9.10 On Dance Floors

I tell my students to sit out a dance if the floor is too full and then be first on the floor for the next one. If everyone did this it would sure make for a nicer place for all of us to dance. I do this socially. Most recently at the US Open I was asked to dance on two different occasions and as we approached a very crowed dance floor I turned the leader and asked him if we could sit this one out and get a better shot at a good space on the next song. Both times the leaders and I enjoyed a nice short chat and then a much better dance then we would have had if we had crowded on.

Understand rules of traffic flow: counter-clockwise progression, fast lane is outside, slower traffic further inside, stationary dances in the center. Don't block traffic in the fast lane, don't follow too closely, share the dance floor. Speeding through the middle of the floor (the sanctuary for stationary couples) is as rude as backing up in the fast lane. That having been said, the floor at a public dance is open to all. A total beginner has paid the same price you have to come & dance & is as entitled to as much floor as you are. It is up to the more experienced dancer to always be gracious about sharing the floor with, and to keep out of the way of, the less experienced who may not yet understand the rules. And, indeed, is a mark of good floorcraft. If the floor is very crowded, good floorcraft means sharing and using space parsimoniously. This is something that a lot of "fancy step sequence" teachers don't (help their students) understand. The accomplished dancers who contribute most to the pleasure of other dancers should be an inspiration. The ones who steal social dance time to show off, or use floor space inconsiderately are just egotistical bullies who maximize their own pleasure at the expense of others. It is a very strong point with me that more experienced dancers should NOT try to intimidate the less experienced dancers. Don't forget, one of these days this "beginner" may be pushing you off the floor!!

If you are walking on a dance floor, please do so on the outside of the floor and in the direction of dancing. Never, never try to get out of the way of a good dancer. By doing this he will have problems, since he has already planned, how to get around you. The best thing to do is: Ignore him!

In general, avoid the corners so you don't get trapped. During a competition or social dancing, stay one lane in from the outside edge of the floor; ready to move inside or backwards in case the couple in front of you stops - *never* move to the outside of the floor to find space, it is the easiest way to find yourself trapped. Many of the top pros have groupings for competitions, routines for shows. If they get boxed into a short side corner at the start, they can't start a long run so many would choose a grouping appropriate for the type of floor (square, rectangular or circular). Since couples are not out there by themselves, each must adjust to a constant changing layout. Often to get out of a crowd, one couple might go into a syncopated running group to leave the others behind, while another couple might go into a line and a stationary grouping waiting till the bulk of the couples have moved along.

It's okay to dance something different from what other people are dancing, but *only* if:

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This file is part of the lead/follow FAQ list. These are articles compiled from the newsgroup rec.arts.dance by Mark Balzer. Html-isation by Victor Eijkhout, victor at eijkhout dot net. See also the Rec Arts Dance FAQ list Copyright 1996/7/8/9 lies with the compiler, the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

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