In a previous post, we went over etiquette in social dancing and some of the unspoken rules of the social ballroom world. We discussed how you should ask a person to dance, use proper dance frame, dance through an entire song, follow the line of dance, and generally be polite. In addition to these, there are some extra pointers we would like to share that will enhance your social dancing experience for you and everyone else around you!
Don’t Teach, Correct, or Critique
Some events, such as practice parties, are good opportunities for dancers to review their steps, but unless they specifically ask you, don’t correct or instruct someone else on how to execute certain moves. You don’t want to make them feel bad or inferior by telling them they are doing something wrong. If you notice your partner doing a certain move differently than you, it’s better to adapt to them and continue to dance. Their instructor may have taught them differently than your own, and it’s a topic you can discuss politely while you are off the dance floor. It’s also important not to critique your dance partner or blame them for being a poor follower or leader. It’s not polite to do so, and it does nothing but lower their confidence as a dancer.
Don’t Squeeze Your Partner’s Hand
Your first few times dancing with others may be nerve-wracking, but no matter how nervous you get, try not to squeeze the life out of your partner’s hand. Loosing circulation is very uncomfortable, especially when you are dancing, so it’s good to be mindful of the amount of pressure you’re putting on your partner. Sometimes people unconsciously cling on to their partners without even realizing, but if you are aware of how strong your grip is, it will make the experience much more pleasant for the both of you.
Be Gentle With Your Partner
A strong lead is important, but you should never go overboard. When leading, try not to use movements that are overly forceful or will jolt your partner too much. By pushing and pulling follows, you only make them feel uncomfortable. To avoid this, pay attention to your partner’s skill level and only lead what is appropriate for them. Ask your dance instructor to help you find ways to be a strong lead without pushing your partner around too much. As a follow, be mindful of how you are holding on and clinging to your partner. A follower’s job is to go along with the leader, but make sure you are still holding yourself up so you don’t put too much unnecessary pressure on them. Also, be sure to let your partner know if you are injured or if you are in pain while you are dancing.
Don’t Show Off
If you are in a setting such as a party or wedding, there is a great chance you will be dancing with people who may not be on the same skill level as you, so it’s important to refrain from showing off. For instance, if you are an advanced dancer that is partnered up with a beginner, do not try and lead them through difficult steps that you know they haven’t learned yet. This goes back to our first point of not teaching other dancers unless you are asked to. You can showcase your skills by cleanly executing beginner/intermediate steps or by dancing with another advanced dancer, but showing off to a beginner can be seen as rude or arrogant.
When there are many couples on the dance floor at a time, it can very hard to avoid bumping into a few people, but as a dancer, you should be aware of your space and try to avoid running into other couples as much as possible. To avoid collisions, walk around the edge of the dance floor when you are not dancing or when you are walking to the other side of the room. Additionally, you should be following the line of dance when doing a progressive dance, and the general dance rule of staying near the center of the floor if you are moving slowly or doing a non-progressive dance. Of course, if you do bump into another couple, you should apologize and be mindful of future encounters.
No Crazy Moves
Fancy tricks are fun during performances, but on a social dance floor they could be risky. Obviously, you shouldn’t be trying tricks and lifts with beginners or people you’ve just met, but if there is a lift or something that you and your partner want to do, save it for a performance or a time where you have the entire floor to yourself. If there is a lot of traffic on the dance floor, there is a very high chance your lift won’t go smoothly.
It’s fine to have few drinks while you are at a party or dancing event, but it’s wise to be mindful of how balanced you are once you’re on the dance floor. Dancing when you’ve had a bit too much to drink can be risky not only for you, but for your partner and other dancers on the floor. You could misstep, get sick, or fall, injuring yourself or others. So, be a responsible dancer, and take it easy if you do plan on showing your moves on the dance floor.
Happy Dancing! ^_^