Dance Etiquette

In order to make dancing more enjoyable for all, it is important that dancers follow proper dance etiquette. Dance etiquette includes:

* Asking for a Dance
* Declining a Dance
* Getting on the Floor
* Line of Dance
* Lead and Follow
* Teaching on the Floor
* Leaving the Dance Floor

Asking for a Dance

Don't be afraid to ask people to dance. Most people that come to social dance venues are there because they want to dance. Be polite and courteous when asking. Don't just go up and grab someone and drag them out onto the floor. In the old days men did all the asking, but not any more. These days it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to ask a man to dance. In fact most men are flattered when a woman asks them to dance. So ask!

Declining a Dance

Sometimes you may want to decline a dance invitation. It's OK to do so, but you want to be very tactful and considerate of the person that is asking. It takes some courage to go up and ask someone to dance and it can be very hard on their ego if you coldly reject their offer. You might explain that you are tired and need a rest, or you promised this dance to someone else, or that you don't know the dance (but be honest). One last point on declining a dance: it is usually considered impolite to decline a dance offer from one person and then immediately accept another offer for the same dance. The polite thing to do is sit out that dance.

Getting on the Dance Floor

There are a number of things to consider when entering the dance floor. You should be watchful of the dancers already on the floor. If the dance is a traveling dance you don't want to step in front of them as they are moving around the floor. Wait for an opening just like you would if you were driving your car and entering the freeway. Also, if the dance is a spot or slot dance be sure there is enough room for you and your partner and that you are not overcrowding some other couple already on the floor. It is very inconsiderate to step in and take over the dance space that someone else is already using. Find your own space.

Line of Dance

When on the dance floor, remember the line of dance is counter-clockwise around the floor. The non-traveling slot or spot dancers should be in the center of the floor. The medium speed dancers should be between the center and outside of the floor. Reserve the outside or perimeter of the floor for the faster traveling dancers. Further, dancers should not stop or travel in the reverse line of dance in the outside lane if other dancers are behind them. When dancing slot dances like West Coast Swing, dancers should try to align their dance slots in the same direction as the other dancers on the floor. This will maximize the number of couples that can be on the floor at one time.

Lead and Follow

In most dances, dancing is a partnership with a leader and a follower. The leader should be aware of his partner's skill level and attempt to lead moves that his partner is comfortable doing. When dancing with someone new this can be a little challenging. You probably won't know your partner's skill level, so start out slow and work your way up. The lead should be clear and direct, but gentle. The leader needs to be careful not to hurt his follower. The follower must let the leader lead. The follower may not always agree with the leaders direction, but couple dancing is a partnership with a leader and a follower, and each has their role to play. The follower should not highjack or back lead.

Teaching on the Floor

Teaching on the dance floor during a dance is a controversial subject. In general it is not a good idea to teach on the dance floor. There are exceptions however. If your partner asks you for instruction and you don't mind giving some advice, then by all means do so. But, be aware that instruction on the floor while the music is playing and other dancers are moving around you is often not very effective. Furthermore, your instruction may interfer with the other dancers on the floor.

Leaving the Floor

After the dance is over and it is time to leave the floor, escort your partner off the dance floor. As you leave the floor thank your partner. Let them know how much you enjoyed the dance. If they did something exceptional let them know. Everyone likes to be appreciated.

The Manhattan Dance Club

for Those Who Love to Dance

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