You are currently viewing The Definitive Guide To Dance Etiquette for 2021

The Definitive Guide To Dance Etiquette for 2021

I always believe that taking Salsa dance lessons are not just about learning the moves. One basic terrible social dance mistake people make is in not acquiring the knowledge of proper dance etiquette, aka ‘what’s socially appropriate’ when out dancing.

As someone who used to go salsa dancing a lot, loves to dance, and teaches others the wonderful and fun art of Salsa, Bachata, and Cha-cha, the topic of dance floor etiquette never entered my mind until I experienced it myself, several times, at the club. The lack of dance etiquette, better yet social dance etiquette, is becoming an issue at the Salsa clubs.

The questions I asked myself, and that you need to be asking yourself, in the year 2021 are: What are the good dance etiquette rules I need to know? What is the social dance etiquette points to arm myself with before going out dancing? Is dance etiquette really important when we talk about dancing or anything else in life? How can we do this with the pandemic in effect?

These are what I consider social appropriate skills that will enable you to be an extremely fun partner to dance with. These are things that might come naturally for some due to their upbringing. Others may take a little more time and experience due to the social acceptance which began later in their life.

For some people, it may seem like common sense, but for others, surprisingly enough, it is not. Some people wash their hands every time they come into the house and before to sit at the table and eat… others not.

Well, at the end of the day, the fact is that you ( just like me ) like to dance with others. Yes? I believe that is the number one reason why I dance all the time, and I’m pretty sure it’s yours, too. This simple acknowledgment makes dance etiquette important because it is something we can use over time when we go out to the club.

It’s like dressing appropriately for a job interview, dressing to impress on a first date, and so on and so forth. The point is that it’s important to make a good impression. Having an excellent social dance etiquette is crucial in making a great impression on your partner and the dance community.

Dancing Salsa is not just a dance, but a social outlet for everyone. Dancing, in general, is a way to enjoy yourself with other people, to make friends, and to socialize. How cool is that?!

And, as with anything in life, there are certain rules that, whether to a greater or lesser degree, one must comply with them.

Sadly, dance etiquette, or ‘rules’ if you will, never get written down, nor are they ever explained to you at your first Salsa class or even on your first social night. You learn them yourself over time, sometimes through trial and error, or sometimes by means of a friend.

So. let’s begin…


Personal Hygiene - Don’t Be Stinky.

To start the list with this dance etiquette sounds very basic, but this is the most important thing you can do to get ready for dancing or for a date, right? You may ask, “Is salsa dancing intimate?” For some people it is, but what you need to understand about this dance etiquette is that dancing involves close contact with your partner, especially if you are dancing Bachata.

There is nothing worse than beginning to dance with someone only to catch the whiff of BAD ODOR and have to endure it for the next four minutes or so.

Before you plan on going out dancing, take a shower, put on some deodorant, and wear clean clothes. Avoid at all costs being known as a “smelly dancer,” because let’s face it, no one wants to dance with that guy or gal.

So the least you can do is make sure that you don’t smell bad. In general, one of the biggest complaints dancers have when it comes to dance floor etiquette, is having to dance with a partner that has poor hygiene. So, if you don’t want people to avoid you, then you know what to do.

Last, but not least, brush your teeth. This is important for the exact same reason as above. It is not pleasant dancing with someone who has breath that smells bad enough to strip paint off walls. Brush your teeth before going out dancing. If you have dinner somewhere before dancing, I have two words for you: Chewing gum. Also, applying cologne (not too much) is a good backup strategy.

This is another basic dance etiquette some dancers manage to forget. Allow me to explain why this is so important for the next topic….

Asking for a Dance.

Guys, this is and will ALWAYS be what you need to understand both on the dance floor and throughout your day-to-day activities: it is all about the ladies. This social dance etiquette is fundamentally simple to understand if you are learning to dance or even if you have danced before.

Even if your partner is not as good of a dancer as you are, one of the qualities of a good leader is that YOU should always give her your full attention for the duration of the dance.

In other words, it is all about the lady. This is the first commandment of dancing.
So, how can you do this? Simple. You ask her for a dance.

Ladies, is it also very flattering when you approach a guy and ask for a dance. Not only is this an uncommon practice, but it shows how confident you are and how open you are to having fun, too.

All of the above can be accomplished by just remembering to be polite and to smile. The smile itself has such a powerful impact on the desired outcome.

