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Dance Intensives: Etiquette

Dance intensives, as we’ve already mentioned, are sweaty but fun affairs, and making a good impression is an important way to make new friends and connections. These of course, lead to even more dance events and sweaty fun.

When it comes to how to behave, I tend to separate etiquette into two layers: Beginners and veterans. Why? Because someone new to dance intensives, or dancing in general, will be forgiven ignorance of certain things, while more experienced dancers are expected to practice a bit more subtlety.

The following tips are largely useful for attending everyday group classes too, but they become especially important when dealing with international coaches and complete strangers for peers. Memorize this list!


  • Wear deodorant.I rarely get complaints about other students in my classes, but when I do, it’s usually about bad BO.
  • No jewelry. Anything dangling or sharp-edged can end up cutting you or your partner.
  • No sharp or baggy objects in your pockets. See point 2. Also, they can restrict your movements and wreck your lines.
  • Wear clothes that move and breathe. They regulate your temperature, give you a full range of movement, and sends the message that you plan on putting in real work.
  • If partnered with someone, introduce yourself. And if you rotate to someone else, thank your original partner and repeat with the new one.
  • Never correct others. You might think you’re doing them a service, but you’re actually usurping the instructor’s role. And if someone asks you for help, suggest they ask the teacher instead.
  • At the end, applaud your instructor. After all, they put a lot of time into preparing the awesome moves you learned.
  • Ask for permission before photographing or filming anything.Instructors can be protective about what you paid good money to learn, as it might end up on YouTube.


  • Show up early. This gives you a few minutes to warm up your body and catch up with your dance buddies without interrupting the class.
  • Turn off your cell phone. A phone going off in class is about as welcome as a phone going off during church service.
  • Tie up long hair. Like jewelry, you don’t want it hitting your partner, or getting tangled in their clothing.
  • Bring a sweat rag. Wipe regularly, before you wipe it on everybody else.
  • Don’t show off. It intimidates or annoys your peers, and usually disrupts the look of the whole piece, yourself included.
  • Applaud demonstrators. Demonstrating a pattern to the class can be nerve-wracking for many – give them some encouragement!
  • If the intensive includes a competition, cheer for the competitors! This isn’t a piano recital: Sharing some love during a performance is not only allowed, but encouraged.

Say… What’s the deal with that girl over there? The one who seems to do everything I can – but better? Easy friend, we’ll look at how to deal with feelings of dance-envy next week.


About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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