The Do’s and Don'ts of Dance Floor EtiquetteArticle by: Graham Berry|@Festival_Writer
Wed October 17, 2018 | 11:00 AM
When they get wild, dance floors can be tougher to navigate than an eighteen-wheeler in rush hour. For some, the dance floor is a sort of temple to spiritual therapy. A lot of people even get physical relief from it despite exertion that certainly takes a toll on the body. Viewed as a safe space where movement and creative expression can ultimately be unleashed, it’s a good idea to establish some ground rules first. After all, in the pure and blissful oasis that we all hope our dance floors will be, there are times when those moments fall short of their potential. Perhaps with a little common courtesy and a guiding sense of mutual respect that can change.
If you’ve ever wondered what rules of etiquette can be employed to maximize the dancefloor experience, take a minute to peruse and practice these ‘Do’s and Don’ts of dance floor etiquette’ in the sections below!
COURTESY + PERSONAL SPACE
Photo by: Kristina Bakrevski
DO be polite
This one may seem like a given, but being polite can go a long way not just in fostering fun on the dance floor but also in making friends in and outside the festival. Start by introducing yourself. Use kind words to disarm anyone who may already be on edge. Keep in mind, that the more we show civility on the dance floor the easier it is for everyone to enjoy.
DO consider the headspace of others
Everyone has different personal boundaries. Use the space available to prevent encroaching on folks who may be lost in the moment. Sometimes a little more room may be necessary as they’re flailing and leaping about. When you give people enough space to make the most of their experience, don’t forget to take note of your surroundings. Dancefloor dispositions can range from a state of deep contemplation to full-on space travel, and those can shift quickly. The key is to stay aware because the more observant you are, the better the time will be.
Photo by: Kristina Bakrevski
DO keep an eye out
Not everyone is at eye level. Some are on shoulders. Others are sitting. Is it a great idea to sit on the dance floor? No, but sometimes folks like to park it in a chair or on the ground. Careful not to trip on the nice people.
DON’T sit on the ground
When fatigue sets in don’t let it consume you like Artax in the swamp of despair. Instead, simply find a spot to post up. This can be a meeting spot for your group when you get separated or a random bench you happen to see. Just don’t sit on the ground in the crowd because if an errant foot lands on your hand or leg, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Photo by: Jake West for Insomniac
DO practice consensual touch
What’s a dancer to do when romance strikes on the d-floor? Well, you’ll want to know that those feels are mutually shared, right? Right! That’s where communication comes in. Ask for a dance and if you want to hold hands or hug or something else, simply say so. Everyone has passion and desires but indulging them requires permission. Accidentally push or fall on someone? That happens. Kindly apologize and dip.
DON’T bank on forgiveness for non-consensual touch
Um, that’s assault! Moreover, illicit touching is purported to be the bane of dance floors in every culture on the planet, and it shouldn’t be something anyone has to worry about. Don’t let this go down when you see it. After all, if consent is the key distinction between the crowd and the creeps, then being the necessary difference on the dance floor may be as easy as keeping consent a core practice. Also, be sure to take a minute to coach any friends who may need a little work in this area. Call attention to infractions until it’s common knowledge that it won’t be tolerated and, don’t forget, we’re all in this together.
DO be mindful of your surroundings
When the occasion calls for cutting rugs in pairs, don’t just whip your dance partner into the neighbors. Dance in the space you’ve got and if there isn’t enough, simply go to where there is more. It’s easy to get swept up in the throes of a passion-infused tango and start bumping others, but if you stay cognizant of your surroundings, you can do the twist or the mashed potato without missing a beat.
Stepping on a friend’s foot isn’t just a hood battle cry anymore. At festivals, it’s also the ultimate buzzkill. Planning to partner up for a dance-off? Watch your footing!
TOTEMS AND SIGNS
Photo by: Zach McKee
DO rock a totem or sign
Show a festive spirit by hauling around a symbol of what you stand for. Friends can use it to locate you, while an especially quirky totem will have the added plus of bringing smiles to anyone you meet along the way.
DON’T obstruct the views of others
Totems are great. At least until they’re not. Usually, it’s when one is blocking the view of a stage that the whimsy they represent turns sour. Want to bring your totem on the dance floor? Stay back and to the side to avoid disrupting the experience of others. It’ll be easier for friends to use it when they want to find you too.
MANEUVERING IN GROUPS
DO get in the groove
Maneuvering around on the dance floor can require some finesse, especially when you’re moving deep in an ocean of humans. Fortunately, every tribe has a Moses ready to part the sea. For effective traversing, move with the groove so your movements are predictable. This will give others time to react while setting the pace so your crew can stick together.
DON’T go in without a spot to meetup
Sometimes when the herd moves, a few people don’t get the memo, or they get swallowed in bliss on the dance floor. That’s when it’s a good idea to have a meeting place planned. Any time a member of the crew wants to run to find a lou or a water spigot having a spot to reunite will be a lifesaver.
What dance floor etiquette did we miss? How can these guidelines be improved to make dancing safe and amazing everywhere? Tell us in the comments below!