Here is a simple template to follow if you want to increase your social dance etiquette skills: Smile and say something along the lines of “Excuse me, would you like to dance?” Then, if they say yes, take them by the hand and gently lead them out to the dance floor.

The Dark Side…

Now, the flip side of that is DO NOT REFUSE A DANCE under normal circumstances (second commandment of dancing).

Do you remember the early days when you were learning to dance and how it took a lot of courage to work up the nerve to ask someone out for a dance? Imagine trying to work up the courage and finally asking that person you’ve been wanting to dance with all night, only to get shot down. For guys, and I’m pretty sure for girls too, it ranks pretty high on the horrible scale, and I know you don’t want to experience that ever again, right?

I have made a powerful habit of dancing with anyone because I know how it feels to be refused a dance. I will never forget the wonderful ladies that gave me the opportunity to dance with them. Now, I continue to pay those special moments forward. This simple, yet powerful, statement I encourage all my students to do. This is by far a good way to increase your social dance etiquette.

The flip side of paying it forward is to avoid what’s coming next….

Do Not Be a Jerk to Your Partner.

When I first learned to dance Bachata, a long time ago, I knew then, like I know now, that Bachata can be an intimate dance. But, I couldn’t believe this one when I heard it from my female friends, but apparently, it happens, and it happens often, too.

I know this is not a hard thing to do, but it’s not a good idea to be putting your hands in places that are going to offend your partner. Pride yourself on being a gentleman by doing this powerful dance etiquette. Most of the ladies out there dancing are there for dancing and not hooking up.

Remember, even if your hands unintentionally go where they shouldn’t, do you really expect your partner to believe it was an accident? Also, if your partner pulls away, it means he or she doesn’t want to dance so close. Back up and give them some room. Some leaders try to see what they can get away with, often with new dancers.

Don’t try this. If you think you can get away with it, think again, because you could quickly gain a terrible and unflattering reputation, and have fewer partners to dance with.

If you come to the Salsa club with a “hooking up” mentality, the ladies will spread the word. This is not a joke! Every girl in there will know exactly what you’re looking for and this is not good for you.

Being a touchy-feely kind of dancer will make your partner uncomfortable. This is a sure way to turn your partner off, make her not want to dance with you, and show other women who might be watching that you can’t be trusted to keep your hands to yourself.

And what better way to keep raising your social dance etiquette than by doing the following…

Be Engaged. Smile, Look Happy and Make Eye Contact.

Have you ever been dancing with someone who you suddenly realize you are not enjoying dancing with? There have been plenty of times when I am dancing with someone and I am not enjoying it. To maintain good dance etiquette, it’s essential to be courteous and polite with your dance partner and to always have a big smile on your face.

It’s important for you to give the other person the impression that you enjoy dancing with them, even though you may not. It’s common courtesy and this way of thinking will always pay off in the long run. I know because I did it, and still do it currently.

I have taught many students, that in the beginning, I may not be able to show off my skills as a dancer, but eventually, over time, they learn more, getting better and better. Once they do, it’s only natural to have the ability to show off your skill with them on the dance floor.

Remember, as I said before, don’t forget about when you started your own journey to dance and how long it took for you to become better. This is the moral of the story here.

Try always your best to be polite, to be courteous, to smile, and to look happy while dancing with your partner. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact. Making eye contact will help anybody feel present in the dance. As a lead, it is important to look at your partner for safety reasons, so you can always tell what’s going on with her and be a more effective leader.

Another way to be great at discovering your social dance etiquette is by reading the next one….

Be a Gentle Dance Partner and Avoid Becoming a Rough Dancer.

Here is another dance etiquette you need to know by heart. Your dance partner is a person, not an object. There is a difference between being firm and being rough. The general idea is to give enough pressure to guide and lead your partner, but not so much that your partner doesn’t have the freedom to move on her own. Leaders and followers should avoid being too hard or rough. Being labeled as a rough dancer is not a good way to start your social dance etiquette status. Avoid at all costs to be known like that.

Don’t throw your partner around. The idea of leading is to guide your partner into a spin, not to throw her arm up or forward. A follower needs to feel safe in order to be willing to dance with you again at a social dancing event.

That means don’t fight your dance partner or try to overpower her. Being a gentle and intentional leader is what they need. Keep that in mind next time you’re dancing.

I understand that many of you may have been taught the idea that you need to use a lot of muscles to get moves to happen. This could be because of followers that resist your lead, or because you think you need to be forceful in order to be clear.

