Dance Etiquette

Q:What does “dance etiquette” mean at Social Graces?


A: The easy answer is to not judge the other students around you, follow these points below to enhance your class experience.

We know that you will enjoy your lessons here at Social Graces Ballroom dance studios as you learn about the world of dance.  We would like to provide you with some basic guidelines for dancing and etiquette to enhance your learning experience.  Do not be intimidated!  Remember that we all start out as beginners, and the whole point is to enjoy one’s self.  These are not rules, these are simple guidelines that people can use to paint a picture of what to expect in a social situation where dancing is done.  Use common courtesy as much as possible.

1)  Line Of Dance – To begin with, there are two major types of dancing: Latin and Smooth.  Latin dances are typically dances that stay on one part of the floor.  Smooth dances, which are known as Standard dances outside of the U.S., are dances that travel around the room.  The direction of movement is counterclockwise, in a roughly oval shape about four or five feet from the wall, with all the dancers moving in the same direction.  Think Nascar!

2)  New Faces – At Social Graces, we truly do strive for just that.  We encourage all of our students to be welcoming to others as they become a part of the dance studio.  We believe that new faces are what keep the studio growing and improving.  We would like our students to act as ambassadors to welcome those new faces.  We ask our students to be kind and mannerly, and to make everyone’s experience as pleasant as possible.  We would all prefer to have nice partners who may be beginners as opposed to not-so-nice dancers who are technically perfect.  So, bring your manners, and we will teach you how to dance.  Feel free to introduce yourself to anyone and remember, we are here to interact socially as well as to dance.

3)  Correcting Your Partner – Sometimes well-meaning, more experienced dancers will try to help or correct beginning students.  It can be a frustrating and upsetting experience, and should be ignored by the newer student.  All students, regardless of experience level, should let the instructor teach and correct.  To the more experienced dancers, sometimes it is better to be quiet than to be right, especially in a lesson where learning is happening.  We all know that it is easier to dance with an experienced dancer, but those experienced dancers may be the ones who are the most prone to critique others.  So, be nice, be patient, try to make your partner comfortable, and do your best to have fun dancing with students of all skill levels.

4)  Asking For A Dance – In today’s society, it is acceptable for a man or a woman to ask any other person to dance.  Students at Social Graces also realize that if you are asking someone to dance, you are not asking for a date, so it is acceptable to dance with single people or someone who is part of a couple.  If you are going to refuse a dance for whatever reason, please keep in mind that you are rejecting the dance, and not the person.  So, if someone asks you to dance the foxtrot, and you refuse, don’t dance that foxtrot with someone else!

5)  Bumping Into People – It happens!  No matter what your skill level, this will happen to you at some time.  Simply stop for the moment, apologize, and then go back to dancing.

6)  Attire – At Social Graces there is no dress code for any event unless it has been specifically designated “black tie” or “formal.”  We encourage our students to dress for comfort.  However, if you are learning to do an elegant dance, and you dress in a way that makes you feel more elegant, you will be more likely to play the part.  Many students who have become more comfortable with dancing will dress in clothes that accentuate their movements or personify the “emotion” of the dance.  Some students just like dressing up, especially at dances.  Women especially will dress up for fun.  So, wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in, and if you like, something that is fun to wear while dancing.

7)  Shoes – Slippery shoes are easier to dance in than shoes that stick to the floor.  For the first couple of lessons, shoes should not be a major concern.  However, as you continue dancing, you can talk to your instructors about ballroom shoes.

8)  Hygiene – Remember that you will be in close proximity to your partner.  Common sense should apply, i.e. don’t eat that giant plate of pasta with garlic sauce right before class.



Restore with Dance

“Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential.”

-Will Cuppy

Social Graces Ballroom Dance Studio

639 East Main St.

Berryville, VA 22611