I don’t quite know why but I don’t enjoy most couples dances. Maybe that’s because I am more single at heart and thus prefer to dance with a village than a partner. (There are some couples dances I enjoy – and they are all mixers, that is, you don’t stick to one partner… like this one or this one). There also seems to be something of my personal wounding that now gets into the way (and I intend to work with that…), though I remember not being interested in couples dances long before my traumatic experiences in coupled relationships.
That last bit took a while to sink in: I never was interested in couples dances. And I thought that’s all there is to dancing! Growing up, I didn’t know there were line dances. I thought all dances were done in a couple, preferably with a romantic partner! I did not get into dancing until I was 40 years old because of that – and when I started, I took it up like a sponge because it allows me to express myself in ways I very much enjoy.
To me, the analogy to marriage (and coupling) is straight forward: One reason I got married (and later ended up in coupled relationships) was that I thought this is just what one does as an adult. It didn’t even occur to me that one could choose to be single! That is a direct reflection of the couplemania in our culture: Adulthood is defined by certain cultural normative markers, one of the most important is marriage (and having children), especially for women. Other options are redefined as undesirable, weird, and pathological via singlism, so we tend to avoid them.
Maybe the (seemingly) larger interest in couples dancing amongst younger people is a reflection of similar cultural norms: We just dance in couples, no other options. So, if we were to gear our dancing offers toward couples, we are simply perpetuating the myth that this is the only dancing there is! People who might fall in love with dancing don’t because they don’t want to learn couples dances – and think that’s the only option (or one of two options with free style dancing the other one, which seems to reflect cultural hyper-individualism).
This then boils down to the same thing that I mention in my workshops: This is all about choice! And choice can only happen if we know all the options and these options don’t come with a huge bag of shame that comes from breaking cultural norms.