WOMEN and MEN should be equally inclined to ask others to dance. So ladies, if you want to dance, just ask! And what better way than with a "May I Have This Dance?"

ALWAYS ACCEPT when someone asks you to dance UNLESS one of the following applies:

TIRED, INJURED or do not know the dance? Say something like "I'm sorry, I would love to dance with you, but I am very tired and need to sit one out. May I have the next one?" In this case, it is never appropriate to turn down one person only to accept or ask someone else during the same song.

LEAVING the dance? Say something like, "I'm sorry, I would love to but I just had my last dance for the evening and am on my way out. May I have a few to make up for it next time?

PROMISED this song/dance to ANOTHER person? Say something like, "I'm sorry, I've promised this song to someone else. However, I would love to dance with you, May I have the next one?"

The person asking makes you very UNCOMFORTABLE or is OFFENSIVE? In this case, if possible, let that person know "I'm sorry but last time we danced, you made me uncomfortable. I need a gentler lead (or insert other diplomatically worded reason)." If you are not comfortable explaining why, then just a simple "no thank you," will suffice. If this happens at a MayI event, we encourage you to notify a MayI instructor or staff about the person who is making others uncomfortable, as we will diplomatically address it with that person.


PROGRESSIVE DANCES (like Foxtrot,Waltz, Two-Step, etc.) TRAVEL around the dance floor COUNTER CLOCKWISE which is known as the LINE OF DANCE. If you are doing STATIONARY PATTERNS OR DANCES like swing, stay towards the CENTER of the floor.

Dance at your PARTNER’S LEVEL. Make your partner feel and look good, don’t show off! Leaders,focus on making your partner safe and comfortable. Good basics, having a solid lead, and being considerate goes a long way. Followers are not impressed by constant fancy patterns that are rough and difficult to follow.

ALWAYS APOLOGIZE if you bump into someone or step on their feet (regardless of whose fault it was). This goes for your partner as well as other dancers on the floor.

THANK YOUR PARTNER for the dance at the end of the song.

SMILE. MAKE EYE CONTACT. Say hello and introduce yourself. But do not stare or ogle.

At the end of the dance, WALK YOUR PARTNER OFF THE FLOOR or to their next partner.

If there is a live band, APPLAUD THE BAND at the end of each song.

SHARE FLOOR SPACE with all dancers, regardless of level. However, all dancers, especially new dancers should make sure they find out any accepted conventions of a specific venue.

Dancing at a bar or lounge? Please ORDER at least one drink and TIP the service staff. Support them and hopefully they will continue to offer dancing. Dancers are notorious for not drinking or just drinking water. At least order bottled water and tip generously.


BLOCK the flow of the dance. Leave room for couples to Foxtrot or Twostep in the outside lanes of the dance floor while you swing in the middle. Moving slower? Then stay in the inside lane. Moving faster? Outside lane.

Aerials are NEVER allowed on the social dance floor. They are inconsiderate and extremely dangerous. Save them for competitions and performances. Dips, drops, and tricks should also be DONE WITH CAUTION. Make sure to have space, consent, and knowledge!

TEACH WHILE DANCING, unless requested to do so by your partner. Even if your intentions are good, 10 out of 10 times the person you're giving advice to will think you're rude. This is the most common complaint! People find it annoying to be told "let me show you how to do that," or "you are doing that wrong."


Good hygiene is an obvious part of social dancing, but sometimes can be overlooked. Please keep the following in mind:

CLEANLINESS: Shower or bathe before participating in a dance class or event. If it’s been a long day, you should consider showering before going to class or dance parties.

ORAL HYGIENE: Make your partners happy - brush and use mouthwash! Also keep mints and/or gum handy.

CLOTHING: Wear comfortable but appropriate clothing. DANCE PARTIES - more fashionable or formal clothing. EVENING CLASS - professional, upscale casual. More casual sporty clothes are appropriate for an all-day intensive or weekend seminar. Unless you never sweat, stay away from sleeveless tops. If you sweat a lot, you should consider bringing a change of clothes.

HAIR: Long hair or a pony tail may whip your partner in the face. Wearing hair in a bun or against your head is usually a good alternative.

PERFUME/COLOGNE: Is good in moderation. Some people are irritated or allergic to strong scents. Of course, strong body odor is more offensive, so don't forget the deodorant!

HANDS: Wash your hands a few times throughout the evening. It's a must after you use the bathroom. Hand sanitizer may be a good thing to add to your dance bag.

Article written by Nino DiGiulio, May I Have This Dance.

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