Swing dancing is a social experience that should always be fun. Swing dance etiquette is about bringing common sense and consideration to a space. Here are some things you can do to make it as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.
Our swing dance community is a happy and welcoming one, based on openness and respect. It’s up to all of us to ensure that we create a safe space for everyone to enjoy. Here’s a Code of Conduct to help you understand how to navigate your path to becoming a positive contributor to the community.
- Keep your hands clean. Wash and sanitise your hands when you arrive, and often during an event.
- If you know you are sick, keep it away from the dance floor.
- Wear clean clothes and use a deodorant (just make sure it isn’t too strong!)
- Keep your breath fresh! Just had a yiros with extra garlic sauce? Get some mints.
Dancing is very energetic, so we recommend wearing clothing that is comfortable and allows you to move freely. Some people don’t like being touched where they are sweaty, or touching clothing wet with sweat.
- Wear clothes that don’t need adjustment or that partners may get tangled in. Baggy clothes can make dancing difficult.
- If you sweat a lot, bring a change of top, or two!
- It’s a great idea to bring a small personal towel.
- Steer away from wearing crop tops, or anything sleeveless or backless.
- There are many types of swing dancing shoes out there. Sneakers and leather-soled shoes are good. Please do not wear stilettos, work boots, or shoes that mark the floor.
- Watch out for those big hair do’s and hats! They might get in the way or fall off mid-turn.
- Remember makeup! It looks amazing but stains, so if you’re wearing some, please be mindful of others.
- Keep those fluids up! Drink lots of water.
- It’s good to bring a water bottle but if we’re dancing at a venue, please buy a drink (and perhaps some food) to support the hosts! We love having places to dance, so we want venues to want us to come back.
- Keep your drink off the dance floor. Spilled drinks make for slippery (or sticky) dance floors that could lead to injury.
Asking for a dance
- Good on you for getting out there! However, don’t always expect a ‘yes’. If you ask someone for a dance and they say “no”. That’s okay! There could lots of reasons why and they don’t have to tell you.
- Check in to see whether your partner would prefer to lead or follow.
- You may need to negotiate what style of dance you’ll share.
- Ask someone new to dance! Everyone can feel shy at times, so if you’re feeling like it, welcome someone new onto the dance floor!
Declining a dance
- You can say no. It is okay.
- When you say no, you don’t have to give a reason.
- You can also stop during a dance. You don’t have to offer a reason, just communicate with your partner that you’d like to stop.
If you’re dancing solo, with a partner or even just standing to the side, floor craft is something everyone should be mindful of!
- To help keep everyone safe, look for open spaces on the floor and dance into them. Keep an eye out and tell your partner if they are in danger colliding with anyone (or anything!)
- Take note of how crowded the floor is and adapt your style to fit.
- If you bump into others, apologise.
- If you land heavily on someone, check that they’re okay and if they’re hurt, offer assistance.
- Jam circles are incredibly fun! They are also very busy and can be confusing. Remember to look out for each other and share the floor.
- Save aerials for jam circles, competitions and performances. Do not perform them on the social floor, and always check with your partner before leading an them.