Social dancing is a casual form of dance. You rock on up in casual clothes, people don’t always wear dance shoes, and there’s no pressure to perform. You’re there to enjoy. The atmosphere of a freestyle is relaxed and there’s a feeling that anything goes. But there is an etiquette. You might not realise it. Or you might ignore it. But just following some simple etiquette will help more people have an enjoyable night of dancing.
Not everyone has great spatial awareness. But if you’re dancing on (or even walking across) a busy dancefloor, you need to be aware of people around you.
If you’re leading, think about where you’re leading your follower. And think about where the people dancing near you will be heading next. If you dance in a slot, find an edge rather than dancing in the middle of the floor. If you dance in circles, then watch out for people dancing on a slot. And if you’re just getting onto the dancefloor then please watch for a bit for the space and check you’re not about to walk straight into someone else’s dance space.
If you’re a follower, watch your back step (and styling arms). Don’t step back without thinking who’s behind you. It’s as much the follower’s job as the leader’s to watch people around you.
Liquids on the dance floor
It always amazes me how many dancers walk across the dance floor with drinks. You might think there’s plenty of room, but just walk round the edge.
If you spill a drink (or drip rainwater in as you arrive), try and clean it up. It can be an accident at worse, and an annoyance and a pair of wrecked dance shoes if someone stands in it.
Dancing is a contact sport, and sometimes there will be injuries. So keep a watch out for others coming into your space, for you moves and if you stand on someone or hit them by mistake, just apologise. It makes for a more friendly and harmonious dance community.
If you’re the one who’s been injured, a glare and an ouch usually is enough to make someone realise you’ve been hurt. Unfortunately not everyone notices when they’re dancing wildly, sometimes you just have to suck it up and live with the injury. If someone’s really being dangerous, then mention it to the venue organiser, because they might need to have a word and ask them to calm it down a bit.
Requesting a dance
Ok, so not everyone wants to dance with everyone else. But generally most people will accept a request to dance.
Ask people to dance. You’ll get more dances. You’ll get more dances with people you really want to dance with. And you’ll probably make a few people’s day. But actually ask, don’t just thrust a hand under their nose or make a grab for them.
If you’re accepting a dance, make it seem like you’re pleased to be asked and that you’ll enjoy dancing with them. You might not, but if they’re asking for the first time, don’t look them up and down first with a snooty face. Or spend the dance looking grudgingly at other people on the dance floor who you’d rather be dancing with.
The final etiquette tip should be obvious.
Don’t smell, don’t eat smelly things or smoke just before dancing.
Don’t get so drunk you can’t keep yourself or your partner upright.
Take note of your partner’s personal space. Do they might getting really close, or are you feeling signals that they want to be a bit further apart.
Hopefully these etiquette tips will help make the dance floor an enjoyable place to be.
What would you add?