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11 November, 2008

Dance Etiquette

I was sent this over email by a friend. I thought I can share it with my readers.

Attire and Grooming

Dance Shoes
Its recommend to purchase dance shoes if you plan to make dancing your hobby. They are specifically designed for flexibility, comfort, balance and movement, not to mention that they are kind to our wood floors.
Attire
As with your shoes, you want to wear something comfortable, but keep the comfort of your partner in mind as well. Avoid heavy clothing that will make you sweat, as well as baggy clothing or strappy outfits that can swing and hit your partner.

Breath
You will be dancing in close quarters with a lot of new people. You may want to chew gum or bring breath mints (Listerine Pocket Paks are popular, but bring enough to share!). Some dancers avoid eating certain foods (garlic or onions, for example) on dance days.

Be prepared to sweat!
Don't forget to wear deodorant, but if you wear cologne, use it sparingly if at all. Your partner may not appreciate it if you use too much. Some people are even allergic to colognes and may have to turn you down for a dance if you choose to wear it.

Asking/Refusing a Dance

Asking for a dance
Notice what the person is doing before you ask them to dance. Be wary of interrupting conversations.

Ask politely, "Would you like to dance?" Avoid grabbing a partner and pulling them onto the dance floor.

One dance at a time is the norm. Should you want a consecutive dance with your partner, ask them first. Consider asking them if they want to dance at a later time.

It is very acceptable for ladies to ask gentlemen to dance. Most gentlemen are flattered by the offer.

Take the time to dance with someone new. Get into the habit of making new friends and giving everyone the opportunity to dance. If you are advanced dancer, that might mean even asking a beginner to dance. Remember, you were there once yourself; don't forget how exciting it was to dance with someone more experienced than you. Share the same joy.

On the other hand, if you are a beginner and it seems advanced dancers keep to themselves, feel free to break the ice if they don't. They are probably not intentionally keeping to themselves; most likely since they've been dancing a long time, they just know each other better.

Try to avoid monopolizing partners, particularly ones of a higher level than yourself. Advanced dancers are often in high demand. While the advanced dancers do usually dance with anyone, beginners included, I'm sure they like to dance with others of their own level as well, so it's good not to monopolize them.



How to say "no"
Ideally, we would all say "yes" to everyone who asked.

If you must decline, it's common, but not required, to provide a reason (e.g., I'm resting, I promised this dance to someone else). Then suggest dancing the next dance or a later dance, but if you do, make sure you do reserve that dance and don't dance it with someone else. A turn-down without explanation is generally considered more serious and usually taken more personally than a turn-down with an explanation, so you should be careful about declining without giving a reason.

What to do if they say "no"
Don't take it personally. All dancers get turned down from time to time, and there are other people who would very much like to dance with you. You can always ask again, but give him or her time and space and ask again later. It is usually a good idea to let several songs pass. If you continually get turned down, it might be time to seek out private lessons. Perhaps your lead or follow is too heavy, or your frame too tight to make it comfortable for a partner. This is not something that is evident in group classes and you need the one-on-one with an instructor to correct these problems.

Floor

Don't over extend your bounds on a crowded dance floor. Respect the space of those around you. Don't over project with your arms or over use the dance floor at the expense of colliding with another couple.

Dips and lifts are best executed in shows and competitions. Avoid these types of movements in a club or social setting unless you're sure you have plenty of room around you. Injuries can occur when positioned incorrectly on a crowded dance floor.

Dance to the level of your partner. Dancing takes two; adjust to the skill level of your partner.

It is not necessary to apologize to your partner if a particular move is not executed perfectly. The point is not to have a perfect dance, but to have fun. However, if your mistake may have physically hurt your partner, please apologize and make sure they are okay.

Don't give dance advice unless it has been solicited. Never criticize.

Thank your partner for the dance. Show your appreciation.

Advice for Leaders

When starting a dance, especially with someone you don't know, take it slow. Everyone dances differently, so take your time and get to know the other person by starting off with less complex moves, and possibly keeping it at that if she is not able to do more.
Do not push or pull your partner too hard.

If she is not following something, try leading other moves. It may be that she is not a good follower, but perhaps your lead isn't clear and you need to work on that at a later time, preferably with a private instructor.

Make sure you pay attention to where your partner is and where she is going. The social dance floor is crowded and it is generally up to you to see that she does not collide with other dancers.

In closed-hold dances, do not hold your partner too tight. Many people are uncomfortable with close body contact, particularly with someone they do not know.

Advice for Followers

Try to be light and attentive to your lead. Your leader should never have to pull you.

If your arm is resting on his as in closed hold dances, do not let it be heavy. Hold your own weight.

Help your leader with floorcraft. He does not have eyes in the back of his head and you may have to warn him if you are in danger of colliding.


1. Personal oral and bodily hygiene is of utmost importance. If you notice
that your partner is hesitant to get into the proper Dance hold, is
holding their breath, bolts from the dance floor once the dance is over
and repeatedly refuses to dance with you again, take the hint.

