So you’ve taken quite a few lessons and you think you’ve gained enough confidence to attend your first dance social. This is such a great step and will definitely help you to improve your dancing and enjoy the new dance world that you have found yourself in.

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But you definitely don’t want to step on anybody’s toes (either literally or metaphorically) so it can be helpful to quickly remind yourself of the etiquette of asking someone to dance, and accepting a dance request. The more you get this right, the better chance you have of dancing with someone who you really click with. You might even end up looking just as good as Ben and Ana do in this video!

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How to ask someone to dance

Traditionally, it was always the man who was expected to ask the woman to dance. This has shifted in recent years, as many similar things have, and anyone can ask anyone to dance at a dance social. It is still, however, often the men who do the most asking. The best way of doing this is to walk over to where the person is sitting and politely ask them “Would you like to dance?” while extending out your left hand to them to guide them to the dance floor. Most of the time they will say yes, and then you can go ahead and dance together. Once the song has finished, you should guide them back to the edge of the dance floor and thank them. If you have interrupted a conversation that they were having, you can also guide them back to where they were sitting, but some people do prefer to be left at the edge of the dance floor so that they can decide for themselves where they would like to go next.

How to accept a dance request

If someone has approached you and asked you to dance, the expectation is almost always for you to say yes. It is, of course, acceptable to say no if you have danced with this person before and they were markedly unpleasant or if you feel threatened by them in any way. But if you just suspect they aren’t a particularly good dancer, it really isn’t the done thing to say no just because of that. Getting the chance to dance with as many different people as possible is a big part of how dance socials work and saying yes every time keeps that momentum going. You should aim to dance with a different person every song so if someone is asking you repeatedly to keep dancing with them, you can tell them that you would like to give dancing with someone else a try.

The bottom line

Social dancing can seem a little intimidating before you go for the first time, with its unwritten social rules. But they really are quite easy to follow once you get the hang of them, and as soon as you have attended one or two events you will get a feel for how to handle the situation. Then you can relax and really start to enjoy yourself!

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