Top 10 Rules of Ballroom Dance Etiquette

Sometimes the difference between a second dance and “I’m never giving them a second glance” is a matter of etiquette. Ballroom Dancing, like many other activities, comes with an unspoken list of tips, tricks, and courtesies. Unspoken until today, that is.

TOP 10 Rules of Ballroom Dance Etiquette

Written by: Kristen Perpich

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1. Breath Issues. Dancing is usually done in close quarters. As such, it is imperative that you pay attention to your breath (fresh breath is always appreciated). Most studios provide mints or mouthwash, which are especially necessary if you have eaten garlic or onion or other potent foods. If you are a smoker, you should always use mouthwash and/or brush your teeth before dancing.

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2. Body Smells. If you are prone to perspiration, deodorant goes a long way toward preventing body odor. You should also take care to wear freshly laundered clothing, and possibly bring a backup shirt or blouse, as dancing is great exercise and might create excess perspiration. Be careful when wearing cologne or perfume, especially if you are prone to wearing a lot of it. Some people are very sensitive to scents.
3. The Frame Should be Held in Position at All Times, but with a comfortable hold. Holding the frame does not mean pulling, squeezing, or pressing into your partner’s arm or back. Simply hold your own position and let your partner adjust to you.
4. Be Gracious and Positive to Dancers at Any Level, so they can feel confident and comfortable in your arms.

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5. Have Fun and Avoid Criticizing Your Partner. It takes two to tango (and chacha and rumba and foxtrot), so if something isn’t going right, just ask the teacher.
6. Avoid Teaching on the Dance Floor. If your partner for that dance doesn’t get it the first time, move on. This will avoid any embarrassment to him or her.
7. On that note, Leave the Teaching to the Teachers. Critiquing, teaching, or moving students’ frames around during or after class is inappropriate and makes students feel inadequate. Also, it’s important to be supportive; dancing takes time. Patience with ourselves and our dance partner(s) is extremely important.

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8. Party Hardy, Don’t Be a Wall-Flower. Dancing with other students in class or at a party is not required and can be a little uncomfortable at first, but the more you dance with students of various levels, the better leader/follower you become. WHY? If everyone can lead or follow you, you know you have it and if they don’t, you know it still needs some time or practice. When asking students to dance, try to dance with someone new every dance. Also, it is just as important for a lady to ask a man to dance as it is for a man to ask a lady.
9. Challenge Yourself to Say Hello and/or Dance with Someone New. We all remember that nervous feeling of coming into the studio for the first time and not knowing anyone or what to expect. Simply smiling and saying hello or asking someone new to dance can really put them at ease.
10. Quality over Quantity. Most Important Tip: always remember it is not how many steps you know, but how well you do them.