6 Simple Steps to Not Being an Awful Person on the Dance Floor

Kiz Talks, Aug. 11, 2014

That’s right, I’m saying it. Don’t be an awful person on the dance floor.

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1. Ask for a dance
The best way to do this is to face the person you’re interested in dancing with, and use your words. “Woud you like to dance?” “Could we dance this one?” or even the implied “I’d like to dance with you.” Don’t grab from behind, drag someone from a chair, or whine, “You STILL haven’t danced with me.”

2. Accept a “no”
We all have times when we feel like saying “no” to a dance. Maybe we’re tired, or we don’t like the song, or we’ve had enough of the genre, or we’ve just been stepped on, or we need to use the toilet, or we were planning to make a phone call. Don’t take it as a personal affront when someone says no! Let it be, and feel free to ask again later.

3. Say you’re sorry
If you bump into another dancer on the floor, step on someone’s foot, knock over someone’s drink, or simply beat someone to asking that one person to dance, give a sincere, “I’m sorry.” If your actions have more serious consequences, consider offering reparations. “Could I get you some ice?” “Let me clean that up.” “May I buy you another drink?” will help us keep a sense of comfortable community.

4. Be respectful of your partner’s body
We all know which parts of the body are not appropriate to touch in public. Even when it’s dark on the dance floor, avoid them. If you simply must cross the line, be sure to get consent from your partner. “Is it cool if I put my hands here?” “How about a little kiss?” or a simple “Is this okay?” are appropriate questions for all adult men and women to ask when taking a social dance into the sexual zone. Don’t assume it’s okay because of how your partner was dancing a minute ago, or because you’ve done it before. Consent is important all the time.

5. Be nice
If you want to give someone feedback, first ask if that person is interested in receiving it. We’re not always focused on improving our technique – sometimes we just want to relax and have a good time. Be sure your partner is interested in hearing your opinion or analysis. (Note: if your partner is hurting you, please speak up immediately. That kind of feedback is always okay, and if not accepted is grounds for ending the dance.) If your partner does want feedback, try to phrase it in a constructive way. Mention what you like, or something in particular done well. Then give an idea of something that could be worked on or how it could be improved.

6. Say thank you
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Thank your partner for spending time with you to music.

For more information about consent and safe spaces, check out the Safety Dance Facebook group.