Dance Etiquette

Ladies and Gentlemen

Return to Home

Ballroom Dances

Your Dancing Goals

Ballroom and Social Dance


Flow of Movement Around the Floor

Line of Dance:  For the dances that progress or move around the floor (Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep), "line of dance" means we all go in a counter-clockwise direction.

Dancing in the center and in the outside lanes:  Think of the dance floor as having 3 lanesThe FAST lane is the outside circle.  Dancers here have the right of way over slower dancers.  Moving dancers DO NOT cut across the center zone.

If you are not moving quickly or with the rest of the traffic, MOVE to the INSIDE lane.  This is the  place for new dancers to work on those new steps and to develop confidence or to pause if a figure breaks down.

The Center is for doing the swing, spot turns, or slow dances. Do not do these dances in the outside or second lane unless everyone is doing a spot/slotted dance.

Floor Management (or, Not Bumping into Other Dancers)

The is primarily the LEAD'S job.  But the FOLLOW is encouraged to add a gentle squeeze or tap on his shoulder with her left hand if it looks like a bump is likely to happen.

Suppose you bump into someone or step on the foot of another dancer.  The correct way to handle any bump or misstep is for BOTH pairs to stop and apologize.


Dan's #1 Rule of Dance

Every Unaccompanied Person (regardless of gender) deserves the pleasure of dancing with a Gentleman or Lady when they come to a dance!!

* * Gentlemen * * 

Every one of you -- accompanied, or married, or single -- please look around the floor as you dance and see which ladies are not often dancing.  Accept, with the observation, that it is your responsibility to make sure those ladies get to dance, too.

 * * Accompanied Ladies * * See above!

There is no more ungracious attitude than a woman not being  willing to share her partner so that the other ladies have no opportunity to dance.  I am never willing to indicate that Singles are not invited.  I hope you will want to make sure they are included.

* * Unaccompanied Ladies * *  

Yes  - you may ask a gentleman to dance - and I strongly recommend you get into that habit!   That applies to both the accompanied and unaccompanied ladies.  Don't just sit there waiting to dance; go find a partner.  Some ladies, I know, feel better about asking a guy to dance if she first addresses the question towards his spouse or date.  If that works for you, try it.

Asking for a Dance

The age old problem is whether to ask or not, and how to ask. Gentlemen, walk up and ask if she would like to dance and extend your hand.  When she accepts, walk her to the floor.

Regardless of gender, we do need to be sensitive to folks who  come with a partner.  Some don't mind sharing and some are hesitant.  We can ask everyone present to dance at some point during the evening.  But do watch for and listen for clues that say the "other" partner is not so willing to graciously share.

At the End of the Dance 

Gentlemen, when the music stops, escort her back to her seat. Or, to say it another way, you don't leave her out on the floor while you prance off to seek a partner for the next dance. Extend your arm and walk her back to her seat.

Both of you say, "Thank You!"

How Many Dances?

That's an interesting question.  If you didn't come together or if your partner came with someone else, two dances in a row seems to be a reasonable social limit to me.  Don't push it!

Declining a Dance

Yes, you may decline a dance.  Perhaps the best way to do that is to say, "Thank you, but I need to sit this one out."

Then Sit It Out!  Don't decline a dance with one person and then accept a dance with someone else. 

Dan's #2 Rule of Dance

We are here to have fun. I strongly suggest that you don't criticize the one you are dancing with nor try to teach them how to dance. If they ask you to show them how to do a step, then move into the middle of the floor, or better yet, off the floor for your demonstration. 

Couples or Husbands & Wives: The fastest way to run your partner out of dancing permanently is for you to continually try to teach them how to do their part. Leave that to Me; You learn to dance with your partner at whatever skill level they currently have.