–Try to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.
–Make eye contact, however do not stare down your partner. If this is difficult for you, one trick some people use is looking at their partner’s shoulder or their earlobe. This confirms that you are paying attention, yet you are not staring.
–Focus on your partner. Your job is to make the person you are dancing with look good. For leads this means being conscientious of your partner’s skill and adjusting your lead to the situation. For follows this means avoiding back-leading or other actions that make the lead feel “unimportant.” For both leads and follows, if you stay aware and adaptive of your partner’s feelings, you will be a popular dancer.
–Thank your partner after each dance!
–It is polite to clap for live performers when they finish a song and for DJs when they finish their set. If you are not dancing, it is also considered polite to clap after a lengthy solo, however this is not expected of active dancers.
–It is not necessary to apologize to your partner if a particular move is not executed perfectly. The point is not to have a perfect dance, but to have fun. However, if your mistake may have physically hurt your partner, please apologize and make sure they are okay.
–Dancing is social, therefore talking while dancing is okay and not considered bad etiquette. Moreover, not talking while dancing is not considered bad etiquette either. Do what makes you feel comfortable.
–Don’t be stinky! You will be dancing in close quarters with a lot of new people. You may want to chew gum or bring breath mints (Altoids are popular…and bring enough to share!). Some dancers avoid eating certain foods (garlic or onions, for example) on dance days. Deodorant is a FABULOUS idea! Go easy on the cologne/perfume.
Unsure of how to dress at a social dance?
Dress ranges from casual to dressy. Jeans or slacks, as opposed to shorts are recommended for gentlemen, and ladies, jeans or slacks or a skirt/dress is all appropriate. Dance shoes are not required, but please wear closed (no thongs/flip flops), smooth-soled, non marking shoes.
Ladies should wear dance pants under a dress/skirt. All attire worn (both ladies and men) should be modest and appropriate for a social setting.
For a more “in-depth” guideline of dance etiquette, see: http://www.utdallas.edu/~aria/dance/etiquette.html