Dance Etiquette: Asking Someone to Dance

Following dance floor etiquette helps everyone to have fun. Simply put, it means being courteous and respectful to those around you. It's more important for a social dancer to be a considerate and thoughtful partner than to be a technically expert dancer. Following the rules and suggestions given here will help you to become a successful and appreciated dance partner.

Anyone Can Ask
Anyone can ask anyone else to dance. Leaders ask followers, followers ask leaders, experienced dancers ask beginners, beginners ask experienced dancers... you get the idea. If you end up sitting out more dances than you'd like it's probably because you haven't asked. Some people can find it challenging at first but pushing through the initial fear is so worth it! In a very short time you'll become very good at asking which means you'll dance more and have a great time! Note: People have a tendency to dance more with people they already know; it's easier and it reduces their fear of rejection. It doesn't necessarily mean they're clique-ish, stuck-up, or that they don't want to dance with you; often it means they're a little shy or stuck in a rut. Remember - asking someone to dance is paying them a compliment.

How To Ask
"Would you like to dance?" is perfect, but anything similar is fine. When asking someone to dance, make eye contact, extend your hand invitingly, and ask in a clear voice. If you partner says yes, extend your hand to them and lead (or follow) them onto the dance floor. Be specific - always ask one particular person to dance. Do not go up to 2 people standing together and ask, "Would either of you care to dance?" The result will be that each of them will hesitate and defer politely to the other, but you'll experience it as rejection.

How Many Songs In A Row?
Dance one song with someone, and then change partners. Two in a row is also fine, but more than that isn't appropriate social dance behavior. Besides, the more people you dance with the better dancer you'll become - and the more you'll be asked!