Dance Etiquette

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 extra deodorant and a change of clothes if you sweat a lot.

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 has the choice to lead or follow. At BDNY events (and throughout most of the larger Blues community), we believe that anyone can lead, follow, or switch roles, irrespective of gender, dance skill, or role. 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.”

“Yes” means just for 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.

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.”

Accept “no” gracefully. Just as you can turn someone down for a dance, others might turn you down as well from time to time. While it’s understandable to be disappointed, please respect people’s choices.

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. Please keep both partners with their feet on the floor at all times.

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 at BDNY events. 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. Please do not give unsolicited feedback unless you are feeling unsafe, or are in pain or discomfort. However, feedback between students in the classroom is encouraged.

What do I do with my stuff?

At TADA!, there are hooks and cubbyholes where you can leave your things. At La Nacional, there is a coat rack near the entrance. Please keep coats and bags off the seats so people can sit down when they are not dancing. There is plenty of space underneath the chairs. Please note that Blues Dance New York, LLC is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

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

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.

Treat the venue, staff, and everyone involved in the event with respect at all times. Our staff works hard 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 have an issue?

If you have a concern, please reach out to one of our staff members. We are here to make sure that you have a good time. Learn more by reading our Safer Spaces page.