Saturday Swing Outs

Pensacola's First Lindy Hop Swing and Blues Venue!

Est January 2012

Dance Etiquette & Rules

Venue Rules:

Have fun! 
2) Absolutely NO sexual harassment (and we have a ZERO tolerance policy on this one!)
3) No Aerials... not even in Jam Circles (lifts are SOMETIMES acceptable... if you don't know the difference, see Paul and Stes before attempting anything)
4) Dance at your own risk
5) You must be over 18 years of age to attend!

A Primer in Dance Etiquette:

  • Appropriate Dress: Guys should wear shirts with sleaves... you sweat a lot during dancing, and it can be difficult for a follow to put her hands on your arms if she's got to wipe off sweat after every move in closed position... Girls, that goes for you too!  But more importantly, girls, wear clothing that has durable straps... trust me, you don't want to put on a show when that spin or dip becomes a little too vigorous.  Dance test your dresses, ladies! (another little note: if you're wearing thin straps, you might want to make sure it's an item that won't fall down if one of those straps unexpectedly breaks!

  • Personal Hygiene: Bad breath, body odor, and the like are incredibly common reasons people turn down others for dances!  Brush your teeth, bathe, and deodorize BEFORE a dance.  During a dance, if you sweat a lot you should consider bringing a change of shirt, deodorant, a towel, or some combination of the above.  Mints are never a bad idea either (especially if you step out to eat while dancing).  A final note on hygiene: make sure your nails are groomed so that they aren't sharp... this goes especially for leads!
  • Asking for dances: Grabbing someone and pulling them onto the floor is NOT a good way to ask for a dance!  This should go without saying, but it's all too common for people to decide that cavemen were Rico Suave and should be copied today.  Be perceptive of whether or not someone is throwing out body language that says they aren't currently dancing, and then walk up and ask like a gentleman! 

  • Temporarily turning down a dance (and being turned down): It happens, people get tired, get out of the rhythm, etc.  There are two types of turn downs: temporary and lasting.  The temporary turn-down is, for example, because you are tired, because you are looking for someone you already told you would dance with, you don't like a particular song, etc.  If you turn down someone on a temporary basis, a good rule of thumb is to give them a timeframe to ask again (or, better yet, find them and ask THEM to dance when you're ready).  What you should never do is turn ONE dancer down for a particular song (tired, don't like the song), but then go out and dance that song with someone else!  If you get temporarily turned down, don't hover/babysit the person... give them space and either ask LATER or let them approach you for a dance.

  • Giving the lasting turn down: at worst, you only have to put up with the person for a few minutes, so there are few reasons to put someone on the permanent "no" list for dancing.  But these people on the list usually include dancers who are unsafe, rough, or who behave in a creepy manner.  I always advise against giving temporary excuses to one of these people, because often times they WILL be back if you do so.  On the flip side, if you keep asking for a dance and getting shot down, but the person NEVER comes to ask you to dance, take a hint and move on!

  • On giving corrections on the dance floor: Don't.  It's a social dance and people come to enjoy themselves and try out moves.  When they feel like they're being critiqued all the time, they lose confidence and become less willing to dance with good partners (which is the best way to get better at dancing) or to try new things they just learned.  It can even discourage people from coming dancing altogether!  Reinforcement of good habits is good (ie, you have excellent frame!), but correcting people on the dance floor without them asking for help is just plain bad manners!

  • Don't monopolize a dancer: when you ask someone to dance, the duration is for ONE song, unless you both agree that you want to dance another (and that shouldn't be one party constantly asking to add another song to the list either!).  Feeling pressured to keep dancing with someone only makes it an uncomfortable dance and makes it likely that the person will think long and hard before accepting dances with a monopolizer again!  Add on to that: other people want to dance with you (and with the person you're dancing with!)... share the wealth!

  • Be aware of social limitations and skill levels: some people are less comfortable with intimate dance styles (which are common in blues!).  Leads and follows need to be aware of this, and the moment you feel your partner dancing defensively (being tense, trying to keep more distance, acting uncomfortable) you should back off with NO QUESTIONS ASKED.  Likewise for skill levels: it is GOOD to dance with people who are less skilled than you because it gives them a chance to improve their dancing drastically!  It is NOT good to make them look like a fool by doing things which are clearly above their skill level... and believe it or not, doing this actually reflects poorly on the more advanced dancer  (A NOTE TO FOLLOWS ON THIS: a new lead has a LOT to keep track of... so if he's a little off count or step, roll with it rather than back-leading!  Those new leads will come around as their heads wrap around the steps and their timing!)

  • Line of Dance: Occasionally a song is played that people will choose to foxtrot to, and there's no problem with that!  When this happens, please be aware of a form called "Line of Dance".  In order to achieve line of dance, stationary dances (swing dancing or blues) should be done in the center of the floor.  Moving dances (such as tango or foxtrot) should be done around the outer edge of the floor, moving in a counter clockwise direction!  Most of all, always be aware of your surroundings and avoid colliding with other dancers!
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