Friday, 10 August 2018

Swing-Dancers Etiquette Guide

So whether you are new to dancing, swing-dancing or have been into it for a while, there are some considerations to behaviour we should all give to make the hobby a safer and more pleasant experience for all.

Other than working towards learning our steps and improving technique there are not a lot of rules that go along with swing-dancing. Mostly it's about common sense and good manners, some thoughts towards safety and basic respect towards dancers and those that teach you.

Here are some simple guidelines that we should all aim to abide by:

It's a social thing - so be sociable! Always be friendly and show respect for other dancers. Join in with the club social atmosphere – you will have more fun and make great friends. Intolerance, racism or aggression towards members and stuff will not be tolerated.

Those under the influence of illegal substances are not welcome in classes or at social events. Anyone appearing to be under the influence of drugs or negative effects of alcohol will not be permitted to take classes.

I can't think of a club or class that doesn't follow these obvious rules.


1. Noise control - Classes can be busy and ‘buzzy’ which can generate a lot of noise. When instructors are speaking, put your partners down, stop talking and turn to face the instructor.

2. Help keep the flow going - When asked to move around to a new partner, do so quickly. Do not wait to finish any conversations you might have been having. This especially applies to when practising to music.

Instructors often try to run to a schedule and there can be a lot for them to try and get you through in a class. Help them help you by keeping the flow going! 

3. Hi there! - When moved around to a new partner and you come to someone you don’t know, smile and introduce yourself. Hey presto - you just made a new friend!

4. A Cardinal Sin! - Asking your partner how you did or how something felt or worked for them is fine. However NEVER correct your partner – This is bad manners and the job of the instructors. If something didn’t work well, ask the instructor when appropriate to do so.

Correcting people when not qualified to do so is a case of the 'road to hell being paved with good intentions'. It can make you come across like a jerk and make the person on the receiving end feel really bad... so bad that they may not come back to class.... Definitely not a good thing. 

5. Teachers are there to help you - Not everyone gets what they are being taught the first time. Even when you ‘get something’ you can still make mistakes. This is normal – it’s called ‘learning dance’. If you are struggling the instructors are more than happy to repeat and demonstrate again to help you. There is no shame in this – we encourage it! Don't be frightened to reach out for help.

6. Coughs and sneezes spread diseases - Classes are often conducted in circles. NEVER cough or sneeze into the circle, if you feel you are about to cough or sneeze turn around and face the outside of the circle.

Try to avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand – if you must, please go and wash your hands afterwards. Do not hold hands with a partner having coughed or sneezed into it.

During the cold season it's a good idea to keep some anti-bac hand gel in your dance bag. 
7. Be safe! - Don’t dance when injured. As much as we love to have you at the class we care about your safety. If you are injured or sick, consult your doctor before dancing. If you have a light injury, illness or are recovering TELL THE INSTRUCTOR.

8. Stepping out - You may have to step out of the class for a number of reasons. If you do, tell the instructor before you step away, especially if you are in pain or feel ill.


1. Keep Fresh & Cool - Dancing is a physical activity not unlike sport. No-one likes to dance with someone with strong body odour, bad breath or who is running in perspiration.

Taking a wash or shower before the class or dance is a good idea.
If you know you are prone to getting sweaty, it may be a good idea to carry a spare top with you in your dance bag for a 'quick-change' when you get soggy.
Deodorant in the dance bag is another good idea.

Avoid eating strong flavoured foods, e.g. curries, food with garlic in etc. before a class or a dance. If your dance partner seems to be leaning back from you, that may well be why :-) Coffee can have a similar effect as can smoking and should also be taken into consideration.

Cleaning teeth before a dance, carrying mints or a fresh breath spray in the dance bag is a great idea.


1. Yes Please! - If you are asked for a dance the correct reply is always ‘Yes’

There are a few exceptions:
You have just sustained an injury, or you do not feel well. Be sure to explain as appropriately as possible why you had to say no.

You just had several dances and would like to rest – In this case ask for a ‘rain-check’, and when you are ready to dance again find the person who asked you and ‘cash-in’ that dance. It is bad manners to dance with someone else when you have just turned someone down…. cash in the dance you were asked for first.

You may feel the music is too fast for you, this being the case see the paragraph above and cash in the dance when the music is a better tempo for you.

2. Safety First - Refrain from dancing ‘expansively’ on a crowded dance-floor – Keep safety in mind.

NEVER do acrobatic moves on the social dance floor unless a ‘Jam Circle’ has been started where people are encouraged to show their best steps.

Keep looking around you when dancing – be aware of those around you and design your moves with safety in mind.
Never walk directly across a dance-floor, use the edges.

Never carry drinks across a dancefloor.

If you see litter, obstacles or trip hazards on a dancefloor remove them as soon as it is safe to do so.

Never wear a hat whilst social dancing 

3. Whoops we bumped - If you ‘bump’ or kick someone on the social dance-floor you should:

1.       Stop dancing
2.       Turn to the person you made contact with
3.       Regardless of who was to blame – say “Sorry” and ask if they are ok.
4.       If they were injured in the contact, help them off the dance-floor – after that      use common sense…. they may just need to rest or may need first aid
5.      If all is well return to dancing