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12 Guidelines of Ballroom Dance Etiquette

Ballroom dance is not only a great form of exercise, but it's also a great way to meet new people and socialize around a common hobby. The professional ballroom teaching staff at Areté Dance Center has put together 12 tips and tricks to approach the social (or competitive) dance scene with etiquette that will make your dancing more fun for you, as well as for everyone you dance with!

  1. Remember that every dancer is a work in progress.

  2. Don’t give unsolicited advice to fellow students. Please refrain from giving your feedback on your partner’s dancing unless you feel discomfort due to strain on your body or personal discomfort. In those situations, please feel free to communicate this. Dance instruction should be given only from qualified professionals, at appropriate times, when solicited.

  3. Thank every person you dance with.

  4. Walk your partner on and off the dance floor.

  5. If someone asks you to dance, please accept. If you decline, please refrain from dancing that song with someone else, unless you previously promised that dance to them. In that case, explain why you are declining and offer to dance a later song. You may also explain that you are resting or unfamiliar with a particular dance.

  6. Ballroom dancers move around the floor in a counter-clockwise direction. You should be moving in this direction most of the time. Most Latin dances are more stationary and have more directional freedom.

  7. If you collide with another couple, regardless of who is “at fault”, please apologize to the other couple but continue to dance.

  8. If you are an experienced dancer dancing with a beginner, don’t expect your partner to dance advanced moves. Leaders are advised to start a dance with easier patterns, especially with a new partner. Once you see that your partner is fine with the timing and following easy patterns, you can try advancing to more difficult ones. You want to dance WITH your partner, not out-dance them.

  9. The proximity between dance partners should be determined by the follower and their own level of comfort.

  10. Be kind and welcoming to new students or those you don’t already know. Coming for the first time can be scary! Smiling, saying hello, or asking someone new to dance can put a newer dancer or student at ease.

  11. Always try to dance with a wide variety of dance partners. This makes the studio more fun and social, and also helps everyone grow more quickly. Leaders and followers should both ask others to dance.

  12. Have fun and keep on dancing!

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