Going social dancing can feel like a crap-shoot, when it comes to whether it will be a ‘good dance night’. After all, who hasn’t had to endure a string of ladies who all had ‘headaches’, or men who seemed to ask all your friends but you? The key to increasing your social dance popularity isn’t simply learning more dance steps – or wearing less clothes.

Rather, it’s a measure of confidence and approachability, combined with an ability to make your dance partner happy, that keeps them coming back for more.

What to Wear

Your choice of apparel is not just to look good to potential dance partners, but to ensure a comfortable dance as well:

  1. Avoid long necklaces, and big belt buckles, and be wary of watches, big rings, and brooches. They can catch on your partner’s hair or clothing, or bruise and scratch the skin.
  2. Low-cut sleeves and clothes that are baggy in the armpits can snag your partner’s hand when he is reaching around for a back connection. Favour closer-fitting clothes instead.
  3. Gentlemen: Try to minimize how much you carry in your pockets when social dancing – carry cards and cash rather than your whole wallet to save space. Store your belongings in your left pocket to make contact more comfortable with your partner.

Making Yourself Approachable

If you’re going social dancing, you must present yourself as a friendly, approachable person. I know several students who lament they never get enough dances – only to find out later that their would-be partners wanted to ask them, but felt intimidated!

  1. Say ‘hi!’ and smile. That’s it. When you’re walking over from the parking lot, waiting in line, or passing others on the way to the bathroom, give them this quick acknowledgement. You are already creating the impression of an engaging and fun dancer.
  2. Move around the edge of the dance floor. Watch the dancers dancing, tap your feet and/or sway to the music. Smile! You now look like someone who’s here to enjoy themselves, and others will want to share that good feeling with you.
  3. Keep your hands open, and avoid crossing your arms! This is psychological pepper-spray for would-be dance partners. Instead, leave them relaxed at your side or elevate the forearms to waist level, indicating you are ready to dance.

Popping the Question

At most halls for social dancing, both women and men can comfortably ask each other to dance. Of course, HOW you ask will certainly affect your success rate:

  1. Be clear and direct. Select your partner-to-be, and work your way towards them, making eye contact as you do. If you wander up to your target ambiguously, you risk offending their friends, who hoped you were going to ask them.
  2. Unless it’s someone you know, it’s usually best to avoid interrupting their conversation to ask. If you’re feeling lucky however, you can move to within a few feet of your target, within their eyesight. If they don’t acknowledge you within a few seconds, they don’t want to be disturbed.
  3. When it comes to actually asking, keep it short and sweet. A simple ‘care to dance?’ with an arm extended will suffice.

Of course, this is just scratching the surface in terms of making yourself an enjoyable and fun social dance partner. Next time, we’ll look at how women who really don’t like asking can make themselves a guy-magnet. Finally, part 3 will look at both sexes on how to make sure both you and your partner feel great while dancing socially – and keep them coming back for more!