Social-Dance Dictionary of Terms

Dictionary of dance terminology for & by social dancers*:

Ambidancetrous (also bi-dancterous) – adj.: the ability to both lead and follow. – WDODT & Maria Ford

Buying Her a Drink – (for leaders) the act of creating trust and connection with a few basic patterns before breaking out your big moves. – Julie Epplett

Dance Crush – n.:  [A crush that you have on a favourite leader/follower that is] all about the dance connection, [with] little to no regard or relation to availability/interest off the dance floor. – Kay Newhouse

Dance Heaven – Attending regular dance events with your Dance Crush. – Don McIntosh

Dance Husband/Wife – n.: A dance partner with whom you have a married-like relationship (without the sex or shared assets) at dances or dance events only (see also: Dance-Married). – Maria Ford 

Dance-Married – adj.: Being in possession of a Dance Husband/Wife. – Daria Mikloukhina

Dan-singer – n. A dancer who sings the lyrics to every single song as they dance. – Taha A.

Danceaholic – n.: A person suffering from compulsive and uncontrollable consumption of dancing. – Maria Ford

Danceibitionist – n., a.k.a. The Poser: A dancer who poses for invisible judges in the middle of late night dancing. – Lee Anne Bradford

Dancenesia – When you can’t remember any of those cool moves you just learned in the workshop. – Stephen Capara

Danceturbation – The act of dancing for your own pleasure, with complete disregard for your partner (if you remember that you have one). – Randolph Peters

Dancetastic – That moment when it all comes together in a single dancing moment. – Marcus Dismas

Dancetasy – That feeling where dream and reality merge on the dance floor. – Marcus Dismas

Dancybody – n. Dancer + busybody: someone who doesn’t know how to mind their own business on or off the dance floor and proceeds to tell you everything you are doing wrong and how to do it right both on and off the floor. – Anne Roher

Dance Dust – n. The magical stuff that you collect and bring back home with you from a weekend dance event. Dance dust should be shared liberally with friends and dance partners back home! – Maria Ford

Dance Parent(s) – n. The person or person whom you credit for bringing you into and/or “raising” you in the dance – often, your first teacher(s) or mentor(s). – Dominique Menard

Drape – v. The act of forcing someone to dance with you without their consent, typically achieved through dogged persistence, constant harassment, or borderline stalking behavior. E.g.: Samantha: “OMG Rachel’s getting draped!! Someone steal her off  Ian!!” – Ian Lee

Hot Mess – n. That person’s who’s new to a dance, has tons of great movement and potential, and no idea how to harness it. – Maria Ford

Jellyfish – n. That dance partner who has lots of limbs and a lot of movement, but nothing to connect with. – Volker Feueurstak

Sorrywart – n. Someone who apologizes to you before the dance about how much his/her dancing is about to suck. – Taha A.

Swingcheese: (verb) When your partner breaks dance frame and rhythm to make cheesy poses for the photographer DURING the comp. – Bob Hackney & CJ Henry (WDotD, 03/08/13)

Swung Over -That feeling you have when you have danced to excess and every cell of your body knows it the next day. – Pamela Marshall

Unicorn – n.: An awesome dancer rarely/never seen on the social floor. If discovered on the social floor, unicorns are only around for one song and mysteriously disappear from the floor before the song is over making it impossible to ask them to dance. – Rochelle Hoffler

The Last 6 Inches: Refers to full extension to the end of the slot. – Robin, via Marsha

Triple Klutz: (adj) 1) The all around klutziness dancers have when they aren’t gracefully dancing. (verb) 2) The act of a dancer walking into doors, door frames, walls, all types of furniture, or even tripping over absolutely nothing. CJ Henry & Fabio Beltramini (WDotD, 03/08/13)

Unpaid Teacher’s Aide – n.  A dancer who, when in class, schools his/her partners on what they’re doing wrong. Ummm, no. – Melanie Sturdivant

 Westiebomb: When a large group of swing dancers all plan to go to a random bar/club and take over the dance area. – Kim


Do you have others? Please leave your terms & definitions in the Comments area below — I’ll publish the best…like the section below!

West Coast Swing Safari

This fantastic section  was contributed by Jonathan Balmaceda! He says, “Here is an overview of all of the wildlife I observed:”

Barracuda (Sweet Talkera)
A predatory species, their goal is to get their partners alone so they can get a series of apparently random numbers written on scraps of paper. They spend a lot of time talking as opposed to dancing.

