by Monique Maldonado

Going out social dancing is a good time to practice all the new moves you’ve learned in your classes. However, there are plenty of things to consider when social dancing. The dance floor is your playground but don’t play too rough and get your recess privileges revoked, if you know what I mean.

I‘ve done quite a bit of social dancing in my day (we won’t mention any dates) and there were a few things that I felt worked and others that didn’t, and should be avoided at all cost.

  1. KEEP YOUR DANCE LEVEL IN MIND.

Everyone who goes social dancing is not an advanced dancer. Beginners are typically nervous to get on the dance floor so be kind to them and offer them a dance. But remember, no teaching on the dance floor. Beginners, you should also ask someone who you know is at a level or two higher than you. This will challenge you and give you the chance to learn even more. If you’re the lead, try simpler turn patterns. If you’re the follow, just follow as best you can. Don’t push your partner to do more than they can handle. Always be open and let your dance partner know your level.

  1. BE ON TIME.

And I don’t mean to the club. I cannot stress how important timing is. Granted, we are all learning and timing can be one of the hardest things to learn when it comes to Salsa in particular. If you are a lead and are still working on your timing, try to pick songs that have a slower tempo and less complicated clave changes so you aren’t flustered during your dance.  

  1. THIS IS NOT A SALSA CONGRESS.

As much as we all love to show what amazing moves we have, we must keep in mind this is a full dance floor and we have to be respectful of other dancers and their dance space.  No crazy dips and tricks if you don’t have room for them. And no over styling, this can get in the way of being a good lead or follow.   

  1. LEAVE ROOM FOR JESUS.

Ladies and gentlemen, be sure you are keeping a safe distance between you and your partner. Although dances like Bachata and Kizomba are very intimate dances, not everyone WANTS to be THAT close. Don’t overstep any boundaries and make sure you read body language well. In most cases, if you know the dancer well then you’ll have an idea of what is appropriate and what is not. If you don’t know them well, in the words of our instructor, Bruce, then “leave room for Jesus.”

  1. PROTECT YOUR PARTNER

This goes for both leads and follows. Always have your partner’s back. As a lead or a follow, you can’t always see what is going on around you. Be sure to keep your distance from other dancers on the floor and shield your partner from any potential accidents.

  1. DON’T BACK LEAD

This goes for all follows, men or women. Do not back lead while dancing. That can be very frustrating for your dance partner. And if you do it too much, you will be on the verge of being blacklisted. Just kidding. But really, enjoy the dance and be lead.

  1. DON’T BE A DANCE SNOB

If you or your partner screw up, don’t argue about who was right or wrong. And please don’t give each other the stink eye either. Dancing is supposed to be fun! Everyone, even the more advanced dancers, make a mistake here and there. Plus, it may have happen because you didn’t give a clear signal. So, be patient and kind on the dance floor.

  1. KEEP IT CUTE

You get dressed in your best attire for the night but don’t forget your social dancing essentials. Mints or chewing gum, a handkerchief or small towel, extra deodorant or body spray, wet wipes, etc. Anything to keep you and your fellow dance buddies feeling fresh and comfy.

Again, I’m no expert and have not been social dancing in years, but these are basic essentials that you and your dance partners can all benefit from to have your most enjoyable social dances. If you have any social dancing etiquette tips you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below. Happy dancing!