Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Simple Rules for the Social Dance Floor

I am surprised and saddened by the bad experiences people sometimes have on the social dance floor. I wanted to share some simple rules that I believe would make bad experiences extinct. In my ideal world, there would be NO bad things on a social dance floor.

Here goes!

From Webster's (www.webster.com)
Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shəl\
Function: adjective
Marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with one's friends or associates

1) The key word is SOCIAL: It’s not a classroom or a performance stage. It’s a laid back, social gathering that is meant to be pleasant. There's no test, there's no grade. People go out to socialize and have a good time. Keep it FUN, keep it joyful, keep it relaxed. I know there are many factors that could add stress to a social gathering and things may not always turn out the way you want them to but don’t force it: magic does happen when you let go and just go with the flow. [and I’m not just talking about being a follow :) ]

A small note about PRACTICA: A PRACTICA can be a bit different since the purpose behind them is for practicing moves BUT, it’s still social. So, for you leads who like to perfect a move: we follows love that perfect lead and we also understand that you need to practice but please remember that some people do go to practices to just enjoy dancing in a non-class, non-clubby atmosphere. Keep the practicing to short spurts - check in about whether the practice time is too much. Sometimes, you just need to dance and relax instead of beating a move to death.

2) Remember to look at your partner and SMILE: A smile is a wonderful thing. For so little effort, it can immediately put your partner at ease. Its infectious. The returns on this one small gesture on your part is priceless. Honestly, I think it’s the one thing that is entirely within your control where the return on investment is HUGE! Just think about bringing out the smile on that dance crush you’re currently into … sigh :D [Speaking of which, I need to make a plug on salsa crushes here.]

3) Do unto others as you would have done to yourself: I know this is totally cliché but it’s a universal truth and really, a very simple rule. If you don't like it when you experience it, odds are someone else won't like it either. Some of us may not have been brought up in the same social circles of etiquette but if you keep in mind the things that you like and don’t like, and make sure that you don’t do the things you don’t like to other people, I think it’s safe to say that you won’t step on anyone’s toes.

For those of you that need some concrete examples of what NOT to do:
Don't grope
Don't nag
Don't teach
Don't handle your dance partner like a rag doll
Don't ignore the person who's right in front of you

4) Remember: Its only a few minutes – just grin and bear it.: There will be times when you’re in the “lemon” situation. Where you’ve either said yes to a dance or asked someone to dance who is hopelessly off beat or just plain uncomfortable to dance with (for whatever reason). It’s only a few minutes of your life. Yes, they could be rude. Yes, they could be creepy. Yes, they could be totally “ewwwww”. For those few minutes (and hopefully it’s not a song played by a live band that’s lasting 10 minutes or longer) in your life, just plaster that fake smile and grin and bear it. You don’t have to accept (or ask for) a dance the next time you see them AND (more importantly) don’t let the experience ruin the rest of your night! Brush it off like water off a duck and move on.

I know this last rule can be hard. After all, you can't control someone else's actions. Here's the question to ask yourself: "Why let a ______ (you can insert whatever negative adjective you want here) person ruin your day?" Absolutely make sure you have your support system nearby so that you can vent to your hearts content and immediately replace those last few minutes with something much more worthwhile.

When all is said and done, I believe that dancing is meant to be a joyful expression and one that should not take place in an environment that causes someone else to feel bad. These simple rules just help to reinforce that.


  1. Well said :) Hehe that's why I don't like live music... There's nothing worse than having a bad 10 minute dance. A bad 3 minute dance, I can live with :)

  2. I'm pretty sure it takes me more effort NOT to smile than to smile :)