Couples doing stationary dances, like West Coast Swing, Cha Cha, Nightclub, freestyle (not dancing as a couple) etc., should be toward the middle of the dance floor, so couples doing progressive dances like Waltz, Two-Step, Polka, etc., can move around the outside.
Guys should wear dance shoes when possible. The soft suede soles of the dance shoes only hurt the girls a tolerable amount when feet end up in the wrong place. I know a girl who loses about one toenail a year because of dancing with cowboys who wear boots when they dance. Unable to take the pain anymore, she often wears boots now to protect her toes… even though she hates the way boots look on the dance floor.
Don’t bring drinks onto the dance floor. Drinks, especially the syrupy ones, can do permanent damage to the bottom of dance shoes. Yes, the dance shoes the ladies wear have suede soles also.
Guys; when asking a lady to dance, be specific about the dance or dances you have in mind. “Would you like to do an East Coast Swing?” gives the ladies a heads-up as to what your intentions are. The vast majority of ladies really hate it when they get onto the dance floor with no idea what direction or count to start with. If a lady doesn’t know how to do the particular dance, it is very awkward for her to do anything about it once they are on the dance floor.
I recommend you don’t sing along with the music while you dance. While it’s true that you are mentally giving your dance partner distance so they can concentrate on the dance, it is also distracting. And, to the dance partner, it seems like you are in your own world, and would rather not be with the person you are dancing with. I bet it would be fun if both dancers sing, though.
Even though dancing is technically considered a contact sport… guys, don’t purposely run your partner into other dancers, even if the other dancers seem inconsiderate. Crashes happen on crowded dance floors. Very few ladies don’t mind crashes. The ladies have little control over where they are located (other than where the dance starts… more on that in a minute). It’s likely the other guy isn’t a good enough dancer do know what he is doing. Remember how hard it was for you to learn how to dance… let it slide… be patient. If the other guy seems to be a proficient dancer, but he’s still out of control, a gentle statement should be made. Give him a light bump, crowd him for two seconds, and then move away. Don’t create a conflict, just wake him up, and remind him that he only deserves ¼ or so of the dance floor.
Traditional etiquette specifies that the men should lead the ladies onto the dance floor. Sometimes the path to the dance floor is treacherous because of thick crowds, blinding lights, broken glass, steps, puddles, and drunks passed out on the floor. I’ve been letting the ladies lead the way to dance floor for two reasons. Women can cut a path through a crowd more efficiently than a man can, creating a wedge that helps get the guy get through. And, it’s easier for a six foot guy to see over and around a five foot lady than vice versa, so, it’s safer. The problem is that when the couples get to the dance floor, the ladies often step right into the dance patterns of other dancers because the ladies are not accustomed to instantly recognizing what dances are happening, or predicting the patterns, because the men are responsible for knowing where the dancers are going.
My name is Lily and in my spare time I teach basic dance classes for students of all ages at my community center. I would like to thank you for providing such wonderful information on your page – http://davidduane.com/dance/dance-information-and-links/ – I have been referring to it as I put together some new guides and materials for my students, and some of the resources you provided have helped a bunch!!
I also wanted to share with you this great page all about ballet history and techniques that my assistant, Cammy, found :
A Guide to Ballet Theater
It would be great if you could include this on your page! Our classes have found it to be very helpful in learning a lot about ballet and we think your visitors will find it useful too :-).
Thank you Lilly. Several of the social dancers have taken ballet, and, it shows. They learn faster, and they look better. I can always tell when I step up to somebody who has taken ballet because their posture is exactly what a dancers posture is supposed to be like. And, the ballet dancers keep the posture even when difficult situations arise on the dance floor. I love dancing with people who have learned ballet. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the skills of ballet translate even to the country dances. David Duane