Dance Floor Etiquette for Salsa Dancers

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A few tips on Dance Floor etiquette for Salseros, and Bachateros.

As a new salsa dancer, or as the new guy/girl in the scene try to first look around where people are dancing and how good are they? Where are the expert dancers, where are the newbies (they are usually segregated, at least to a visible degree) People who have been dancing a while usually prefer to dance on the outside of the dance floor, for many reasons. The inside of the dance floor can cause claustrophobia; it is easier to get hit or stepped on if you are in the middle of a lot of bodies moving sometimes carelessly and out of rhythm; or the expert wants to show off their dance skill to the “audience” (usually this one happens a lot).

When you have located your zone, or the person you want to dance with (do this casually, don’t do this like your trying to recognize faces in the local wanted list), just walk up to them with a smile and politely ask them to dance. Don’t creep behind the person with a scary movie style surprise attack, as this fires off the “fight or flight” neurological response, and either one doesn’t lead to dancing with you (look at the do’s and don’ts list at the bottom).

Girls don’t hide in the left field, behind the pillar if you want to get asked to dance. The messages you are sending out to the guys in the club and in the whole universe are that you don’t want to dance this song; someone dragged you into this horrible salsa club and you are not enjoying yourself; you are tired and you are taking a break; you are too scared to dance; or you are playing hide and seek? Either way, none of this messages you are projecting is going to attract other people to want to dance with you. If you want to get asked to dance, sit near the dance floor, make eye contact and smile (appear friendly!! Don’t be carrying a look of “if you ask me to dance, I’ll eat your hand off,” no one will dance with you). If you haven’t been asked to dance, go out there and ask men to dance with you. No shame in that.

When asking a girl or a guy to dance, be polite, especially if you are interrupting a conversation. The other person might turn you down, and this would teach you a lesson that also holds true in life, some guys are assholes, and some girls are witches. Just kidding, The guy or girl might be worn out from dancing to much, or they need a break, or they need a drink, the whole point is don’t take rejection personally.


1. Introduce yourself

2. Thank the other person for the dance

3. If you felt good about the dance, tell the other person you would like to dance with them again later on. This way you gauge if the other person liked dancing with you, and if they will be up for dancing with you again. Great way to avoid #2 on the don’ts list.

4. It’s ok to finish the song early when dancing to 10 minute long songs or more. The musicians are not doing anything aerobic; you are free to finish the song when you’ve had enough. No one wants to dance with someone who has a face that they want to ESCAPE NOW!!!


1. Apologize every 5 seconds for messing up (specially if you are a new dancer). It’s ok, you’re learning, it is understandable. The other person is not going to get upset at you.

2. Ask to dance for a second song right away, unless the other person seemed to frantically passionate about the first dance.

3. Talk through the whole song unless the other person seems very interested in what you have to talk about. Go to Starbucks, or sit the song out.

4. Take a LOT of space when dancing. This is how you make ENEMIES in the dance floor.

5. Dip a heavier person than you can carry.

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