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Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or No?
Posted by carol_d
12/29/2014  12:06:00 PM
I am a black woman who started dancing over 9 years ago. It didn't strike me in the beginning but over the past 4 years I have begun to notice a definite bias or prejudice against black women in Ballroom & Latin Dancing more so on the social level. There are not too many of us and the ones who dare to go out social dancing are at a definite disadvantage when it comes to either finding partners or having someone ask us to dance. Many times, I have been passed over for an Asian or White woman because the thinking probably is "Oh she's black -- I've never seen her here before and she most likely cannot dance. Or they might have seen me a few times before but just don't care to dance with me. The benefit of the doubt is usually given the Asian or even the White woman who half the times can not even do a box step in the waltz. The black men in Ballroom are also a rare breed but you will still find a smattering of them who prefer to be partnered up with white or Asian women. Go figure!! Maybe they believe these women are more financially able to afford dance lessons, take private classes, attend dance socials, etc. In short, they are seen as more committed to dance than the black female is. Not necessarily the case.

I would like to hear some thoughts on this from men and women, black, white and Asian because I have spoken to a few other black women and they are of the same opinion.
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by dave
12/29/2014  2:37:00 PM
Carol you are mostly right,but on my part it's because where I come from we have lots of Asian dancers and only couple of black couples. But as I am a trained dancer I want tot see if the Lady can dance no matter where she comes from before asking her to dance. Have you spoke to the management to have some round robing dances. The Ladies line up and the men approach the First Lady in line, dance around once and Change partners.. Good luck Dave
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by ballroomchick
12/30/2014  12:25:00 PM

At our social dance studio there is 1 black couple who dance with everyone. The wife started out in ballroom, went on to competing in ballroom then switched over to West Coast Swing and competition there. They both social dance ballroom. Non have problems asking other to dance or being asked by others to dance.

We have a larger group of Asian girls and a couple of Asian guys who dance. The girls will dance with who ever asks them to dance. The guys again refuse to dance with anyone who is not Asian.

There is a single black man who always stands on the side lines watching. He will ONLY dance with cute, petit girls. (Its considered very rude to turn down someone asking for a dance if not for a VERY good reason.) Ive watched him. He is technique is dreadful and he is a rough lead most of the time. I can only guess that he wants someone who he can really PUSH around the floor.

SO other than that small handful we all dance with everyone. I have even seen a few guys keep an eye out and make it a point to ask girls to dance who seem to be sitting for a bit.

IMHO there will always be jerks in every color. Sometimes you have to stand up and be proactive by asking the guys to dance.
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by terence2
1/1/2015  3:47:00 AM

Being a Ballroom/latin/salsa teacher for multi years , it really depends upon your location as to how people may pre-judge you.

The world of salsa NEVER discriminates on "color ",IME, but, tends to be more selective on dance capability.
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by Renee
3/15/2015  5:50:00 AM
I have to agree. I just think that maybe for the white man it might be intimidating to ask black women to dance. My skin color and afro put me in a "no" zone in social dancing. I have to combat the by being more social than the next girl or asking guy to dance myself. Little by little this subconcious prejudice will go away.
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by Leanna
3/28/2015  9:16:00 AM
Yes, for sure! I also am a black woman, with extensive ballet training. So, I come from a very racially biased dance works from the start! I was talking with my instructors about the general racist history and prejudices in ballroom, and he agreed wholeheartedly. It's an unfortunate truth. That being said, once I demonstrate my abilities, some of that bias goes away. I have seen that when I wear my hair "natural" vs flat iron it, I also get different responses...
As a psychologist by profession, I find watching behavior fascinating, but try especially hard to break some of those barriers and assumptions. Ballroom is certainly moving more slowly than other social arenas...
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by dannyfeelgood
3/29/2015  9:21:00 AM
cpl of points, the world of salsa (and other styles)does discriminate(Sorry), the politics, various instructors saying their styles are better, even in the same county, town and schools, advanced dancers being clique and not encouraging / dancing with beginners, so sorry for that but now back on topic(no discussion, it happened to me)

men hate the unknown, even dancing with a totally new partner. (also men who are part of cpls would find it very hard to dance with a sgl lady and suffer the wrath of their partner lol) race is just another factor unfortunately. when you go dancing socially are these arranged by the school/classes you go to or run on a regular basis.

even it was a class arrangement, surely the instructor / organizer could make introductions and get you dancing, otherwise can I say I admire ladies who go dancing unescorted, perhaps a local dance or facebook group with sgl dancers in mind might help you partner up.

also it might be that you are a better than the male dancers and they feel intimidated, i know i can dance but I have only been ballroom dancing for a year and would hate for a lady not to get the best of a dance if i wasn't confident

yes you may get passed over but everyone does at some point, i just hope you keep on dancing

as an afterthought, why don't you do a partner search on here or other websites for social dancing (problem solved)
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by borninusa
3/30/2015  8:01:00 PM

I've found that one's personality and approach is far more effective in getting asked to dance than the color of your skin.

I've found the best success to getting asked are:

1) don't be intimidated by being turned down. Just ignore it and move on.
2) smile and be polite
3) be on the floor and close to people who will ask you. Catch them as they are leaving someone else
4) take the lessons and become a good dancer in the dance that is being danced
5) tell your partner you appreciate them and enjoy dancing with them

I hold no bias toward anyone when I look for someone as a partner. I often seek out those who are different and have their own style. I would welcome dancing with someone like you. I can only speak for myself.

These are just the techniques I have found that work.

If you are interested in getting dances rather than proving your perceptions that you are being excluded, you will be successful.

Good luck!
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by Jackie
6/24/2017  2:57:00 PM
Carol Hi,

I am looking for an African American couple to perform a ball room dance in a small production (Oct 2017), that is geared toward focusing on the family. If you are interested or know someone who is please email me at jtriplett_98@yahoo.com.
Re: Prejudice Against Black Women Dancers? Yes or
Posted by Ryan Keppel
11/7/2017  4:35:00 PM
No problem from me! I'm 6'2" male and would like anybody tall enough.

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