Asking someone to dance:
Make eye contact and smile!
Say, “Would you like to dance?” If they agree, then go have fun! If they decline, then be gracious and move on. Remember, no one owes you a dance!
We generally dance a single song together, and then thank each other and move on to new partners. Some people like to dance two in a row, but please do not monopolize anyone’s time.
The fine print:
Ask lots of different people to dance. If you’ve already danced with a person once that night, make sure you take the time to dance with the other people there before you ask the same person again. That way we all get to know each other.
Please go out of your way to ask someone less skilled than you to dance! Many are here to learn. By the same token, please go out of your way to ask someone more skilled than you to dance, so that you can learn!
You may have heard that men should ask women to dance, or that men should escort their partners to the edge of the floor at the end of the song. Maybe that was true for the generation that created the dance, but at swing dances today, EVERYONE asks EVERYONE to dance, and at the end of the song, we thank each other and go wherever we want to go.
When someone asks you to dance:
We love it when someone asks us to dance! It’s lovely that they want to collaborate with us for the next three minutes. We smile and say, “Yes, of course!”
If for some reason we don’t want to accept the invitation, we smile and say “No thank you.” Sometimes we are just too tired or the song is too fast for us or we aren’t feeling the song, so then we sit out that entire song, and we try to ask the person to dance a later song. (PLEASE NOTE, if there is ever anyone at a dance whom you feel uncomfortable dancing with, please let someone on the Providence Swings board know. We strive to have a safe, comfortable environment for everyone, and we are grateful to you for alerting us to any potentially unsafe or inappropriate behavior. You can find us by asking to talk to a board member to the person at the door, or by contacting us through firstname.lastname@example.org.)
It’s generally considered rude to decline one person for a song but then dance with someone else.
We don’t all know or remember each other’s names, but we like each other anyway!
People often dance together without introducing themselves. If you’d like to introduce yourself, you can do so while you’re dancing or at the end of the song.
If you’re like me and you always forget people’s names, no matter how wonderful they are, you can always re-introduce yourself. Maybe the other person will appreciate the reminder, too!
A great way to remember names is to look at the pictures on Facebook from events events. Join our Facebook group and tag yourself and your friends.
If you are new to dancing:
Wonderful! New people keep our community growing and our dance alive. Welcome!
If you would like some instructions on the moves people are doing, feel free to ask! You can ask anyone! Just say, “Hi, I’m new, can you show me the basics?” Not everyone may feel comfortable teaching, but they can definitely introduce you to someone who does!
If you’re ready to dance, feel free to ask anyone to dance. If you want them to go slow for you, just say, “I’m pretty new, so can we keep it simple?”
If you would like feedback:
We never ever criticize each other’s dancing at a social dance. So if you want someone to give you pointers, you have to ask! Tell them you want feedback before the song starts. Otherwise they may not be ready to give you useful observations afterwards. Just say, “I’m working on my X tonight. Would you dance with me and tell me how it feels to you?”
Thank them for their feedback!
If someone asks you for feedback:
It’s such a compliment when someone seeks out our opinion of their dancing. Remember to stay brief and positive. Pick one or two things you think will be helpful to the person, like taking smaller steps or relaxing their arms. State your observation as an I-statement, like “I sometimes had a hard time matching your steps. I think it would be easier for me if you took smaller steps.”