Dance Etiquette

Shoes

  • If your street shoes are wet or dirty, try to keep them off the dance floor.
  • Suede or leather soles are best for dancing (although other footwear is possible). Using oils, powders, waxes, etc. on your shoes might damage the floor, and rubber might leave skid marks or be so grippy as to raise your risk of a twisted ankle.

Floorcraft

  • Floorcraft: TravelAt most places that play a variety of music, travelling dances such as waltz, foxtrot, or country 2-step will be moving counter clockwise around the outside of the floor, going  faster at the perimeter and slower toward the inside.  Any showy slowdowns would ideally move to the corners or the center, where they’d be out of the flow of traffic.  Spot dances such as east coast swing or nightclub 2-step would stay enough in the middle to leave room for people travelling.Floorcraft: Slot
  • Slot dances such as chacha or west coast swing should align so everyone is going the same direction; you’re much more predictable that way, and therefore less likely to run into someone.
  • If a song is intended to be a slot dance, slot dancers should be given the right of way, with spot dances and travelling dances finding a less disruptive path. However, if the floor isn’t too crowded, there’s no reason everyone can’t have room for whatever they want to do.

Asking for a dance

  • Some venues are full of couples who tend to dance with just each other, but that is not the norm. Usually people will mix and ask each other.
  • Take responsibility for your own dancing–don’t be afraid to go up and ask people to dance.
  • Once accepted, the expectation is one dance (unless you’re doing Argentine Tango).  Additional dances are at your discretion.
  • You do, of course, have the right to refuse a dance, especially if that person makes you feel unsafe. If you’re just tired and are taking a break, it’s nice to go find them later.
  • If you do turn someone down (for whatever reason), don’t dance with anyone else for that song.

Discussion

  • If you have health issues that might be relevant (limited shoulder mobility, weak knees, etc.), let your partner know. If something is painful, say so. You can be nice about it, but don’t risk your safety.
  • The social floor isn’t the place for critique. Unless or someone specifically requests your input, save feedback for another time.
  • If you accidentally collide with someone, apologize. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is.  If it’s serious, walk them off the floor and make sure they’re okay.

Smile and have fun!