Dance Floor Etiquette

How do I begin a dance?
Guide your partner to a location that is clear of other couples. If the song has started, exercise caution when you enter the floor. It is the responsibility of incoming couples to stay out of the way of couples already dancing. When you find your spot, take a few moments to connect with your partner and make your partner comfortable before starting to dance.

What is the line of dance?
Traveling dances such as Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz, Samba, and Argentine Tango are danced in a counter-clockwise circle or rectangle around the dance floor. This circle is called the "Line of Dance" and all couples are expected to dance in this direction. Spot dances (such as Cha Cha, Rumba, Mambo, and East Coast Swing) are generally danced around one spot on the floor and do not travel with the line of dance. Sometimes there are songs that can be danced in more than one style. For example, Foxtrot music is often good for East Coast Swing. In that case, the Swing dancers can use the middle of the floor, while the Foxtrot dancers travel around them on the outside. At Elley Long, the stage is also an excellent place to dance a different style.

How do I avoid collisions?
Adjust your speed to match the other couples around you. Some figures require a momentary movement against line of dance. These figures should be executed with caution and only when there is no one behind you. If you find yourself traveling slower than other couples, dance closer to the middle of the room to avoid collisions. It is a common mistake for cautions beginners to dance next to the wall.

What do I do after a dance?
After a dance is finished, thank your partner and leave the floor gracefully. Traditionally the leader offers their arm to the follower and escorts them off the floor. If you enjoyed the dance, be sure to let your partner know.

What are the guidelines for asking someone to dance?
Dancers of all skill levels and backgrounds are encouraged to ask each other to dance. Do not be afraid to approach a more experienced dancer. They started as a beginner at one point and will be happy to dance with you. Avoid asking someone to dance multiple times in a row. There are many people to dance with, and the more frequently you change partners the faster you will learn and improve.

Is it alright for women to ask men to dance?
Yes! In fact, it's highly encouraged! If you are a follower and uncomfortable with asking a leader to dance, we do have several leaders who participate in our Dance Host program. Sign up to dance with one of them! Leaders - same thing. We have quite a few followers who participate in the program as well.

How can I get more people to ask me to dance?
Signal that you enjoy the song and want to dance by standing near the dance floor, moving to the music, and smiling! Sitting down and looking bored and uninterested are signals that you do not want to dance. Making eye contact is an excellent way to invite someone over to ask you to dance.

When is it okay to decline a dance?
There are many good reasons to decline a dance: you need a break, you are not familiar with the style, or you have already arranged to dance with someone else. If you decline a dance with someone, you should avoid asking another person or accepting an invitation from someone else for the same song. Doing so is considered rude and a violation of social dance etiquette. If someone you do not enjoy dancing with continues to ask you to dance and does not get the hint, politely tell them that you do not feel comfortable dancing with them. If the problem persists after this, please let one of our board members know.

What do I do if I have a problem?
Let any one of our board members know! We strive to make our events enjoyable for everyone, and need to know of problems so we can work to fix them. The worst thing you can do is not tell anyone and let it prevent you from coming back next time.

What about aerials and drops?
Aerials and drops are not safe on the social dance floor. Please save them for performances.