Lead Intelligently... What?

The reality is you don’t need to be forceful, you just need to lead intelligently. A good lead leads intelligently.

You should also understand that a forceful lead is not necessary for everybody. Moreover, understand that many followers will respond to lighter leading, especially if they are only given light leads.

So, if you’re dancing with a follower who is particularly rough or stiff, it is probably because they have been handled too harshly and have adjusted their frames in order to protect themselves.

Often you can fix this by providing a softer and clearer lead. Focus on quality connection, not brute force.

A well-calibrated lead and delicate touch is heaven for the follower, I know.
Leading intelligently requires less energy and it can be less sophisticated, therefore, making you a better dancer.

In addition to this, the next topic is almost a guarantee to become even better. Read on…

Dance Floor Etiquette About Paying Attention to Your Surroundings.

One of the terrible mistakes I often see at social dances is someone rushing to try a new move just learned a moment ago. If you feel like trying out a cool new move that you have just learned, you need to make sure there is enough room to execute it. The idea of crashing your partner into other couples, or a wall, is not a good way to gain her trust.

When you’re dancing, you should be really good at minding your own space and avoid taking up too much room. There are a lot of people doing what you are trying to do here, too.

It’s dangerous to go around doing huge moves, traveling excessively, and bumping into other people as a result of that. Yes, accidents and collisions do happen on the dance floor, especially when it’s crowded. However, you should not treat the place as your own personal stage and expect everyone to get out of the way and clear the room for you. That happens only in the movies, not at the dance club.

The opposite is true if you find yourself in a crowded place, try to do moves that are compact so you don’t travel quite as much and aren’t as likely to bump into other people. Learn to adjust your dancing based on what’s available to you at that moment.

Ladies, this is important to you as well. Avoid doing any arm styling that can get in the way of other people and don’t assume that it’s the guy’s responsibility to make sure everything goes smoothly.

My mother told me the following advice when I was growing up, “There is a time and place for everything in life.”

So, there you have it.

Crazy Moves Equal Apologizing A Lot.

Ok, this is a crucial dance etiquette to be mindful of. Save your lifts, drops, flips, and those crazy tricks for dance performances or dance competitions. Like I said before, there is a time and a place to do these kinds of moves.

Social dance settings are normally pretty crowded with a mix of different skill levels. The social dance etiquette dictates that it’s dangerous and totally impractical to be going around doing crazy stuff.

In my dancing career, I’ve seen people doing lifts with someone who has never danced before, so she is at risk of landing face-first on the floor. Stop pulling that stuff on unsuspecting partners! Not cool at all!

The rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you should always apologize if you bump into, or step on, someone while social dancing. This can be your partner, another person, or a couple. It’s extra important to do this if you full-on collide with someone else or if you hear someone saying, “OUCH!” Be intentional to let that person, or couple, know what happened and apologize.

But, if you find yourself bumping into other people a lot, take it down a notch with your dancing and try to make it more compact, or just stop drinking too many cocktails. However, if other people are bumping into you, especially if it is the same people over and over again, find another spot on the dance floor away from them.

Guys, this is not complicated, but it will help you keep the bruises to a minimum. See? It’s a win-win.

The Power Of Compliments.

( My Fav Dance Etiquette )

One of my favorite dance etiquettes is giving compliments. Ok, I am not bragging here, but to be honest, this one is very easy for me to do. As a dance instructor, I understand the importance of paying compliments when appropriate, when it has merit, and when it is not fake. My personal philosophy is definitely a YES-YES on the dance floor.

When you find yourself out social dancing and working on your social dance etiquette, you along with everyone else are just trying to have a great time, while others are there to show off their skills. Wouldn’t you agree? The last thing you want to do is critique your dance partner.

If you have the bad habit of giving pointers to the person you are dancing with, stop! Find the best thing you liked about the dance and share it with your partner. Pick just ONE thing you could say and then say it. You are going to feel good about it and glad you did, too.

“Compliments can lift moods, improve engagement with tasks, enhance learning, and increase persistence,” Professor Nick Haslam, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne told HuffPost Australia.

So, don’t give pointers, just give compliments!

If by chance someone asks you for advice or guidance about dancing, consider that a compliment as well. In order for anyone to ask you for advice, they must admire your abilities or style of dancing. Do what you can to help them outside the dance floor, and feel flattered for the “unspoken compliment”.

This will bring me to the next point…

I Want to Dance, Not Be Taught!

