Whoops! How to Handle Embarrassing Ballroom Dance Moments Gracefully

How do you react to embarrassing moments when ballroom dancing? Read this article for suggestions on how to handle your next embarrassing moment with finesse and grace!

Date added to ADN: Tuesday, Oct 22 2013
Originally Published: Tuesday, Oct 22 2013
By Diane Jarmolow


Embarrassing things happen. They always have and they always will.

There is no "Embarrassment Spray Guard", so we'd best learn to expect it and be ready to deal with it in the best possible way.

What would you do if:

• You pass gas loudly while doing a Paso Doble leap in your lesson with a famous dance coach?

• You notice your sweater is inside out, with its large tag sticking out, while teaching a class?

• You notice your fly is unzipped in the middle of taking your DVIDA® professional certification exam?

• Your dress strap slips or breaks at a dance competition revealing your breast?

• You are gossiping about someone at a dance party when you realize that person is standing right behind you and heard what you said?

I remember walking down the street with a "friend" when I tripped on an uneven part of the sidewalk. As I stumbled clumsily to catch my balance, he laughed and remarked, "You're not very graceful for a dancer." I would have preferred he simply said, "Are you all right?"

What reaction would you like from yourself and others when you do something embarrassing? Certainly we do not want to feel shamed or mortified.

Here are some suggestions on how to handle embarrassing moments…

…as both the person who is embarrassed and as the person who witnesses the embarrassment.

Passing Gas (sorry to keep harping on it!)

  • Person Who Did It: Say, "Excuse me."

  • Witness: Say, "It happens!"

Clothing Inside Out, etc.

  • Person Who Did It: Say, "Guess I must have been a bit sleepy when I got dressed this morning!"

  • Witness: Say, "Yes, I've done that too!"

Fly Unzipped

  • Person Who Did It: Zip it up and say nothing ~OR~ Say, "Sorry about that."

  • Witness: Say nothing ~OR~ Say, "No big deal—it happens to everyone at some point."

Dress Breaks, Pants Fall Down, etc.

  • Person Who Did It: Say, "Wow, that wasn't part of the act!"

  • Witness: Say (jokingly), "We didn't mind."

Someone Hears You Gossiping About Them

  • Person Who Did It: Say, "I'm so sorry. I feel terrible saying that about you and I've learned my lesson."

  • Witness: Say (jokingly), "No problem—you'll receive a letter from my lawyer tomorrow." ~OR~ If it seems the person is genuinely sorry, just say, "Okay." (Ultimately we do best if we can just forgive and forget.)

The best solution to all of this might be to recast what we mean by embarrassing in the first place. If embarrassing moments happen on a regular basis, then it would be wise to hold them as things that happen in life, without putting any judgment on them.

Wouldn't that make the dance world and the entire world a better place to live?

Check out Diane's blog here

About the Author:

Diane Jarmolow is a pioneer in the field of ballroom dancing. She founded the first vocational training for ballroom dance teachers, the Ballroom Dance Teachers College (BDTC). Based in Oakland, California, BDTC has trained hundreds of people to become successful dance instructors, and Diane's BDTC-in-a-Box is being used to train teachers in studios throughout North America and abroad.

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.

smalladnseal.png Contributing Member

Ballroom Dance Teachers College
Oakland AND San Francisco, CA 94616

Related Topics

Training & Continuation

Do you need to dust off your dancing shoes or mend the soles? Either way, you need more Dance in your life. Restarting, relocating, training, and technical development are great excuses to dance more. So go! Go on and Dance!

Competitive Dancing (DanceSport)

Bring it on! And strut your stuff! Bring your dancing to the next level. Join the glitz and glamour of competitive Dancesport. Showcase your skills and WOW the crowd. Sizzling or sophisticated - If you got it, flaunt it.

Career Development

Bring joy, passion and confidence into the lives of others! Consider training to become a dance educator and change lives for the better.

Meet New People

Get out and be part of the fun. Meet new people through the universal language of dance. Dance lessons will get you out on the dance floor with your friends or maybe you'll catch the eye of that special someone.