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Salsa Etiquette Simplified

There are so many posts swinging around the interweb about Salsa etiquette and they are, without doubt, the most-read of all Salsa topics. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that learning to dance is akin to memorising the rules of a distant exotic tribe. There are huge lists packed with directions on how to behave and move, thousands of things to tick off and even more things to commit to memory.

You need to get it right.

After all, the penalties for failure at this are huge. Do you really want to risk making an inexcusable faux-pas and disgust and offend the majority of the dancers in your local salsa scene? Do that, and there will be no dances for you my friend!.

But you don’t need to waste hours of your life- you could be out there dancing instead! Here’s our guide to Salsa etiquette in 5 bite-sized chunks.

 1) Remember your personal hygiene

You won’t get many dances if you are smelly or sweaty, and you know it. Believe me, there’s not much worse than a wet sticky dance. All you have to do is remember what your mummy told you about personal hygiene;  wash, use deodorant, wear a clean shirt, change if you have to. It’s probably best to lay off the raw garlic until later in the week, trust me. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

 2) Be considerate to your partner

Salsa is a partner dance and you’re in it together, so remember to act that way. Smile at your partner, consider his or her abilities, guide her gently around the dance-floor, and enjoy dancing together.

3) Learn to dance well

This one is a goodie, but it’s rarely mentioned. The absolute best thing you can do to stay within the realms of Salsa rules is… to learn to dance well!  Learn to lead or follow well and you won’t find yourself dragging your partner around the dance-floor. Learn to dance well and you will be able to dance with better control. Learn to dance well and you will (hopefully) be a far more sensitive dancer who has has a lot more fun and doesn’t need to worry about things like etiquette 😉

 4) Stay (reasonably) sober

Dancing is a physical activity and  to do it well it’s best to be in control of your limbs. Pretty obvious, huh? For that reason, you might like to think about saving that bottle or red for another time and staying a little more sober for dancing Salsa. It ‘s hard to forget any embarrassing drunken deeds in the Salsa scene- most people know each other. Heed my advice or you may pay the consequences!

5) Be a decent friendly human being

Don’t be rude. Please! Don’t correct your dance partner’s mistakes or expect to teach him or her mid dance. It’s as offensive as someone telling you that your kissing is crap. Please don’t act bored and disinterested. Show you care and make eye contact with your partner and remember that wandering hands and suffocating holds are never OK. Got it?

Salsa etiquette doesn’t have to be an overwhelmingly complicated affair. Just remember to be clean, considerate, sober and decent human being and all will go well and you are safe from Salsa exile. Don’t forget those dance classes either!

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What is the nicest thing that has happened to you on the dancefloor? What do you want to remind people NEVER to do? Share it all in the comments below.

Image © Dominic Alves

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