Each week, Hugo Miguez and Stacy Kay post Tuesday Tips, advice from the pros to the larger Westie community about everything from dance etiquette to great ways to learn in workshops. We at Wandering Westie are looking to expand upon these with stories from our own Westies each week – proof of these tips in action!
Dance Management is a critically important skill you’ll learn with social dance experience. Here at Tuesday Tips we like to focus strongly on etiquette and understanding of the human side of WCS and how to make friends and not create enemies. This is a skill that is learned with time. What happens when two people ask you to dance at the same time? What happens when you ask someone to dance at that awkward moment of them-already-being-asked? Do you hold an honor duel with the other dancer? Is it time for a dance-off?
(Spoiler alert: it’s not.)
Everyone’s got their own methodology for managing the madness. These are mine.
Dance List Development
Everyone’s got an informal list of people they want to make sure they dance with at a social dance night, or at least I do. If there’s someone I want to dance with, I’ll let them know. Many people use the phrase “save me a dance tonight!” as a greeting or a kindness to others, but nobody ever “owes” anyone a dance. You can read more about that here: http://www.wanderingwestie.com/2016/08/16/tuesday-tip-009/. However, it’s a great way to get on someone’s radar for that dance night. I always tell people that “hey, we should dance tonight!” because then when I run into them on the social floor, chances are they’ll save a dance for me and it makes it really easy to ask them. Keep a mental list of people who you’d love to dance with, and know that other people might be managing it the same way. Whether it’s some allstar/pro dancer you’ve always wanted to dance with or some local dancer who you want to make sure you catch, feel free to ask them “Hey, can I get on your dance list?” Then follow-up later!
Dance Next to Someone
Have you ever had the experience of trying to grab a dancer who just keeps being pulled away by others? It can get kind of deflating. I’ve been pulled for many a dance where we strategically align ourselves on the floor near that dancer, so we can ask them next before they’re nabbed by someone else. Strategic alignment is a strong method for maximizing your dance opportunities and minimizing those missed moments.
(Make sure they want to dance first!: Don’t forget to read their body language. http://www.wanderingwestie.com/2016/08/09/tuesday-tip-007/)
Whether two people asked you to dance and you had to choose one, or you’re trying to nab a dance with an elusive someone, be spatially aware on the dance floor. Dance near that next dance partner. Don’t let them take your focus off your current partner for that song, but don’t forget about your next dance, either. I’ve lost people who’ve said “next song” because they’ve flown off into the social floor and gotten nabbed again and again after getting on there before I can even reach them. Being mindful of your space on the floor is a subtle thing that means the world to all dancers. It shows you care.
Don’t Wait for the Next Song – Or Plan Your Heart Out
This one goes out to the people who wait for that special song to ask that certain dancer. You know, the one you’re waiting for all night, and wanna dance the Best Song with?
For a long time, I’d wait to dance with any of the scarier, upper level dancers until I heard a song I loved. And I’d rush over to them and ask them to-oh, wait, they’re already dancing with someone.
Taking initiative on the dance floor is huge. Not worrying about WHEN is almost equally important. You’ll have dances with people to music you never expected, and sometimes it’ll be amazing. You’ll have the moments where you and your partner go “wait, what’s this song? What is happening?” and it becomes a fun little adventure.
However, if there’s a song you really want to dance with someone, and it’s someone you know and like, tell them! They’ll be flattered you like dancing with them enough to think like that, and you’ll probably end up dancing it with them. When I go to Boogie this weekend, a dance friend and I are going to set a place in a ballroom to meet if a couple specific songs play, so we can dance them. We’ve been dying to dance to those together for a couple months, so it’s going to happen. That’s another strategy.
But more often than not, just don’t worry about it. Go out. Make moments. You’ll have great dances with great people, and be mindful of your space. Ask people if they’ll dance later, and don’t be afraid to follow up. Everyone wants to dance with others, and everyone wants to feel like they are a desirable dance partner. We tend to overanalyze and get in our heads a little too much during a social dance. You’ve got a lot of madness to manage, but just remember that everyone-like you-wants to dance. Respect that, and just have a good time.
Hugo Miguez and Stacy Kay are renowned for their precision, variety, and teaching methods within West Coast Swing. Since 2011, they have taken the circuit by storm with their Classic routines and are re-defining the learning process of the dance world. They will lead you through energetic dances while sharing their advice on all things dance. Hugo and Stacy reside in sunny Clearwater, Florida and travel as competitors, judges, and choreographers for numerous events in different dance styles. Both continue to share their passion for dance and enjoy working with all levels of experiences. They work with top professionals in many different dance styles distinctly furthering their education and experience. Their philosophy is to introduce and foster fresh, comprehensive dance knowledge for their students by giving more of themselves within every experience. They can be reached at www.hugoandstacy.dance.