You will be dancing in close quarters with a lot of new people.
You may want to chew gum or bring breath mints (Listerine Pocket Paks are
popular, but bring enough to share!). Some dancers avoid eating certain
foods (garlic or onions, for example) on dance days.

2. Smile, be warm and personable, be nice, and have fun!

3. Make sure you keep your attention on your partner while you dance, this
means usually on his/her face not wandering up and down his/her body, and
watch the dance floor ahead and around you to avoid possible collisions with
other people around you.

4. It is the lady's prerogative to how close she wants to be held. The gentleman
can readjust if he feels she's too close but not if he feels she's not close
enough. Do not take offence if your partner does not want to dance really closely
with you. We all have our levels of comfort.

5. Avoid declining a dance under almost all circumstances. For example, there is
no correct way of refusing a dance on the basis of preferring to dance with
someone else. According to tradition, the only graceful way of declining a dance
is either
a. you do not know the dance,
b. you need to take a rest, or
c. you have promised the dance to someone else.

Note that is it is improper to book many dances ahead of time and once you
decline dancing with one person, it is inconsiderate and outright rude to
dance the song with someone else.

6. Stationary dancers (e.g. swing dancers) stay in the middle, traveling dancers
move on the boundary along the line of dance. The line of dance goes in the
counterclockwise direction.

7. Do not monopolize one partner for the whole night, unless you are there with
your regular dance partner. Ask everyone to dance.

8. Do escort your partner off the dance floor. Never leave him/her in the
middle of the dance floor.

9. It often happens that the two partners dancing socially are not at the same
level. It is important that the more experienced partner dances at the level of
the less experienced partner.

10. Turn OFF your cell phone before the class/dance starts.

22 comments:

  1. Kiran, I love to dance! I've never taken classes though and I hardly ever ask people if they want to dance... I just start dancing and I dance with anyone who cares to come in my space as I dance, and most of the time I do not think about other people's space, just dance... it all just happens naturally...

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  2. @ Agnes. way to go. I wish I could be as free spirited. What you do is just right. Enjoy.

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  3. haha Dance..tym coming for me to do so..I mean the couple dance..lol

    hmmm coool advice for the men hehe

    :)

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  4. what do i do......

    when i ask a girl to dance........

    and she slaps me

    is there any code of ethics that I should follow in such a case??

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  5. @ Priya. yes soon time for you to dance. just after your exams.

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  6. @deluded. don't worry no girl is going to slap you if you ask her to dance with you. At the most, she will politely decline.

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  7. and what if you dance alone!
    umm these are some really precious tips...
    Now get me into good dancing classes
    what do u recommend ?

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  8. @ Bhawna. If you dance alone, then like agnes, enjoy yourself. For dance classes, first watch the video in one of the posts below.

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  9. Great social dancing tips here!


    **4. It is the lady's prerogative to how close she wants to be held.

    AMEN! alot of men dunno that...once a guy started touching my butt area and I had to tell him to leave. Some men come on the floor not to dance but to hv sex LOL! Idiots.


    Keshi.

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  10. i dance like a spider monkey...normally d whole floor goes empty when i decide to dance...
    have even heard rumors dat smone clicked a video of mine n put it up on youtube n now its being rated amongst d funniest animal videos on youtube...jeez!!!

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  11. if i flunk my exams because i was too busy dancing it'll so be ur fault... :PPPPPP

    i think d last time i danced properly was at new year's...woooow..its been a whole year..gotta finish my exams n jump on d dance floor asap!!!!

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  12. am gonna hit the dance floor tonyte... my dance partner will be accompanied by her boy friend.. he frowns at me when ever we go crazy jiving together

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  13. Kiran i always wnted to mess you from long but somehow never got the way out but believe you one of the person who i can always relate to so much and you do wonders with confidence, i have been so motivated by your article, they are mirror of perfection to what they sound and i have seen them in action too, i wish everyone gets great spirit like you. all the best luck wid whatever you do .
    cheers

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  14. @ Keshi. Some men really don't know these etiquettes.
    Good you put your foot down.

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  15. @ Keshi. Some men really don't know these etiquettes.
    Good you put your foot down.

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  16. @ Mayz. Ha ha. would certainly like to have a look at your spider man dance video. Join some classes. Learn the art.

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  17. @ Mayz. Ha ha. would certainly like to have a look at your spider man dance video. Join some classes. Learn the art.

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  18. @ Trinaa. No don't flunk your exams. please do well and then jump on the floor. have a blast.

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  19. @ chriz. ha ha. make him jealous. enjoy the jive.

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  20. @ Sam. thank you so much. Hope you are working out.

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  21. **@ Priya. yes soon time for you to dance. just after your exams.

    haha I am in college re...no exams now...

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  22. @ Priya. Look at the pic you have put up. seems like you are a baby. put some college pic. how would i know?

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