Dance Floor Etiquette

Thanks to Swing in Utrecht for their help in drafting this advice.

The social part of our dancing is what makes the Lindy Hop community so nice. To make our dances and classes a pleasant and safe experience for all, here are a few pointers that we would like our scene members to be aware of:

Consent and Feedback

  • Want to dance? Always kindly ask first, instead of grabbing someone without permission.
  • Don’t want to dance? That’s fine too, whatever the reason: just respectfully decline.
  • Followers and leaders can both ask others to dance. Check which role your partner is comfortable dancing: do not assume that every man wants to dance as a leader and every woman as a follower.
  • In general, a social dance is for dancing and the classroom is for learning and teaching. Unless someone is causing you pain while dancing, or asking for a specific tip, please avoid giving unwanted advice on the social dance floor.
  • Likewise, the social dance floor is not intended as a market place to pick up a date. The physical connection we have as dancers serves the dance and only the dance. Getting touchy-feely with somebody without their permission is not tolerated and will get you kicked out of our event or scene. In case someone does this to you, always report it to the event organiser.

Personal Hygiene

  • Washing hands from time to time is always a good idea, especially in case of a cold!
  • Sweat is an unavoidable part of our fun. At the same time, one or more dry changes and some deodorant on stand-by in your bag are very welcome for when you start to resemble a slippery eel.
  • Consuming many dances and little drinks may not only cause dehydration but also bad breath. Take a sip or have a mint when your dance partners appear to get unwell once you start to talk.

Traffic safety

  • Whether you lead or follow, take responsibility for where you step and kick, in order to prevent bruises or worse, especially on a crowded dance floor. Try to prevent crashing into other dancers by making an emergency stop or change of direction.
  • Did you accidentally kick, hit or step on someone after all? Just apologise, no matter who (if anyone) is to blame.
  • Aerials are not allowed on the social dance floor for risk of injuring others. A performance or jam circle with sufficient space are suitable occasions to show off the aerials you practiced with your dance partner.


We are all different individuals with various habits and expectations. Generally accepted unwritten rules or practices may be obvious for some, less so for others. Does someone make you feel awkward or uncomfortable for whatever reason? Try to address this with the person concerned or talk to one of the Lindy What team members and ask them to help.
These are some guiding ‘unwritten’ rules or pointers, much of which come down to common sense and being respectful. Does this list feel incomplete to you? Let us know!

Happy dancing everyone, let’s make sure that our classes and dances are a pleasant experience for all of us!