General Dance Discussion > Laughing / laughed at while dancing

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by tido, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. tido

    tido New Member

    Hi,

    I dance kizomba, and last night was dancing with a beginner in a beginner class. I'm not a beginner, barely an intermediate. I'm a guy, when I dance I laugh at my mistakes, I perhaps laugh too much at times loosing focus on the dance. It seems with some partners I can mutually share a laugh of my or my partners body movements or mistakes. During this particular class perhaps I was too liberal with my laughing with this particular beginner. Upon finishing up the dance exercise, which I though was going well. She was very displeased, and said "thanks for laughing at me, this is my first class", with clear emotional frustration on her face. She looked angry and frustrated, people next to us notices. It caught me off guard as I though our practice was a success, she did not think so though. I know people can get sensitive in dancing, and I'm probably one of them, been called shy before. If I'm a giggler, should I keep my giggling to a minimum, so my partner does not think I'm intentionally laughing at her? But if someone can't laugh at themselves, am I suppose to sensor myself? Seems to me some take their dancing too seriously? Do girls take any sort of criticism worse than guys? Even if I did slightly laugh at her, which I was not aware, because I was concentrated on the dance, I don't know if she was overreacting. May be overthinking this, :). Let me know your opinions on laughing/giggling.

    Cheers,
    rev
     
    chomsky likes this.
  2. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Wildly insecure people take some things worse than others. ;) I can say that because I count myself as one of those people. I own that it's my issue, but ask for accommodations in some circumstances. My teachers all know that about me. I would not say anything to a student in a class about it, however. (It might make my unhappy and uncomfortable, but I would consider it something for me to deal with on my own.) Generally speaking, though, a lot of people don't like being laughed at. In thinking about it, I am not bothered at all by somebody making fun of me if it is already established that they think well of me--in this case, of my dancing. As a courtesy, new students very much appreciate people helping them to feel more secure.
     
  3. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I think that for a newbie there is added stress due to the new environment. A small joke not-at-their-expense might relieve tension. Also, make sure they don't misunderstand your humor or anything else you do. Once at a group class I quietly dropped out of rotation because I had recently had surgery and was cautious. The lady who was to rotate to me thought I was avoiding her. So at another class held on a bad floor that was stressing my knees, when I dropped out I made sure to tell the next lady why I was dropping out so that she wouldn't misinterpret my reason.
     
    raindance likes this.
  4. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    I think with people you don't know it's a good idea to let them know you're not laughing at them. I think this goes doubly for dancing with newbies. You can let them know you're laughing at yourself, or at something funny the teacher said, or because you're happy you got the step to work, or "oh, that was fun" something along those lines.

    Once people know you, and they know you often laugh in various situations, it will be easier for most of them to take it in the proper context. Even then, some more self-conscious types may still worry they are being laughed at. So if a laugh comes out, a quick explanation may be helpful in some situations.
     
    chomsky likes this.
  5. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    A couple thoughts:

    1. If you're laughing a lot during class and you're the only one laughing, that's awkward and could certainly be misinterpreted. It's OK to laugh occasionally but I'd say keep it to a minimum.

    2. Make it clear that you are laughing at yourself - "Oops sorry, I did [something something] wrong." Otherwise, the other person may think it is directed at them.
     
  6. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    The best you can probably do is apologize next time you see her. I'm a bit of a goofball when learning a step, and can be quite spastic until I learn it and laughed myself plenty. Especially if you have two people that learn different ways... it can be quite humorous to me. It can almost feel like a miniature wrestling match.

    I've offended a guy in a group class before completely unintentionally by laughing. Mistakes happen, the best you can hope for is that she can move on after your apology.
     
  7. SwingingAlong

    SwingingAlong Well-Known Member

    There are times I laugh a lot too. I now add comments after, like "wheee, that was fun" or "drat, sorry I missed your lead, would you mind trying that again" so they know what I am thinking. I remember laughing loudly when I was watching someone dancing, and they looked a bit peeved, until my teacher told them it was because they had timed an oversway perfectly with the end of the music. I realised as I heard him telling her that, so went over and added that it had looked amazing, and that I had been laughing with delight.... She looked both surprised and pleased.
     
    j_alexandra, raindance and RiseNFall like this.
  8. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I also laugh at myself. If I laugh at someone else's mistake, it's because it's a mistake I make often myself, so it's more commiseration ("Ha! I do that all the time!") than mocking. I have a thoroughly inappropriate sense of humor that gets me in trouble.

