Social Dance is not just about dancing. It is just as much about the social interaction, so when we go dancing, it makes sense to not just make sure we dance well, but also make sure we follow some basic social rules to make it nicer for our partner, and in the end, also for us. This is not a complete list, just a few fundamentals. But no matter if you dance tango, salsa, bachata, kizomba, west coast swing or any other dance, it makes sense to follow.
This is an excerpt from one of my books - "The Secrets of Social Dance - How to Become a Popular Dancer" which you can find on Amazon.
The Golden Rule
The golden rule in social interactions is to treat others like you would like to be treated yourself. This is a maxim that is found in most religions and cultures, guiding human behaviour and teaching our children how to behave with other people. It has even been endorsed as a part of the 1993 "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic". To me, it makes total sense also to apply it in social dancing situations.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Of course, we are not all exactly alike, and we have some different values, are not equally sensitive or empathetic. But I would say it is a good habit to pay it a thought or two when we are out dancing in a social context.
Hopefully, you are having a good time. If you are, show it! We have already talked about it quite a bit, but it is super important.
A smile is the most beautiful gift. And it is also a great first impression. When you invite, try to do it with a smile. When you are invited, try to accept with a smile. When you dance, try to smile from time to time. And when you finish dancing, say thank you with a smile. Sometimes the smile from someone we dance with makes all the difference.
We often return a smile with a smile. Everything becomes better with a smile, on the social floor and in every other area of life.
Even if you are not having a great time, a smile can make your partner feel a bit better. Maybe it will make them relax more, and the dance will become better. Perhaps that smile will make their day, even if it wasn't 100 % sincere.
Smile more. Smile when you dance. Smile when you meet people. People will like you more for it because people like people who like them.
Make Eye Contact
Try also to make eye contact when you dance. Not all the time, but sometimes. It will show your partner you are there, dancing with them.
When I say sometimes, I mean sometimes. This is not a case where more is always better. I don't mean all the time.
I remember when I started dancing bachata. There was one woman who was looking me in the eyes constantly, also from a close distance. I seriously couldn't handle it. I didn't know where to look and felt very uncomfortable. Looking into your partner's eyes all the time can feel creepy. Don't be a creep. But make eye contact sometimes. Check everything is fine and show that you are engaged in the dance.
We have a fixed expression in our family. Something we say in a joking way if someone else tells us we sound like we are bragging:
"It is hard to be humble when you know you're the best".
It is said with humour, but it is also true in a way. Especially if you really believe you are the best. Then it can be hard to be humble.
We would maybe not be surprised if a great dancer isn't very humble. It makes more sense than someone who is bad and not humble. But humbleness is not always related to skill. It is more about upbringing. It is something that some people have learnt since childhood and others not so much.
Humility is attractive. Not only on the dance floor but also in other areas of life.
It is not about not believing in yourself. Humility is not about lack of confidence. It is almost the opposite. It is being so confident in yourself that you don't need to promote yourself in that way. You don't need to brag about your deeds. You don't believe yourself to be better than other people. It is merely about treating others for who they are, with the respect they deserve.
It is worth remembering that there is always someone better. And people are great at different things. When people tell me they appreciate my humbleness, it makes me very happy.
I know I am a good dancer, and I try my best at being a great teacher, but I can never know who is in my class. I could have a Nobel Prize Winner or someone who is finding a cure for cancer. So, why should I believe I am better than anyone else just because I dance well? Everyone is great at something.
We never know who we meet. There is no reason to be cocky with anyone. Being humble shows that you don't judge anyone. It shows that you respect everyone for who they are. No matter if they are beginners or advanced dancers.
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