||PRIVATE LESSONS ♂♀|
|with Sonny Watson|
Call Sonny: 818.606.9402
(Up to Two People)
West Coast Swing DANCE ETIQUETTE
Dancing is a very active and at times a socially intimate and healthy social setting. You will need to have some good social graces to get along when you play with others, as well as some understanding of others who don't play well. Most people think they posses social graces already or just don't care about anyone else's ... 'It's their life and we are just passing thru it kinda thing', but dancing can be very different than what you
think normally. Below is some ideas that should help you and others succeed!... (But, unfortunately not everyone adhere's to these.) Everything here applies to both males and females whether you think they do or don't (they do not apply just for the opposite sex regardless of what a lover may have told you or what you think.)
These suggestions are mainly for strangers that are new to dance ... (except for grooming,) and with friends or partners these may or may not apply. They are just suggestions, not the gospel. Although some of this may sound negative, most times it is never an issue when dancing at our or any other dance club, but occasionally there are the 'Clueless' and the 'Special People who feel that rules and graces don't apply to them, they do!'. ... Good Luck !
Note ... The old 1940/50's clips on this page are here just for fun, as some of it is way out there, but some of it still applies lol and are kinda fun to watch. They are not really in any order throughout the page. Noting that Etiquette has always been important on (and off) the dance floor back in the day as well as now.
BEFORE THE DANCE / LESSON:
| First you need to understand it is nobody's responsibility for you to have a good time. Not the DJ, Not the Instructor, Not the Host, Not the Club/Hall/Ballroom, Not the parking attendant, Not the Security Guards (if any), Not the door person, and Not the other dancers in the room. Yes, they are all there to try to make your evening enjoyable and most all are doing their part. It is your responsibility and your good attitude which will allow you to have a fun and good time. Everything is there for this to happen, your attitude is all that is missing, and we all hope it is a good one. Contrary to how you may think, everyone will not bow down when you walk into the room. If you are in a bad mood or had a bad day for whatever reason, STAY HOME!
GROOMING ... (Before the dance.)
The day of the dance or lesson, a Shower or Bath is a requirement. If you have an occupation that gets you dirty, a shower after work is needed and if you just can't take one first ... try to wash up at least before leaving work and bring some clean clothes with you and change (check your zipper lol). You will feel better and so will every one else around you. Also a neat appearance and clean shaven is a plus as well as your hair being neatly combed. Dirty clothes are not acceptable and may be reason enough to not allow you entrance. Always wash your hands after using the restroom, AND when your kids have colds and you go to a dance, PLEASE!, wash your hands first upon your arrival even if your late to a class.
Deodorants: Use Them !!!
If you are going to a dance and or Lesson, deodorant is a requirement, IT IS NOT AN OPTION, even if it is against your religion, belief, upbringing, doctors orders etcetera. Your natural B/O may be attractive to a few people of the opposite sex, but most of us will talk about you like crazy ... warning everyone that "YOU STINK." You may like the way you smell, but we sure as hell don't. (Obviously accidents happen ... but all the time?). Again, this is not a request but a demand. It is a good idea to carry deodorant in the glove compartment of your car or your dance bag. If you just can't adhere to this for whatever reason, take up bowling, not dancing as we don't want you around. Also, it is not the person in Charge or the Host, the Instructor or the DJ's responsibility to tell that person for you that they smell. If you don't like the way they smell, you tell 'em, or not.
Cologne/Perfume: Optional !
These are often times very nice and attractive, however Colognes and Perfumes are not a requirement. If you like wearing these ... please do so, but please understand that not everyone likes certain smells ... Lilac perfume is not good choice. Your perfume may remind him / her of the ex-wife/Husband -- He-He!. Wearing of these Colognes/ Perfumes should be done sparingly and not in excess. A NICE, LITE 'CLEAN SMELL' is LOVELY with some colognes / perfumes.
Perspiration: Keep em Dry !
