5 Tips for Ballroom Dancing Etiquette

Ballroom dancing is an art form that will never fall out of favor. Today, you can take classes to learn to become a great ballroom dancer. You can use your skills at weddings, on cruises, and when attending many special events. You can be the life of the party when you are a great ballroom dancer, and learning the dance steps for some of the most common dances is the best way to get started.

As you learn the physical steps you need to take to be a great dancer, it is also important to learn how to behave in a ballroom dance setting. There are rules of etiquette that apply when ballroom dancing and knowing these rules is just as important to being a great dance partner as knowing what steps to take and when. 

While there are lots of little things to learn about ballroom dancing that an instructor can teach you as you take classes, there are a few fundamental basics that is a good idea to be aware of from day one. Five tips for ballroom dancing etiquette that every new and season dancer should know include the following:

  1. Gentlemen lead, and their job is to protect the lady. Ballroom dancing is traditional and men need to take the leadership role as women follow. If a woman tries to lead, there will be competing leaders and the dancers will not be able to move well together. As the leaders, the men have the responsibility of protecting their dance partner, which means paying careful attention and staying attuned to the movements of the lady at all times.
  2. Gentlemen typically ask women to dance. It is polite for men to make sure that every lady who wants the chance to get a spin on the dance floor has the opportunity to do so.
  3. Gentlemen are considered the frame and ladies are the picture. This means that the man in a ballroom dancing duet should work hard to show off the skills of the lady rather than trying to make a lot of showy moves that draw attention to himself. Being a good dancer for a man means making it possible for your partner to shine, rather than just trying to make yourself look good. If a man is trying to steal the spotlight, it will undermine the dance partnership just as surely as the partnership will be undermined if a lady tries to lead.
  4. You are never perfect (and that’s okay!). While you should try to practice, learn the steps, and dance as well as possible, perfection is never expected. The goal of ballroom dancing is to be fun, so do not put too much pressure on yourself or on your partner to be flawless. If you are too tense, you won’t look natural on the dance floor anyway.
  5. Say thank you at the end of the dance. Your dancing partners should always feel appreciated, so make sure to thank them properly.

Benefits of Dancing with Multiple Partners

When you are learning how to dance, it is a good idea to do it in a group dance class or in private lessons where you have a qualified instructor who can show you the steps, guide you through the process, and give you feedback.

Additionally, you should dance with multiple partners. Both beginner dancers and more experienced dancers can benefit from mixing it up a little and dancing with different people.

In fact, there are several key reasons why it makes a lot of sense for you to dance with multiple partners, both during the learning process and even after you have been dancing for a while and have the skill down.

One of the most important reasons why you should dance with different people is so you do not adapt yourself only to the skills of your steady partner. When you dance with the same person every single time, you end up compensating for that persons’ weaknesses and responding to that person’s idiosyncrasies. When you do this for days, weeks, and months on end, you will become so attuned to your dance partner that you won’t be a very good dancer with anyone else.

If you mix it up a little bit and dance with different partners, you’ll learn how to better adapt to what any dance partner does. This expands your comfort level and makes you an overall better dancer and not just a dancer who does well with one particular partner. If you can dance with multiple people than wherever you go, whether it is a party, a wedding or a special event, you will be able to show off your skills with any dance partner who is available. Since everyone dances a little differently, you’ll need to adjust your own steps to the stranger you are dancing with. Dancing with multiple partners ensures you will have the skills to do just that.

Dancing with multiple partners also means you get to see how your own dancing can be improved. Your partner may be compensating for some of your weaknesses whereas a new partner is not necessarily going to know what you will do. You can see how your new partner responds to you and you can find areas where you need to make slight tweaks and modifications in order to just be a little better.

Variety is the spice of life and this is true on the dance floor – so try dancing with a new partner at your next dance class or the next time you hit the dance floor at a wedding or other special event.