Hey ladies! We already know that the dance floor is a fun, exciting place to be. If you've taken a few private country dancing lessons or a couple group dance classes, you probably even have some sweet moves under your belt. But how do you guarantee yourself a fun, safe time? Aside from a proper knowledge of your favorite dances, every woman should know her dance floor defense. In other words, you need to know how to accept/reject dances and deal with others on the floor. Most social dancing is still at bars, after all, so it's good to have a game plan for dealing with those who are a little more inebriated than you're comfortable with.
Accepting and rejecting dances
When you're first venturing into the world of social dance, the best way to practice is by getting out on the dance floor! Those swing dancing lessons will only get you so far if you never take them out of the studio.
The biggest rookie mistake I see? Never knowing when to say no. For the most part, you want to accept dance invitations that are offered to you. After all, you need to practice with multiple leaders to really work on your follow. But there is definitely a time to turn down a dance, so don't be afraid to! There is such a thing as exhaustion - if you need a water break, take one! If you need to turn a guy down to take your break, just be sure to find him later and make up for it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are never required to dance with anyone. If you danced with him already and felt unsafe with his lead, feel free to say no thanks! If he seems too intoxicated to dance safely, no thank you. If he's been harassing you or your friends, beat it. The dance floor should always be safe, and you have every right to guarantee that for yourself. Most guys are very accepting if you turn down their invitation politely. After all, there are plenty of other ladies for them to dance with!
(Note: If a guy doesn't accept your rejection or really hassles you about it, don't be afraid to notify security. The majority of dancers are friendly, polite, and understanding... but occasionally you may run into a bad egg. Call him out so he can't harass you or others.)
A touchy subject for a lot of newer dancers is proximity. Especially if you're checking out the Latin dancing scene, a few of the dances are intended to be danced closely. In no way does it mean that it is required, but it does mean that some men might get into your personal space without your permission. 90% of the time they mean nothing by it, but it doesn't mean you have to be okay with it. So how do you cope when a guy gets too close?
Strong arm him.
This all comes down to your frame. If you've been to a social dance studio like Dance FX Studios for private dance lessons, you'll have learned how to properly hold your arms and body to dance with a partner. Where is your left hand? On your dance partner's right shoulder. This gives you the perfect leverage to keep your distance when you want it. If he manages to sneak in anyway, don't be afraid to really get your arm in there. I'm talking get your hand on his chest and push. Some guys really don't get the hint, and if you're uncomfortable, there's no shame in it! Don't worry about being rude - he was rude by assuming his closeness was welcome. Luckily, most guys will get the hint long before if gets to that point.
*There's also no shame in avoiding close dances if you know you'll be uncomfortable. Or, make a point to only dance them with people you are comfortable with.
After the first dance
Occasionally you'll have dancers who want to continue dancing with you after your first dance. If the song easily transitions from one Country Two Step dance to another, he may just keep dancing. If you want to continue your dance, go for it! If you've had enough, stop moving and thank him for the dance. This lets him know you enjoyed your time, but you're ready for a break or your next partner. It's generally considered rude for a man to monopolize a woman on the dance floor unless they came together or are specifically dance partners. In other words, feel free to give him a few dances, but try to break them up or stick with 3 in a row as a maximum. That way you can both enjoy each other's company while giving other people a chance to dance!
Need more pointers for the dance floor? Check out Dance FX Studios in Mesa, AZ for all your social dancing needs. Our instructors are here to prepare you for real world dancing, whether you want to Salsa, Swing, or anything in between! Join us just off the 60 and the 101 for completely personalized private dance lessons or for our super fun group dance classes. After some time with us, you'll be ready to put your dance floor defense to work! (Although, hopefully you won't need to!)