1) Dear gentleman, when inviting a lady for a dance, please observe first does she looks interested at all to dance in that moment. One of many examples is when the lady might be in the middle of a conversation with someone else, which might not be the best moment to interrupt that, especially if you don’t know that person well. Simply wait for some time until she is free, and after that you can approach her asking for a dance.
One discrete way to invite her is from a distance “catching the person’s eye”, which you can do with the nod of the head and she can reply the same way, meaning she accepts, or left/right meaning she declines. In Tango this is called “cabeceo” and it’s a very useful and elegant technique as with that you don’t need to walk across the room and maybe get a no, which can be very difficult for some people and their confidence, especially beginners.
There are many ways how to invite someone for a dance, so which ever way you choose, respect and appreciate your partner.
2) Once you invite her and she accepts, the Gentleman way is to ask for her hand and walk beside her to the dance floor, but not in front of her with your back facing her.
After the dance is finished, thank her and then walk her back to the same place where you invited her or any other part near that.
Do Not leave her in the middle of the full dance floor after the dance is over. In that moment you are The King, and she accepted to be Your Queen, so treat her as such will full respect.
3) Avoid Talking during the dance.
Of course it is OK to speak to each other sometimes, but most of the people in that moment just want to dance, speak with their energy and feelings through music and the connection you both create, without having to use words or to listen to someone speak directly in their ears.
Express yourself in that moment through your body and after the dance if you wish to speak, approach each other on the side of the dance floor and enjoy your talk.
4) Leave teaching for the classes.
Like talking, avoid Teaching and Correcting people during the dance. All people wanna do in that moment is to have fun and relax, as they had maybe classes before, or they had a long day at work, problems at home, etc.
Yes someone might ask you to show them something they don’t understand, so what you can do is, say that it is for the classes and ask the teacher, or step aside the dance floor where is safe and discuss the question.
But once you are on the dance floor with all the people around you, especially if it’s a full floor, just have fun and enjoy yourself.
5) Start with simple things.
Dancing is a nonverbal conversation, so the firsts thing you wanna say with your movement is “hello, my name is ….” or “how are you today?”, instead of “WHAT IS YOUR PHONE NUMBER?!”, which i am not saying you should ask, but you get my point.
Often couples the moment they enter the dance floor, start with complex techniques which don’t match the music or the connection you still haven’t had time to build. There is no same dance each time, and we all come to that moment from different life moments and energies we had the dance before.
Also we are all on different skill levels, meaning the one who is on a higher experience level should always adapt to the other one level or a bit above, so they can follow/lead and in that moment adapt, grow, and most importantly have fun, without feeling that they are not good enough.
6) It’s called Social Dancing, not Show & Acrobatic Dancing.
If the average song is 3-4 min each, we don’t need to put in ALL the moves we ever learned into that time frame. Like the previous topic, build your dance, follow the partner, the music, and of course express your self and your creativity and emotion and even advanced techniques if you know them, but be aware that as a social dancer we got our spot on the dance floor just big enough to keep our partner, yourself and the people around you Safe.
It’s cool that you can do that lift or trick, but some moves are just made for very experienced and conscious dancers, or they are made only for show on a stage with plenty of room.
Dance to express, not to impress.
7) “No wash or brush keeps the dancer away”
Personal Hygiene is probably one of the most important social dance elements of them all.
Don’t forget that most of popular social dances are Close Dances, meaning our bodies are in a very close or closed embrace, so our clothes, skin, mouth, hair is on a inch away.
A deodorant and a spare shirt you can always carry with you if you know you sweat a lot, and it will give you a night of amazing dancing, as without it you gonna sit your ass down and just watch everyone enjoying them selves.
I’m sure all of us want to meet new people and dance much more, feel confident and see the person we dance with smile and enjoy, so good hygiene is a Must.
8) “Can I say No?”
This topic became a taboo for many, especially ladies who say they are too shy or afraid to say No for a dance invitation, so they don’t offend the person who invited them.
It really should not be a taboo, as there is no reason anyone should get offended if you get a No, Gentleman or Ladies, and each decision should be respected. If you wish you can explain why, as maybe you are tired, or don’t like the song, or what ever reason you have, but normally just No thank you is enough.
It is much better to refuse the dance then to force yourself to dance and not enjoy it.
But, if you do get a Yes, be the Kings and Queens that you are, let go of all thoughts and troubles and just enjoy yourself, as this divine gift we call Dance, is like heaven itself.
For the people who started jumping right away from their chairs taking everything literally, these are not RULES, but “RULES” (focus on the Quotation marks) and one of many examples and views on how some moments are acted on inside Dance Etiquette traditions, so keep your mind ready for any situation and adapt.
Nemanja Sonero is one of the most versatile and famous dancers from South East Europe. Since young, he studied Capoeira, Afro, Afro-Brasilian, Afro-Cuban, Hip Hop, Tango, Salsa, classical as well as contemporary ballet, etc.
His first contact with Semba music was in 2004, and in 2007 he encountered Kizomba. After that he worked with different teacher from Angola, Cape Verde and Portugal who influenced and motivated him to develop his own unique smooth and precise style which got him known all over Europe and the world.
Follow him on his Facebook page Nemanja Sonero – Kizomba Artist