The Interplanetary Swing Dance Etiquette and Manners Association of New York
PART ONE: AVOIDING INJURY
(The purpose of this list is to let newcomers know what's considered safe and respectful swing.)
1. Smoke or drink as far from the dance floor as possible. It's easy to accidentally burn dancers in motion with a lit cigar or cigarette. Spilled liquids turn a dance floor into a skating rink. Dancing feet can get cut on broken bottles and glass.
2. The floor is for dancing. Walk around the edge of the dance floor, rather than trying to thread your way through the dancers. When not dancing, stand clear of the dance floor! When dancing, leave room on the edges for walkers. Good dancers are usually skilled at avoiding collisions with other dancers, but unnecessary obstacles are annoying and take up dancing space.
3. If you are too drunk to drive, don't dance! You'll just run into people, annoy them and make yourself look foolish. And, of course, get someone else to drive.
4. Try not to wear any sharp or protruding rings, bracelets or hair decorations, or take them off before you hit the dance floor. Take sharp keys out of your pockets. Stiletto heels are sharp enough to pierce a foot; cowboy boots and steel-toed army boots are very hard on toes.
5. Whenever possible, if you are teaching, learning, or practicing moves, do it off to the side and not on the main dance floor. When you're practicing, it's more difficult to watch out for those around you and away from the crowd you'll be able to concentrate better on what you're practicing.
6. If the dance floor is very crowded, (A) Don't take up excessive space or travel from area to area. (B) Do not do Charlestons or any kicking steps!!! (C) Look behind and around you so you don't crash into or step on others. Make it easy for other dancers to predict where you--and your feet--will be. When people get kicked, crashed into, or poked, dancers get injured and can even be put out of commission entirely.
7. Air steps (or aerials), drops and slides are for jam sessions, competitions, and performances.These moves should never be done on the social dance floor. Never throw or lift someone without their permission! You risk hurting others (not to mention yourself), and besides, many clubs and dance studios do not permit these moves on their dance floors at all.
8. Some of your best moves come from creative avoidance of collisions. Check for space and all the infinitesimal permutations of where other heads may wind up before dipping or letting yourself be dipped. And don't push people or use your partner as artillery. Even in the middle of a dance, apologize for stepping on another person's foot, kicking them, or crashing into them. If someone tells you you've just kicked them, graciously apologize and make sure they're ok. As in driving, good dancing includes the skill of dancing with everyone on the dance floor, not just your partner. Collisions are not acceptable behavior driving or dancing. Don't make others mad at you.
9. If you see someone doing any of the above and they don't respond to being nicely told that their behavior is dangerous, don't argue, just alert the club manager, especially if the situation is truly hazardous----drunk dancers, broken glass, inappropriate aerials, etc. We all need to be responsible for each other as well as ourselves.
Please copy this list and pass it on to others. Ask that this be regularly distributed and taught in schools. (Please send any questions or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org) As our beloved bandleader George Gee has said, "Practice Safe Swing."
West Coast Swing and Hollywood are swing dances that are done in a "slot". In a mixed Lindy, West Coast Swing and Hollywood environment (like Irving Plaza), the Lindy dancers should be careful not to "short-slot" the "slot" dancers. When they have established a slot (a rectangular space the length of outreached arms on both sides of the leader), please respect their space and don't cut it in half by dancing in it. In other words, DON'T START DANCING RIGHT BEHIND THE LEADER, OR DRIFT INTO THIS AREA! This can not only lead to accidents as the "slot dancers" try to go into the space they had been using, and effectively RUINS their ability to continue dancing, ruining that dance and leading to hurt feelings. Be mindful, and we can co-exist! Also watch out for people doing a "line-of-dance" step around the room like 2-step or Fox Trot! Thanks to Michael for his safety tips!
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