You’ve always heard about it- social dancing. But what is it exactly? Dancing in a social environment? Acting social while you’re dancing? Engaging in social networking after dancing? Well, it’s all of those things really. Any situation in which you are dancing with or without a partner for pure fun and enjoyment can be considered social dancing. Read on to get some tips on how to be best equipped before you head out on the dance floor.
Trying something new is scary, no matter how old you are. The first and most important thing you need to remember before you go social dancing is to RELAX! There won’t be any judges sitting at a little table with score cards. That’s what makes this so great. People dance in social settings because there’s no right answer. Also, don’t forget how self-centered we are as a species. Wherever you go to dance, every single person in the vicinity will be far more concerned with how they look in those new pants to notice if you messed up your salsa basic. Don’t worry about anyone else, you came here for you! Everyone came here to have fun, so you have every right to as well. A pre-dance drink is also fair game if that helps you loosen up, just know your limit!
This may sound like something only competitive dancers need to do, but it’s just as important in social dancing. Before you go out there and perform the finale to Dirty Dancing, you must stretch! Again, we are self-centered creatures. Some of us love to have all eyes on us, so we try to catch the attention of the room with flashy kicks and acrobatics. Unfortunately, the average person is not a natural contortionist, so flailing around like a firecracker will definitely lead to injury. Now, you don’t need to bring your yoga mat to the club and do a full body stretch before you dance. Some simple leg stretches will suffice, particularly the calves and quadriceps. Maybe roll your ankles around a bit, and you should be good to go.
3. Know Your Music!
If you are going social dancing in a place where everyone dances with a partner, you’ll need to know what types of music go with different dances. Here is a very concise breakdown of what goes with what.
Latin music- Rumba (slow tempo), Cha Cha (medium tempo), Salsa (fast tempo).
Jazz and Country music- West Coast Swing and Lindy Hop (slow tempo), Foxtrot and Country Western 2 Step (medium tempo), East Coast Swing (fast tempo).
Not familiar with any of those dances? Take a peek at our YouTube channel for some instruction on the basic steps!
4. Grab A Partner!
Social dancing is usually done with a partner, so you need to either have one with you when you get to the venue or ask someone there if they want to dance with you. Again, relax. The worst thing they could say is no, in which case you say okay and then go ask someone else. Try prepping ahead of time by engaging in small talk with the person. Like their shoes? Compliment them! Everyone likes to feel appreciated. And ladies, throw out the old notion that you have to wait for a man to ask you to dance. Men are often thrown off-guard by a confident woman (in a good way)! Little extra tip too, offer your hand out and lead your partner onto the dance floor. It’s a dated move, but it makes you look respected and classy!
5. Have Fun and Start Social Dancing!
Once you’ve gotten to this point, all the obstacles are behind you. You have your partner, you’re limber, now you just need to move with the music. Chances are your partner is just as nervous as you, if not more, so diffuse it. If you step on their foot, apologize with a laugh and say it’s a good thing you didn’t wear your steel-toed boots. Got a partner who isn’t familiar with the dance you’re doing? Talk them through the basic step and congratulate them when they start to get it. Keep everything light- remember, this isn’t Dancing With The Stars. You’re just two normal people swaying to some good music to have a good time. Let go of anything that may be holding you back. Don’t worry about that meeting tomorrow or the bills that are due. Just enjoy the music and your partner’s company, because you’re doing it! You’re social dancing! Hurray!
Want more in-depth instruction on social dancing? Schedule a FREE introductory lesson with us!