Dance Floor Etiquette

Social Dancing is a skill that has been passed down fro generation-to-generation. Dancing socially is an activity that one can enjoy for a lifetime. There is no age requirement to enjoy dancing and you will see people of all ages on the dance floor. While there are countless dance steps, patterns and styles, there are a few dance floor “rules” that have developed over the decades. These are classified as dance floor etiquette and they will make any dance experience more enjoyable.

  • Tradition holds that the man (leader) asks the lady (follower) to dance. However, social dancing has kept pace with numerous cultural shifts and it is now quite appropriate for the follower to ask the leader to dance.
  • When dancing with a partner, alone, or as part of a group, it is important to be aware of the other dancers on the dance floor. There is usually limited space and it is simply polite to avoid dance floor collisions. If a collision should happen a simple apology will be enough to maintain a friendly atmosphere
  • Most social dances move around the dance floor in a counterclockwise and progressive circular motion. This is one of the hard and fast rules of Social Dancing. However, not all dances are progressive and these are usually called spot dances – the dancers will choose a palace on the dance floor and remain in that spot.
  • Often both types of dancers are on the floor simultaneously. If you are doing a spot dance while other are doing a progressive dance note that you should stay in the center of the dance floor. This allows the circular movements to continue around you on the outside of the dance floor.
  • It’s important to know that no dancer is guaranteed a spot on the dance floor and it may be appropriate to move off the floor occasionally so others can have a chance to dance. If the dance floor is already full adding more dancers can cause congestions and dance floor collisions.
  • Another tradition that is slowly dying is the belief that the Leader is solely responsible for the dance. While the leader is the one who decides which variation or step to do the follower has equal responsibility for responding to the leader’s cues. Regardless of whether both partners ‘believe’ they know the steps, it is critical to the character of the partnership that the leader initiate confidence in the lead cues and the follower respond with trust in those cues.
  • At the end of all songs everyone is encouraged to applaud. This applause serves two purposes, first – partners clap to show appreciation for each other; and second – appreciation for the music. Whether the music is live or being played by a DJ those responsible for the music will appreciate it and play with more enthusiasm.
  • Some other dance floor rules to be aware of include:
    • Don’t practice routines at Social Dance
    • Don’t teach unless you are a teacher
    • Use caution when entering and leaving the dance floor
    • Aerial step and wild kicks should NEVER be executed on a social dance floor
    • Please LEAVE the floor if you are not dancing
    • If you turn someone down for a dance you should be ready to sit out the next few
    • Do not correct your partner
    • Always thank your partner
  • While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of dance floor rules it should provide and outline for those who want to take to the social dance floor. If dancers follow these general guidelines the experience of Social Dancing will be much more enjoyable for all involved.




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