Asking for a dance:
Leads and follows should both feel free to ask for a dance.
Everyone has the right to decline for any reason, but shouldn't feel obliged to explain. A simple, "No, thank you" or "I'm sitting this one out" will suffice. Don't take it personally if you get turned down, just ask someone else.
General etiquette is that if you've turned down a dance, wait until the next song to dance with another person to avoid bruised feelings.
A "Would you like to dance?" will get you more dances than grabbing at someone's wrist and pulling them onto the floor.
It's fine to ask for multiple dances from the same partner, but try to keep from monopolizing any one person's time for too long.
Our dancers come from all walks of life -- all ages, races, genders, and ability levels are represented and welcome in our scene. Please respect everyone's right to have fun and dance. If there is a safety concern or you are made to feel uncomfortable in any way, please find one of our organizers, teachers, or DJs and we will do anything we can to address the issue.
Please practice good floorcraft. This is a job for both leads and follows. Stay aware of the other dancers around you and steer clear of them as much as possible. This is especially important on crowded nights. You can still have a fabulous time while dancing "small."
If you do collide with someone (no matter who's at fault), pause and check with the other person with a quick, "Sorry! Are you ok?"
Trick moves -- aerials, flips, lifts, flashy drops, etc. - are NOT allowed on the social dance floor. You may see them in performances, competitions and jams - and we encourage that ONLY when both partners have practiced and have a safe space in which to execute them. WE WILL ASK YOU TO STOP IF WE SEE AIR STEPS ON THE SOCIAL FLOOR. Do not be offended, it's for everyone's safety.
If you have a preexisting injury or issue, remember that you can let your partner know about it so they can take it into consideration (ie, "My shoulder is hurting a little, can we please take it a little easy in turns?"). It is always ok to stop mid-dance for any reason.
Offering unsolicited advice or critiques to other dancers is impolite -- both in the lessons and on the social floor. Side teaching during the lessons is distracting to the students and disrespectful to the teachers. On the social floor, people are out to have fun, not to be told what they're doing wrong. Everyone (including those giving the advice) has things they can work on and improve.
If you want to work on something together with someone, it's fine to find a corner off the dance floor to do so.
Swing is an athletic dance that happens in close proximity to others, so personal hygiene is particularly important. If you're coming from a prior activity that results in you or your clothes being dirty or sweaty -- freshen up and change into clean clothes before heading out.
Avoid strong perfume or cologne.
Wear deodorant (and keep extra in your dance bag if you need it).
Bring a change of shirt if you know you get sweaty. Having a handkerchief, hand towel, or folding fan is also helpful.
There are mints at the front table if you had onions at dinner...
Wash your hands regularly and/or use the hand sanitizer at the front table.
Some venues have nice dance floors, so plan to have dedicated dance shoes that aren't worn outside for those spaces.
Avoid "grippy" or high traction soles, as that makes it easy to hurt your knees and ankles. "Dance shoes" often have suede or hard leather soles for minimal grip - these can be applied by a cobbler if needed. You may find, as you progress in your dancing, that you'll keep multiple pairs of shoes on hand depending on how "fast" the floor is.
Don't dance in heels unless you're accustomed to dancing in heels. Generally, a 2" or under stacked heel is as high as you'd want to safely go. High stiletto style heels, aside from being dangerous for your own ankles, can do some damage to others on a crowded dance floor.