If you dread going dancing because you’re afraid you’ll get into an accident on the crowded dance floor that could lead to pain and bloodshed, this is the post for you. What you need is a lesson on dance floorcraft. Dance floorcraft is the art of safely getting around on the ballroom dance floor. It’s a mix of common sense, etiquette, and rules.
Enjoy safe social dancing by following the old saying, “Watch out for the other guy.”
That’s what they tell you when you’re learning how to drive. Guess what…it’s just as important on the dance floor. When I was first taught dance floorcraft, I wanted to know, “Who’s in charge? Is it the leader or the follower?” That’s easy. It’s the dancer who sees the impending collision.
Much of the time, the leader is able to see if there’s another couple moving towards him or near the direction he’s heading. However, sometimes the leader is moving backwards. For this reason, it’s very possible that someone could be in his path. The follower will let him know someone is there by gently squeezing his arm. At this point, the leader will decide the evasive action. Of course, she will skillfully go along with it. Now, that’s teamwork.
There’s more information about leaders in this Dance Safari post, “Ballroom Dancing Basics: 10 Characteristics of a Good Leader.”
Dance floorcraft is as important as anything else you learn about partner dancing.
Use Common Sense
- To stay out of harm’s way, make a habit of walking around the ballroom floor rather than across the middle of it. This is especially important if you’re carrying drinks or refreshments.
- If you happen to spill something on the dance floor, by all means clean it up.
- A social dance floor is not the place to practice or perform fancy choreography. There are no lifts, drops, kicks, or exaggerated arm styling in safe social dancing.
Good Dance Etiquette is Important
- Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, and Country Two-Step are a few of the most popular traveling dances. When dancing them, all of the couples travel in the same direction. This is called moving along the Line of Dance and it goes counter-clockwise around the room.
- Using the Line of Dance is not a suggestion – it’s a requirement.
- Newcomers and couples who don’t move very much are encouraged to dance more to the center of the floor to avoid blocking others.
The Rules of Dance Floorcraft Keep You Out of Danger
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- It’s especially important to be sensitive to what’s going on in front of you. Should you encounter a roadblock, dancing some basics in place is an option.
- Practice changing direction to escape dangerous pileups. Safe social dancing will make you look like a superstar.
- In the event that you have to stop dancing, it’s perfectly okay to rock side-to-side keeping the rhythm of the music. This lets you wait for the traffic to clear so you can easily get around it.
One more thing, if you accidentally move into another couples space, don’t forget to say you’re sorry. Use your manners, please.