If I’ve ever said no it’s because it’s not a genre I’m fond of or I’m dead tired and I always try to follow up after taking a breather. I’ve heard firsthand that this is appreciated and it’s my general practice if I have to turn down a dance for whatever reason.

So new dancers, don’t take too much offense to someone turning you down if they are polite as they might have a legitimate reason. Seasoned dancers, be nice and help bring new people into our global community, you never know when they might turn into the next awesome dancer.

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To your dancing….

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