Look, nobody starts out dancing like Fred Astaire. To be sure, every one of us had to start at the beginning. But, I’m here today to make you aware of the potential social dancing no-no’s that make you look silly. With so many do’s to think about on the dance floor, here are a few thoughts on the don’ts of social dancing.
Social Dancing No-No’s for the Pompous and Well-Intentioned
1. Teaching others is a mistake you’ll want to avoid.
Unless you’re a professional ballroom dance instructor, it’s never okay to try to teach someone on the dance floor. Why not, you ask?
- It’s embarrassing for the other person.
- There’s a pretty good chance that you’re teaching it wrong. Why take chances?
- It’s off-putting. Making a habit of correcting others when you’re dancing together is a sure way to lose partners. Soon you won’t have anyone to correct.
2. This isn’t a performance. Don’t dance big!
There’s a difference between social dancing and performing in a showcase or competition. When you’re on stage, you want to get the attention of the audience or the judges. We say that you dance so that the people way up in the cheap seats can see you. However, that is a big social dancing no-no.
Here’s an example of what’s great on the competition floor, but would be a big mistake to do on a social dance floor…Open Latin Championship Finals, Millennium 2019.
Yes, your teacher is showing you how to use your arms and hands for expression. But, no, that’s not for club dancing. Not only is it kinda dangerous, but it makes you look like a showoff. And, you know how people feel about showoffs.
3. Dancing with no expression shows a lack of confidence.
As a leader, it’s hard to look like you know what you’re doing when, in fact, you’re clueless. But, keep in mind that it’s awkward to watch someone who is obviously struggling. Relax.
My advice is to limit the number of steps you do as a new dancer. All you need are 3 or 4 patterns to get through a song. Dance your combination of steps and then repeat them. You’ll be more relaxed and it will be better for you, your partner, and anyone who may be watching. Fewer steps = fewer mistakes.
Followers, take that look of terror off your face – you can do this. Here are my suggestions for beginners.
- Stand tall and hold your body in one piece. In other words, don’t be a wet fish!
- Keep the rhythm. Foxtrot: Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick; Waltz: 1-2-3; Rumba: Slow, quick, quick, etc. You get the idea.
- Finally, we’re hoping your leader will guide you, so all you have to do is keep your feet under your body while you keep the rhythm.
Find out when you’ll start to feel good when you’re dancing with this Dance Safari post, “How Long Until I’m a Confident Dancer?“.
In short, the best way to avoid these social dancing no-no’s is to use good manners, be aware of your surroundings, loosen up and have a little fun when you’re on the dance floor.
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