It’s probably the most common challenge we as dancers face at a social dance event: How can we get enough dances to make it worth the trip to the nearest dance hall or Latin club? Sure, it can be frustrating to sit in the corner, arms crossed, glaring at the – wait, hold on; You’re sitting? In the corner?? With your ARMS CROSSED?!
Hopefully, you realize this kind of closed body language will seriously limit your approachability on the dance floor. But even if you are like the person above, or have little social dance experience, have no fear – this article is made for you…
People choose dance partners based on two things: Ability to dance at their level, and friendliness. Here’s a few points about each:
- Yes, I know you want to snatch up that sexy salsera right away, but she’s not likely to say yes until you prove you can keep up. Aim for the dance floor populated by people at or slightly above your level, and you’ll get in more practice, have more fun, and gradually raise your game.
- As you watch great dancers, it’s up to you whether they intimidate or inspire you. You can choose to think you don’t deserve to dance in their company, or you can choose to think that they have great abilities that you will someday learn. Never stop believing the choice to get on the floor or not is in your hands.
- Pop quiz: who do you watch more, the good dancers, or the okay dancers? That’s who everyone else is watching too, which means either no one is looking at you learning, or you’re one of the better dancers at the club. Either way, it’s good news.
- Standing near the dance floor and swaying to the music sends a clear message that you want to dance and will say ‘yes’ if asked.
- If you’re doing the asking, no need to make a production out of it. Keep it simple: ‘wanna dance?’
- We have the right to be choosy, to dance with who we feel comfortable and safe with. So don’t take it personally if they say ‘no’ to a dance – they have their reasons, and you have other people you can ask. Move on.
- And finally, keep a sense of humour! Nothing breaks the ice faster than a dancer who can laugh at their own mistakes. A simple “okay, if anyone asks, that’s called ‘the Ian Variation’”paints you as a fun and friendly person, definitely worth dancing with again.
Social dancing, like all parts of ballroom dancing, is not a skill that can be learned overnight. So keep at it, and you’ll start enjoying it in no time.