If you are the type that perspires allot while dancing a good thing to do is bring a "Clean" hand towel with you to wipe the perspiration off in between dances ... if a towel is not available, use the rest room sink and paper towels (yes, use the water.) Some dancers also bring a extra shirt or two with them and change thru-out the night. Cotton shirts work well at absorbing the wetness and it doesn't feel as yucky to the touch unless it is really wet. Male and Female Tank-Tops SUCK! the big one ... DON'T wear them!
Clothing: Keep It clean, clean, clean!
Business clothes are fine to start out with but you may be advertising you are a newbie (If you have been around for awhile and people know you that's different.) Usually wearing something nice and attractive and most of all clean, clean, clean is all that is necessary. However many dancers like to dress to the 9's when they go out to dance, it is your choice. T-shirts are not recommended unless with a Collar and Sleeves (usually they have a swing Logo or some-such.) Women should wear Braziers and if wearing a Skirt or Dress that may fly up on spins or turns, undergarments are a must with the undergarments on the outside of the panty hose if panty-hose are worn (Panty-hose are not a requirement at a dance with about a 50/50 ratio of women.) Dance undergarments are available at most dance stores (like Capezio's) and they are called "Dance Pants" if you wear allot of skirts (Please Do! :). If you are into wearing suits, take them to the cleaners, especially if you dance in the Jacket ... they need washing once in a while (wink).
Some folks think dressing down at a dance is a statement that they are not interested in finding a mate, don't care what others think of them, are aloof, ... not true, you just look like Crap ! and craving attention or want to be noticed. Sweat pants and or Sweat shirts ... aka: Workout clothes are usually a major fashion statement faux paux. Tank-Tops are a definite No-No. The grunge look is not very popular and can be enough for some people to not wanting to dance with you just because of the way you dress. So IN SHORT "No Sweat or Workout/Exercise clothes, No Tank Tops, No T-shirts without collars, No dirty clothes and you will be fine. Silk garments look and feel good but suck for dancing, Try Cotton/Rayon instead.
FOOD / EATING:
| Foods that have Onions and or Garlic (and Tommy's Hamburgers if in So Cal.) should be extremely avoided for the whole day if dancing that day or evening with most people, but especially before a dance or lesson. You can not smell it but we can a mile away ... aragghhh !!! (IT'S REAL BAD). Restaurants that have dancing make it easy in some ways to catch dinner which can be really great, but beware what you eat. Breath mints are good or an "After Dinner Mint, may help (Altoids work nice.) Check for anything stuck in the teeth that could be embarrassing. Gum chewing is OK, as long as you don't chew it like a cow or to the beat of the music while dancing. Also eating a heavy meal or over-eating can and will make you miserable while dancing. |
ABOUT DANCING ...
Being Asked: (males and females equally ask for dances)
If you are asked to dance and you know the person knows how to dance just say "Sure!." Depending on your experience with other dances you may have to change gears and try doing what they are doing instead of trying to force them to adapt to you. If it is unbearable, You should try suggesting another more suitable dance, or if that doesn't happen, excuse yourself and say something like "I would be happy to dance with you when you take lessons to learn this dance." Do Not Say; "You Suck!, Take a Lesson"! and storm off the floor.
If you get tired of this type of excursion, before the dance ask "What Kind of Dance"... and if they reply "You Know what they are doing" and he/she points to another couple dancing, most likely, they don't have a clue and you will be subject to the 'Jerk and Twirl Dance' ... Just say something like "I am Sorry, I feel like sitting this one out" or something like that. If they say something like "Well, West Coast Swing, what would you like to do"... Most likely they have some clue.
If someone is inappropriate with you on the dance floor during a dance (remember accidents do happen, but you can usually tell the difference), just stop and give a warning such as "I do not appreciate what you are doing" and continue on dancing, if it continues, just stop dancing and walk away ... No need to say or explain a thing.
