I wrote an article a couple of years ago about salsa etiquette. It is very important that students read it before their first salsa outing and also as a refresher because it is a determining factor to how much fun you and the people around you will have going salsa dancing.
Here is the first excerpt from the article:
Salsa Dancing Etiquette – A Guide for Salsa Students and Dancers
Salsa clubs have their very own code of ethics and conduct that may sometimes not be apparent for new dancers. To make your dance experience as well as your partners’ and the dancers around you more enjoyable, please take note of the following salsa club guidelines and tips.
• Positioning yourself on the dance floor
You have just arrived at the salsa club and are anxious to begin dancing. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the surroundings and the dance scene. Every club is different in terms of where it is appropriate to socialize, stand and dance. The edge of the dance floor is a great place to position yourself when you are ready to begin dancing. Try to refrain from bringing glasses or bottles close to the dance floor as it can be dangerous. Be aware of the dancers and give them enough space to maneuver. Do your best to always navigate yourself around the edge of the dance floor (not through the centre) and take your time to ensure you do not bump into a dancer. There are many instances when a female is being spun and is bumped into by a passing patron/worker/dancer. This can be very dangerous and frustrating. Try not to congregate or socialize in groups around the dance floor. Most clubs have an area around the bar or to the sides for this and it will be less obstructive to the dancers.
• How to ask someone to dance – the male and female perspective
Gentleman, there is a right and a wrong way to ask for a dance. Please be polite. A smile and a general inquiry of “Would you like to dance?” is usually the best method but if you are not comfortable it is also appropriate to offer your hand (with a smile of course) to the lady. Once she accepts, an introduction of yourself will put her more at ease and create a connection.
Ladies, don’t feel that you have to wait for the men to ask you to dance. It is quite appropriate for you to do the asking. Remember that most men are very open to dancing. They may just be uncomfortable with doing the asking or afraid of being rejected. They will be relieved to have this task out of the way. If you have a good connection on the dance floor, the chances are great that the man will take over the asking task in the future.
More from the salsa etiquette guide in my next blog post!