Photo Credit: Elegant Rumba
Social dancing is fun, but when you’re new to the scene, it's hard to navigate the dance floor because one, it's packed full of dancers and 2, you’re dancing with a partner! You could bump into people, step on someone’s toes, elbow someone in the face, and sometimes, trip all over because you’re still learning how to avoid colliding with other people.
The thing is, most collisions could be avoided with a bit of awareness. This is a skill that you'll learn as you join different social dances. You’ll need to hone your instincts so you’ll know how to adjust your movements on a packed dance floor. If you need more help, here are ways to avoid a collision on the dance floor:
Ways to Avoid a Collision on the Dance Floor
Maintain Your Personal Space
Think of Latin dancing as driving; you need room as you enter traffic to avoid cutting into other people's way. When you're joining the dance floor, keep a 1-meter distance between you and onlookers. You have to make space for two persons. If your dance partner is unaware that he's about to collide with someone, add pressure to his back as a signal to take a different direction.
Plan Your Move
Most Latin dances require a lot of moving around on the dance floor. This goes especially for progressive dance genres. If you know that the dance requires you to keep moving at different dance floor areas, you need to plan the dance moves. Keep an eye out for couples that are inching closer to you as you dance, then adjust your steps so you'll maintain the 1-meter buffer. Adjust according to the space available for you and your dance partner instead of hoping that the other couple will get out of your way.
Stay in Your Lane
Dancing in groups often moves at a consistent speed. Keep up with the pace, and don't move away from your position if the dance routine doesn't call for it. The only time you should move against other dancers is when you see a clear opening, and you know that you and your partner could pull it off without bumping into other dancers.
Watch out for Drunk Dancers!
Overzealous dancers are a common sight at social dance events. These folks are those who would unwittingly elbow or step on other people’s toes, bonk heads with other dancers, etc. Some are just putting on a spectacle for show. Keep an eye out for them to avoid a collision. Also, give these peeps plenty of space for themselves to avoid getting hurt (and to dance in peace).
Avoid the Center… Unless You’re New
One of the first things you’ll learn when joining social dances is that the dance floor is just like a highway with lots of traffic rules. One such rule is that the center is reserved for beginners. The center dance floor works the same way as a medium strip of a highway; nobody goes there unless they want to crash with dancers from the opposite side. If you’re new to social dancing, then head straight to the center to practice the steps without any disturbance from other dancers.
Take Less Space
If the dance floor is packed, you need to tuck those elbows in and avoid taking giant steps so you don’t accidentally elbow someone’s eye or trip all over. It’s difficult to keep the elbows to the sides when dancing, but the trick is to drop the clasp hands when navigating tight spaces. It also helps pick dances that favor arm movements that sweep down and up rather than extended to the sides.
Take One for the Team
If you’re the one leading the dance and you couldn’t avoid a collision, you need to shield your partner from the impact. Literally, take one for the team. Your goal as a leader is to keep your partner safe from any missteps, regardless if it were hers or your own.
No matter who's at fault, always apologize to your partner and the other couple if the inevitable happens. Check if they're alright before continuing with the dance.
Collision on the dance floor is typical, but it’s definitely easy to avoid! With these tips, you can dance the night away and have fun without injuring yourself or someone else in the process.