We’ve all done it at some point or another – breaking the unspoken rules, saying the things we shouldn’t, doing the things that others find sub-par to our dancing world. Here is a guide on things to avoid while dancing in a social arena…
5. Verbalizing Self-Abuse
“I don’t know how to dance”, “I’m not very good”, “I’m not as good as XXXXX”, “I wish I knew more”.
Save the sorry party for your own time. Believe it or not, no one wants to hear you beat yourself up about your dancing! Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. If someone has asked you to dance and you say “well I’m not very good” – how does that make your partner feel? Like they just wasted their time coming over to ask you? You’ve just set the tone for the entire dance – and it’s not a cheerful one!
Solution: Give your partner the best that you have. Smile, act confident (even if you feel like you don’t know anything) and have fun! 10 times out of 10, a dancer will enjoy you as a partner if you make them feel confident, have fun and reduce the tension. If you did have fun, they’ll most likely ask you again.
4. Teach Me How To Dance
“Wanna Dance? I don’t know this dance, but you can teach me, right?”
The truth is that any dancer that has already learned the dance, spent time and possibly money learning the dance. Your asking them to “teach you” in one song can be insulting, infuriating and above all, annoying. There are very few dances that can be “learned” in a 3-5 minute interval short of the Macarena. Couples dancing takes just a little bit of patience and education – but you can do it!
Solution: Take a dance lesson! There are many free and low-cost dance lessons where in an hour, you can learn enough basic movements to dance with someone and have a better result. You owe it to yourself, and your confidence level to just take a step and learn a few things. Next time someone asks you, you’ll be ready to go, just by having a little bit of knowledge ahead of time! Show them what you know!
3. Instruction on the Dance Floor
“When I pull here, you go there”
Conversely of item number 4 above, teaching someone to dance on the dance floor isn’t always a great idea. If they are interested and have asked you for your opinion, certainly give it to them. However, if you just assume your partner doesn’t know anything – NEVER belittle them by giving them instructions on the dance floor. You are certain to create an uncomfortable situation right from the get-go.
Solution: Just dance with your partner. Let them do as they will – whether or not it is to your standard, it’s not your place to say. The problem may be that you have chosen someone with different instruction, little to no instruction or maybe … it’s you! Keep it quiet and regardless of the problem, your dance will end up successful.
2. Expressing Your Nervousness
It’s always fun to dance with someone who exudes confidence on the dance floor. When someone approaches you who looks around nervously, stares at the floor or wipes their sweaty hands on their pants right before they dance with you – it’s a little unnerving! Whether you are nervous or not, giving the impression that you are can rattle your partner even before you dance.
Solution: Fake it. If you’re nervous, just act confident! Hold your head up high! If you must wipe the sweat off your hands before you dance, do it casually without making a big scene. Control your darting eyes, give your partner a smile and go with the flow. Chances are, the person you are dancing with is just as nervous. Your confidence level will set the tone for the dance – make it confident!
1. Not Dancing
“I’m hiding in the corner because I’m not good”
The number one faux pas of dancing is not trying. Whether you are sitting in the corner hiding away from everyone, in a dance lesson telling yourself that you can’t, or sitting at home wishing you were dancing… it’s wrong! If you truly want to dance, the first step is getting over yourself.
Solution: Take baby steps. If you want to gain confidence, take a lesson. Knowing a little about any dance before you do it, will help you feel more comfortable doing it. If you’re scared of meeting people, bring people with you that you already know. If you don’t want to be the person in the class with no partner, hunt your partner early – even if it’s right before class. There’s always a way around your fears, you just have to be bold enough to try!