If your new, asking someone to dance can be a nightmare, but only at first. You don't have much confidence, you are in a new environment, and don't know many patterns/steps. The turn down rate can seem quite high at times. If you get turned down, try not to take it personally, it may have nothing to do with you what-so-ever, however, your unpleasant reaction may be a reason for future turn downs. If you do get turned down (and we all do from time to time) Just try to smile and say "Well maybe another time then!," then say "Ok, Thanks"! (watch the "Tone" of your voice) and walk away!
If you are getting turned down allot ask your teacher what the problem may be (which at times can be very difficult or unpleasant for the instructor to do in circumstances such as deodorants) and accept what they say ... remember "You Asked Them." If it is just a newbie thing, ask if they wouldn't mind introducing you to a few experienced people that would dance with you a couple of times to get you started. However do not abuse this, ask the person only once a night for awhile or you may be seen as a nuisance to this helpful person. When in group classes during the rotations ask some of the folks if you could have a dance after class and try some of the steps you learned. When you see them out dancing, ask them to dance once, again avoid over asking the same people.
Dance Cards or Pre-Booking!:
This is not usually a wise thing to do, people often forget thru-out the night. However if there is a particular song you would like dancing too with a particular person, make sure they are aware of it first and agreed to it, so as if anyone asks them to dance and they say no, you don't put them at the disadvantage of looking rude or possibly not being able to dance with them to that song. If you had pre-booked a club lesson with a teacher or a dance with another person and they are in a conversation, it is still not a license to interrupt a conversation, or to Jump in front of another person attempting to acquire a dance. Just stand-by near their area and try to make eye contact, it is now up to them if they want to acknowledge your prior request, they will either do so or tell you otherwise. A 'pre-booking' gives you no rights to dance to that song with that person, they may and usually do change their minds during the course of the night. (If you have changed your shirt, your potential partner may not even be able to find you in a crowd.)
Sonny's basic rule of thumb is: If they have not asked you to dance yet, only ask once per event/day/night. Once they ask you, you may ask again. If you don't follow this rule ... you may be seen as an annoyance over a period of time. As you get to know other dancers, you will know who you can dance with regularly thru-out the night. Also, don't always walk up to people and only ask them to dance, if they do see you as an annoyance, when they see you coming, they may become very busy doing something, like use the rest room all the sudden, or ask someone to dance they are talking to so they don't have to dance with you. Get in the habit of saying "hello and talking, even briefly to people without having to ask them to dance. Do this as much as you do ask.
Most people feel that if you are at a "Dance Club" you are available for a dance if not dancing, however, dancing is a social thing and conversations are a big part of being social. Interrupting them may seem rude and your invitation to dance may be un-welcomed by them at that time. If the person you want to dance with looks involved in a conversation, wait till later to ask. If it just can't wait, go stand by the couple at a safe distance (as to not interrupt with your body) and try to make eye contact. When they make eye contact, extend your hand and say something like "Is this a Bad Time to ask for a dance?" or "May we." If they agree, acknowledge the other person they were speaking too and say something like "Thank-You, I will bring him/her right back!" If they don't accept for whatever reasons stated or not, give your apologies for interrupting and walk away and try again another time. If it is an interruption, please be polite in your decline.
Another form of interruption which is not as obvious is: Asking someone to dance that has just finished dancing with another; ... example: the dance starts and ends in the same location, and there you are panting like a dog in heat, wait till the person walks them off the floor or back to their seat or the person you want to ask walks away from the previous dancer. If it is a real popular person that gets asked, one, right after another, you may have to wait a while as some folks will be rude. Running up and jumping in front of another person that is about to ask for a dance makes you an ass hole, it is very, very rude and considered inconsiderate by both dancers, even though they may accept ... DON'T DO IT!
The ladies determine this by her willingness or her resistance (generally a light resistance at first). If he/she resists at all, back off. If they are with another person, such as a S/O or date don't even go there. No, No, No, (Remember the other person could be you someday,) Unless you know for a fact its OK with the other person ???. Often times a close dance can be very innocent and allot of fun to do, just make sure its O. K.
