Articles of Interest
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Dance FriendlyDance Friendly
©2010, J M Nelson
Most of us have a good attitude about our responsibilities to others. We are habitually polite and respectful. We turn off our cell phones at church, movies and concerts. We go out of our way to assist someone who needs a bitof help with a doorway, an elevator, or a cart of groceries. Surely none of us would intentionally disrupt a joyful occasion such as a dance, but occasionally some dancers seem not to know about Line of Dance.
Line of Dance guidelines represent "rules of the road" for dancers. Like traffic rules, Line of Dance keeps dancers moving comfortably at their elected pace, minimizing interference and collision, and enabling the maximum number of people to enjoy their preferred style of dancing in a diverse, yet polite and respectful, environment.
Progressive dances, such as Waltz, Texas Two-Step, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Polka, and Tango, move counterclockwise around the dance floor. Faster dancers use the outer lanes; slower dancers use the inner lanes. Those wishing to execute a figure that is not progressive should move toward the center of the dance floor so as not to interfere with traffic. We should behave on the dance floor much like we do on our (well, actually British) roadways: adjust our position according to our velocity and never go against the flow of traffic.
Non-progressive dances, such as Rumba, Cha-Cha, Salsa, Mambo, Swing, Bolero, and Hustle (also known as spot, slot, or circle dances) , are danced in a fixed area. Each couple occupies a specific area on the dance floor that should be respected by other dancers, and they, too, should be respectful and remain in their selected area. Some music is conducive to both progressive and non-progressive dance; outer lane should be left open when possible, and spot dancers near the edge should be willing to move aside to let progressive dancers pass.
Rock Step. Swing dancers should use a "rock step" rather than a "back step." Back steps are dangerous; most injuries during swing dances seem to be caused by "back steps. Rock steps pose no danger to others.
Beginners who often need to stop and regroup should move to the center of the floor rather than the edges or corners. In the center you may stop, discuss your problem, practice, and not interfere with other dancers. Experienced dancers regularly use the center of the floor as needed according to their velocity of progression.
Only dancers should be on the dance floor. If you want to stand and talk, please do so off the dance floor.
Follow these protocols, and the dance will be more enjoyable for all. You might be surprised at how enjoyable a crowded dance floor can be when all dancers are following the line of dance, and how frustrating even a sparsely populated dance floor can be when they are not.
You're in Texas! Please, Drive Friendly, and Dance Friendly.