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this taking place when I’m out dancing.
A couple is dancing, maybe for the first time, when one of the partners notices the other is not behaving the way they should, and suddenly decides to stop in the middle of the dance floor to “teach” them how to do it correctly. This is a no-go zone for cultivating a good dance etiquette.

Ladies and gentlemen, good dance etiquette is to remember that dancing is supposed to be enjoyable, and it’s hard to do that when your partner keeps stopping the dance to point out how badly you’re dancing.
As I said before, there is a time and a place to adjust one’s mistakes. The time and place are NOT during a social dance.

This simple trust will change your dance for the better, regardless of your dancing skills. Stop teaching and stop correcting your partners in the middle of the song. If you can’t control yourself from doing this, then out of respect for everyone else dancing, do the teaching off the dance floor. That is a super action to upgrade your social dance etiquette. You will gain respect from everybody else in the dance community.

But, ideally, the time you should teach, correct, or critique your partner’s dancing is during a dance lesson. Unless someone hired you to be his/her dance teacher, you should not be telling them what to do on the dance floor. Don’t you agree?

This next one is an elusive, but also very important to understand….

DO NOT Expect Your Partner to Teach You How to Dance.

One of the main reasons people go out dancing is solely to go out and have fun. Do you believe this is true? I do. It is safe to assume that it’s rude to teach or correct the person you are dancing with at the club. Well, it’s only natural to assume that you should not show up expecting strangers to teach you how to dance in the middle of the floor either. As I said before, this behavior is not good for dance floor etiquette.

If you really want to learn how to dance, go to a class or take online lessons (check out La Clave Membership to help you be more equipped with the knowledge of how to dance).

Nightclubs and dance parties are for you to practice what you’ve learned, they’re not for classes. Yes, they might have a group class or two at the beginning of the night, but not all night. Keep that in mind.

People who go dancing are there to dance and have fun, they’re not there to work or teach classes. Avoid doing this the best you can, and the automatic reward for this action is a better dance etiquette for yourself.

Let’s move on to the dance etiquette about the simple art of communication…

The Simple Art Of Communication

As simple as communication seems, a lot of what we often try to say to others and what they try to say back to us can be misunderstood if we are not careful. This might cause frustration, conflict, and distance in relationships, both personal and professional. That is how important this dance etiquette is for everyone. Learn it well and apply it as often as you can. This is my advice.

Having good communication skills is key to an enjoyable dance experience. If the dance isn’t going as well as it could, try to find the most polite way to communicate with your partner. Make sure to tell your partner if you are not feeling comfortable with the way they are leading or if they have a constrictive frame, in a very respectful and kind way, of course.

Usually, the dance community is so polite and most do not want to hurt your feelings by telling you that they are somewhat uncomfortable with some of the stuff you’re doing.

If it’s a persistent occurrence, do mention it. Explain what is uncomfortable. Then, when they dance with someone else, they will have the opportunity to fix what they are doing wrong instead of sharing with someone else.

Let me share this quote I use when I am teaching my students:

“Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.” — Freeman Teague Jr

A good rule of communication is to do it in a constructive, but polite, way. Do you see the reason why it is so important to apply this dance etiquette? It applies to everyone in the social dance etiquette arena. This dance etiquette is a simple concept, yet it can be a very touchy subject.

Connection is NOT Everything - Have Fun.

Connection is extremely huge when you are dancing and it’s even stronger when you are performing. It is also so boring to dance with someone that is so caught up in doing crazy moves that they have not developed the skill of connecting with their partner. You can connect with your partner by simply making eye contact with them.

The best dancers have this dance etiquette under control. They have a real connection with their partner not only through the dance itself, but also with their eyes, body, facial expressions, and the overall energy they put off towards their partner. It is a fabulous thing to see AND to experience while you are dancing. It is magical! It is priceless! This is ultimately one of the few things you want to achieve in your social dance etiquette journey.

I discovered long ago that this is something that can only happen by being present. Present with the person that you are dancing with. Be genuine. Actually, dance with them, not just next to them, if you know what I mean.

Having fun will always give you a greater feeling rather than focusing too much on trying to connect every time. Having fun should always be the mantra for going out dancing. To me, being able to have fun is like having a piece of chocolate, it is always good no matter the time of the day. This is social dance etiquette at its best.

Having said that, the next topic will help you learn this little thing that is a major thing to know….

Be Aware of Your Available Space, Always!

