By various authors, some unknown
Preparing for the dance
You'll probably be dancing in close contact with a lot of people. Be fresh and clean when you start. Try a little dab of cologne or perfume to make things pleasant. Keep in mind that some people are allergic to strong perfumes and colognes. If you perspire a lot, try wearing an undershirt. If that is not enough bring a hand towel and one or more clean shirts. When dancing, fresh breath is a must. Breath mints, sprays, etc. are a good first choice. Gum is a second choice. Avoid onions, garlic, and such since they affect your breath adversely for a long time.
Any cuts or wounds should be properly bandaged for your own protection and for the protection of others
For those of you that do work that leaves your hands grimy even after you wash them, there are some great cleaners and fingernail brushes on the market that will leave your hands and fingernails clean.
The dance invitation
If you would like to dance with someone, go up to him/her, excuse yourself if necessary, and ask the person to dance. If you are a woman who feels uneasy asking men to dance, stand near the dance floor, look like you want to dance, and smile rather than sitting down away from the dance floor feeling and appearing bored and blue. If you are a man and are uneasy about asking a woman to dance, look for a lady who is standing near the dance floor and looks like she wants to dance.
Starting a dance
It is customary to escourt your partner safely onto the dance floor.
Finishing the dance
Be sure and thank your partner after each dance. It's just as important to escourt your partner safely off the dance floor, as it is to escourt your partner onto the dance floor.
Turning people down
If you must turn someone down (because you are tired or for your own personal reasons) thank the person for asking. If you are tired, offering to dance with them later might be appropriate. If you tell someone you are tired or you are just resting, do not dance that song with someone else. Even if it is your favorite dancer, explain politely that you just turned someone down and they will understand. Turning someone down and dancing the same song with someone else is rude and gets noticed by many in the room. What goes around, comes around! If you don't ever want to dance with that person, perhaps, you should try giving him/her a polite hint why.
Monopolizing a good dancer
If a top dancer comes to your area, don't be afraid to ask them to dance. They are there to dance. Do give others the opportunity to enjoy these same moments that you have. Do remember that these people also need a little break every now and then, especially if you notice that they have been dancing non-stop.
Interrupting conversations to ask someone to dance
Many people feel that if you are not dancing, you are available to be asked to dance. Some people gauge availability to dance by how close you are to the dance floor. If you do not want to dance, want to converse and not be interrupted, or just need to take a break and rest, move away from the dance floor to the edge of the room or go outside. If you feel that you must interrupt, be sensitive to the level of intensity of the conversation. If it seems to be small talk, excuse yourself before asking the person to dance and if they acquiesce, allow them a few moments to gracefully finish the conversation.
Teaching while dancing
Unless specifically asked to do so, don't. It's very rude! Besides, you didn't ask your partner if they wanted a private lesson, you asked them if they would like to social dance. Before you start giving out advice, consider that it might be your lead or follow that caused the problem.
Dancing at your partner's level
For lead and follow couple dances, the goal is to make sure that your partner has a good time, not to show off. Watch their face, if they are smiling or laughing, they must be enjoying the dance.
Bumping into or stepping on other dancers
Be aware of what's going on around you and adjust your dancing to fit. If space is tight, take smaller steps and don't do all your hot moves (on other people's feet). ALWAYS acknowledge and apologize to someone you bump into or step on.
Apologizing to your partner
This is usually unnecessary. Don't worry about blowing a lead or not following all the moves perfectly, remember it was not done intentionally. Enjoy yourself and try it again. Relax, it's only dancing.
This is generally determined by the woman. Men need to hold and guide the woman and she will determine how close she feels comfortable dancing with you. Different people have different spatial requirements, both men and women need to respect that.
What to say and do at the end of a dance
Thank your partner for the dance and perhaps compliment him/her. Then either ask for the next dance or walk each other off the floor.
When there is a live band
After they finish a song, be sure to applaud and show them that you like what they are doing. A happy band plays better.
When there is a Deejay
If you enjoyed the choice of music he/she played, or if you got to dance to a lot of your favorite tunes, go up to them and let them know! Remember that a good Deejay is a professional who takes pride in his work. He/she spends lots of time and money researching and finding the most danceable tunes. Their job is to keep the dance floor crowded with as much variety as possible. Also, put a dollar in their tip jar to show you liked what they played or if you request a specific song. They will appreciate it (and it seems to make them smile).
Teaching during a group dance class
DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT DO IT! It is not only rude to the student, but it is rude to the teacher. Be quiet and pay attention, usually when you start giving advice is when the teacher passes out that hint or tip your partner needed, but could not hear over your voice. If you are having difficulty, stop and get the teacher or assistant's attention and ask them for help. Do not be afraid to ask questions. That is how you get answers. Concern yourself with your part, which is why you are there, you don't know what your partner is supposed to do. You are just guessing. Consider the fact that in most cases, the one passing the blame is the one at fault. It is quite possibly your lead/follow, not your partner's that is the problem. If all else fails, ask the "expert" to please be quiet and worry about their part, so that you can hear the teacher.
Many people believe that they can only learn or get better with their own partner. In fact, the opposite is true. When you stay with the same partner, usually one or the other will compensate for their partner's mistakes. That makes the one partner think that he/she is doing it correct. When they try to dance with someone else, they can't understand why that person can't lead/follow like their partner. That is because they don't know all their little idiosyncrasies. Rotating also teaches you to adjust to different partners, like when you get one on a lower level than yourself, as well as a more advanced dancer. When the teacher calls "Rotate", do not try to sneak in just one more. Thank your partner and let them go. You will not only get the line to move much faster, but you will get to dance more and maybe even get a better one. Couples, if you insist on not rotating, please stay out of the line or on the ends and as they rotate, and let the next person know that you are not rotating so they can move along.
Sharing The Dance Floor (tmj)
It is good dance etiquette is to share the dance floor and respect fellow line dancers, flow dancers, swing dancers, and couple dancers. During times when the floor becomes crowded, dancers should adjust step size accordingly to leave room for their fellow dancers, even those that are doing a different type of dance. If the floor becomes too crowded for everyone, we should take turns.
Sometimes, a few dancers seem to feel that they 'own' the floor during times when the floor is crowded. These people seem to feel that it is ok to take up extra dance floor. Those that bump into you, step on you, and so on without any apology are exhibiting bad dance etiquette.
When it comes to mixing line dancing, flow dancing, swing, and so on, a fair way to share the floor seems to depend upon the size and layout of the floor and the dance floor usage policy of the dance floor owner.
In some cases, a large enough floor can allow flow dancers to travel around the out side of the line dancers with some space left over for the swing and couple dancers to use between the line dancers at the center and the flow dancers on the outside. Alternatively, the middle part of the floor can be divided into two sections, 1 for line and 1 for couples leaving the outside for flow dancers.
The dance floor usage policy, once agreed upon, should be posted and/or easily available to the dancers.
In summary, it seems that good use of the floor would depend upon the floor layout, the dances chosen by those that want to use the floor, how many dancers want to use the floor, and any guidelines by the owner of the dance floor. During times when the floor becomes crowded, dancers should adjust step size accordingly to leave room for their fellow dancers and/or take turns using the floor.