Chameleon (Multitalentous)
Proficient in many different types of dance – Hustle, lindy Hop, West Coast Swing. Can look like a completely different dancer depending on the style being used for that song.

Clam (Concentratae Reallyhardae)
This species appears to be mute. They never talk and rarely smile while dancing, very serious.

Deer (Juststarted Todanceous)
Appear really anxious when dancing. They are definitely prey to many of the species in this habitat. They seem to be afraid of intricate patterns and often look like they’re caught in the headlights of a vehicle.

Eel (Slipperee Whenwet)
This species seems to sweat a lot but doesn’t take the time to dry off or change their ‘skin’ every now and then as all the other species seem to do.

Gazelle (Ideale partnera)

A beautiful species to observe. They are graceful and light on their feet. They have very sharp reflexes and quick response times. They are very desirable to all the other species and are almost always engaged in dance throughout the night.

Gorilla (Breakus Armus)
Fairly large population; I only observed males of this species. Appears to strong-arm his way through moves and turn-patterns. The goal seems to be trying to wrench off the arms of their partners.

Leech (Stickus Likegluetus)
The leech tries to cling onto their partner for the entire night. They don’t leave their partners after one set of dancing. If their partner is dancing with someone else they will stand very close to them instead of finding another partner to dance with.

Lion/Lioness (Getout Yourcamerae)
King or queen of the dance floor. This seems to be a rare species. They are great dancers who are exciting to watch and usually have circles formed around them while dancing. Not to be confused with Peacock, this highly skilled animal dances with all species.

Lovebirds (Kisee Faceous)
Seem to have a designated partner for the whole evening. Arrive and leave together. They dance very close to each other; but be careful not to confuse with the Python, this is an altogether different species.

Millipede (Tenleft Feetus)
This animal has a unique skill that makes it falsely appear to have more than two feet. It can simultaneously dance on every beat, completely ignoring the rhythms and beats of the music. It is very easy to spot as it is moving completely out of sync with everyone else on the floor.

Octopus (Tryto Gropeus)
Another species in which I only observed male examples. They seem to have many hands, as many as eight it seems, though when observed in a resting position it appeared they only had two. Their hands are usually all over their partner and they consistently place them in inappropriate places. They differ from most of the other species as they often try other physical contact while not on the dance floor.

Peacock (Showoffious)
This animal always needs to be the center of attention. They prefer to only dance with other peacocks or animals which will enhance their image while on the dance floor. Their desired partners are either good-looking or good dancers.

Penguin (Robotulatus)
This animal seems to be lacking fully developed knee joints, as they have trouble bending their legs. They are very stiff and seem to have problems transferring their weight properly.

Python (Tooclose Forcomfortus)
This is a predatory species; they hold their dance partner really tight. It appears they are trying to either asphyxiate their partner or actually meld together with them. It will take further research to determine which hypothesis is correct.

Rabbit (Bopto Thebeatus)
Prefers to move vertically to the music, hops around while dancing. Appears to be emulating the movement of a bouncing ball.

Skunk (Horriblus Smella)
These animals have a very pungent odor; they appear to be part of a very strict sect which bans showers or the use of deodorant or perfume.

Tasmanian Devil (Outof controla)
This animal must have a very large natural habitat. They are all over the dance floor, constantly doing lots of spins and intricate patterns without proper execution, and are still able to crash into other dancers and step on toes even when the club was near empty near the end of the night.

Vulture (Wantyour Partnerous)
Vultures have a distinct attack. They circle the dance floor looking for someone they want to dance with and they will hover around while their prey is dancing with others, patiently waiting to seize them once the song is over. If their desired partner ignores them and dances with someone else, they will continue hovering and circling until their prey succumbs.

Wolf (Stalkercitae)
This animal is  a hunter, always searching the club for prey. This is a predominantly male species. Their prey usually consists of beginner dancers especially the ones alluringly attired.

Please help others learn these terms by posting a link to this article on your social media stream(s).


* This post is inspired by a discussion thread on Facebook’s Westie Discussion of the Day group. I have attributed these to whomever posted them on that discussion thread. I have also added some of my own and have edited some for grammar etc. Enjoy!