In many dance forms, including ballroom dancing, men rule. They rule not because of some innate quality which makes them better rulers, but because of the principles of demand and supply. There are a lot more female dancers than male, and so a good male dancer is valuable. Simple economics. Nothing wrong with that, however, as one would expect, good male dancers can become egocentric and controlling in the same way that CEOs can. Also, as expected, women can become submissive add-ons or, alternatively, partnerless dancers incapable of starting/maintaining a long-term dance connection.
In the non-dance world, there is a more general spread of egoic tendencies and submissive behaviours amongst men and women but, in dance, it is highly skewed towards men being powerful and women being less so. I’m not saying that it’s men’s fault. Most women would do the same thing if the dancing shoe was on the other foot. Besides, I love men; more than women. Probably because they love me; more than women. Jokes aside, it’s not anyone’s fault because it’s what human nature does, given half a chance, in order to protect its own interests.
Along with the power, many male dancers become highly seductive creatures. Not seductive in order to get someone to bed, although, that would sometimes be the case, but seductive to get a base of fans who can then be used for various purposes. The bait of the seduction is something more valuable than sex. It is the possibility of being danced with which most female dancers would, hands down, take before sex. The lure, due to sheer numbers, is generally an unconsummated promise but, nevertheless, it still works well. Or does it?
Although the whole thing is sometimes amusing, sometimes frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking, it is always short-sighted. There is a better way for men and women to relate and get what they truly want in dance and in life. Honesty, authenticity, humility, respect, and courage are uncommon qualities but they are worth developing because they work. They work without manipulation, without anyone losing their self-esteem, and without hurting another person.
A relationship built on submission cannot, generally, be turned into an equal partnership. On the part of the male, what he wanted from that particular relationship was not equality, so he will probably lose interest in the person and the partnership if the woman tries to make it equal. Ideally, something equal between the two people has to draw them together at the beginning. Yes, there will be problems, probably, many. The best goal is for no one to end up less, no one to end up more, no one to lose, and no one to win while the other suffers. The partnership and both people will be transformed along the way. Now, that’s an interesting partnership. It’s worth the struggle. The struggle will be very real. The ego can get extremely nasty, destructive, and savage when its whole foundation is being shaken, but all the carry-on is not much more than a childish tantrum which will be happily outgrown when one realises it is pointless. Whatever genuinely brings people together in a positive and heartfelt way is a powerful force for good. Nothing of real worth is ever gained by force, and nothing of substance is ever lost by listening to our higher self.
For female dancers, it helps to see ourselves as whole dancers already. We don’t need another person to enjoy dancing, even in couple-based ballroom dancing. The main thing is to dance: to move, to learn, to grow, to be open to anything which takes our interest and helps us develop. For those times when someone does want to dance with us and when we would like to dance with them, we can accept it graciously for what it is. It is an expression of life which is shared just for a moment. If there is another moment, well and good. If there isn’t, there will certainly be different moments of another type. The moments will come. Come and go, come and go. We only have moments, but moments bring us to timelessness.