On a crowded dance floor, it is common to bump into the couple dancing next to you. If you’re part of a collision, stop dancing, make sure no one is hurt and apologize. If you are a leader, you ultimately are responsible for where you place your partner, but, as a couple, you should both be aware of your surroundings. If you are a follower, you should act as the leader’s back-up set of eyes. If you see a collision about to happen, tighten up your frame and give the leader’s arm a squeeze to let him know you’re in a tight spot.
excerpted from Quora.com
Lose your inhibitions. There are going to be times where you’re sure that you and/or your partner look completely foolish to anyone watching, but accept that that’s part of the fun. You are going to make mistakes and everything will be okay.
Think thoughts about staying low to the ground. One rookie mistake is considering swing to be a bouncy dance. An easy way to look more advanced than you actually are is to smooth out your movements while staying on the balls of your feet.
Keep your arms floating at waist level. Don’t glue them to your sides and don’t hold them stiffly. If they aren’t engaged with your partner, then keep them ready to do so at any moment’s notice.
Partner with everyone. There’s a tendency for people to partner selectively – some people prefer to always dance with people better than them, some always with people worse, others with only people at the same level. Each of these categories has a lot to offer you. People who are better than you will show you, both explicitly and implicitly, how to get better; people who are worse will teach you how to partner better and be more adaptable; and people your level will be willing to experiment with you on the same level.
At the end of each dance, EACH partner should thank the OTHER one for that dance. Depending upon how well you know your partner, the “thank you” is usually verbal, but can sometimes be a smile and/or a hand squeeze. If it is verbal, it can be as simple as “Thank you” or slightly more, such as “Thank you for the dance” or “Thank you – I enjoyed dancing with you” (or, in response to the first person’s thanks, an enthusiastic “Thank YOU!”). If appropriate with a non-regular partner, a follower could say to a leader something like “Great leading!” or “Nice/interesting moves!”; a leader could say to a follower “Great following!” or “You made me look good”; either could say to the other something like “Great frame! ” or “Great connection!”
by César & Filo
If you have a background in another form of dance or music, finding the first beat and dancing in time will probably be easy for you…but for others, moving in time with the rhythm can be a real obstacle to overcome! Being able to hear the rhythm makes learning salsa so much easier as it is something less you have to think about. For those having trouble, try listening to salsa music and try to count out loud the beat. Do this at home, in the car, in the bath, wellâ€¦as much as possible! When you are dancing in class don’t be afraid to count out loud either – it really does help.
(https://www.swingdance.la/secrets-to-swing-dancing-well/) – excerpted
Go social dancing as often as possible!
Just taking a lesson once a week won’t cut it. You’ll forget everything you learned before the next lesson. You should go out at least twice or three times a week. Check this site’s Lindy Calendar and Lindy map to find events near you.
Take lessons – especially private lessons!
It’s true that some great dancers just learned by going out and having people teach them (more follows than leads), but I think lessons are always helpful and sometimes crucial depending on your natural dancing ability. And don’t just take lessons from one teacher – try many teachers and learn many styles.
Concentrate on learning the basics.
Also, new swing dancers tend to take big steps, especially on the rock-step. Take small steps! Second, avoid rushing. Beginners are usually nervous and rush through moves. Take the all of the allocated beats to finish your move (you have more time than you think!). If you are a follower, instead of learning a bunch of moves, learn how to follow. Then you can do any move that the leader leads. Followers, don’t try to read the leader’s mind and anticipate the move. Just follow what the leader physically leads you to do (along with following the music of course).
Dance with a variety of people – not just your partner.
You need to dance with different people to become a good leader or follower. If you dance with the same person all of the time, you won’t be leading or following. You’ll know all of each other’s moves and will just be anticipating them. Ask other people to dance, and accept when other people ask you.
Video record yourself dancing.
Watching yourself on video can be very revealing. It can be painful to watch, but it will help you identify problems and do wonders for your dancing.
Listen to lots of swing music.
You’ll get familiar with the structure, breaks, and rhythms. There is nothing cooler than knowing when a break is coming up and hitting it with a quick stop! Have fun and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
(from Jen’s Reviews via Brian L. Wells, Starliters Dance Studio)
Regular exercise can help reduce restless leg syndrome and that includes dancing. Dancing is demanding of the leg muscles and will help them relax more when not active. If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, after you have started a dance class you will notice a reduction in episodes of the condition.
by Ron Montez
Another thing to which dancers should pay attention is their posture and their frame. This really goes for all dances. Hands and arms are forward toward your partner in making the frame. The tummy should be pulled in, upper body inclined forward. The elbows should not go behind the back. If you have good posture in your dance frame, you’ll feel better as a partner, your leads and follows will be more successful and you’ll be more fun to dance with.
The beginning stages of social dance are probably some of the most enjoyable parts of your dance career or hobby. At the beginning, there are few expectations on yourself, so your learning is enjoyable.
Don’t be too critical too soon – and enjoy yourself!
by Dr. Aria Nostratinia
• Etiquette is here to ensure that everyone has a good time in a social dance setting, so pay attention to it.
• Your outfit and accessories should be comfortable, safe and also reflect the culture and level of formality of the dance group. Most importantly, do not forget your dance shoes.
• Ask everyone to dance. Do not monopolize one partner for the whole night.
• Today’s beginners will be the good dancers of tomorrow, so be nice to them and dance with them.
• Do not decline a dance unless you absolutely have to. Having declined a dance, you cannot dance the same song with someone else.
• Be considerate of other couples on the floor. Exercise good floorcraft. Do not cut other couples off.
• Stationary dancers (e.g., swing dancers) stay i the middle; traveling dancers move on the boundary along the line of dance.
• Avoid patterns that your partner cannot do – dance to the level of your partner.
• Never blame your partners for missteps.
• Smile, be warm, be personable, be nice.
by Joseph Baker
Advanced ballroom dancers dance with long flowing, confident strides rather than with tentative stutter steps. Beginners tend to dance with tentative small steps. A common fear is one of stepping on the follower’s toes. The unfortunate consequence is a dance that is stunted and awkward-looking.
When in proper body alignment and with proper stepping action on the part of the follower, crushed toes will likely never result, no matter how clumsy the leader might be. Here’s why. When in a closed hold, the leader’s body is slightly to the left of the follower’s, such that the leader’s right foot is pointed between the follower’s two feet. Thus, their feet are on different tracks.
Mor important, though, is that the follower should take all backward steps reaching from her/his hip and extending to the toe. When a follower dances in this fashion, it is nearly impossible for the leader to step on the follower’s toes.
by Pierre Baston
Argentine tango instructor (Philadelphia, PA area)
Some scientists say that what makes us love a great piece of music or painting is the ratio of expected to unexpected elements. Neither a dance that only follows a predictable pattern nor a dance composed of continual surprises will satisfy many partners or observers.
One scholar figured that the ideal ratio of order to complexity in an aesthetic expression such as dance is 37% to 63% in favor of surprise. So why not reach for a good measure of novelty on the dance floor and delight our dance partners to the max?