What is Swing Dance etiquette, and why is it important?

In order to help you navigate the social dimensions of swing dancing, here are our top three etiquette guidelines. It can make the difference between a happy or unhappy dancing experience.

What is Swing Dance etiquette, and why is it important?

1. Who may ask for a dance?

There is no rule as to who may ask for a dance, as it is socially acceptable for both men and women to do so. There is, however, etiquette guidelines you should follow when it comes to how you ask someone to dance. You must ask politely for a dance, using phrases like “may I have this dance?”. One does not simply hold their hand out or grab and pull someone up to dance. Stick to using your words, “would you like to dance” is the most accepted way, and probably the one that is going to get the most chance of acceptance.

2. Who should you be dancing with?

Swing is a social dance, which means you should not be sticking with just one partner the entire night. Though everyone has favourites, you should still make a point of dancing with multiple partners. As a general rule, you should try switching partners after one full song, but should the dance be particularly enjoyable with that partner, after two consecutive songs. There is no rule that you have to dance with partners within your own skill level. Whether they are more skilled or less than you, you should be patient or challenge yourself to keep up.

3. What do I do when the dance ends?

You should thank your partner for the dance, and if wanting to continue request another dance or find a new partner to request a dance of. If there is a live band present you should also make sure you applaud their performance. Traditional etiquette guidelines state that the dance lead should escort their partner back to their seat, however modern dancing may make this rule a bit awkward to follow.

At Swing On In we are more than just a swing dance school, we have a passion for the music and the dance styles of those early days. The Swinging dance styles that we concentrate on are: Lindy Hop, Shim Sham, Charleston dance, Balboa dance and the St Louis Shag. We welcome you to come along anytime to one of our regular swing dance social events or attend a class at one of our Gold Coast or Northern NSW swing dance schools where you can join in for some social dancing.

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