Have you seen that big poster at our Thursday night dances and always wondered what it said? Here’s the text of our Etiquette Board, which is a great place to start if you’ve never been to a social dance before. See below for some further tips and reminders about being a good social dance participant. We hope you enjoy dancing at the Fed!

If it’s your first time…

Don’t be intimidated! Though there may be some excellent dancers at our events who have been working on their moves for years, everyone was a beginner once too. New dancers are the life of our scene and we are thrilled when you come out to dance and share your Thursday with us!

Who to dance with…

Dance with everyone you can, unless they look contagious! Don’t be intimidated to ask someone to dance, we’re a friendly scene.

How to ask someone to dance…

  • Ladies & gentlemen should both be comfortable asking for dances.
  • If you’re asking someone to dance for the first time, it is customary to say “Hi! Would you like to dance?” and extend your hand. It is unwelcome to simply grab someone’s hand or waist and pull them onto the dance floor, especially if you don’t even know their name!
  • Try not to monopolize any one person for too long unless you know them really well. Chances are that person has a lot of other people that they would like to dance with before the night is through.

General Tips

  • Try to focus on your partner — even if you are shy! This is a very social dance, and it’s a great way to meet friends. Feel free to start up a conversation with someone you haven’t met before.
  • When the MC is making announcements, please listen! Chances are they are telling you about exciting new dance opportunities in the Austin area. It’s polite and we’re a little old-fashioned around here. After all, we do an old-fashioned dance!
  • Look around you while you dance to avoid collisions with other couples. The dance floor can get a little crowded, and nobody likes a broken toe or getting poked in the eye!
  • NO AERIALS ON THE DANCE FLOOR. This means don’t lift / throw your partner in any way. The dance floor is crowded and you could kick someone in the face, or hurt yourself or your partner. Aerials are appropriate in performance situations only.
  • Wear deodorant, bring extra shirts & chew gum if you need it. ‘Nuff said there.
  • Have FUN! That is the whole point of swing dancing, after all!

Saying No

Ideally, we all say “yes,” but in cases where you wish to decline, please be kind. Be friendly and honest. If you do say no, it’s best not to turn around and dance with someone else during the same song. If you have already promised the dance to someone else, try and find the person who asked you after that dance is finished.

It is okay to decline an offer to dance for any reason and it is not necessary to share that reason. Please be kind and respectful when you say “no thanks”.

If someone says no to you, please refrain from asking that person again for rest of the night. However, don’t be discouraged. All dancers get turned down from time to time, and there are other people who would very much like to dance with you.

What to do in an uncomfortable situation

If you are ever made uncomfortable by anyone, tell the front desk or DJ. They will either help you with your situation or find a board member who can.