Just like in any social settings, etiquette is important and even more so on the dancefloor where you want enjoy the companionship of fellow dancers. Read on to find out our Top 8 Dance Etiquette for Street Latin Dancers. For your ease of reading, we have categorized our tips into 8 Do’s and Don’ts for you!
1. Maintain personal hygiene
Nobody likes to be in a close embrace position with someone who reeks of perspiration, cigarette smoke, onion, garlic, bbq… you get the idea. For dancers with body odor, your dance partner would be eternally grateful if you prepare a change of clothes and deodorant (preferably with anti-perspirant) to re-apply throughout the night.
P.S: This also applies to dancing in a classroom setting too!
2. Mind your manners
Gentlemen, invite your lady and offer to walk her to the dance floor safely (after she accepts your offer of course), especially if the dance floor is already packed with salsa dancers executing fast spins, hand-throws and arm styling. You don’t want to risk getting her injured before she starts dancing with you. Ladies, be polite as well and thank the gentlemen with a smile or a friendly hug (if you like) after the dance before moving on to the next dance partner.
3. Dance within your own space
It is important to dance with consideration of the space you are sharing with other dancers. Good dancers trained themselves to be aware of the distance not just between them and their dance partner; but also between them and the dancers around them. Ladies, watch your arm styling! Refer to tips I shared in our courses, Intro to Salsa & Salsa Beginner 101. 😉 Whether you dance in a linear (LA style salsa) or circular style (Cuban salsa); it is important not to intrude into the space of other dancers; just like how you would not want others to intrude into your space as well.
4. SMILE 🙂
Yes, we know it may be nerve-wrecking especially for men who are trying to multitask (thinking of turn patterns, keeping count, keeping a lookout for the safety of your dance partner, paying attention to the music etc), it helps if both the lead and follow smiles at each other during the dance to help each other relax and enjoy the dancing. Made mistakes? Don’t worry, we are humans after all! Laugh it off, get back to basics or variation of basics (we share many simple variations of basics in our Salsa Beginner 101 Course) and keep the dance going! 😉
5. Accept a dance invite straight after turning down someone for a dance
In social dancing, both male and female dancers can openly invite one another to dance. And of course, you have the right to accept or turn down the offer, for whatever reasons, but do it politely and graciously. Do not embarrass the other party by being snobbish or arrogant regardless of your dance experience or social status.
6. Add liquids or powder to the dance floor
Whether you feel like dancing with your glass of wine/ beer or trying to reduce friction by pouring powder onto the dance floor, BOTH actions are equally inconsiderate behaviour as other dancers may step onto your spilled drink or powder and end up in an accident.
7. Only focus on yourself
Social dancing is a partner dance. Yes, you are free to break into shines and freestyle to certain sections of the song. In fact, Sabordance highly encourages our dancers to express themselves through shines as they interpret the music, like in our Musicality 101 course. But your dance partner is there for a reason. Connect with him or her, feel their lead or follow, dance at a level that they are comfortable with, and allow them to enjoy the experience with you. Learn to improvise while connecting to the music AND your dance partner. We guarantee you, your social dancing experience will be so much more fulfilling.
8. Start correcting someone on the dance floor
Keep your judgements aside and simply enjoy the music and the dance itself. Correcting of timing, dance techniques should be done in classes with professional dance instructors within a conducive environment for talking, demonstrating and listening.
So, there you have it. Our top 8 social dance etiquette every social dancer should know! At the end of the day, social dancing is a communal activity, where you get to gather with like-minded people from all walks of life, coming together for the love of dance and music. So, do learn to respect and appreciate one another so everyone can enjoy the experience of social dancing.
Photo credits to: Marc Chang Photography