The Geography of the Dance Floor

There is a great ON 2 salsa website called Salsa New York. I found an article called: Overcoming Some Fears Of Social Dancing – How To Get More Partners – Tough Talk For A Tough World”. It is a long title and a long article but very interesting and informative, written by Steve Shaw.

Below is an excerpt that is useful on any dance floor that may help you get more dances!


Let’s face it, all people are not the same. Different people are different. And different people dance differently. Furthermore, these different dancers often dance in different areas of the dance floor. It’s just human nature. Generally, there are areas with beginners, other areas with intermediate dancers, and still other areas with the hot shots. There are even little sub-areas within these main areas. It’s not a rule, but it just sort of happens that way, naturally. It’s like a cafeteria: you eat what you want, when you want, and you sit where you want, with who you want. On the dance floor, everyone can make their own choice of how good they want to get, who they want to dance with, and where they want to dance on the dance floor, and often it breaks down according to ability level and friends.

Now, sometimes I’ve noticed beginner and intermediate dancers spending hours standing or sitting in the area where all the top dancers are dancing, and they’re complaining that no one will dance with them, and that the good dancers are stuck-up. This is not a constructive or helpful approach. Here’s a better strategy: As I mentioned above, most people usually want to dance at their own level. While it’s great, as we’re working up, to spend a little time watching excellent dancers in order to admire them, or be inspired, or to learn new moves and style, it’s not realistic to be expecting more than a very occasional dance over in that section of the dance floor, until you dance very well.

If we really want to get lots of dancing practice, our best strategy is to spend most of our time in the areas where dancers at our own level are dancing. Complaining doesn’t help; taking action does help. Eddie Torres used to tell us: “When you go to a club or social, don’t dance right away. First, walk around and see who can dance ON 2, and who dances at your level, or maybe a little bit above your level, and where they’re hanging out. Then spend most of your time dancing mostly with them. That way, you get the most dancing practice, meet new partners, and have the most fun.” It’s the geography and psychology of the dance floor, and the sooner you learn it the sooner you’ll have great evenings dancing.”

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