Country Dancing Etiquette!

I read this funny article on about dance floor etiquette. Although their focus is on Country and Ballroom dancing, the ideas are the same on a salsa floor and hopefully you get the gist of the big no nos of dancing. Enjoy!

“Learning proper dance-floor etiquette rules

Raymond V. Whelan
Special to the Wilson County News
August 12, 2008

If you are a single person who is really earnest about meeting and making friends with the opposite gender, learn to dance.

Take social dance lessons from accomplished relatives, friends, neighbors, or professional instructors, whatever it may take to get you out on the dance floor. And don’t let anyone, including yourself, say you can’t dance because you have two left feet or some other reason.

Furthermore, don’t ever let anyone tell you tough guys don’t dance. Look at James Cagney. He was a tough guy who tap-danced all through the movie Yankee Doodle Dandy, and he won an Academy Award for doing so.

Whether you enjoy blues, country, pop, salsa, or swing, or any other kind of music, you can learn to dance well to a particular style of music with reasonable effort and practice.

Learning how to dance is really simple. The most difficult and important part of dance is knowing and understanding dance-floor etiquette, no matter if the dance is for a birthday party, block party, homecoming, hootenanny, high school prom, family reunion, or wedding reception.

Most dance floor “rules of the road” involve nothing more than common sense. For instance, don’t allow your body or clothes to look or smell like old unwashed laundry, and don’t let your breath reek of alcohol or tobacco before you meet your partner on the dance floor.

Frequently, both men and women can be quite shy while searching for a dance partner. However, when you decide to ask someone to dance, it ought not be a complicated operation. Just extend your hand toward a prospective partner and ask politely, “Would you like to dance?”.

Anyone may decline someone’s offer to dance at any time, for any reason, without any explanation. Certainly, you can just say “No” whenever you decline an offer to dance. However, “No, thank you” sounds better.

Take care not to leap from your seat and dance with somebody during a dance number immediately after you have declined to dance with someone else during the same dance number. To do so would be the height of dance-floor tackiness.

If you are terribly afraid or paralyzed by the thought of a potential dance partner refusing your invitation to step onto the dance floor, you may resort to a defense mechanism.

Before you ask potential Partner A to dance, keep potential Partner B within your peripheral vision. If potential Partner A refuses your offer to dance, proceed without complaint to potential Partner B and ask him or her to dance. You should be able to move to the alternative partner without actual or visible discomfort to your ego.

It is a very good idea to wear proper shoes on the dance floor. Boots are cool for country two-step and country waltz, but they tend to be wrong for foxtrot, tango, swing, and other ballroom dance styles. Depending on the type of event, music, and dance floor, sneakers may be OK.

If you maintain eye contact with your partner, it will help you anticipate movement and always make you look more confident during a dance number. So, do not stare at your feet while you dance, because eyeballing your feet will make the dance much more difficult than it should be.

And please, don’t get downhearted when you mess up the proper steps on the dance floor!

Women seem especially prone to express embarrassment when they fumble on hand or foot maneuvers. Truth be known, most gentlemen do not pay much heed to their lady partners’ missteps, because they are happy enough just to enjoy dancing with an attractive person in the first place. If your dance partner has any grace or experience at all, he or she should reassure you when you make some minor mistake during a dance number.

Take some time to show your partner some appreciation for taking the time to dance with you after the end of a dance number. For ladies, it could be a simple “Thank you”. For gentlemen, it could be “Thank you”…

Remember what Ella Fitzgerald said “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing” meaning that dance should enhance your social skills, add some exercise and energy, and who knows, maybe even some romance to your life.” by Raymond V. Whelan.

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