The do’s and don’ts of social dancing are a must know if you haven’t experiment that universe. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed the first time you go out.
So that’s why, it might be useful to be aware of some rules before going.
And if social dancing is not new for you, it might also be interesting to have a quick review of social dancing etiquette ! It doesn’t hurt anyone 😉
In this article, i will mention both parts : leaders and followers. But if you want to know more, as a follower, I’ve written an article about the 7 common mistakes followers make. I would highly recommend you to read it.
And now lets’ start !
Do’s and Don’ts before social dancing
First of all, if you don’t know where to dance :– Check on Facebook the events near you, subscribe to Facebook groups.
– You can also go to go and dance and see what’s on.
1. Have a good hygiene
It might be obvious but maybe not for everyone unfortunately, so quick reminder :
- Have a shower before going, have clean hair,
- Use deodorant and bring it to the party if you sweat a lot,
- Wear perfume in moderation, you don’t want to warn everyone you’re in the room 🙂 or maybe yes 😛,
- Plan to have a second shirt in case you sweat too much,
- Brush your teeth and use mints if needing but not while dancing.
2. Wear comfortable and appropriate clothes
You might be dancing all night so you want to be able to execute any moves. And for the girls, if you wear a short tight dress, be conscious, you will have to pull it down all night. I made that mistake once 🙂.
3. Bring clean spare shoes
If you have a pair of dance shoes, that’s ideal but if not, bring a pair of clean spare shoes because sometimes, street shoes are not allowed on the dance floor.
4. Don’t be intimidated
If it’s your first time, if you feel stressed out, that’s normal. But you will see, later on, you will be proud and feeling relieved 😉. Trust me, we all passed there !
If you haven’t been in social dancing and you feel anxious, watch this video, you will feel better 🙂.
5. Don’t drink too much
You want to be able to control the situation and dance properly. Don’t get drunk, this is not safe for you, who you dance with and for the others around 🙂.
6. Don’t bring too much stuff
You never know what could happen, it depends on where you are. You don’t want to get robbed. Plan to have some money for the locker room if necessary.
Do’s and Don’ts during social dancing
7. Be polite, respectful when you ask or refuse someone for a dance
There are nice ways to ask someone to dance. But don’t grab your partner and pull him/her to the dance floor. A simple, “would you like to dance” is perfect. And yes, it’s fine to refuse a dance as long as you answer nicely, apologize and say why eventually 😉.
8. Adapt the dance to your partner’s level
You might be dancing with a total beginner so don’t do advanced moves right at the beginning. Try to gauge your partner’s level and if you see that he/she can’t cope, go back to basics moves.
9. Be aware of your space
For the leaders, try to evaluate and anticipate if you can do certain moves. For the followers, respond to the moves being aware of the space around. And for both, same advice when you’re dancing on your own, styling, shining.
10. Apologize if you bump into someone
And in spite of all this just below, do apologize when you bump into someone whether it’s your partner’s fault or yours.
11. Thank your partner for the dance
It’s always nicer to thank your partner after a dance. Because it means you value the time spent with that person whether it has been the best moment in your life or not 🙂. You give an interest to that person and it’s so much appreciated.
12. Respect personal space
Some people don’t like to be too close while dancing. If you notice your partner feel uncomfortable, adapt your moves. For example, in bachata use more modern, traditional moves rather sensual moves (avoid isolations, body waves in close position…). Or keep dancing like the music tells you but attempt to use more open position than close position.
Of course, if the music is sad, you’re not gonna smile all song but try to find that complicity with your partner. Let him/her know you have a good moment with a smile, eye contact or whatever in your attitude. Be positive whether you’re a beginner and you dance with an advanced dancer and the other way around. Don’t be stressed out or don’t look bored. You can, both of you, definitely find a way to enjoy the moment.
14. Don’t talk
Please don’t try to make a whole conversation while dancing. It’s fine to ask “How are you?”, “What’s your name?”. But don’t try to ask for your partner’s resume unless you both want it 😉. I’m sure you will find the opportunity later, on the side of the dance floor.
15. Don’t teach/ correct
Please again, don’t teach or try to fix your partner’s mistakes unless he/she asks for it. Don’t do it especially if you don’t know that person. It could be offending, embarrassing. Social dancing shouldn’t be the place for that, classes room definitely yes ! But if you dance with your friend, of course that’s another story 😉
16. Don’t be too picky
Of course, it’s fine to refuse a dance for many personal reasons (you’re tired, you don’t want to dance with that particular person because you feel uncomfortable, it’s painful… But don’t be too picky, trying to dance with only the best dancers, refusing dancing with a beginner for example. We all started once and we all know that is not easy so let’s try to be generous, helpful.
17. Don’t be intimidated to ask advanced dancers
Advanced dancers doesn’t mean necessarily they are snobbish. You can find excellent dancers very humble who enjoy dancing with beginners. So don’t be afraid to ask if you’re in this case (whether a leader or follower 😉).
18. Don’t do crazy moves
Social dancing is not the space to do acrobatics moves. It could be dangerous for you and for others if you don’t control enough. It could be scary for your partner too if he/she doesn’t expect that. And if you’re both agree, maybe practice out of the social dancing floor.
19. Don’t be selfish
Social dancing is meant to be sharing the moment with your partner and not showing off. If you want to highlight your talent, do a solo performance. Of course, people are watching you when you dance but before that, what matters first is who you dance with.
20. Don’t confuse dancing and flirting
The purpose of social dancing is dancing right? Don’t try to be close to your partner to grope him/her or try to take advantage of the situation. And if you’re both attracted to each other, maybe you should keep certain things for outside the dance floor 😉
This is a fun video below to give you some practical examples of the don’ts in salsa social dancing. It can applies in bachata and for followers too sometimes.
I hope you had a quick overview of the do’s and don’ts in social dancing. You probably know more but i tried to list you the most common and important. Anyway, if you’d like to share more social dancing etiquette or your experience, i would love to read your comments.
In the meantime, i hope we will all go back to social dancing very soon everywhere in the world and most importantly safely. Take care !