Your First Dance Social: Surviving the Dance Floor
Previously, we took a compassionate look at how to overcome your fears of social dancing by easing your way into the social scene gradually. We also talked about how experienced dancers act once inside and looking for potential partners. Now that you’ve actually found someone to dance with, how do you make it a dance worth remembering – and repeating later?
Be a Gentleman – or Woman
You may have scored a dance, but the floor is filling up fast! Leaders, make sure your partner is protected by offering your left hand for her left (or the opposite, if that is easer), and placing the opposite hand on her back to guide her through the crowd. That way, you can spot any oblivious heel-stompers and steer clear before they can crush her favourite shoes.
Be Calm and Dance On
We get it – dancing with someone you don’t know can be scary. When we get nervous, our heart beat quickens, our mind races, our coordination becomes spastic – in short, the last thing we need when social dancing. Consciously inhale and exhale slowly to relax those nervous vibes, and focus on making every movement slow and deliberate. Leaders, plan each movement in advance, so you don’t surprise yourself – and your partner – by starting a step you’ve forgotten the ending to. Followers, focus on keeping your frame solid, and trust your partner to guide you through safely. If you have reason to doubt he can do this, refer here.
Dance at Your Partner’s Level
This is not the time to break out those new experimental moves you just learned. Stick to the moves you know best, at least to start. Once and a while, you can try something a bit more experimental, but return to the tried-and-true if you feel them tense up. Followers, you can scare your partner just as easily by throwing in too much styling if they aren’t prepared for it. As you improve, you’ll develop a sense of how much you can get away with – until then, play it safe.
Keep a Sense of Humour
This can be both the hardest and most effective way to endear yourself to potential partners around you: Hard because it takes considerable effort to stay relaxed and fun when you’re trying not to hyperventilate, and most effective because, well, who doesn’t like a gal or gal who can laugh at their own mistakes? A simple ‘well, that looked great in my mind anyway’, instantly dissolves tension and shows that you can be an easygoing dance partner. Sometimes it helps to imagine you’ve done this a thousand times before, or that you own the club you’re dancing in, just to feign confidence. Keep it authentic, but keep it fun.
With these dance tools under your belt, you are now prepared to tackle dance socials, build up a group of ready partners, and start having a really good time. Happy dance adventures!