Of what you ask? The art of Floor-craft. What is it? Well, instead of listening to me blab, I’d like to refer you to the following image (which of course is not mine, as if I owned any images on my blog *end sarcasm*):
Alright, that’s a pretty big image, and those are a lot of rules. These rules are pretty easy, but I’ll clarify just in case you don’t know. If you do, feel free to skip, and go to the “personal experience” section of the post.
Things to Clarify…
First and foremost, the picture applies to social dances. Floor-craft, however, applies to every dancing situation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at a school dance, country hall, or charity ball. You want to make the event as comfortable and fun for you, and for other people as well. The following is more or less some added commentary on social dancing.
LoD (Line of Dance)
Like the picture said, it goes counter clock-wise and there are two lanes for those that wish to dance at a faster or slower pace. The only thing I can add is please, for the love of all that is holy, do not go against the line! It’s there for a reason. Think about dancing like traffic. Sure, mistakes in dancing are less fatal than those in traffic, but the rules apply perfectly to each other. Scan often. Watch for other people. Give the right of way when it needs to be given. (Personally, I hate it when I have the right of way, and people are in such a big hurry that they speed by me!)
Like the name implies, these dances travel around the floor. At the studio, we call them ballroom. Just read the rules on the picture and you ought to be fine. Latin dances are more stationary. That’s why they’re performed in the center.
That’s about it for clarification, as the picture speaks for itself. Still, I have rules of my own, and they’ve evolved out of my own experience. This brings us to the bulk of our post…
Personal Rules (or Pet Peeves, if you Wish)
This rule hails from so-called idyllic childhood. In essence, mind your space. Once, I was attending a group class and we were separated by gender because our teacher was explaining a new step. From the corner, this waltzing couple comes flying in right into the gap. They managed to stop in time before colliding with anyone. However, that was still rude. People have paid money to learn, and interrupting class in any way may hinder their learning.
Yield to Payers
One of the wonderful things about my studio is that it serves as a free space to practice. Seeing as I only have one private lesson a week, I often go there to practice on my own. Out of courtesy, I give paying couples a wide berth. Unfortunately, some don’t. The same couple from above used to cut it pretty close on the instructors and students. I said it once, but I’ll say it again. People pay good money to learn how to dance. Give them plenty of space to learn. In my opinion, they have more right to the floor than I do when I practice because they’ve paid for it.
Don’t Mind the Watchers
This is my most personal rule, but why not include it? If you practice and there are newbies in the studio, chances are, they might start staring at you. Don’t pay them any mind. This is harder said than done, as I found it very disconcerting when I found that people were watching me. Eventually, I got used to it. If you spend time worrying about who’s watching you, it takes away from your learning experience. Dance is a pretty public activity, and the sooner you’re acclimated, the better.
Yes, I’ve kicked people in the shin, accidentally hit them on the head, and stabbed people with my heels. If you’re a social dancer, it’ll happen. Just apologize, and hopefully they’ll brush it off. Just make sure to watch your upper extremities, especially those arms. Don’t try anything too fancy on a crowded floor. I don’t care how cool it is; don’t do it. In retrospect, if you’ve chosen to put your health at risk by stepping onto a crowded floor. Accept the fact you might accidentally get stepped or smacked. If they apologize, don’t continue to glare at them (been on the receiving end of this). If they don’t apologize, chances are they didn’t see you or they don’t care. If it’s the latter, don’t engage. They aren’t worth it (this coming from somebody whose nickname was once the Demon Imp).
That’s about it for my “rules”. Stay tuned for a new progress post tomorrow. DP has finally returned since his leave of absence, and it’ll be our first lesson since my break.