• Develop an awareness of the dance floor. How the dancers are moving on it around you is a critical and creative aspect of your dancing • The fast lane is on the outside. Dance in the fast lane only if you can keep up. Don't block or slow down traffic. Choose variations that keep up with the flow. Don't be a rock in the rapids! • The slow lane and stationary steps are in the center, in the eye of the hurricane. • If you're not dancing, please clear off the floor. The dancers will appreciate it. • Take extra care not to bump other couples. Always be aware of the others around you. Leads, look where you are going to lead before you send your follow there. Don't start a move unless there is room. Protect your follow from collisions. • If you bump into another couple, attempt to make eye contact with them and apologize even if the collision was not your fault. If the collision was severe express your concern after the song has ended. Dance to the music • Don't force your partner through a cross step waltz to fast waltz music. Cross step works best with slow waltz music. Rotary or Viennese waltzing is much more comfortable and enjoyable at moderate and fast tempos. Sensing the needs of your partner • A good lead cares about what is pleasurable or fun for the follow, as opposed to just showing off, or using the follow as an accessory to the lead’s ego. • Take care of your partner. A considerate lead dances for the partner's ability and comfort. • A good lead clearly suggests an option, which is different from controlling the follow. A lead proposes, but does not prescribes, a certain way of moving to the music. If the follow does not go with the proposal (does not 'follow'), the lead adapts to the partner’s motion instead of exerting more power to press acceptance of the proposal. A good dance should be a conversation between two people. Behavior that will not be tolerated • Roughness, disrespect and predatory behavior including sexual advances are sketchy behaviors, and are not welcome at a social dance. • In swing dances, don't do aerials or kicks in crowded conditions. Even if you have lots of space, never attempt to lead an aerial with someone unless you've carefully practiced that move ahead of time with the follow. • Report any unacceptable behavior to the host, DJ or instructor. We will enforce this code of behavior for our community. • Teaching on the dance floor is in appropriate. • Dancing is all about having fun. Criticizing your partner isn't fun. Don't give an impromptu lesson unless asked.
Hygiene and clothing • Comfortable shoes that enable pivoting on the dance are an important aspect of good dancing. Shoes with suede or leather bottoms work best. Some dancers attach suede to the bottom of comfortable shoes with Barge cement as an inexpensive alternative to dance shoes. • Don't wear heavy perfumes and colognes. • Shower, brush your teeth, and use breath mints • If you sweat a lot when you dance, bring extra shirts.
How to ask for a dance and how to refuse a dance graciously. • Men should assume that women come to dance, not to find a date. If there's an exception, she can indicate so. • Don't ask the same person for several dances in a row unless he/she indicates that would be desirable. • You have a right to refuse anyone at anytime especially if you have been treated roughly or with disrespect by him or her. If appropriate, add an explanation to a refusal such as “I am tired and need to sit out for a dance.” • If the person says no to a dance, that means no. Period. • Women are encouraged to ask others for dances; and not to leave the entire burden on the men.
Beginners versus experienced dancers • Give your partner all of your attention. Let him or her know that you are enjoying the dance. • We encourage you to dance with people you don't already know. • If you are far more experienced than your partner, dance for your partner's style and comfort • Relax. Don't get flustered, keep moving, laugh at what happens if appropriate but keep dancing. Truly exceptional dancers will almost always make a mistake look like something they planned if at all possible. There are no mistakes in dancing, only new moves.
Portland Waltz Eclectic February 2006 PortlandDanceEclectic.com