I’m pretty sure you have experienced this weird phenomenon before on the dance floor. You’ve probably noticed that there’s always that one couple who takes up the whole dance floor. They dance like no one else is there dancing alongside them. This is the main reason we added this subject to our list of dance etiquette for the year 2021.

Every time they get on the floor, regardless of how crowded it is, they manage to create this ‘big empty space‘ for themselves to dance in. Do you know what I’m talking about here? Well, there you have it!

This can be quite annoying to the other dancers. If you feel that you are that person, I think it is time to wake up and realize EVERYBODY wants to dance. EVERYBODY understands the floor is going to be busy. EVERYBODY plays along to share the space so EVERYBODY can have a great time together.

It’s alright to show off and own the floor a bit, but when you are taking dance space away from people and claiming that space only for you and your partner, it’s just not cool. This is not approved on the social dance etiquette scale at all.

Learn to lead and to follow intelligently. Ladies, keep the arm styling to a minimum when you are on a crowded dance floor. It’s best to keep your arm styling very conservative, but when there is some available space, feel free to do it.

Leads, you need to assess the space in front of you and be quick to lead moves that will make the follower at ease. Not crazy moves, but well-crafted steps displaying the caliber of dancer you are. Yes!

Are Your Dancing At Your Partner's Skill Level?

To be well known for your social dance etiquette, this one holds true to all you guys. “Why?” you may ask. Simple. It’s because you lead. If you are dancing with a woman who is a beginner or not as advanced as you, then, what would you do?

Hmmm, let see… This dance etiquette will tell you that you need to adjust your dancing accordingly. It’s bad dance manners to try and lead your partner through a bunch of moves that she doesn’t know and has difficulty following. How do you think she is going to feel? She is going to feel confused and totally annoyed.

I teach this particular dance etiquette to all my guy students once they have acquired a good level of dancing. The simple rule is to always start out with easier steps at the beginning of the dance when with someone new, then progress to more complex steps.

By doing this, they learn to match their partner’s skill level with theirs. This is a social dance etiquette that every lead needs to master to get an awesome outcome with the ladies.

How to profile your partner?

To read your partner’s skill level, look for signs of how comfortable she feels by glancing at her face to see whether she has an expression of terror or not. Other ways might be if she looks confused as you lead her through different moves, makes lots of mistakes, or has difficulty with timing or missed transitions.

These are just a few things to look for when you are profiling the person you are dancing with, and by adjusting your dancing to help couple their struggle, you create a better dance experience for both of you.

The best leaders are the ones who are able to dance with women of a variety of skill levels and show them all a good time, no matter how inexperienced or advanced they are. Lead them through moves they can follow, and they’ll finish the dance feeling great and feeling that they’re improving.

If you think knowing the skill of the person you are dancing’s enough, think again. Let’s see what we can learn from the next dance etiquette down below..

Dance Etiquette Regarding Your Partner Handling Your Business.

Knowing the skill of the person you’re dancing with is important for your social dance etiquette. Try to execute it every time if possible. Paying attention to how to profile them is not easy in the beginning, but it is not impossible either.

Moving them from easy to more advanced steps is crucial for you to give her a chance to shine and to have a great time on the dance floor. That, my friends, is a very powerful skill to have. This is one of my top three dance etiquettes of all time to learn and master.

Knowing where your partner is at all times and being aware of their surroundings is a beautiful thing to do for them. You are not just responsible for your own safety but you are also responsible for your partners.

Always pay attention to your partner and don’t be too caught up with everyone else around you. Unless of course, it is for the purpose of navigating the floor in a safe manner. Guys, this is way more important to you than to the follower. You have to take special care of them when you are dancing.

This is by far the simple action that will make a much better experience for her when dancing with you. Do you see now why it is so important to pay attention to your personal social dance etiquette?

On that note, Ladies, you also need to be aware of your own space, as well as the leader’s space. There are times that things come up in the leaders surroundings that he is not aware of. So, you too need to pay attention to your partner. Again, it takes two to Tango, I mean, Salsa. It is a partnership.

Another way to handle your business is by doing the following in the next dance etiquette…

On and Off The Dance Floor You Go.

Gentlemen, this is another dance etiquette just for you! When you finish dancing with a lady, don’t just turn and walk away from her. Make sure you take her back to her friends or wherever you found her. This might not seem important to you but it’s such an awesome thing to do for her.

