Dance Etiquette Basics: Off the Dance Floor

The dance is coming to an end, and I’m sure you’ve done a fabulous job. Despite an alarming number of left feet in the crowd, there are smiles all around. But, as the music stops, what do you do? Just walk away?

Ending the Dance

Ladies & Gents, when the music ends, look your partner in the eye, bow or curtsy, and thank them for the dance.

Gents, bow; ladies, curtsy… as shown in A&E’s 1995 Pride & Prejudice. (found on Pinterest)

Gentlemen, now is when you offer your right hand again, as when you first asked her to dance, lead her off the dance floor, and ask if she would like a drink.

Ladies, follow your partner off the dance floor, and respond “Yes, thank you!” or “No, I’m fine, thank you,” to his offer to fetch you a drink.

And the rest is completely up to you. This may be a natural time of talking and laughing over the previous dance. Or, if another dance is starting, it is time to find another partner. At times, the next dance may start so quickly that it makes it only practical to dance with the same partner for a second time (Note: this would probably not be wise for a third, fourth, etc.). If it seems appropriate, and your partner agrees to it, this is fine.

Ah, thank you, Snoopy. What a wonderful example of gentlemanly behavior. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (found on Pinterest)

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Dance Etiquette Basics: On the Dance Floor

So, you’ve made it. You’re standing with your partner on the dance floor, and the music is about to begin. Thankfully, in our dance coming up this week, we have a dance caller who will help us through the dance. So, she’ll be letting you know what to do, as far as dancing. But, what should you be doing as far as socializing? Anything?

On the Dance Floor

Gentlemen, you are now honored to have a few minutes of care over your partner. Your job is to lead her through this dance, and socialize with her – giving her as enjoyable an experience as you can. Don’t neglect or ignore her.

However, being social with her does not mean being obsessed with her. Make eye contact with her – do NOT stare at her through the whole dance. Smile at and with her – but, smile at and with everyone else, as well. Don’t be afraid to take her hand(s) or her arm, as the dance requires – do NOT be the creep that won’t let go.

Mr. Collins, showing us how to be too attentive to a partner. It’s awkward for everyone. (found on Pinterest)

Dancing is a civilized sport. It is active, it takes effort, and it takes cooperation. Enjoy it! Please don’t abuse it. ๐Ÿ˜›

So, we see now that it is possible to beย too attentive. But, I also mentioned not neglecting your partner. You may not be an enthusiastic participant in this dance, but youย are giving your partner an opportunity to dance. Try to make it enjoyable for her, even if you’d rather be almost anywhere else. If you ignore her, look bored the whole time, or even mention that you’d rather be elsewhere, you are doing your best at ruining her dance. Take it from me! I have been the partner of visibly reluctant gentlemen. I would rather not dance at all than feel like I’m a burden or nuisance to my partner. So, for the sake of your partner and everyone around you, step up to the challenge, and make the evening as enjoyable as you can.

Darcy, at the beginning of the story, displays clearly what NOT to do at a dance. (found on Pinterest)

Ladies, I could repeat nearly all of that for us. Just be respectful and pleasant, easy to get along with, and encouraging (even if you’re by far the better dancer…).

The point is always to be respectful, have a good time, and do your best to give others a good time.

Dance Etiquette Basics: To the Dance Floor

You’ve responded to the invitation, chosen appropriate attire, found a partner for the first dance… Now what?

Hands and Partners

Gentlemen, now that you have found a partner, offer your right hand to her. (Your hand should always be supporting hers, so yours will be on the bottom. See pictures below…). Now, lead her to the dance floor, and find a place among the other dancers. Traditionally, there are two positions that you will use… Either your partner will go on your right, or directly in front of you.

Ladies’ hands go on top, with the gentleman supporting and leading them. (This is a picture, I believe, from Pride & Prejudice, found on Pinterest.)

Ladies, when he offers his right hand, give him your left, and follow him to the dance floor. A dance is not a time for you to be pulling, tugging, dragging, or coaxing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dancing really is a beautiful and enjoyable display of willing cooperation, that only truly comes together when the gentleman leads, and the lady faithfully follows.

Another image from Pride & Prejudice (found on Pinterest), shows again how to properly take hands for the dance.

Dance Etiquette Basics: Before the Dance – What to Say, etc.

Now that we know how to respond to the invitation, and how to choose what to wear to the dance, it’s time we discuss what to say.

What to Say

Gentlemen, if this is not your area of expertise, I recommend not over complicating this part. Simply walk up to a girl, politely get her attention (say her name, or “excuse me, ma’am,”), and ask, “May I have this dance?”.

