WHAT KIND OF SHOES SHOULD I WEAR?
Comfortable shoes that slide easily are always best. Many people wear Keds or Vans and suede the bottoms. You can either choose to glue your own suede on the bottom of your Keds or Vans or you can choose to purchase suede bottoms online that you can stick on your shoes. Leather bottomed shoes are great also.
Be careful of shoes that are not slippery, as these may increase your chances of injury due to repetitive motion; shoes that grip the floor will put unneeded stress on your ankles/knees when pivoting/spinning.
DO I NEED TO BRING A PARTNER
No, you do not need to bring a partner. There will be plenty of people to dance with. Rotating partners makes it more fun and helps build your skill set. But if you prefer to just dance with your partner, that is ok too.
The goal of dance etiquette is to help everyone feel safe, welcome, and included.
If at ANY point you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, please speak with one of the event organizers and they will handle the situation appropriately. This goes for any event, whether ours or elsewhere.
Anyone can ask anyone to dance.
It is as simple as "Hi, would you like you to dance?".
Either gender/role can ask to dance. You may hear "Lead, Follow, or Switch?" (more in section below)
The asked party can accept or decline, and both are ok!
"No thank you"
"No thank you, but ask me another time!"
"Yes! My name is..."
"This song is too fast, maybe another one?"
"Maybe... do you know <any style here> i.e. Balboa?" - (Balboa is an easier dance for faster songs)
"I'm taking a break, ask me later?"
"I owe a dance this song, but maybe next one?!"
If you ask and the person accepts, find a spot on the dance floor, introduce yourself, and proceed to dance! If you ask and the person declines - don't take it personally - people may decline for any number of reasons - try asking someone else! Don't keep asking the same person, as this might make someone uncomfortable.
Social dance is not a romantic thing by default; please use words to navigate those social situations. Please do not assume what you see someone dancing with another partner will be comfortable for them if they dance with you - every pairing is unique and different, everyone has the right to their own comfort zone.
If you are ever uncertain or have questions about social norms/ dance etiquette, please feel free to discuss with us. Community is important and we are committed to fostering good times for all - safe, welcome, inclusive.
LEAD, FOLLOW, SWITCH, OH MY!
At a social dance, someone may ask what dance role you would like to dance.
Lead: The person who generally initiates the motions and "leads" the moves (i.e. turns, etc).
Follow: The person who follows the lead (and often the one who turns)
Switch: This means the 2 partners will switch roles (lead becomes follow, follow becomes lead) one or more times during the dance.
Any gender can dance any role - it has nothing to do with gender, orientation, or anything besides dance preference.
HOW TO BE SAFE ON THE DANCE FLOOR
It is important to be aware of what is happening around you while on the social dance floor. You want to be aware so that you are not stepping on other people or swinging your partner out into someone else. There are usually a lot of people sharing the same space and safety is important.
When in doubt, don't swing out! It is always better to abandon a move and stay safe - you will look better than if you crash, we certifiably guarantee it! If you do bump your neighbor (or partner!) please do apologize quickly and continue with your dance (being more aware of your surroundings, as best you can).
There are tricks to floor craft and crash avoidance - one easy trick is to not lead/send your partner backwards into another couple... if you see a pending collision, you can tense up/ slight tug, make a face, do something to indicate that there is someone behind them. These saves are always appreciated by your fellow dancers.
The right swing dancing shoes make you a much better dancer.