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Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest » Etiquette


First things first

Dress should be suitable for dancing. Ladies, in particular, should bear in mind the "dancer friendliness" of their attire (beaded sleeves that swipe their partner's faces, snagging fabrics, long trains, etc., should be avoided at all costs). Gentlemen should always close their jackets or take them off before dancing.
Ideally, dress should be suitable for the occasion.

  • Informal: Casual attire is acceptable, but blue jeans are discouraged
  • Semiformal: Coat and tie for men, dress of any length for women
  • Formal: Tuxedo or 3-piece suit for men and a long dress preferred for women

Personal oral and bodily hygiene is of utmost importance. If you notice that your partner is hesitant to get into the proper ballroom hold, is holding their breath, bolts from the dance floor once the dance is over and repeatedly refuses to dance with you again, take the hint.

Heavy perfumes and highly volatile hair styling products should be used sparingly since some dancers may be chemically sensitive. Strong fragrances can make even the average person woozy
Punctuality is always appreciated at social events.

At the dance

Either the man or woman may ask for a dance.

When asking for a dance, try not to be overly aggressive, i.e., take the hint after two refusals.

Try one's best not to turn down anyone who has asked for a dance. It is all right to state that one is "sitting this one out" or that one is not familiar a particular dance. It is extremely rude to turn down one person and then accept another invitation during the same dance number.

Introduce yourself to your partner right away. Get in the habit of saying "hello" and talking, even briefly, to people without having to ask them to dance.

With couples of different genders, the gentleman always leads the lady.

Cutting in is quite acceptable at dance classes but should be avoided at social events.

At the end of a dance, one should thank his/her partner for the dance and leave the partner at the "sidelines" instead of on the dance floor.

Additional information about etiquette at the dance