Social Dance Etiquette

So Everyone Feels Comfortable On The Floor

Line of Dance

Traveling dances such as 2 Step and Waltz move counter-clockwise around the floor. For safety reasons, as well as to ensure more people can fit on the floor, spot dances such as East Coast Swing may be simultaneously done in the center of the floor, with West Coast Swing danced in a ‘slot’ in the center along the length of the room.

Appropriate Attire

Leaders (and at times ladies), should not wear sleeveless shirts and other tops that would force a dance partner to rest their forearm on a sweaty, slippery arm. If you become excessively sweaty while dancing, bring changes of shirts (ladies included). Maybe consider an undershirt to absorb perspiration or bring a small hand towel to
dry off in between dances.

Body Odour & Hygiene

This can be a difficult topic to talk about in person, so please share this with your aromatic friends. A shower, deodorant/antiperspirant (hand sanitizer applied to underarms also works well in a pinch), mouthwash, breath mints and fresh clothing go a long way to making the dance floor more comfortable for everyone. Beware
of heavy cologne or body sprays as they may affect an allergic dance partner. We would hate for anyone to miss out on dances due to hygiene issues.

Smiles and Thank You’s

Be friendly! Maintain eye contact with your partner during a dance, without being creepy, so they don’t feel ignored. This increases your connection and dance ability with that partner. Make sure to smile and thank your partner! Even if you didn’t enjoy the dance, ALWAYS say thank you.

Now Ask Someone To Dance

Dance to Your Partner’s Level

This is extremely important for leads. Do not lead moves that are far beyond the ability of your partner. You could potentially hurt them, but more often than not you will just annoy them. Keep spins and turns to a minimum unless they are a very experienced dancer who you know wants to work on their spins. If you are unsure, build up to a higher level of movement starting with basic moves, then lead the more advanced move gently. Be sensitive to the follower’s body language.

Asking For & Declining Dances

There is no rule that you MUST ask everyone for a dance (although that is generally the point), however there is an unspoken rule that when asked, we do not turn down a dance without a good reason. Acceptable reasons to turn down a dance may include: you feel the partner is too rough and may hurt you; you are unable at the time because you are headed to the washroom or you are leaving the dance floor area. If for some reason you do turn someone down for a dance, ask for a raincheck or go back and ask them later.

Dance with Less Experienced Dancers

As you become more experienced, it is important to continue dancing with, and asking less experienced dancers to dance. Everyone was a beginner once and we all get better by dancing with those with more experience. Asking a beginner to dance will make them feel welcome and more likely to come back.

No Correcting or Teaching on the Dance Floor

It is generally frowned upon (with some dancers feeling extremely offended) to correct or give technique advice on the dance floor. If someone wants advice, they will ask. Otherwise, It is best to leave the corrections to the instructor. During lessons, it is important to remain quiet so all participants can hear the instructor.

Eat, Sleep, Dance. Repeat.

Different Dance Styles Can Be Accommodated On The Floor At The Same Time When Simple Etiquette Is Followed

Dance floor

Dancers who travel around the floor use the outside (fast) or inside (slow) lane depending on whether they are continuously progressing or Stop & Go. Never backup against the line of dance. West Coast Swing is danced in the center of the floor in a slot the length of the room. East Coast Swing, and any dancers who stay in the same spot, dance in the center of the floor leaving the outside lanes open for progressive dancers. If the floor is crowded, take small steps and look in all directions to avoid collisions with other dancers. If a collision does occur, please remember that courtesy is contagious.

Have fun dancing!