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Articles of Interest » Asking for a Dance / Declining a Dance

Asking for a Dance / Declining a Dance

Asking for a Dance
Either men or women may ask a partner for a dance.

Make sure you have eye-contact with your intended partner when you ask for a dance--it can be very awkward if more than one person thinks you are inviting them.

If someone is in conversation, walk up to him/her and wait to see if they make eye contact. If so, you can ask for a dance. If after a few moments s/he has still not made eye-conact with you, it is probably best to ask another time.

If two people simultaneously ask the same person, the person who is ASKED should choose one, and ideally should offer to dance a later dance with the partner not chosen.

You should not ask the same partner for more than two consecutive dances unless you and your partner are attending the dance as a couple and choose to dance primarily with each other.

It is recommended that you invite partners of varying dance abilities to dance. This allows those with less experience to learn from the more experienced dancers.

Declining a Dance
Dance etiquette requires that you should not decline a dance under most circumstances. Valid reasons for declining a dance are:

  1. you do not know the dance
  2. you need to rest
  3. you have promised the dance to someone else.

Appropriate response: "No, thank you, I'm taking a break. Could I dance another dance with you later?" Declining a dance means sitting out the whole song--it is very rude to dance a song with anyone after you have declined to dance it with someone else.

Exception: If someone consistently violates the rules of etiquette by being unsafe to dance with or ignoring proper personal hygiene, a simple "No, thank you" is acceptable. This exception should rarely be used, however.