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Dance Tips & Etiquette

Basic Etiquette


  1. Hold her hand and lead her onto the dance floor.  Don't grip her hand, and don't use her as your bumper at ANY time.  This means while walking on & off the floor, and especially while you're dancing! 
  2. Lead her off the dance floor, and return her to where you found her.  She will be so surprised at these few moments of courtesy, she will remember you.
  3. Lead her, move her, it's OK.
  4. Don't grip her shoulder blade.  That's not what it was made for.
  5. While she's doing a turn, wait until you see the white's of her eyes before you bring down her arm.  She's vulnerable while turning, and her rotator cuff will thank you for it.
  6. Do not EVER compare her to the instructor. Your instructor can follow because she's a professional.
  7. The lady ALWAYS determine how close you get.  You may not get another dance with her if you insist on body contact.
  8. You are responsible for the lady's safety.  Do not perform a move that sends her into the wall, or into another couple.  Ladies heels are very sharp, no one wants to be stepped on or bumped into.
  9. Yes, it probably will take you longer to learn to dance than it will a lady.  Try practicing on your own in your living room.
  10. Keep your rhythm consistent, even if it's not consistent with the music.  Practice at home, clapping your hands to the music with a friend who can give you feedback.


  1. If he's a beginner be patient with him, he's still learning.
  2. No talking to him while he's learning a new pattern.  He can't hear you and think at the same time.  No, he can't.  Trust us.
  3. In your effort to be light, you may give him "puppy dog" hands and spaghetti arms.  Don't, this gives him nothing to lead with.  He needs tone in your arms and hands to move you.  Also, "tone" is not the same as "tense", so try it with a friend to get feedback.
  4. Do not EVER compare your partner to the teacher.  The instructor does this as a profession, of course he can lead you.
  5. Do not refuse to dance with one gentleman and then accept a dance with another for the same dance.  Sit it out.   He may become a better dancer, but he will never ask you again.  You may miss out in the long run.
  6. As hard as this may be to hear, keep time with your partner.  Yes, even if he is off-time.  It will be much easier to follow his lead, and he will eventually learn the correct rhythm.  Remember, he has much more to learn than you do, and your patience will be greatly appreciated, perhaps even rewarded later.
  7. Did you take up dancing to try and save your marriage?  Big mistake.  Huge!  Go to counseling.  Again, trust us.


  1. If you are arguing a lot about your dancing, you are missing the point. Especially if you are only social dancing. If you are arguing it means either someone is getting hurt (physically), is uncomfortable or cares too much what others are thinking. Dance for yourselves, have fun, remember you have to go home with each other and your argument will extend beyond the dance floor.

Frequently asked questions, comments and misconceptions about dancing

I would like to use this opportunity to answer all those questions I get asked on a regular basis. Like how long will it take, can you teach me to dance, will I ever learn, what's the best way, what's the cheapest way,  why don't I just use videos. If you are serious about your dancing all dance professionals will recommend you do what I will tell you to do here. These are rules I have learned from other professionals. I would also like to respond to a lot of the comments I get when I ask them why they don't dance.

1) How many lessons will it take?
No  experienced teacher will give you a definitive answer. If they tell you two weeks a month, they  are not being honest. There are too many perimeters to give a specific time. Some people learn in a few months, some may take years. The key factors to your learning are desire first, attitude second, ability third, finances fourth.

Your desire will determine a lot about your dedication to learn. It does not mean you will learn faster but you will learn.  Attitude comes in second because if you are impatient or arrogant you will encounter challenges along the way that will hinder your learning.  Some people are blessed with rhythm and physical adeptness. They may learn faster but this is also a disadvantage because they don't practice as much and could develop an attitude that would be detrimental to their learning. Finally, there are finances. Private lessons are not cheap, They range from $55 to $105 per lesson depending on the ability and reputation of your instructor. Independent  teachers (such as myself) are usually less than franchises.

2)  What's the best way to learn?
The best way to learn is to use the following criteria.
Private lessons to improve or start your dancing.
Group classes  to learn new patterns and dance with different partners
Parties to practice what you learned.

The advantages of private lessons are personal attention, learn at your pace, one on one with an instructor. Though this is the best way to learn there is no guarantee that your teacher is the best for you. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will get a good teacher especially if you start dancing on your own. What I mean is that you were not invited to any dance party or lesson but just decided to start.  The more you dance the more you will realize what you will need from your instructor. One good way is to take group classes form different teachers until you find the one you like and feel comfortable.

However, if you only take private lessons that will limit you to only being able to dance with your teacher which will spoil and mislead you.  For men, they get a false sense of leading, because they think they are actually leading when it's the teacher that is compensating for the man's inability to lead. Also, she taught him all the moves, of course she can follow them. For ladies, you think that you can follow because the teachers leads are clear, unfortunately when you start to dance socially, very few men will lead as well as your teacher.  This is where parties play an important role. Parties give you an opportunity to practice what you've learn in real life situations. Kind of like driving a car, if you only drive in parking lots you definitely won't develop the experience you need to drive on the freeway. As in dancing, if you stay in your own little world you won't get out of it.