It’s all about getting your social dance etiquette up. Become a dancer that your partner wants to dance with all the time.

Let her know how much fun it was to dance with her and that you would love to dance with her again sometime. You need to do this whether you liked dancing with her or not. This action is called being a gentleman.

Take the time to do this extra small gesture and reap the benefits of your Salsa social life!

One last thing on this topic – always thank your partner for the dance at the end of the song. I believe this is a good habit to cultivate. If you do this, congratulations to you. If you haven’t done this, well, today is a good time to implement it. You’ll be happy to do so, I promise.

Let’s read about preventing this ‘no-no’ on your social dance etiquette list…

Don't Drink and Dance.

Do you know the message: don’t drink and drive? Well, it’s kind of similar here, too. Don’t drink and dance. Dancing when you’re drinking or drunk is dangerous because your coordination is compromised, balance is way off, and decision-making skills are for the most part gone. This is a recipe for disaster, and why this simple dance etiquette is here to keep us sane and sober.

I believe It’s okay to have one or two drinks, but that’s it! Long story short, be responsible when drinking and dancing. Don’t go on the dance floor if you can’t dance safely. I have always encouraged all my students to think the following: In order to have a good time, drinking is not required.

As a social dance etiquette goes, I would recommend you not to do it, but if you do, well… think about the other people you might hurt for being careless to others.

Dance etiquette is here to help us, the dance community, have an awesome experience every single time on the dance floor.

Ladies, Don’t Do Anything That I Wouldn’t Do.

I don’t want to sound harsh here but the number one rule of following is: Follow! That is you, not us. For the sake of talking about dancing, you should not make a single movement that isn’t led unless you are doing some shines.

Ladies, to be a great follower, try your best to let you and your body be our instrument for dancing, under the right circumstances, of course. Dancing is not passive, it’s active. The role of the lead is to guide you to do any step, based on your dance level, by means of holding hands, directional motions, and body movement.

The main idea here is to become comfortable with your own body, to cultivate the concept of becoming part of your partner’s thinking, and to act as one by doing what has been led. Ladies, as social dance etiquette goes, this might be a little hard to accomplish when you are just starting to learn how to dance, but it will be a very handy to thing grow into. Create a positive vibe on this dance etiquette.

Guys, Stop Asking Her to Teach You How to Dance.

Dancing can be considered a sexy thing to do. Guys, as well as the ladies, can find their confidence and their sexiness on the dance floor.

Salsa can be a very sensual dance if it is done correctly or if you are performing on stage. Sadly, there’s a group of people who misunderstand the close proximity of dancing as an excuse to “try this on” with every girl who agrees to dance with them.

My hope is that this dance etiquette will shine some light on this unflattened behavior. Guys, help the dance community stay safe for the newcomers by raising the social dance etiquette bar high up.

If you happen to be one of those people, stop being like that. Give up dancing and give speed dating a try. Stop asking the lady to teach you how to dance just to create an excuse to ‘hit on her’.

The vast majority of the people who go dancing are there to dance and not to pick someone up that night. So why do it? Instead, take some group classes or private lessons. Learn how to dance properly, then come back and show her what you know. I am pretty sure that’s much more impressive than the other way around.

If you really don’t want to learn how to dance, but you are romantically interested in a woman who is a good dancer, my suggestion is that you stick to your charming and fun personality by engaging her in conversation instead. But, keep in mind that she likes to dance, and if you don’t, that might hinder your approach to her in the near future.

Saying ‘No’ is Okay.

You understand now the reason why you might want to say ’yes’ to every invitation to dance. Yes? You may wish to “pay it forward”. You may wish to develop yourself as someone with great social dance etiquette. You may wish to strengthen the community by continuing with such a strong dance etiquette tradition.

And, at the same time, you and I both acknowledge that there are some perfectly valid reasons to say ‘NO’. I am all about this, personally.

I believe this is especially about our ladies dancers. Give yourself the right to say ‘no’ if you feel like you need to conserve your physical and emotional energy. Gentleman, it is that simple. If you fail to understand that when you are being turned down by them, then you need to do some work on yourself here.

I have always believed that sometimes we have to give them the benefit of the doubt, but if you are like me, ask her if it is okay to come back a little later to have a dance with her. Guess what? 98% of the time when this happens to me, they say ‘yes’. When I come back later, she is ready for me with a smile and I get to dance with her not just once, but for multiple songs during the night.

Why don’t you try it? There is nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by trying.

