Dance Etiquette: Accepting a Dance (or not)
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.
Say Yes! If someone asks you to dance, it's nearly always appropriate to say yes. In a social dance environment it's expected that you'll dance with a variety of people and to say "yes" when someone asks you. And remember - every time you agree to dance with someone else you help foster a friendly thriving dance community! However, social dances are not endurance events where you must dance until you drop. Nor must you dance if you are only interested in watching the other dancers. It's important to take care of yourself and dance as much or as little as is appropriate for you.
Say No... (if you must). There are several good reasons for saying no when asked to dance. It's absolutely correct and appropriate to say no if you are physically exhausted, if you need to get water or use the restroom, if you are injured, or if you've already promised that dance to someone else. If you decline someone for one of these reasons you should seek that person out later and ask him/her to dance. However, keep in mind that if you do turn someone down it's considered very rude to then accept an invitation to dance from someone else while that same song is playing. Not only is this poor dance etiquette, it is inconsiderate and cruel and will dampen the evening for the rejected partner. It is never acceptable to say "no" because you don't think the partner is good enough for you, or because you are hoping someone "better" will ask you. In order for social dancing to be a fun and joyous activity dancers must be supportive of and kind to each other at all skill levels. If anyone has a history of invading your personal space, dancing too forcefully, causing you pain, or monopolizing your time, you are not obligated to accept an invitation to dance with him / her. Etiquette strongly supports you in saying no if the person is dangerous, offensive or abusive (physically or verbally)Important Note: If you feel that a dancer is a danger to other dancers you should report the situation to whoever is in charge.
How to Say No
If you do say no, etiquette explicitly says that you do not have to give reasons - although you may, if you like. Something like, "No thank you, not just now; perhaps later" works fine. Add a smile to mitigate the blow.
Saying Thank You
Everyone likes to be appreciated so don't forget to smile and thank your dance partner for a nice dance - after every dance. Technically speaking, the person who asked the other to dance should thank his or her partner for the pleasure - but it's completely appropriate for the asked party to say "thank you," or "that was fun" or something similarly appreciative. It is always good manners to make another person feel comfortable.
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