EtiquetteTechnique and Skill

Etiquette on the Dance Floor, Part 3

Sharing the floor:

While social dancing, responsible usage of the dance floor requires that couples stay out of the way of others.

Some dance steps require a brief movement against line of dance. These steps should be executed with caution on a social dance floor, and only when there is no danger of collision. Avoid getting too close to other couples, especially less experienced ones. Be prepared to change the direction of your dance patterns to avoid congested areas – you can use what I teach as “trouble steps”. This requires looking and thinking ahead and floorcraft – matching your steps to the free areas on the dance floor. Remember, one of the primary duties of the man while dancing is keeping his partner safe, and this means avoiding collisions.

Another aspect of sharing the floor is to match your speed to that of others. This doesn’t always mean that you have to go faster, since if you aren’t as comfortable with the steps, increasing your speed drastically could present a safety hazard for you and your partner.  But you definitely want to make sure that you aren’t going too fast.  Great dancers can achieve an ease and speed of movement that looks beautiful.  However, if they aren’t paying close attention they might come close to other dancers, causing a disruption on those dancers’ movements.  You want to make sure that you aren’t taking over the floor.

Sharing the floor sometimes means leaving the floor.  Considerate dancers will pay attention to when there are too many couples on the floor to fit comfortably, and withdraw from the floor ever few dances to let other couples have an opportunity to dance.  Similarly, if there are uneven numbers of men and women, some people will be left without partners on dances.  If you are in the majority and there aren’t enough partners, it is nice to voluntarily withdraw every few dances to give other dancers a chance to participate.

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