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Dance Etiquette


Dancing is a very sociable past time but, as every dancer will know, it also requires a great deal of trust and respect amongst fellow dancers. There is unspoken etiquette on every floor, some of which may can only be learned through trial and error. We've put together a basic Beginners Guide to Dance Etiquette to help you avoid any dance floor gaffes.

1. Asking someone to dance
In the past it was traditional for men to ask women to dance. But this custom has gradually changed. Today, women should feel equally comfortable asking a partner for a dance, even in a formal setting. Don't be offended if the person refuses; it may just be that they've danced for the last five songs and are taking a break or are saving that particular song for a specific person. If someone refuses you once it is considered bad form to ask them again that night; no-one wants to be pestered to dance.
2. Being asked to dance
As a rule, you should accept all invitations. If you're tired, chatting to friends or need a loo trip then you can always explain to the person that you'd like to dance with them later. If you're not keen on dancing with that particular person because of their technique then the best thing is to politely explain this to them.
3. Pulling
Most people dance because they enjoy the it. If a girl or guy is dancing especially close or in a sexy manner this does not necessarily mean they're flirting with you. It's more likely to mean that they're immersed in the dance and taking the opportunity to display their moves.
4. Handbags
The dance scene is not like Friday night at Ritzys; women don't dance around their handbags, or have them hoisted on their shoulders. It's generally a safe place with a high level of respect; If you look around, most people leave their gear on the ground or on their seats without fear of it being stolen. It's not good dance etiquette to have a bag on your shoulder whacking the guy in the head when you turn.
5. Sharing the floor
This requires a good deal of respect and awareness towards other dancers. Some figures require a momentary movement against line of dance. These figures should be executed with great caution on a social dance floor, and only when there is no danger of collision. Avoid getting too close to other couples, especially less experienced ones. Be prepared to change the directions of your patterns to avoid congested areas. This requires thinking ahead and matching your patterns to the free areas on the floor.
6. Hygiene
Personal hygiene may seem like an obvious one but it is of paramount importance when dancing with new partners. A shower before the class, fresh clean clothing and deodorant should ensure no embarrassing refusals when asking partners to dance.
7. Drinks
A dance floor should be treated with care. Drinks and cigarettes on the dance floor are a big no-no. When you spill liquid on a hardwood floor, it becomes a hazardous wet spot.   Even when it dries, this spot is pretty much ruined for dancers the rest of the night because it becomes "tacky" and you can't slide across it.
8. Respect for others
Not everyone has the same dancing style, ability, technique or dexterity and not everyone is taught the same way or has the same understanding. Therefore allow for this difference when dancing and practising in lessons. Yes, it may be frustrating at times but everyone is there to learn. Keep an open mind.
Keep these eight commandments in mind when venturing on to the dance floor and you shouldn't go far wrong. Oh, and don't forget number nine - Make sure you have fun!