Tactful Hints to Keep You Out of Trouble

Dance with partners of all levels

When you ask an advanced dancer to dance, make it clear that you understand they are doing you a favor and you appreciate it. You’ll feel less embarrassed and they’ll feel they can be gracious without worrying about being pestered. Dance with a different partner every time unless you find someone at your own level who needs to practice at that level. If a more advanced dancer wants to dance again, let them ask you the next time.

Remember to rotate (if you want)

If you want to stay with your own partner, step out of the line of rotation. The instructors don’t always remember to say that rotating is optional. It is never a requirement. However, if you are willing, joining the rotation is gracious if there is a follower/leader imbalance, and it’s a good way to meet the other dancers and improve your leading or following skills.

Change partners from time to time!

If you have a regular practice partner, don’t make the mistake of dancing exclusively with one partner. Permanent partners memorize each other and lose the skills of leading and following.

Respond graciously to requests

Never turn down a request to dance unless the dancer in question is drunk, dangerous, or inappropriately behaved, or if they ask you more than once or twice and you really dislike dancing with them. If you are tired or promised the dance to someone else, be sure to let them know the reason and seek them out later so they know you’re not just blowing them off. It’s only one dance and turning someone down for no reason (except that you don’t want to dance with them) is rude. It takes a lot of courage for many people just to ask, so be kind.

Survive rude rejections

Although many dancers are happy to help beginners feel welcome, there will always be those who will just say no and don’t care how hurtful that might be. Be prepared to encounter the occasional rude rebuff so it’s not such a shock when it happens. Bring along a friend if you can so you can express your feelings to a sympathetic ear. It makes it easier to let it go and move on. Rejection hurts, sometimes a lot. Get it off your chest and try again.

How it feels to be turned down for a dance.

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