Golden Rules of Dance Etiquette

by Instructor Regina Clifford

  1. Remember this is SOCIAL dancing and it should be fun for everyone. Don’t be false, but friendly. Look for the other dancers and sit near them. Also remember showering, brushing teeth, mints will help you feel confident when asking someone to dance.
  2. When you go out know at least what type of dance you are going to so you can dress appropriately and comfortably. Know what shoes will need to be worn. Also know what dances they will be doing and how they travel across the floor.
  3. Asking someone to dance is probably the worst part of it all. You are nervous, don’t know what to expect, and they may say NO. So, try to get near them, smile, make eye contact, say “Would you like to Dance” if the answer is yes, try to stay calm as you escort (or are escorted) to the floor. Then try to stay calm as you take frame and find the beat. Remember to BREATHE!

    If they say NO, please remember it is not personal. Ask again in a little while. They may need water, a breather, have blisters on their feet, a headache or anything else that they do not need to share at that moment. Also remember, this is a stressful time, and some guys have a harder time asking so they need to be asked. Don’t rule them out.

    When saying NO – please try to remember the person and when you are ready to dance again, look for that person and ask them. Smile – thank them for understanding you needing a break and now enjoy this dance with this person.

  4. Dance with this person. About this time the lead is thinking frame, lead, timing, whatever pattern the instructor taught and actually forgetting to dance. Try not to. Take a look at your partner and see if she can handle all of those turns and if not, don’t try them. You can make eye contact, but try not to stare your partner down, and don’t stare at their feet, they feel ignored. Just be natural and look around and oh yea – SMILE.
  5. Don’t instruct on the SOCIAL floor. Period. What you say and you thing is helpful information, will PROBABLY come across as negative. The person saying it will probably shorten it to one or two words and that does not do anything but take their confidence away.

    If they have asked a couple of times, and you absolutely HAVE TO share what you know, take it OFF THE Floor. Period. It is disrespectful to the dancers on the floor and to your partner if you are stopped in the middle of the floor. When you take it to another area, take TIME to explain, not two words, probably 10 minutes (meaning you will choose to leave the dancing for this time). Explain what you saw, how you THINK they can correct this, let them try it NUMEROUS times, and give POSITIVE feedback as they do. Say it with a smile and humor, or don’t say it at all.

    Remember, people may be on the floor looking to dance with you and not to monopolize your time back in the corner at a SOCIAL dance. If you want to continue the lesson please schedule time at a studio.

  6. Remember the more experienced dancers should work around the beginners – say you are sorry if you bump, loud enough for them to hear! Swing dancers are stationary and should be in the middle of the floor, traveling dances around the outside edge. That means when you walk onto the floor and it is a traveling dance you have just stepped into traffic, just be ready to jump in. Have the timing figured out on the WAY to the floor.
  7. Leave them with something positive- in three minutes you can probably find SOMETHING positive to say – even if it is “nice earrings”. Even if you think they are at the beginning level now, with practice they may out dance you one day.
  8. When the song is over say thank you, and MEAN it.
  9. There are a couple of different ideas about leaving the floor. If it is a Black and White Formal event, escort your partner off the floor back to their table.

    If it is a bar or casual dance please don’t be offended if while you are trying to get this person back they are grabbed for another dance. You have already said Thank You, so you don’t have to yell it again, but this also is a great way for people to stay on the floor. Dancers look for dancers. If you are on the sidelines, the person you probably want to dance with may not make it back there to ask (until they need water or a break). Ask someone to dance, find a spot on the floor near that person, and look for them AFTER you have thanked the person you were dancing with, then get close enough to ask the person to dance. Pretty soon people will be lining up to ASK YOU to dance!!!

  10. When it is time to leaving for the night say goodbye to everyone. Thank them for the dances, and ask them for dances next time, then you will have a familiar face to dance with next time.

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