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Having been part of the social dancing culture for some time now I thought I’d share a couple of things with the dancers on the social floor. There are some very important things that one has to do even before one gets to the discussion about the actual dancing techniques and moves –
1. How you ask someone to dance can change the entire perspective about you in your partners mind. The aim is to keep it simple –
a. Even if you know the person , never pull their hands without asking them and drag to the dance floor.
b. No Bluetooth asking – Actually walk up to your partner and ask them otherwise you look retarded having a conversation from across the dance floor.
c. Don’t just stand around the person you want to dance with your hands raised , actually speak the lines that you decided and wait for a yes or no.
d. On the other side don’t overdo this and make it very “filmy” by using lines from movies etc. That just makes it weird.
As a conclusion to this point I would say keep it down to two or three things – walk to your partner, put your hand out and ask “Can we have this dance?” or ” Do you want to dance ?” etc
2. Once you are done with a dance, never forget to thank your partner before asking or dancing with someone else. Just walking away without looking at your partner just leaves a bad taste to the dance ( no matter what level of dancing you just did )
3. If you are waiting to dance with someone and there is someone else also waiting to dance with them , as a courtesy , follow the simple system of letting the person waiting there before you dance first. If you like dancing with someone, the last thing you want to do is scare them by fighting on the floor with someone else.
4. If you have promised someone a dance , make sure you try your best to dance with that person the next song. Don’t use the fact that many people are asking you for a dance as an ego boost. Make sure you actually dance with them. The reason i say this is because if people like dancing with you then you need to ensure you keep up with your pleasant reputation on the floor.
5. Never say no to someone saying you are taking a break and dance with someone else on the same song. You will crush the first person’s spirit. If you want to take a break , take it completely. Don’t reserve that break for the good dancers on the floor.
6. Space Management –
a. When you start dancing don’t randomly break into your dance on the floor, take a few seconds to adjust your orientation to best suit the space available. If not, you will end up spoiling the dance for everyone around you along with your own.
b. While dancing if you accidently hit someone, just ensure they know you didn’t mean to do it intentionally. You don’t want to be the person who just randomly bumps into people without being apologetic about it.
c. If you are the one taking a break from dancing or just enjoying the dancing from the sidelines make sure you are not standing in the middle of the floor or between a few couples.
d. If you are a leader, check and recheck as to where you are sending your follow while dancing. If you are are follower, help the leader dance in the space available.Do not randomly throw your hands around in the name of styling.
7. Expectation setting –
When someone is asked for a dance they have all the right in the world to accept or refuse your dance. In either case dont overreact. Let me explain –
a. If the answer happens to be no , say thank you and move on to the next partner or sit that song out. Even if you ask someone you regularly dance with give them the option of choosing whether to dance , don’t make the dance a social obligation.
*When you do this don’t let the rejection get to your head. There are a number of genuine reasons why one can reject a dance at that particular moment – hunger , thirst , changing shoes, taking a break etc
b.If the answer is yes don’t break into the craziest of moves and styling. Build a bond with your partner in the initial bars of the song and let the song guide your dance.
* I believe as a dancer one should always Dance for the music, then dance for your partner and lastly dance for yourself.
Other than good dancing technique , a few things like these will help us all elevate our social dancing experience. No matter what level of dancing you are at if you go about with your dancing in a nice way you will always have good dances!
Founder / Principal Instructor
Latin Dreamers Dance Project