Skip to Main Navigation Skip to Content

An Essential Guide to Partner-Dance Etiquette


Click the image above to download this awesome guide as a PDF file.


To be sustainable, a dance community requires diversity. This includes a range of levels of ability, age groups, gender identifications, and cultural backgrounds.

We invite you to participate in the growth of our community. This means dancing with people who are not like you, encouraging new dancers, and modelling a friendly and inspiring vibe.

Dance at least 10% of your social dances with beginners.

Be Social

Become a popular dance partner by mastering this etiquette:

  • Ask others to dance, and smile when you are asked. Smile a lot in general.
  • Use good touch etiquette. Permission to touch a dance partner begins and ends with the dance. It is limited to these connection points: hands, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees.
  • If you decline a dance, do not dance the same song with another person. Ask the person you declined for a dance later.
  • If you are declining because you do not want to dance with that person at all, politely say, “No thank you”.
  • Focus your energy on the many people who you CAN dance with, not on the few who may decline to dance with you.

Be Clean

Partner dancing puts you in close contact with other people. So:

  • Shower and wear freshly laundered clothes.
  • Apply deodorant and bring extra deodorant.
  • Brush your teeth before dancing. If you eat during the evening, brush them again.
  • If you sweat, change shirts often, and avoid sleeveless tops.
  • Use perfume or cologne only in moderation, or not at all. Please see our information on how to smell good but not too good >>
  • Tuck long hair in or wear it up so that it doesn’t whip your partner’s face.

A dance and a friendly smile can make someone’s whole night special!

Be Awesome

Earn the respect of other dancers and dance partners in these ways:

  • Take lessons and never stop learning.
  • Be gentle. Partner dancing does NOT involve pushing or pulling with your arms.
  • During a social dance, never “teach” or correct your dance partner.
  • During class, don’t talk while the teachers are. Ask for an instructor’s help if you think your partner is making a mistake.
  • Use good floor craft. Be aware of the space around you on the floor and protect your partner and other dancers from collisions.
  • When you’re not dancing, stand to the side of the floor.
  • If you or your partner is injured, stop dancing, stay together, and attend to the injury as a partnership.

If it hurts, you’re not doing it right.

Our Pledge

Smoothstyle promotes joy and excellence in contemporary partner dances, particularly West Coast Swing and New York Hustle.

We encourage diversity and strive to create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.

We pledge to give you high-quality dance lessons, social dance events, workshops, and performances.

We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination. We will ensure that our dance environment is a safe and fun place for you to learn, meet people, and to express your creativity through music and movement.