Dance Etiquette: Touchy Issues

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.

Avoiding Getting Hurt
If your partner is physically hurting you, you should stop dancing for a moment, and say something like "I'm sorry, but you are holding my hand a little tightly. Could we try it again?" Usually your partner will be unaware that they're hurting you and will be anxious to correct the problem. If you receive an inconsiderate response, or your partner seems unwilling to modify their behavior, it's appropriate to stop dancing and head for the sidelines -- even if it's the middle of a song. Say something along the lines of, "Gee, my shoulder is really hurting. I'd like to stop now." If you are timid or, if you are more straightforward, "Excuse me, but you've hurt my arm. I'm going to stop now." And then walk away -- it's not a discussion; it's not a negotiation; and you do not need permission or approval from the offender to stop dancing with them. Social dancing should never be physically painful or dangerous.

Unwanted touching
Same principle applies if you are being touched in ways you dislike: stop dancing, say something to the person, and head for the sidelines. How can you know if the unwanted touch was intended or accidental? Trust your feelings and you'll be correct 99.99 percent of the time. We encourage you to discuss the issue with the person, but whether or not you're able to address it directly, PLEASE talk to someone in charge. We work hard to discourage this kind of behavior in our dance community and we do address it whenever it comes up - but we can only know about it if you tell us. A word from you could prevent someone else from having the same bad experience.