DANCE INSTRUCTORS, DEE-JAYS, HOSTS:
Group Dance Lessons:
While taking a group class the instructors deserve your utmost attention at all times. This is not a social time, it is instruction that other people and the instructor are trying to concentrate on. While in the class it is assumed you will attempt to do whatever the instructor asks of the group (you) when dance related. If you are not getting it, the instructor has a responsibility to the group to keep things going, not to stop everyone until you get it (it may take you two or three different lessons before you get some things.)
Asking questions is a good thing, however, excessive question asking is selfish and hogs allot of time away from the group. If you have excessive questions, wait till after class (the instructor does not have to take the time to help you after class, tho most will give you five minutes or so, BUT don't abuse this) or better yet, schedule a private lesson with them.
Private Lessons (before or at the dance):
If you take private lessons that lesson ends at a specified time. This Private lesson you take does not obligate your teacher to dance with you, ever!. However they usually will sooner or later and may do so many times if you really need the help, then suddenly stop. Do not look for your teacher to be your dance partner or expect them to dance with you every time they see you at a dance. Your dancing with them could cost them money by other private students getting jealous etcetera.
Usually, the instructor will dance with the poorer or newer students to help them along and once the instructor feels they can survive will leave them alone. Sometimes a teacher will book a private lesson during the dance, again after the private lesson is over, they are done and may be no longer available to you. If it is a female teacher, paying for privates will not make them romantically involved with you, but you becoming a better dancer might
Challenging (aka Arguing):
Arguing with the instructor or telling the DJ his music stinks is a major No-No, especially if the instructor or DJ is well respected in the community. Challenging a teacher with another teachers technique/Style will only get you ignored by that teacher, plus you may regret it later on.
Using the poor but popular excuse when the instructor is trying to teach you something by saying "I learnt it differently" or "so-and-so teaches it like this" to hide your inability at doing the step at the time will also get you ignored. Most teachers don't like downing another teacher and your comment can put the instructor in an uncomfortable position to defend. (Good teachers do not put down other teachers, or say things like "he/she is old skool, I teach newer material, that was so yesterday, No one does that step/ way anymore, etcetera, as this is called trying to steal students) ... remember this "The really good teachers are the minority, not the majority," so saying "everyone else teaches it like this" ... is "really, really lame Good teachers know what everyone else is teaching, probably much more than you and allot of the good technique is only taught by the few, if your lucky enough to get them to share it with you, which usually contradicts the majority.)
If you do feel you know more than the teacher (which can happen but rarely does) just quietly stop going to them. But beware that after a period of time goes by and you learn they were the best teacher after all, or you finally learned that they were right all along (which is usually the case,) may mean you may never get back into their and/or other teachers good graces, especially if you were boisterous about it.
Soliciting another teacher while participating in another instructors class is a quick way to be ignored or worse yet, validly asked to leave. We all appreciate the thought but please don't do it. I sincerely do not want any of my students soliciting me during another's instructor's class, be respectful, please don't.
If your at a dance (not a lesson) do it all you want, whether or not you are soliciting me at another dance or soliciting another at my dance, but don't do it during a lesson. I respect many teachers and their students and do not want that instructor not liking me for your soliciting by thinking I sent you there to do so. Also, don't think the teacher or DJ can not/or will not ask you to leave and not return for doing it, it rarely happens but it can and does for varying reasons and then you become a complainer.
If you have Flyers ... always ask the Host if you can hand out flyers at a dance before doing so, and if they say no, don't go and do it anyway as you could get kicked out. As an example: go to a major supermarket (we will call "A"), get a bunch of major Supermarket "A" Flyers, then goto a different Supermarket's competitor (we will call "B") and go inside the store, walk around store "B" and start handing out store "A's" fliers to all you see and talk em up... Bet it doesn't take long before your asked to leave. Anyway, you get the idea (same goes for classes above), usually there is a flyer table that is available to put flyers on as a courtesy, but if it conflicts with that dance, don't play stupid when they take them off the table, it will not change anything and you would have saved money on the flyers that were thrown out. Also don't put flyers on cars windshield in the parking lot, this can get the person / location on the flyer charged with littering and it's a hefty fine to them.
