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Managing Your Steps On The Dance Floor


Date added to ADN: Wed, December 21, 2011
Originally Published: Sun, March 01, 2009
by Melva Smith (About the Author)

Most of us have seen it happen. While dancing with your partner, a couple suddenly appears, and blocks the line of dance. Dancing on a crowded floor can be quite a challenge, and it takes a skilled dancer to be able to maneuver away from other dancers smoothly.

While some people have never heard of it, there is a solution to this problem. Ralph E. Kenyon of Ballroomdances.org gives us a good definition of floor management, and floor craft:

Floor management" refers to the ability of a leader to plan figures to fit in the allowable dance space. "floor craft" refers to the ability of a leader to modify such plans in the face of changing traffic conditions so as to successfully prevent collisions and to make the resulting change look like it's part of the routine.”

Alex Ioukhnel, owner of Bravo Dance Studio, explains why many dancers never learn these skills. "My personal opinion is because many social dancers have taken a few lessons, probably group classes, here and there, learned a few steps, sometimes in a routine format only, and stopped their education. They don’t have enough steps to freely change the order. They don't have enough steps even to change the order of their existing repertoire. Maybe they attend a school with inexperienced instructors, come for very small classes and parties with 5-7 other couples, and never have this problem. When they come for crowded events, then they don't know how to manage the floor," he said.

"Another mistake is that some dancers refuse to break their frame when other couples are passing too close: they continue to swing their arms in wide arcs in rhythm dances, and will not drop their left hand/right hand connection ... to avoid bumping other couples. Make a note: we are talking about arm frame, not posture.

Ladies make a mistake by taking the initiative in their direction, speed, and momentum. It's even worse if she is pulling her partner with her. The lady must follow her partner and inform her partner if there is a floorcraft problem, and he is not aware of it. Then, she should wait for his response," Alex continued.

To embellish upon existing skills, Alex also recommends that students continue their dance education,learn more steps, improve their dance technique, regularly come for big classes and parties, learn from more experienced dancers, take lessons from more experienced dancers, take lessons from decent instructors and maybe even compete.

Do you get annoyed coming down the fast outside lane, only to run into a knot of people standing and talking? Remember this when you are not dancing. Don't loiter on the dance floor. The dance floor is for dancing, not for pedestrians socializing. Take your socializing to the area reserved for seating. This is especially important when dance conditions are more crowded Dancers! Enjoy dancing to the fullest! LET'S ALL PRACTICE DANCE FLOOR ETQUETTE. Many dancers and many styles of dancing can be accomplished on the dance floor at the same time if dance floor etiquette is followed. Let's always be courteous, and we'll all have a great time dancing.

When dancing in the outside lanes, do not back up without looking, do not dance across the flow, and keep a lookout for other dancers to avoid collisions!

Progressive dances are Quickstep, Foxtrot, Waltz, Two-Step, Polka and "Pattern dances". These dancers have the right of way, but should not cut thru the center!

SPOT DANCES Cha-Cha Rumba Jitterbug East Coast Swing, Rock, West Coast Swing, Slow Dancing, Line Dances


About the Author:
Melva Gail Smith is a disabled dance enthusiast from Louisville, KY who enjoys promoting the health and social benefits of both dancesport and linedancesport through her writings. Melva has written for USA Dance, as well as various online magazines; and is the inspiration of dance choreographer Ira Weisburd's Breathe Freely Campaign for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.

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