Dance Etiquette

If you’ve never danced before, social dancers have some common etiquette. You should feel comfortable and respected, read below for more specific ideas.

What do I wear?

Secure shoes. Wear shoes that will stay securely on your feet that you can still pivot in.  Athletic shoes with a lot of grip tend to be difficult to dance in, as are flip flops that won’t stay on your feet.

Comfortable clothing. Avoid long or tangle-prone jewelry and clothing that could be harmful to you and your partner.

Practice good hygiene. We recommend bringing deodorant and a change of clothes if you sweat a lot. Be the person that you want to dance with!

Avoid strong perfume. Some people are allergic to perfume, so please avoid wearing strong scents.

How do I ask someone to dance?

Use your words! It helps to make eye contact, smile, and ask someone if they would like to dance.

Everyone can lead and follow.  Everyone can dance with everyone and everyone can lead, follow, or both. When dancing with an unfamiliar person, it helps to discuss your dance role preferences when asking each other to dance. Here are some examples to start a conversation:

“Would you like to lead or follow?”

“Do you mind if I lead?”

“Will you lead me in this dance?”

“Would you like to dance? I’m happy to either lead or follow.”

It is okay to say no. Although we encourage you to dance with many people, both familiar and new, it is okay to say no to a dance! You are not obligated to dance with anyone if you don’t want to. Use common courtesy: smile and say “No, thank you.”

One ask per one song. When you ask someone to dance and they say yes, they are saying yes for one song only. If you would like to dance with someone for a second song, simply ask them to dance again! This social convention may be different in other communities, such as tango or European swing and blues communities.

What do I do when dancing?

Mind your posture and connection. Both partners should have their hips set back to avoid a pelvic connection. Make sure both partners are happy and comfortable with how you are connecting to each other.

No lifts or aerials. At Friday Night Blues, please keep both partners with their feet on the floor.

Practice good floorcraft. Both partners are responsible for using eyes and ears to keep themselves and their partner safe on the dance floor and to avoid accidental collisions and injuries. Aerials, air steps, and lifts are prohibited on the Friday Night Blues social dance floor. We do not want you injuring yourself, your partner, or others around you.

Refrain from giving unsolicited feedback. On the social floor, we’re here to dance.  Do not give unsolicited feedback unless you are feeling unsafe. If your partner is causing you physical pain please let them know. Feedback between students in the classroom is encouraged but first please make sure to ask your partner if it’s okay!

What do I do with my stuff?

Report any drink spills, broken glass, or other issues that might affect safety on the dance floor to the manager on duty immediately. It’s important for us to deal with these matters promptly so that no one slips and gets hurt or ruins their dance shoes.

Stash your stuff. Please keep your coats and bags off the seats so people can sit down when they are not dancing.

Keep open containers off the floor. Put open containers in the designated spot to avoid spills.

Treat the event, venue, and volunteer staff with respect at all times. Our staff works hard (often during their free time) to make sure that you are having fun. Let’s all work together to make this a welcoming community for everyone!

What do I do if I’m uncomfortable?

We want you to feel safe and comfortable at all Blues Dance New York events. If you have a concern, please reach out to one of our staff members. We are here for you to make sure that you have a good time. Learn more by reading our Safer Spaces page.