Dance Etiquette

Saigon Swing Cats Dance Etiquette

We all want to have a great time dancing and to feel safe. Every dance community has slightly different guidelines, as Yehoodi has been sharing a few. For Saigon Swing Cats, we’ve tried to keep it short - and please come chat to any SSC organizers if you have any questions.

Appearance and hygiene

Please think about you and your dance partner’s comfort. Keep your mouth fresh, cover skin your partner will touch, and bring spare shirts.

Can I dance with everyone?

You absolutely can, please ask people to dance with you. The more people you ask to dance, the more dancing you will do. If you’re shy and find it hard to ask, we encourage you to give it a go J Especially if you’re new – we all started dancing once and do remember how scary it can be. One of the things many people love about swing dancing is that you dance with lots of different people of different levels and experience. You’ll learn lots more if you dance with a wide variety of people.

If you don’t want to dance with someone, you don’t have to and you don’t have to give a reason. If you say no to a dance with someone, please don’t then dance that same song with someone else – wait to the next song to find someone else. If you need a rest before dancing again, tell the person who asked you to dance, and suggest dancing the next song or later in the evening with them – and then make sure you find them for that promised dance.

Safe space

Swing is a safe space. If someone’s dancing or behavior makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and you are comfortable raising it with them, please do. You could say something like ‘I’d like to dance with you, but when you ... [behavior] / [action], it hurts/ I feel uncomfortable'. Alternately, please talk to one of the SSC organizers about the issue.

Etiquette on the dance floor

Dance floors can be crowded. Be safe by (leaders) looking where you’re sending your partner and make sure there is space, (followers) look where your partner is sending you. Followers, look over your lead’s shoulder if they are going backwards, if there isn’t space – pull them safely back towards you. Leads, do the same when your follower is going backwards.

Never do aerials on the social dance floor. It’s too crowded and everyone is moving too fast for this to be safe. Keep your moves to an appropriate size, eg if the floor is super crowded, this isn’t the best time to do huge swingouts.

If you do bump into someone, apologise! If they are hurt and can’t keep dancing to that song, stop your own dance and check they are ok.

The dance floor is for dancing, if you want a lesson, please join a class or book some private tuition. The only time you should critique/comment on your partner’s dancing on the social dance floor, is if they’ve specifically asked you for feedback eg ‘could you check whether my swing out is straight and let me know?’. ‘Sure’. It’s impolite to correct your partner without being asked, unless they are dancing dangerously.

What do I do when I’m not dancing?

Please stay off the dance floor. If you see something on the dance floor that is dangerous (spilled drink/hair clips) grab it to keep the floor safe.

Do chat to other dancers who are between dances. Don’t feel annoyed if they get asked to dance and go dance though, as that's why they're here too.

If you’re dancing in a bar or restaurant, make sure you buy something, esp if there is no cover charge. This makes sure the venue is happy for us to keep dancing there.

What is a ‘jam’?

In swing dancing we celebrate special events (birthdays, someone leaving, someone arriving), with a jam dance. This means that person dances the whole song, and everyone else takes turns to dance with them. Gather round and support them by clapping along to the song! Learning some ‘steal’ moves will help you be part of a jam.

After the dance.

Thank your dj/band. They’ve put a lot of work into the evening and will appreciate your support.

Where can I find more info/thoughts on this?

From Holy Lindy Land


There are lots of blog posts/web pages on dance etiquette. Check these out:
http://www.holylindyland.com/lindy-hoppers-etiquette/
https://swungover.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/swing-101-etiquette-floorcraft/
http://www.utdallas.edu/~aria/dance/etiquette.html
http://rustyfrank.com/swingetiquette.asp
http://www.yehoodi.com/comment/176715/swing-dance-codes-of-conduct-t
There are plenty more articles out there, try a google search and see what you find.

Have a fabulous time dancing! …and please ask us for a dance! :-)


(Credit to Catherine Schmitz for putting this together)
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