Blog 1: Dancing Etiquette

Blog 1: Dancing Etiquette

Dance with all sorts of partners irrespective of their level of dance experience, colour, creed, origin, religion or sex.  It’ll make you a better dancer, not to mention, it’ll make you seem like a really nice guy or gal!

If you are a beginner dancer, remember that everyone out there has probably experienced that same sweaty palm, stiff-as-a-board, jittery feeling.  It will pass. Just get on the dance floor!

If you’re a woman who’s not being asked to dance, try standing near the edge of the dance floor; smile, tap your foot, and look like you really NEED to dance to this song.  Make eye contact. Dance with the first person who asks.  Once you get out there a couple of times with different dance partners, other potential dance partners will know you won’t turn them down.  ALSO, don’t BE AFRAID to ask guys to dance.  It’s COOL! The same rule applies to the shy guys but try to go one step further and ask a girl to dance with you. If you are a beginner, tell your potential dance partner that you are a beginner.

Hygiene: Wear a deodorant, perfume or aftershave as dancing will lead to perspiration!! Maybe even try a breath mint before event/class. It is a good idea to bring a clean hand towel to use between dances. You are also welcome to bring a change of clothes if you sweat a lot.

Please don’t teach on the social dance floor. Teaching is for classes and social nights are for having fun and trying out your moves unless specifically asked for by your dancing partner. A student should not teach a fellow student in a classroom or at an event when there is an instructor teaching. That’s downright disrespectful to the instructor! During an event, only the instructor is allowed to teach and not others so please do not do that even if you think you are God’s answer to dancing. Plus it’s really annoying for your dance partner who wants to enjoy the night and not be told how to dance through out the night as he or she might be taking studio lessons already or maybe thinking to take studio lessons. This type of behavior will definitely put them off and someone will lose a livelihood. Please be considerate as this is what we do for a living.

When the floor is really, really crowded please remember to alter your dancing. Make your moves smaller, no dips & tricks and watch where you are spinning your partner out. Men: it is your job to stay in your area and protect your partner, nobody likes a heel on their foot or an elbow in the wrong place. Women: it is your job to follow your lead.

If you are a stronger dancer than your partner, then out dancing them is frowned upon and does not look good. This applies to both genders. There is no need to demonstrate to people that you are better than your partner. Anybody watching will know the real situation. Even worse is pulling faces of disgust to people watching. Just be patient and finish the dance. Remember that there are always better dancers than you out there,  so would you like to be treated like that?

Avoid dancing roughly like pulling your partner’s arm out of its socket.  It’s bad form.   Remember, you want to look good, and you can look really good only if you make your partner look good.  Make eye contact – dancing is about communication.

It’s very uncool to stand right ON the dance floor to socialise, drink or smoke. Do what you like, but do it AWAY from the dance floor! A dance floor should be treated with care.  Drinks and food/snacks on the dance floor are a complete NO! NO!

If you or your partner screw up a step, get past the urge to argue about who’s screwing up.   Remember – there are no mistakes!  It’s ONLY dancing, and everyone’s there to have fun. DON’T dance in a way that’s going to invite a problem or result in collisions with nearby couples.

Don’t act bored and disinterested. Crushing your lead/Follower’s ego is a good way to guarantee you’ll never be asked to dance again. Even if your partner is just starting out and only knows a couple of moves, acting visibly bored and checking out other dancers is just plain rude. Don’t expect him/her to want to dance with you ever again then.

Don’t forget to listen to the music while dancing. Salsa and Bachata is danced with a specific count, and you need to respect this and your partner’s interpretations of it. So always keep one ear to the music when dancing.

Don’t chastise your partner. Leads/followers do not want to hear you complain about their leading or following – and you could very well be the one making the mistakes. If you feel that you really need to let a lead/follower know about something (for example, if he is physically hurting you), then be sensitive to his/her feelings, and be polite and respectful about how you bring up the issue — preferably after the dance has finished. Try to remember the specific move the lead or follower did that hurt you so that you can explain it. Telling a lead or follower that he is “too rough” is not going to help him change or just don’t dance with him or her!

Don’t forget to watch your lead’s back. Your lead can’t see everything, so if you can tell that you’re a step away from crashing into another couple, you should warn him and stop him from moving in that direction. Leads have a lot to think about and are making a lot more decisions than a follower, so as a follower you have to do your part to ensure your safety too!

Don’t forget your frame and tension. Maintaining a good frame and the right amount of tension in your arms (not too spaghetti-like or too rigid) makes it enormously easier for your partner to lead or follow you. Good frame of a follower also helps keep you balanced and keeps your hands where your lead can find them. If your lead can’t get a good connection with his follower and has to struggle to execute every other move because the followers hands are all over the place, chances are, he will pick other followers to dance with over you.

Don’t lead or follow too aggressively. Followers should not be going faster or harder than what the lead requests you to do. If your lead gives you enough force for a double spin, the follower shouldn’t try to muscle in or push herself off for a triple spin. Don’t force fast, sharp movements just to look good for onlookers. In the social dance scene, your primary audience and concern should always be your partner.

Don’t lead or follow too heavily or rigidly. Heaviness” has nothing to do with how much you weigh – it’s about how lightly you step. Dancing on the ball of your feet makes you lighter and hence easier and more enjoyable to lead or follow. It shouldn’t feel like your fighting rather than dancing.

Don’t apologize after every mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, and you don’t have to draw attention to each one you make. Remember you are here to have fun and not facing an angry boss! Unless your mistake involves an accident, such as hitting your partner in the face, one should stick with a sheepish smile acknowledging but not making a bigger deal of your mistake than it really is.

Guys don’t dance too close to your dance partner. It’s entirely the prerogative of your female partner to decide how close she wants to be with you while dancing. The level of closeness people are willing to take their dancing to depends on the level of trust and connection they have with their dance partner. You cannot expect to grind up against a stranger the very first time you dance with them. Aside from being disrespectful and potentially unwelcome, it can also throw off your partner’s balance. A good rule of thumb is to always respect whatever distance your female partner chooses to keep but the distance should not be so far that the connection is lost and it is difficult to lead or follow!

Don’t be disrespect or be rude and create a scene at the club with any member of the club’s staff. Please remember they are just doing their job and they are human beings too and can have a bad day. Similarly don’t be disrespectful or rude or create a scene with Dance With Style’s staff as they are their to do their job so as to ensure that everyone is having a good time.

Don’t be disrespectful to the Deejays. If you don’t like a particular track playing, then don’t make faces at the Deejay or go complaining to the event organiser or to the Deejay. Take a break from dancing and go buy a drink and relax and most likely the next track will be to your liking and you can go back to dancing. Please understand and appreciate that the Deejay is there for your entertainment and plays music for you for 4-6 hours or more and is standing throughout his set without a break and he is a human being too and can have a bad day once in a while like the rest of us.

Lastly, please buy minimum 2 drinks from the club or bar where the social nights are happening as this is what we as a event organizer do for a living and so do the clubs which allow us to host such events for your entertainment. So its downright disrespectful when we notice people coming and enjoying the night and not even buying a drink and on top carry outside drinks and water bottles and surreptitiously drink in the club without buying from the club and thus not supporting our livelihood.