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Tips & Techniques

eileen - Posted on 11 December 2010

Social Dancing Etiquette

Many social functions, including ballroom/latin dancing have general rules regarding appropriate etiquette. Following are some guidelines to follow to help make your social dancing experience more enjoyable for everyone.

  • Personal Hygiene - Some personal hygiene hints for ballroom dancing:
    • Avoid onions and garlic before attending any dance function.
    • Bring mints.
    • Wear deodorant.
    • Bring an extra shirt if you sweat a lot.
  • Bring Shoes for Dancing - To avoid damaging the dance floor and slippery surfaces, bring a pair of shoes to dance in. These do not need to be dance shoes, just shoes that are separate from the shoes you arrived to the dance function in.
  • Saying "No Thanks" - If you are asked to dance and have a good reason to refuse, do not accept an invitation from someone else during that song.
  • You Are Not Obligated to Say Yes - While it is encouraged to accept invitations to dance, you are not obligated to dance with anybody, especially if you have encountered a history of them invading your personal space, dancing too personally, causing you pain, or monopolizing your time.
  • Personal Space - Let the less experienced dancer set the appropriate distance when dancing in a close position.
  • Don't Correct Your Partner's Dancing - It is considered rude to correct someone else's dancing at a social dance. Leave the teaching to the pros!
  • Lifts, Dips and Drops - It is dangerous to expect someone to be willing to perform such moves with you and can be dangerous for others around you. Lifts, dips and drops should be avoided.
  • Traveling Dances - Traveling dances such as waltz, tango, foxtrot, viennese waltz, quickstep and samba are danced around the edges of the floor counter-clockwise. This allows couples doing spot dances to dance to the same music. Fast lines dance on the outside of the circle.
  • Spot Dances - Spot dances such as cha cha, rumba, swing, bolero, mambo, jive, salsa, west coast swing) are danced at the center of the floor. This allows couples doing traveling dances to dance to the same music.
  • Done Dancing? - If you are done dancing or not moving, please move off the dance floor. Do not completely stop during a traveling dance.