Group classes are a great way to learn more patterns and maybe meet potential dance partners. Take advantage of the rotating of partners. It will help you learn because you will start to feel the differences between partners. Remember dance is about feeling and not just copying.

3) Why can't I learn from videos?
Simple, videos can't give you feed back. If you are just starting out there are so many things you need to understand. Videos can only show you what they want you to do, but they cannot tell you if you did it right nor can you understand if it feels right. You may get through  the step but it may not be correct. You will end up developing habits that you need to break. Also a lot of people think they can handle more advanced patterns, odds are you can't. My recommendation is to use videos to enhance what you have learned. If you have been dancing for a few months with some personal instruction, videos will definitely increase the amount of patterns that you can learn. Also unless you are a visual learner, videos will not work.

4) I have two left feet or I can't dance
These are two comments that get me the most. For some reason a lot of people (men in general) think that dancing is an ability that they should naturally have and if they don't have it, they are incapable of being able to dance. That is almost as stupid as saying  "I  need to lose weight before I can go to the gym". Isn't that the reason why you go the gym, so you can get in shape? I hear this comment especially from men. They always say my wife, girlfriend, partner can dance but they can't.   Most men do not get the opportunity to dance till they are much older in life and they do it because they figure it would be a great place to meet women, of course they will be at a disadvantage Dancing, like any other physical activity, requires instruction and practice. You will never learn unless you try. One of my favorite sayings is "I have never heard a person say " I wish I couldn't dance" They will either say I can't dance or I don't like to dance, the truth being, they are afraid, because they might look foolish. Don't let your fear stop you from experiencing one of the greatest joys in life.

Dancing is one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs that isn't a controlled substance.  If men really understood how much pleasure/joy he could give his wife or girlfriend by learning how to dance, they would! 

Through years of teaching, I have found that there are many things people don't like to talk about.  There are social rules of etiquette which, unless openly discussed, some may not know about.  Below are some abbreviated survey results from "Dancing USA" magazine put together by Gail Arias on what is important to ladies, and what is important to gentlemen.  We hope that this will help you better understand some of the social dynamics in dance.  We then give you other tips for what is not covered in the survey, that we find to be also important, and isn't given much attention anywhere else.

Survey results from "Dancing USA" magazine by Gail Arias

Special Thanks to Gail Arias for permission to post her article. To find out more about Gail, click www.dancedancedance.com

Dance Survey

"What Women Want From Men!"

Survey taken and Written by Gail Arias

This is a survey taken from 500 women ages 25 through 45 years old, single and married. When a woman knows the pleasure of dancing in the arms of a man, it is next to impossible to settle for anything less, unless he has some incredibly exciting career in which they can experience unlimited financial freedom together or he is unbelievable in bed or both! Yes, it is true in the order of importance according to our survey. Dance, Financial Success then Sex. Of all the women surveyed not one said she did not enjoy dancing in the arms of a man. To top it off, if he knew how to dance really well then sex was the best she had ever experienced! All women agreed sex is best when both man and woman are in love! In fact 90% of the women said they could tell what kind of a lover a man would be by the way he danced with her and they could tell his level of sincerity towards her by observing the way he danced with other women. Either he is a player, shy, inhibited or uninhibited, aggressive or passive.

Women love a man who has a certain level of refinement. A man who is masculine but who also enjoys the arts as well. A man who is interested in becoming more than just his job. Seeking more out of life than just eat, sleep and work.

Music and dancing touches women in a very profound and unique way. It "Stirs the Soul" and can enable her to let the every day problems of life seem less significant and help unlock the playful and sensuous side of one's personality. What could be better than sharing that with a special man!

Women said that the old dinner and a movie routine for a date has become so boring. First of all standing in line on a Friday night with hundreds of strangers is not real fun after a long day at work or after driving the kids to and from school and soccer practice. Eating high calorie junk food and sitting for 1 1/2 hours in a dark theater without conversation is of course not helping the figure any and not what most women want to do on a date unless they are UNDER 20 years old and have nothing to talk about. Women do like to get dressed up and looking their best when out on a date. Women love to be complimented by their date and on their appearance. After all, there is always something nice a man can say that is complimentary about a woman at any age.

The ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE is dancing with a man and being romanced in a sincere way, getting to know that man on and off the dance floor and being courted where the sexual pressure is off! Eventually revealing deeper feelings for one another and it is MUTUAL and then becoming intimate! This is the ULTIMATE DANCE DREAM come true!

A smart man learns how to dance because he knows that is where all the women are, out dancing! A lucky man meets a fabulous woman while out dancing who loves him and admires him. A smart and lucky man recognizes a good woman when he finds her and continues to nourish the relationship with dance and romance!

TEN QUALITIES WOMEN LOOK FOR IN A MAN! (On and off the dance floor)

1. Good Leader on the dance floor who stays on the music.

2. Neat, clean appearance and well groomed.

3. Confident, self assured. Direct eye contact .

4. Stable career, financial security.

5. Sense of humor, quick witted, intelligent.

6. Well mannered i.e.; opens the door, introduces you to his friends, good table manners etc.

7. Physically fit, keeping weight under control.

8. Interested in what you have to say, a good listener.

9. Good in bed.

10.Nice looking.