SIGNIFICANT OTHERS / Partners / Dates:
Significant Others / Spouses
All bets are off when it comes to a significant others (S/O's) socially. Many variables exist here when it comes to romantically involved couples.
...Some examples are;
You asked him/her to dance and they said they were tired, but started dancing with their significant other right after you asked them ... (usually the "S/O" really wanted to dance TO THAT SONG or at THAT MOMENT and "LOVE CONQUERS ALL!" or maybe they were in an argument and this was their favorite song, OR this was an apology dance ... they make up and start dancing, there can be hundreds of reasons.) The above should never be taken personally. Re-ask again later or even another day. A S/O or partner may keep his/her S/O or partner on the floor for many dances in a row ... Do not interrupt them/or "cut-in" to ask for a dance. Many couples are available to dance all night with other people while others are not, what ever it may be, be understanding and respectful.
Partners are similar to couples above and those rules apply here as well. If Someone you usually dance with comes to the dance with their dance partner, they will usually dance with them allot. Generally they are usually available for dances with you, but may on occasion turn you down, especially if it is a song that they really want to do with their partner ... Don't take it personally ... they have a partner right now and you don't! ... their time will be monopolized by this partner (or the partner may not go dancing with them again.) They will dance with you again, another time.
Some people get jealous and say things like, "Well, they used to dance with me all the time and now that so-and-so is here, they don't even know my name" and other degrading stuff (if you hear someone saying this it tells you their real personality ...Yuck!,) To Bad! -- That's the breaks, Partners can be very similar to a date. If you have a partner just ignore anyone's comments and 'maybe' catch them another time.
If one of your regular dance partners come with a date ... "be respectful" and do not bug them to dance. If they want to dance with you they will seek you out and it will be obvious they are available for dancing, but let them do the asking and be respectful and acknowledge the date someway or another. If you normally dance with them, try to get to know the date and make friends as this date may become the S/O in the future and if he/she doesn't like you, you've lost a partner to dance with.
If you are on a date with a non-dancer, be aware that they are in 'uncommon territory' and it may be uncomfortable to even the most confident person. You may want them to see how you dance, which is fine, however showing them with 50 other people thru-out the night is not the right way, even if they say "hey, go dance, I don't really mind." And please don't dance with someone who you may also be dating if they happen to be there too, male/female pissing contests can ruin an otherwise good time, and trust me on this one, they will make it known that they date you too thru their actions, be respectful to the one your with. Introduce the ones who are just friends to your date, try to get some social conversation going with others with your date, etc.
THINGS TO AVOID:
Teaching: Don't Do It !!!
Teaching your partner while dancing, even if you are a Pro is not accepted so DON'T DO IT (exceptions with students). Unless requested to do so, an example would be something like; "Wow-That Was Neat, Show me or What Was That ???" or "How Do You Do ???"... or "Was I supposed to ???" or the plain ol' "Show Me How To Do That???" is an invitation to help and by all means do. However, if the person your dancing with is messing up the "pattern/Step" you are leading or following is not an invitation to start teaching them. It does mean however that you need to "Drop Down" your patterns/steps a level or two.
However, there are appropriate times when a simple word or two could help a person out tremendous, BUT!, there is a very fine line here however. Sometimes it is not appropriate to even verbally suggest a correction. However their are times like "You need to hold on to me here ? or "you stay their while I do such and such ?" or "Um, excuse me but falling down and going boom is not part of this dance" (wink.) If you just can't resist saying something, limit what you say to a minimum and only pick the most important thing, not fifty small things ... Try not to stop dancing and start a class with them in the middle of the floor.
Also, have an open mind, the person telling you something may be sincere and just really trying to help. Also, there is more than one way to do something and THE PERSON YOUR TRYING TO INSTRUCT may do it better than you or not like that particular way that you do it! Know-It- All's are a major pain! (respected/known teachers excluded during classes (wink).
