Dancefloor Etiquette

We all love to dance; with a couple of favourite ones or as many new and old friends as possible at all corners of the dance floor. The “social” part of our social dances is what makes the Lindy Hop/Blues community so nice. At the same time, we are all different individuals with various habits and expectations. Generally accepted unwritten rules or practices may be obvious for some, and less so for others. How do we keep our social dances a pleasant space for all? A few pointers on dancefloor etiquette, that Swing in Utrecht would like its scene members to be aware of:

Consent & feedback

  • Want to dance? That’s what you are here for, right? Always kindly ask first, instead of grabbing someone without permission.
  • Don’t want to dance? That’s fine too, whatever the reason. Just kindly decline.
  • In general, a social dance is for social dancing and a classroom is for teaching and learning. Unless someone is actually causing you pain while dancing, or really asking for a specific tip, please avoid giving unwanted advise on the social dance floor.
  • Likewise, the social dance floor is not intended as a marketplace to pick up a date. The physical connection we have as dancers serves the dance and only the dance. Getting touchy-feely with somebody without their concrete permission is not tolerated and will get you kicked out of our event or scene. In case someone does this to you, always report it to the event organiser.

Personal hygiene

  • Washing hands from time to time is always a good idea, thinking about the countless amounts of germs from ourselves and previous dance partners we exchange while connected. Especially in case of a cold!
  • You probably don’t even need three 200 BPM songs in a row before getting a bit damp. Sweat is an unavoidable part of our fun. At the same time, one or more dry changes and some deodorant on stand-by in your bag are very welcome for when you start to resemble a slippery eel.
  • Consuming many dances and little drinks may not only cause dehydration, but also a bad breath. Take a sip or have a mint when your dance partners appear to get unwell once you start to talk.

Traffic safety

  • Whether you lead or follow, take responsibility for where you step and kick to prevent bruises or worse. Especially on a crowded dance floor. Prevent crashing into other dancers by making an emergency stop or change of direction.
  • Did you accidentally kick, hit or step on someone after all? Just apologise, not matter who (if anyone) is to blame.
  • A performance or jam circle with sufficient space are suitable occasions to show off the aerials you practiced with a specific dance partner. Aerials are not suitable on the social dancefloor for risk of injuring others.


As mentioned in the beginning, these are just some guiding, ‘unwritten’ rules or pointers, a lot of it comes down to common sense. At the same time this list may not feel complete to you. Does someone make you feel awkward for whatever reason? Try to address this to the person concerned.

© Swing In Utrecht - Dank aan Roland MacDonald voor de website. Foto's: Jackson Choo, Joost Wegman, Rose Vonk & Hanneke van Deutekom