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Dancetiquette: Making the Best Impression at a Social (Pt.2)

From your entrance to your exit, how you conduct yourself at a dance social tells your peers whether you’re a complete newbie, a seasoned veteran or anything in between. And that makes a big difference in how many of them will want to dance with you.

Now that we’ve gotten in the front door, found our seat, and spotted a few dancers we’d like to get the attention of, what next?

The Approach

Asking someone to dance is for many the scariest part of any social, so here’s a few pointers to spare yourself some embarrassment:

  • Making a direct approach, eye contact, and smiling is usually the best strategy.
  • Try watching what other dancers are doing, and mimic the ones you like best.
  • Keep your ask simple and sweet. ‘Care to dance? Would you like to dance?’
  • Start by asking those who dance less. They are more likely to say yes, and less likely to intimidate you with superior technique.
  • If they tell you no, simply thank them and find someone else. Life goes on.

The Dance

If this partner is going to say yes to you (or ask you to dance) again, they must have at least as much fun as you do! Would you want to dance with someone who tries to impress you with high-level patterns, without regard to your ability level? Didn’t think so.

Start easy, and listen closely to what your partner does well and what makes them stumble. Steering clear of the latter might cut your repertoire in half, but they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Followers, this holds true for your level of styling as well. If you dance like there’s a panel of judges watching, your partner may be too intimidated to dance their full range of steps, and they certainly won’t want to repeat the experience.

Never doubt the power of a smile. Yes, it might feel forced and awkward, but slap it on anyway, or at least on your favourite moves. Literally everyone can double their attractiveness with a smile. Just sayin’.

The ‘Getaway’

Last impressions can be even more important than first impressions. How you finish the dance might change depending on the formality of the event, but say ‘thank you’ as a bare minimum. I like to be a bit old-fashioned and walk my partners off the floor, but don’t force it if they clearly want to go their own way.

Whether we are dancing or not, our body is always communicating to other people, informing their subconscious about whether we should be approached or avoided. By mastering the skills in the last two articles, your body language can become your secret weapon – like dancing itself, all it takes is practice.


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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