Bumping Into Others: Apologize !
If you bump into another person on the floor, take the time to acknowledge them. If they bump into you "Apologize to them" even if you think it was their fault. If they continue, move to another spot, don't stand there and fight with them about it. Avoid at all times bumping into the waitress or waiter ... she/he has the Right-Of-Way at all times, no matter what!. If you see the waiter/waitress and you are in his/her way, stop dancing and let them go by. They rarely happen but If for some reason you get into an argument, move it off the dance floor. Also do not use your partner as a weapon to teach them a lesson by flinging your partner into the other conflicting dancer(s) or followers kicking or flinging arms about.
Over / Out Dancing: ... Don't Be an Idiot here !!!
Avoid dancing above your partners level (this applies to both Male and Female.) If you are the stronger dancer, out dancing your partner looks ridiculous and is frowned upon by all ... No, there are no exceptions on this, even in contests!. Also Not doing anything while dancing "in disgust" is almost as bad. Making "Unsatisfactory faces" to everyone watching while dancing with a dance level lower than yours is extremely in bad taste. Anyone watching knows who's fault it is, no need to advertise it. Be polite and considerate to all and do the best you can. Remember, there is always someone better than you, would you want them to think the way you do when dancing when your dancing with them? (you, now being the lower level dancer.) ... Courtesy goes along ways. Also, dancing with only romantic interests and declining all others is really obvious and in bad taste... This is a social dance, not the dating game.
Turning Down: ... Try Not To !
Try to have some social courtesy, it can go along way. Try not to "Turn-Down" anyone, if at all possible. If you must turn someone down who you would normally dance with (even a stranger) under different circumstances, for whatever reason, try to be as "polite as possible" with your reason and suggest a dance later, another song, or even another night. If however the person is someone you "Absolutely Do Not Want To Dance With," again, being as polite as possible, Say "No Thank-You" to the invitation and walk away or if sitting, Say No Thank-You and just turn your head away ... They should get the message and not ask again. However, if you do this a few to many times to different people, you will be billed as a snob and or worse and may be treated rudely by otherwise nice people you would have liked to dance with and even ones that have never asked you to dance and now probably never will.
If the reason could have a remedy and you have already danced with this person you can reluctantly say something like; "you are a little to rough with me," or "I don't appreciate you trying to teach me all the time so I have chosen not to dance with you anymore" or "Sorry, but you need a few lessons, please ask me again when you take them" may fix the problem or it may fix it for someone else. Basic Rule: If at all possible, try to accept the invitation to dance. If someone is "hassling you" (very rarely happens,) go to the Instructor, DJ or Host and inform them about the individual.
Please do, if you feel it is necessary, but do not overdue it. If your new or dancing with a higher level dancer, its best to save it and apologize after the dance if you feel the need to but not during, and especially not before you dance (You might do well :).
Social Complainers/Gossipers: Just Plain Nasty People!
Were talking about the "Public social Gossipers" here, not what you talk about privately amongst friends, which doesn't happen that often. If it's true, you'll hear everyone discussing it, otherwise ... Some people are just downright unhappy and try to socially tear things apart. They get some kind of sick joy from this. For whatever reason, usually because they feel they are smarter than you and can manipulate you, or they are above it all (and they ain't) or they did not adhere to some of the things stated here and are now paying the price, which makes them unhappy and they start to become what a friend of mine calls a "whiney little bitch." Complainers/Gossipers should be avoided like the plague ... they can make a fun night seem very dull and make your dance life seem hopeless. Most people want to have a good time, the ones that are there for fun usually avoid the "complainers/gossipers" and you are left hanging out with "some unhappy people."
Social Gossiping is another way of complaining and brain washing.
