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Differences Between Men & Women 

by Annette Woodruff 

I am not against generalizations. They are not great truths set in concrete and the very essence of a generalization is that if things are true "in general," it also means that there are numerous exceptions. But exclude generalizations from conversation and you'll find that there is very little left to say. 

If a serious study were conducted, I am sure that general characteristics would emerge showing how women learn versus how men learn — how adults learn versus how children learn. You may say that it's not "only a question of gender or age, but these questions do exist and if nothing else are fun to consider" (smile and be playful). 

Many must have read that popular book that came out some years ago and explained, in a convincingly scientific way, why men and women are so different — Men Are From Mars; Women Are From Venus. Something to do with the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain and the area in between which allows interaction between them. Apparently, that area is very inactive in a man's brain — hence the reason why we generally think of them as being "one-track minded" (and we know which track that is). I have learned never to say within Frank's earshot "the lawn needs mowing, the workshop needs a clean-up, and it's time to spray the roses." 

 A woman can handle this simple 3-tasker (and many more) with no trouble and would probably combine the three jobs in an efficient way. Suppose it starts raining — the woman will go in and start cleaning the workshop until it stops raining. The man will be dismayed to have to stop the mowing and will simply sit there waiting for a change of weather before resuming the job … the fact that he happens to sit in front of a television set where a soccer match happens to be showing is purely coincidental. 

Anyway, to apply the principle to dance lessons, the fact is that men (in general) don't do too well when a lot of information is thrown at them — it needs to be distilled, drop by drop, with pauses allowing for the chewing and swallowing. Sticking to pure footwork in a first approach is generally what men prefer. 

It is logical, they think, to know where to go before worrying about how to get there. If, as observed by Valerie, students start immediately adding armwork, I suggest it is because the footwork was very simple and quickly absorbed. Men also generally prefer rise and fall to be delicately introduced as a second information layer. Only after that should one very cautiously provide hints about sways and stretches. As to headwork — it is pretty much non-existent where men are concerned. 

Just accept the fact that while we administer caresses and loving looks, most men are staring fixedly at the chairs around the hall. Armwork? What armwork? Discarded more often than not. Also discarded are swivels, hip movements (what hips?), body waves, etc. 

Basically, a male dancer's body is one solid block that is not dividable into articulate parts. Within these parameters, male dancers are wonderful, leading their sweethearts with a mixture of power and delicacy that is simply heartbreaking. As the book also explained why women have a very poor sense of orientation and cannot read maps, it is obvious that "showing the way" is the man's thing. So if you have ever wondered why they are the "leaders" and we are the "followers" now you know — we can't read maps. :-) 

This essay was taken from a post
by Annette Woodruff to the Weavers discussion group.



This article was published in the
Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)
Newsletter, December 2008

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