[Note: the below was posted on FB. Some of the responses are included at the end]
I was recently asked by someone new to the Zouk scene whether a chest bump like move she was lead into was a “Zouk thing” or just a flat out invasive move done by that particular lead.
When she showed it to me, it looked (and felt) like that move from A Night at the Roxbury when the two guys sandwich the girl between them and ricochet her back and forth between them with chest bumps.
Come on dude - stop it.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
With dances like Zouk and Sensual Bachata, I keep hearing stories of things men will do on the dance floor — presumably in the name of being “sensual” — that are uncomfortable for women.
Thankfully, there’s now more momentum and public support in holding men accountable for their actions so violations, even if they are in that grey zone below Weinstein levels of offense, aren’t allowed to continue.
That said, I’d also love for their to be a discussion that extends beyond the wrong doings.
At a social last year, I had some dances that had a sexual energy to them. A guy that saw them later asked me, “Ben, how do you get away with doing that stuff?”
As if I had to deceive or convince women against their will to express themselves in this manner.
What I find astounding is that both sides often want the same goddamned thing.
When it comes down to it, we both want to be able to give and receive love on the dance floor, to be able to express it fully whether that’s playfully, tenderly, or sensually.
AND, we want the ability to safely say yes or no to whomever we do that with.
I asked a woman that I had some sexy dances with what made her comfortable going there with me and she said,
“Most men on the dance floor will try to push until they get a ‘no’, often times, still persisting in spite of the ‘no’. You were inviting and clear that it was safe to say no.”
Obviously consent is key in all of this (sexy dances or otherwise) but let’s aim higher. The word “consent” has the weight of legality and this formal agreement among two parties.
When I told a buddy over dinner about the term “enthusiastic consent” he asked, “Why not just use ‘enthusiasm’? That implies consent in itself.”
Agreed. Let’s aim for enthusiasm on the dance floor (and everywhere else), shall we?
With that in mind, ladies, I would love your feelings on two things:
1. What are some things you appreciate men doing on the dance floor that help make it safe for you and allow you to relax more?
2. When something feels uncomfortable or not what you’d prefer in that moment, what non-verbal cues or gestures will you use to signal that?
Again, I’d like to encourage sharing what you love and appreciate.
I want this to be an opportunity to inspire and give a new model of how to be both a powerful and safe man, on and off the dance floor.
[Brothers: none of this is meant to shame or discount what you’re experiencing. We’re all doing the best that we can.]