Most times they do the complaining thru what is called gossiping, sometimes telling tall tales about an individual, Dance or Event as most people don't confirm these stories and the gullible will believe it. Seriously ... Avoid these folks if you want to make the most out of your dancing as they usually look for the new folks who have not made many friends yet (by the way, they usually don't start off complaining right away as that might scare you off). Be careful of people ragging on other people's dancing, etc. as their real motive is to keep you away from them for varying reasons.
Teachers / DJ's will usually tell these type of folks (complainers) to get lost /take a walk sooner or later, and the Host/Teacher or DJ becomes a big target with them. If they start calling you on the phone with some gossip "trying to become" your friend BY USING GOSSIP so you will talk/listen to them ... beware! ... as they are usually on the phone talking about you with another afterwards.
Note: If hearing anything negative, like; "oh, that dance sucks, blah,blah,blah," ... go see for yourself if you had any interest before they gave you an earful, You may end up having a great time. The complainer may have a complaining agenda and you become their pawn in their game and miss out. Also, standing up for your friends can and is a good thing!
This is simple. If you are sick, stay home!...
L.O.D. - Dance Floor Placement.
L.O.D. means "Line of Dance." Most traveling dances go "Counter-Clockwise around the floor" and dancing against the flow of traffic will just get you into allot of trouble (I know, sometimes it's fun when everyone is a friend and your just screwing around). However, Don't dance against the flow of traffic on the floor.
If the DJ or a Band member "calls out a song" that is the "style of dance" that should be done. However their are reasons not to do so and you may choose another dance style to dance. If say the dance is a Foxtrot and you want to do Swing, Go to the center or its proximity
and dance there rather than obstructing the Foxtrot dancers Line of Dance (A good sign your obstructing is when other dancers try to dance right thru you ... you need to move unless already in the center of the floor). If a "Line Dance" is called that should be the only dance on the floor unless there is ample room to share (sometimes only 5-15 dancers are on the floor doing a line dance and 3/4 of the floor is available, but go to the back of the floor not the front or center).
Basically there are lanes on the floor with the 'outer most edge' being the "Fast Lane" and just inside that is the 'Slow Lane'. If there are more than a quarter of the dance floor occupants dancing a traveling dance OR a travelling dance was "Called," again go to the center. The center of the floor can be utilized or Shared along with Traveling dancers, with the stationary or non-Traveling dances such as All forms of Swing, Salsa, Cha-Cha, Hustle, Shag, Balboa, Rock-An-Roll, Line dances and others in the center. There are four corners to most floors as well and sometimes a stationary dance can dance in the corner, but unless you are really, really good, don't use the corners as the really, really good dancers have the floor craft to be able to do so.
AFTER THE DANCE:
Generally, If you did the asking (Male or Female,) It is a custom and courtesy to walk your partner back to their seat. However, walking them back to the edge of the floor is generally the preferred way... Walking your partner back to their seat seems only necessary if you interrupted a conversation, or they were with a date or you both were sitting in the same area, etcetera. The edge of the floor is less presumptuous and it gives the person an exit if they choose. You may ask for another dance if it was a good dance, not long enough, a poor song or has that chemistry. They do not have to accept.
While it is not necessary to applaud a D/J (although, it is nice) a Live Band is the exception. Always applaud the Band if dancing and if not, applaud anyway. The Band is trying hard to please many different tastes in music. Most folks do not applaud a DJ as they think a CD does not have feelings, but the DJ does, applauding a DJ is always welcomed as well as $ TIPS ... if yah have an extra buck or two.
Dips often times end a dance and is nothing more than that, an end! If the lady resists a dip, simply put ... "Don't Do It." Dips can be done during the dance also. Leaders, if you have not learned how to dip ... avoid it!, (You will end up with your Butt on the floor sooner or later.)
Don't stand on the dance floor if at all possible talking or hanging out ... other people want to dance ... so MOVE IT OFF THE FLOOR - damn it!. When walking off the floor and another song starts to play, move around other dancers who start dancing, not thru them while giving them a dirty look.
Do Not Flash wads of money around at a dance, nor is it a good idea to keep valuables in a purse or jacket lying around.