    So, I would apologize to her if you see her again and explain, and in the future with new partners tell them up front. "I hope you don't mind, but I tend to laugh at myself when I make mistakes. I'm not laughing at you."

    My ex-husband had a bad experience once in a tango class where a woman was sighing and scowling a lot. He assumed she was frustrated with his beginnerness, but after getting to know her better, I suspect she was frustrated with herself. I know I'll do that, and it's all about my own dance.
     
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  9. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think if in your heart your intentions are good for the other person, you should not feel bad because of the way the other person responded. Obviously part of having good intentions is being thoughtful of other people who may not be comfortable as a new dancer. But sometimes teaching people to laugh at themselves and not worry about it so much can be the right approach to. So above all be thoughtful toward other dancers, and it will show, and people will come to appreciate you.

    And I should add that if the other person responded negatively, it should not change your good intentions toward others. You just have to think of the best strategy to handle this person in the future. It might involve saying less for a while until they are ready to warm up to you again.
     
    chomsky likes this.
  10. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    There is a say, you can laugh at anything but not with everybody.
    With my follower we laugh a lot during the classes. Each time when she makes a mistake. When the mistake is mine though, she gets angry, we certainly don't laugh.
     
  11. Newdancer81

    Newdancer81 Active Member

    I think there's a difference between laughing and smiling. If you made a mistake and you end up laughing instead of smiling, just say "my bad" so they know it's your fault not theirs. Smile to keep their spirits up.
     
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  12. Marnie Spin&Sew

    Marnie Spin&Sew New Member

    I agree with Newdancer81.

    Laughing at yourself is fine but laughing at someone else is never good. Laughing with someone else is quite different so if they're not laughing themselves, just stick to smiling.
     
    tido likes this.
  13. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Sometimes it's just inevitable that things will be taken the wrong way; and furthermore it may turn out that there's no way to proffer explanation to dispel misunderstanding.

    When I have found myself in such circumstances, I have comforted myself with the knowledge that I have done my sincere best to know the good and to do the good. If others' perceptions are different, I try to learn and adjust my future efforts accordingly (to the extent warranted). Beyond that, I just don't know what more I can do.
     
    chomsky likes this.
  14. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    I think of someone laughed a lot while I was working with them in a group class, I'd likely feel much the same thing that OP is describing. Laughing once at something particularly funny is absolutely fine, constant laughter is outside the norm and would make me worry... which would frankly, make me tense up and dance worse! And your first dance class is already stressful enough!

    OP, try to remember that not everyone is naturally outgoing and social. Some find even quiet, calm group classes to be draining - or anxiety-inducing. It's easy to say 'well, just avoid them', but for some, it's group classes and parties or no dancing at all, so they tough it out. Just try to read the mood of your partner... you'll feel the tension in her body if you're listening for it.

    All it takes to fix the situation is quiet word - a simple, "hey, so I realize that I may have offended you... that was not my intention. Laughing is my way of dealing with stressful situations, but I realize it may have come across differently. Sorry, and I'll be aware in the future." No long explanation, no debate, no defensiveness - just an acknowledgement of your part in making her uncomfortable, and an apology.

    (And yes, the follow probably should have addressed what was making her uncomfortable before it caused her to blow up.)
     
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  15. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    I tend to smile and sometimes laugh because dancing makes me so happy. Keep up the good work and pay no attention. Even a teacher told me I shouldn't smile because it is tango...but there you go, I am not a competitor, so why should I not enjoy myself and keep on having fun? I tend to strictly obey to orders, so I kept frustrating myself. Don't do as I did!!! Keep smiling and laughing!
     
    SwingingAlong likes this.
  16. ivyvaine23

    ivyvaine23 New Member

    I guess I'm too much of a perfectionist to be able to laugh at my own mistakes. I know, this sounds completely horrible, but you could say that I'm somewhat traumatized by getting laughed at in the past. When I was like 9, I had this huge jazz dance competition, was extremely nervous, couldn't sleep for days, but was also kinda looking forward to it. I haven't slept much that day, couldn't eat anything, as you can probably imagine, since my nervousness was killing me, and of course this led me to my downfall, like literally. At one point I felt extremely dizzy, tripped, ripped my pants and fell over my fellow dance member. I assume it looked funny enough to let people burst out laughing. Unfortunately I'm not that self-confident to just laugh it off and just started crying. I wanted to put my soul on this dance number and I was so angry at myself for ruining it.
     

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