Is it okay to teach on the dance floor?
Is it socially acceptable to teach on the dance floor? Is it bad etiquette to teach on the dance floor? Should a follow ask for help when struggling? Should a lead offer advice to his partner? Or do both partners just need to shut up and dance?
The answer is Yes to all of these questions.
By the way, I 1000% blame Georgia Schrubbe for making me respond to her article The Dance Floor is Not a Classroom. Let’s get this over with.
Why it’s terrible to learn on the dance floor?
Social dance settings much darker and louder than a classroom. Therefore it is harder to see/hear whatever is being taught. Fundamental components like your basic step are most difficult to truly learn without being able to see/hear.
Why it’s awesome to learn on the dance floor?
Because you can’t beat real life experience. Dance classes puts movement to music into a box of principles and rules that you can use to relate to your partner. The dance floor is your chance to unwrap that box (carefully) and explore your own style with your partner.
Instructors are biased on this issue.
And they should be. When a someone asks an instructor how to do a dance move, they can actually help. I want to help when people ask for help with a dance move. But it is not always appropriate for instructors to do so outside of dance classes. It can affect their livelihood. The instructor has discretion to give help or not.
Now let’s be real.
We all know who we are thinking of when we say it is unthinkable to be teaching or asking to be taught on the dance floor.
a) Never attended classes, and wants help on the fly.
This is that same person in school who didn’t read the book but wants a spark-notes explanation so they can just wing it for the essay. To you I say… No.. just no…
b) Attended classes, then wants to blame partner when it doesn’t work out
I call this person, it’s never my fault.
c) Watches videos, then changes a social dance into a “let me practice to get better dance”
There is a time and place for dance practice. Ask someone to dance. Or ask someone to practice. But be upfront from the start so that you don’t end up on anyone’s ban list.
When is it okay to teach on the dance floor?
When someone is willing to learn. Just because they agreed to a dance does not mean they agreed to be lectured through a dance. For those that wish to learn on the dance floor, please understand that person you are asking has to be willing to teach you on the dance floor.