Expensive Jewelry should not be worn, as it can get lost real easy. As a side note don't wear much jewelry at all ... be very simple here. Especially don't wear "Hooped earrings", or Sharp or too many finger Rings, or bracelets.
Do NOT bring your own refreshments/drinks (even water) to a dance that sells beverages, Like a Bar/club. Repeated infringements can and do get you 86'ed. (THEN you become a COMPLAINER).
Avoid hanging out side a 'Cover Charge' area trying to decide weather or not anyone is there that is attractive enough or good enough for you to dance with. If everyone had that mentality there would be no place to dance. If your so hot, get in there and make the party happen. Usually most nights start out slow and pick up as the night goes on. Sometimes it's fun to be the best dancer in the place, even if it's only for a half hour or so, it can do wonders for your popularity on the nights that are rockin'.
Sneaking In: DO NOT look for ways to "Sneak-In." After a while the folks who run the dance know about the ways people may be able to do this, and if you get caught ... it's over for you and you become a complainer. (usually when these folks get caught they make a big scene and are really insulted that they got caught ... then they try to seek revenge at the other dance location that they can still go to and become complainers.) Also remember that some folks thankfully tattle on the ones who do it and you are really watched.
It is not required to buy someone a drink, however if you are dancing with them allot, a drink can make a friend (this applies to both male and female, usually by who did the asking, or re-asking).
If drinking a alcoholic beverage don't get drunk! ... Drinking alcohol is not a problem with most dancers ... over drinking is.
If carpooling to a dance. Always offer gas money. I know, I know they should be proud to drive you around and that should be sufficient, but damn it, don't make me ask you for money, cause I will, and it may be the last time you cheap son-of *^%@&%$ ! (ugh, sorry, excuse me, I was thinking of the last idiot that did this.) And if you don't have the money, just tell them before they drag your butt all the way down there and back.
A good sign that they want some cash for gas is when they are at the gas station putting gas in their car and your sitting there... hoping they don't ask you for money. And no, saying "Do you want/need some money for gas" is not the right way either, rather, say "here's $10 bucks for gas" and hand it to them. Yes, buying dinner, or drinks will work fine too. (hey, were all broke at one time or another, but don't make me think your cheap, broke is fine, cheap is not!), unless the carpooling is I drive this time and you drive the next time.
| Tipping is a good thing to do, especially with the waitress/waiter as they can make your visit much more pleasant. They generally will spend much more time where they are having fun and making money. You can always tell the "Hot Spots" ... where's the waitress?. If you don't tip they are NOT punishing you by not being there every time you want a drink, they are just working the customers who do ... It's common sense, I sure would (and so would you.) A dollar tip for water is the norm ... Not a quarter!.
Tipping your DJ and or Dance instructor once in awhile is also a nice thing to do if they play that special request ($1-$5 bucks is the norm if you make frequent requests WITH THE DJ) or if the Dance instructor helps you out after class with a step or whatever (generally $5 tip or you can offer to buy them a drink or maybe even breakfast if you go after the dance.) Always do, as even the good ones are usually working for peanuts and every dollar helps (and no, they won't ask you for a tip).
Don't just disappear. Tell the folks you meet good-bye, thanks for the dances or help, was nice to meet you, whatever. This will help them remember you the next time they see you. They may even invite you to join them at another dance night /location etcetera. Tell the DJ the music was great, tell the instructor you enjoyed the lesson (REMINDER: maybe even give them a tip lol.) Tell the door person you had a good time and Thank You. If possible, Find the Host and tell them you had a good time and will return. Fill-out any mailing list's you may see at the door (print clearly or you won't receive anything.) Take any flyers you may see at the door.
Remember, socially, your personality and your attitude is the most important thing you have, not your dancing level or expertise, not your Job, not your Car or how much money you make or don't. It's allot more complicated than that ... It's YOUR Smile and Laughter that can make all the difference at being social and socially acceptable!!!.
Well that's it, hope this helps and gives you a basic idea, Have fun :)