Dance Floor Etiquette
When you start to attend line dance classes, socials or even line dance weekend breaks the following rules of line dance will help. They might be common sense but even seasoned line dancers can forget:
– Dance in lines! – We are not here to Squiggle Dance. The clue is in the name.
– Listen to the DJ to know what dance is being played, and for any floor-splits being called, it will help ensure that you are doing the same dance as the person next to you. If the DJ does a good job, let them know you have appreciated their efforts. People are all too willing to air a complaint, but compliments are few and far between. DJ’s, like beginners, thrive on compliments – and you are more likely to get your requests played, especially if they are dances only a handful know.
– Ensure that if you are sitting at the edge of the dance floor, your chair does not block anyone if you are getting up to dance, please just push your chair under the table to allow people to walk past.
– Move forward when asked by the DJ – you may feel comfortable in your current position on the floor, but other dancers may be struggling for space behind you.
– Leave the dance floor when the music ends, unless you are staying up for the next dance
– Be aware of your surroundings – remember to take smaller steps when a new dance is being taught, or a popular dance is being played as the dance floor may be fuller than normal.
– Remember everyone was once a beginner; do try to be helpful to newcomers.
– Walk across the dance floor when music is playing to reach the other side of the Hall as this is dangerous not only to yourself but to other dancers who may not see you – you should ALWAYS “walk around”, not “cut across”.
– Try to join an existing line once a dance has started – you can dance in ANY line, not just the one with your friends in it! There are no “Reserved” signs for places on the dance floor.
– Try to join an existing line where there is not enough space for you to do so … you wouldn’t like someone to “push in” beside you, so please don’t do it to anyone else!
– Bend down in the middle of the floor to tie the laces on your sparkly dance shoes- this is very dangerous as you immediately become a hazard to the other dancers moving around you.
– Carry drinks across the dance floor at ANY time whether there are people dancing or not … this causes a slip hazard for EVERYONE – all spillages should be cleaned immediately
– Never stay on the floor to talk – if you want to chat, leave the dance floor. This includes standing around the edges of the dance floor – dances can and often do move from one side of the floor to the other and no dancer likes running into or trying to dodge a “chatter”.
– If you are dancing away from your usual haunts and you find the regulars are doing a dance differently or to another song don’t tell them they’re wrong – line dances tend to vary considerably from place to place.
– A “floor-split” is when 2 dances are being done at the same time to the same piece of music – this will almost always be split between front & back. It is VERY important that if you are joining the rear of the “front” dance, you MUST leave space between yourself & the front row of the “back” dance to ensure that no-one collides once both dances have begun.
– You may very occasionally find that partner-dancing is being done around the edge of the dance floor. It is acknowledged that partner dancers have the right-of-way, so just be aware of this if you are dancing in a line bordering the edge of the dance floor.
– Please remember everyone was a beginner once, and that newcomers should be encouraged – but similarly, please don’t get up for a dance that you don’t know … you may become a hazard as other dancers move around you, or if you then try to exit from the dance floor in the middle of the song.
– It is courteous to apologize to a fellow dancer if you bump into them, or kick them accidentally.
– Give your fellow dancers room to move. Don’t hog floor space at their expense and don’t accidently dance on top of them.
– If you are a beginner, tolerate experienced dancers. They may need a little more room than you might expect. For everyone else – remember, you were a beginner once.
– The first line always picks the dance if the DJ does not call it. If you don’t know the dance, dance in another part of the floor where you are not in anyone’s way.
– If the dance floor is empty and you are starting off the dance, go to the front so that others can line up behind you.
– If the dance has already started when you arrive on the dance floor, pick up the dance at whatever point those already on the floor are at. Line dancing is all about dancing in step with everyone else, after all. Also join the end of a line, not the middle!
– Don’t be tempted to stop dancing to teach, especially if there is no room. Try to teach off the floor if you can find space. On the other hand, if you notice someone nearby who is having trouble, it is quite acceptable to call out the steps (but not too loudly), whilst continuing to dance yourself. This in fact is a good thing to do – it’s a great encouragement.
The dance floor is divided into two sections:
CENTRE: for the line dances
OUTSIDE: (around the line dancers) for partner dancers, two steppers and swing dancers
Of course, you won’t always have partner dancers, two-steppers or swing dancers, but if you are near the edge of the dance floor it is always a good idea to kept alert to the possibility – especially at a social. Those dancing around the outside lane have the right of way. Of course, if the floor is packed with line dancers, it’s not a good time to try two-stepping.
For two-steppers (or other’s dancing around the floor), the line of dance is always anti-clockwise.
– While line dancers should stay in the centre, away from the two-steppers etc, the latter should also stay away from the centre and not wander into the lines nor cut the corners.
– When dancing near beginners be mindful and courteous and don’t show off. Too many variations can put people off if they are unsure of themselves. If you want to liven up a beginner level dance, do it away from any beginner dancers.
– Beginners are advised to stick to the centre of the dance floor – that way, no matter what wall you may be facing, there will be someone in front of you who (hopefully) knows the dance and whom you can follow. The reverse of this is that advanced dancer’s should try to stick to the sides.
BUT MOST OF ALL HAVE FUN ON THE DANCE FLOOR