Ladies, when presented with this offer, your response should be something similar to, “Certainly!”. If you would rather sit this one out, be straightforward, and say something like, “I’m not dancing this one, but thank you!”.

Mr. Darcy asked Lizzie if he might have the next dance. Even though Lizzie, at the time, was striving to loath the man, she did the polite thing and agreed to dance with him. (found on Pinterest, as always… This is a scene from the Pride & Prejudice film with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.)

What Not to Do

Gentlemen, unless she is your wife, do not ask the same girl to dance multiple times in a row. In some settings, it’s best not to even ask the same girl twice in an evening! But, use your judgement here. You do not want to monopolize her evening, and (if the ratio of ladies to gentlemen is as it usually is) you want to give other girls the opportunity to dance.

Ladies, do not refuse to dance with one man, then accept the offer of another man for the same dance. If you especially want to avoid dancing with a man who has just asked you, you may politely decline (as stated above), but you should sit out for that whole dance. This is more honorable and considerate.

The Basics of Dance Etiquette

As I have said in the past, this subject is important enough to warrant it’s own series.ย So, I will be doing a quick series, as I have time this week, covering just the very basics.

Our dance is taking place in the evening, but is not a formal “ball”. We’re doing a combination of English and American country and square dancing, with very simple live music (provided by yours truly, on fiddle, and Kyle on guitar).

So, here’s what I would recommend for, first, responding to the invitation, and, second, how to choose what to wear:

R.S.V.P. –ย As always, when an invitation says “R.S.V.P.”, without any qualifications (e.g. if it doesn’t say “with regrets only”, etc.), you should respond on or before the date given withย whether or not you hope to attend. If you can’t make it, the host or hostess needs to know. If you are planning to come, they still need to know. You get the idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Norman Rockwell favorite… found on Pinterest, of course.

What to Wear –ย Events (even, specifically, dances) come in all shapes and sizes, but I’ll speak to this one in particular. This is not a formal event, so wearing a ball gown would be overdressing… by a lot. This is more of a barn dance. However, dancing in a barn does not imply that wearing your farm chore clothes and boots is okay.

  • Footwear

Gentlemen, if it is possible, please refrain from wearing heavy chore boots (or anything similar). If you want to wear boots, riding boots, and such, are lighter weight and will be much easier/safer to dance in.

Ladies, wear shoes that you are comfortable in. If you can’t wear high heels comfortably (and without endangering your ankles and the toes of other dancers), please don’t wear them to the dance… Or, just remove them before getting on the dance floor.

Flip flops, and other shoes that slide off easily, should not be worn while dancing.

  • Clothing

Dress comfortably, but nicely.

Gentlemen, wear shirts with collars, and avoid pants or shirts with stains/holes, etc.

Ladies, pay special attention to your tops: while dancing, you will be stooping (so be aware of those necklines!), as well as reaching up high (so hemlines should be checked).

The point is not to stress about your clothing, but wear something that is comfortable for both you and the mind of those around you.

  • Perfume/Cologne, etc.

You will be in close contact with many people throughout the evening. Please don’t wear strong scents, for our sakes. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Gift from Us Kids

Growing up is bittersweet. While life is certainly exciting as an adult, there are things about my childhood that I will miss. For instance, during Advent, my siblings and I always memorized and recited Luke 2:1-20. Though I can still quote it, the tradition of working on it with siblings, and reciting it is now just a fond memory.

So last year, as a way to show my mother how grateful we were for her diligence in having us memorize the passage, and how much we cherished the memories, we made her this ornament.

Since we are now separated by many hours, and cannot recite our verses in person, we wrote them for her. Going (if I remember correctly) from oldest to youngest, we wrote the verses (e.g. Laura took verse 1, I took verse 2, and so forth).ย So now, as you look at the ornament you can almost hear each of our recitations as you read our verses.

Ornament Tradition

As I mentioned in the previous post, we have so many Christmas ornaments now that we have to choose which ones go on the tree. How did this happen?

Every year, once the Christmas season has arrived, Mama and we kids each make a new ornament. Mama’s been hunting down new, creative ornament ideas since long before Pinterest existed! Impressive, I know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are a few of our creations that made it onto the tree this year:

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Mama made these gorgeous ornaments for us, and even included the year in the crotchet pattern.

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Yes, that’s a “’95” you see. I’m fairly certain I had some help on this one, since I was but a toddler at the time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We made these adorable little snowman ornaments in 1999. They’re made from miniature straw hats, painted and decorated.

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These are some of our most recent ornaments, made from old Christmas cards. I love them! It was a fun way to keep some favorite cards, and display them every year.