Social dancing is a GREAT activity to get out and meet new friends or reconnect with old ones…However, like any social situation it does involve a certain level of dancing etiquette. Here are a few tips to consider next time you go out to dance…
Inviting or accepting a dance: When you ask someone to dance, be sure to make eye contact with your prospective partner, offer your hand, and ask clearly, “Would you like to dance?” If your partner says yes, smile, offer your hand, and escort them onto the dance floor and into dance position. Don’t be afraid to ask people, no matter what level you are, and remember ladies, you can ask the guys to dance too!
This is a SOCIAL dancing, so try to be aware of your partner and engage them. Some people like to make conversation while dancing, others prefer to concentrate on the dance. Make eye contact, (but don’t stare). It’s fun to dance with a partner who is gracious and appreciative. Always say “Thank You” at the end of a dance.
Try dance to the level of your partner… challenge your partner, but don’t over-challenge them. Above all this should be fun!
Continue to hone your skills at the art of being a good leader or follower. If you stop learning, you risk developing bad habits, even if you are a seasoned dancer.
Don’t attempt tricky moves like a dip if you don’t know your partner very well or her dance level. Please be considerate, and if in doubt, go with a simpler move. Less can be more when done with skill.
NEVER instruct on the social dance floor, unless specifically asked. Know that your dance partner is doing the best he or she can. Classes and lessons are great for learning but social dancing is purely for fun.
Floor Craft: Your primary considerations on a crowded dance floor should be protecting your partner and respect for the other couples on the floor. Be aware of the environment around you and dance appropriately for how crowded the dance floor is. Mind the lanes of traffic or ‘line of dance’, this can prevent mishaps. If a collision does occur, be sure to stop and apologize regardless of who’s fault it was.
Aerial moves are not appropriate for a crowded social dance floor– it can be dangerous, for you and those around you. The same goes for tricks or kicks which might be more larger than your average moves.
A few notes on grooming: Social dancing is an activity that requires a certain degree of physical closeness. Good hygiene shows respect and consideration for the other dancers. Dancers should bathe, use deodorant, breath mints, and wear clean clothes. If you tend to perspire a great deal it is considerate to bring a towel and/ or change of clothes. Your partners will thank you for it. Dancers should also use a light touch applying perfume or cologne. Some people may be sensitive to fragrances. Ladies, try to avoid clothing with adornments (beads, stones, sequins, etc.) that may scratch or injure your partner, and dance pants with short skirts or those that twirl are always a good idea.
Declining a dance: It’s fine to decline an offer to dance if your taking a break to rest, politely explain this and perhaps promise to dance with them later on. If you’ve declined an invitation from one person, it’s impolite to accept a dance with someone else for that song. Never decline a dance because you don’t know the person, or they don’t dance at your level. One of the best ways to improve your dancing (beginner or advanced), is to dance with different partners of varying levels and styles. That being said, it is impolite to monopolize the same person all evening.
When to just say no: When a person asks you to dance, it is fine to say no if he or she has been physically or verbally abusive, drunk or otherwise threatening.
After the Dance: When the dance is finished, thank your partner and escort them back to their seat. Do not abandon your partner on the dance floor as soon as the song has ended.
Off the floor: Avoid cutting across the dance floor, especially when carrying food or drink, for your safety and those around you. Also, remember to move off the dance floor when engaged in conversation.
By using commonsense and consideration everyone can enjoy social dancing and focus on what it’s really about – having fun!