Of all the women surveyed, all enjoyed compliments on their appearance, dancing ability, intelligence and cooking abilities. Of course only if they do know how to cook. Women also said they knew if a man was giving insincere flattery, it is like a sixth sense women have. So men beware, only sincere flattery please!


1. Men who can't lead and blame it on the woman.

2. Bad breath or body odor.

3. Cheap cologne.

4. Cocky attitude, think they are "God's gift" to women.

5. Lewd conduct on and off the dance floor.

6. Men who wear clothing that went out of style 10-20 years ago.

7. Cheap toupees. Invest in an expensive one or just go au' natural.

8. Smokers and heavy drinkers.

9. Unemployed loser types. They can dance but don't have a job, house, or money.

10. Dumb Guys.

95 % of the women said they would put up with all the negative qualities (with exception to numbers 2, 5, and 8) if the man was a very good dancer.


If men only knew what a powerful aphrodisiac dancing is for women, every man in the world would learn how. Up until now it has been the best kept secret on the dating scene. Try it and see for yourself.

Where do I start? How do I learn how to Dance?

1. Look in your local Yellow Pages under Dance Instruction. Swing, Ballroom, Country or Latin, Or just click on TOP DANCE INSTRUCTORS on this web site!

2. Subscribe to a Dance Magazine ie; Swing, Latin, Country, Ballroom.

3. Ask around, word of mouth is the best! You would be surprised how many people you know take Partner Dance Lessons.

4. Choose a program that is Fun and Supportive with a qualified instructor who has an excellent reputation, experience and will allow you to observe a group lesson!

What Men want from Women:

Written by: Gail Arias

The following results were taken from a survey of 500 men ages 25 through 45 years old.

99% of the men interviewed took up dancing so they could meet women. Not for the art of dance itself or the love of music alone but solely for the purpose of meeting women to date and have a romance with. Some of these men who in every day life might be considered ineligible, below average in appearance, or just to put it bluntly a "Nerd" actually found women STANDING IN LINE to dance with them. These men had put forth the extra effort to learn how to dance above average or really well. The women standing in line were not all nerds themselves but some model types who could have any "Tom Cruise" type of guy they wanted. Most of the men interviewed are still astounded at the aphrodisiac quality dancing has on women. Now let me clarify something, not all the women are model types but remember, from a man's point of view, when you go from zero dates to dancing with 50 or more women in one night, things are looking good, if you know what I mean. Even if you are a Nerd or just average looking or even prematurely bald or overweight, these women who love to partner dance don't care about all that, they just want a man who can lead them into dance steps.

Men know Women love to West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Hustle, Salsa and Night Club Two Step the Best. So men flock to these classes even though they themselves may prefer a simple Country Western Two-Step. But all the "Head Turners" who like to dress up enjoy Swing, Salsa and even some Hustle Dancing. Why? The music and clothing primarily and of course the popularity right now!

BOTTOM LINE: Men are looking for physical contact, a sexual encounter, or a committed relationship. And if they have to learn to dance to increase their chances, they WILL learn to dance.

Once a man learns how to dance he discovers a whole new world. He quickly notices that there are usually two women who know how to dance for every one man at any dance party or night club. That is the good news. He also discovers that not all women are interested in having sex with you even if you have been holding her in your arms all night on the dance floor. Oh well, I never said it was perfect.

TEN Qualities Men Look for in a Woman! (on and off the dance floor)

1. Attractive, neat and clean appearance.

2. Great personality, friendly and outgoing.

3. Happy with her career or job

4. Healthy. Not too thin or too heavy!

5. Intelligent

6. Likes to dance but has a life off the dance floor as well

7. Affectionate and attentive

8. Even tempered.

9. Likes sports or will be O.K. with you liking sports.

10.Good sense of humor

Ten Qualities Men Do Not Like In Women:

1. Bad breath or body odor

2. Cold and unaffectionate disposition.

3. Messy appearance or greatly overweight (50 pounds or more) or underweight (10 lbs or more)

4. Unemployed

5. Too much make-up.

6. Foul language, loud and abrasive voice.

7. Hypochondriac personality

8. Women who are critical about the way a man leads or dances.

9. Air Head type. Bad conversationalist.


An Overwhelming 90% of the men surveyed said they found it easy to feel closer to a woman who was a good listener and appeared interested in what they had to say. Men also enjoyed being complimented about their dance ability, intelligence and appearance.

Most men like a woman who flirts on and off the dance floor (with him of course) but did not like a woman who falsely led them on by flirting only on the dance floor and then ignoring them the rest of the time.

60% of the men interviewed did not like Wonder Bras or stuffed bras. They prefer a woman be herself. Size did not matter.

75% did not like long extension nails that got in the way of dancing and other close encounters.

80% enjoyed being a more advanced dancer than their partner, they also enjoyed helping their partner learn to dance by taking lessons and workshops together.