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Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by amey0002
1/11/2016  8:10:00 AM
In group dance classes where partners are rotated, I sometimes encounter the problem of men that when leading a turn do not raise their arm high enough to comfortably complete the turn. Usually these are older and shorter men. It is awkward and uncomfortable for me, and it really puts a lot of strain on my shoulder. I don't know if they are expecting me to duck or if they want me to do all the work and lift my own arm to the appropriate position. These men are repeat offenders and do the same thing, over and over. In some cases they will lift there arm to about my neck height and stop there. Sometimes in frustration I will just go ahead an turn with their hand next to my neck, maneuvering my arm and shoulder so it works, hoping that they get the message. They don't. They then think I am doing something wrong and get upset with me. Probably I am being impolite and should handle this dilemma in a more graceful fashion. Please advise.
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by nloftofan1
1/11/2016  10:43:00 AM
The direct approach might work better than subtle suggestions. Have you tried saying (politely), "Could you please raise your arm a little higher for turns?"?
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by amey0002
1/11/2016  5:16:00 PM
Oh my.... would you believe that didn't even occur to me. Fabulous idea. I will give that a try. Thanks for your very sensible response.
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by ladydance
1/11/2016  12:55:00 PM
If the direct approach doesn't work, then don't turn. Just be direct and say, I can't get under your arm without ducking and it hurts my shoulder, so I'm not going to do an underarm turn. You are not being impolite, if they are repeat offenders.
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by diskman50
1/11/2016  2:04:00 PM
I believe you should be turning under your own arm and not the mans arm. The problem usually stems from the man sticking his arm too far out over the woman's head forcing her to basically duck and go under the mans arm instead of her own.
The man's raised arm and your raised arm should form an upside down "V" or tee-pee equidistant from both you and your partner. You should easily be able to turn under your own arm.

Now for those men who like to "crank" a woman's arm during the turn; that's the wrong way to do it and it could be painful to the woman.
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by amey0002
1/11/2016  6:50:00 PM
The difficult situations I am writing about are such that the lead's hand is only coming up to just above my shoulder next to my neck. There simply is not a place under which to turn, unless I duck. Rather than raise their hand high enough for me to turn under, they seem to want to twist me me around by twisting my arm. It is very uncomfortable and sometimes painful as my shoulder, wrist and hand are being twisted.

The dance class we were at yesterday was a West Coast Swing class, and this is the turn that I was being lead through but only at neck height with lots of twisting of my hand, arm, shoulder to get it to work.


I wish I had a video to fully understand what was happening. I get your point that his hand was probably way too close to me, as it was next to my neck and so my arm was already being twisted before I was able to start a turn. Rather than lifting his arm up and toward me he was aiming right at my neck it seems.
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by amey0002
1/11/2016  5:20:00 PM
Thank you. It does hurt, and turning under the circumstance would require a duck to get under the arm. I will try being direct, and if that does not work then it would be very nice to skip the turn and not feel bad if it displeases the lead.
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by TundraDancingGal
1/12/2016  12:23:00 PM
How tightly are you each gripping the hand? It's easy to hold the hands too tightly, rather than just using a connection. That can make it harder. I'm a 5'7" woman and don't have too much of a problem; maybe it's our instructors who have prevented it. If he doesn't bring our hands to eye level, then raise it over my head, it's easy to bring it up a bit as I turn.

I also make sure I keep my frame and arm position to prevent injury. The arm crankers are the worst, I agree. It's off-putting to think you have to dance a bit defensively, but after a couple of bad experiences, I've learned. I also agree casually mentioning it to the partner may be a good idea. There have also been times, if something's bad enough that it can cause injury, I'll quietly mention it to our instructor. He or she usually finds a way to work it into the lesson in a few minutes as a reminder to all of us, not singling out anyone.

I went to the link, we're working on WC again in our classes, so it was nice to see a good review. Also, it was fun Robert Royston and Nicola. Love N Dancing is one of my secret vices. I enjoy watching dance movies and while some of the acting's a bit weak, I'll take any ballroom type movie I can find.
Re: Men who don't raise arm high enough for turns
Posted by amey0002
1/12/2016  2:05:00 PM
A light hand hold is essential for turns, but sometimes men have an overly tight grip on me, which is unpleasant and is part of the problem when these these turns are painful. It all happens so fast that it is difficult to breakdown all the elements that are not working. This particular class is not being taught in a skillful manner (in my opinion). The instructor does not even have help with the music, and there are about sixty people in the class so he really has no idea what is going on. He taught the footwork for turns, but did not offer any instruction to the men about how high to raise the arm, and that contributed to this.

Your suggestion to raise my arm myself is a good one. It is somewhat irritating that these men are apparently unwilling to expend the effort to fulfill their role, but then it is bad attitude on my part to not do my best to make these encounters go as smoothly as possible. If possible, I will raise my arm myself. I hope it is possible, because I might have to be forceful in order to keep my wrist, arm and shoulder from being twisted. I really don't understand what is going on in their minds with regards to leading these turns.

Thanks for offering your insight and experience.

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