Say ‘No’ to Handbags While Dancing.

Ladies, I for one, love seeing you with your beautiful handbags and your super awesome ability to pair your accessories when you are out at the club. But, when it comes to dancing, I mean, couple-dancing, like Salsa, it is the rule not to wear tons of rings or crazy accessories.

If you are asking why you should not wear them, well, it is because when you are dancing the little cute ring can cut your partner’s hands. So be courteous and avoid them.

If you are the kind of woman who loves their hair to move freely during a dance because you think it looks beautiful, think again – it can be a seriously bad idea. Do your partner a favor and tie it up to help keep it under control. Getting a face full of hair moving at full spinning-speed during a dance is really not cool. This is not good dance etiquette for you or anybody around you.

While we are on this point, handbags are a NO-NO on the dance floor. I have seen people get smashed by them. It is not a pretty sight. Really, handbags have no place on the dance floor.

Remember ladies, if you want to earn brownie points for social dance etiquette, less is more.

The one question you need to ask is: “Am I going to the club to dance or am I going to the dance club just to have a drink and socialize?”

That should be an easy decision for you to make

Same-Gender Dancing.

I think this is a touchy subject for some people, but the simple reality is that we all have a different opinion about it. You have it. I have it. The thing that matters more here for me is to cultivate a sense of respect.

Do I have a problem with same-gender people dancing? Nope, I don’t. So, would I say something to them because they are dancing? Nope. I figure if they want to be dancing with different genders, they would be.

This should go without saying, but we should all want the best for one another and should stick up for each other. We need to cultivate a higher standard of respect both on and off the dance floor. Now, this is a challenging dance etiquette but not an impossible one to cultivate, either.

Let’s keep it safe for everyone and show respect to one another… I’m just saying.

Are You Dancing or Performing?

Hmm, this one is a hard one… NOT! If you consider yourself a performer then make sure to keep these for big movements on stage. The club is not a place for you to do them. These are cool to watch on stage where you need to ‘sell it’. since on stage you have plenty of space to do them.

In the club, small movements are king because they require much more technique, much more responsiveness, and much more listening.

I much prefer to lead with one finger and to move one centimeter, then being sent over to the side. This is only my personal preference.

If you could do one thing to help yourself enjoy dancing at the club, it is to not bring your performance dance and big styling onto a crowded dance floor. Understand there is place and time to do these things. Social dance etiquette rules! Yeah, I said it!

Social Dance Etiquette About Saying ‘Thank You’.

This is one of the many things that my mother taught me when I was a little boy, and it is common courtesy around the world. When the song ends and you stop dancing, smile, look your partner in the eye, and say a sincere ‘Thank You’. Thank your partner for the lovely dance. How hard can that be? Thank you! Then take them by the hand and lead them off the dance floor.

Congratulations to you for doing this! It is by far the single most awesome thing you can do to someone after dancing. This is a simple dance etiquette you can do on or off the dance floor. It is that simple.

The Golden Rule.

Last, but not least, I am going to end this list of dance etiquette with the very thing that applies to dance as well. Some people say, “Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.” Others might say, “Treat others the way they’d like to be treated.”

In either case, some thoughtfulness about what your partner experiences will never do you any harm on the floor. In fact, if you want to become the kind of dancer for whom people line up to wait to dance with, always remember this Golden Rule.

Dance etiquette is the thing that makes you a memorable dancer if you choose to apply it.

Let me ask you a question… What would the one social dance etiquette you can do all month long when you are dancing socially or even in a group class? Pick just one and reap the benefit by doing so.


Good manners and proper behavior belong everywhere, even on the dance floor. Let’s face it, when you have a lot of couples moving rapidly in a crowded place, each doing their own thing, stuff can happen that isn’t always pleasant.

I hope you put these dance etiquette guidelines into practice. Developing these skills on and off the dance floor can make dancing much more enjoyable, and can enrich our relationships as well as our everyday lives.

Why Is Dance Etiquette Important?

Social dance etiquette is important because it helps you fit in with the social dance crowd and makes social interactions easier. Not only that, but it helps you keep the peace and avoid getting into conflicts with other dancers.
You learn to avoid offending or upsetting your partner, and other dancers, or so you don’t look like a jerk. It shows that you care about and respect the other people there.

Best of all, it helps to keep the dance community sane, and makes it enjoyable to dance and to interact with your partner in a classy sort of way…

Happy Dancing!

Now It's your turn to...