Minneapolis Salsa Bachata Dance

We've put together some different tips and etiquette norms in the Latin dance scene.

If you'd like to read up a little to know what to expect and/or what might be expected of you before going to your first dance class or event, you've come to the right spot.

Have a read!

Social Dancing Etiquette


We are dancing with another dancer. So remember it is very important that you are clean and smell nice before you go out dancing!

This means:

  • Try to shower before going out dancing
  • Bring deodorant/perfume/cologne along when dancing. But don’t overdo it, lighter smells are better.
  • Brush your teeth before going out dancing and bringing gum/mints to keep you minty fresh. It’s also a good idea to avoid eating strong smelling foods like onions and garlic on the day of dancing.
  • Bring a towel and spare t-shirts (recommended). Dancing is physical so perspiration is expected.


During social dancing and lessons, you should not correct or teach your partner unless clearly requested. If your partner leads or follows a move incorrectly, it is not an invitation to teach them. Instead, if you’re the lead, try simpler patterns. If you’re the follow, just follow the best you can.

Even when they do ask you to help, try and help them as quickly and friendly as possible, or better yet – just say you are not sure and they ask an instructor. Even when people ask for help, they normally don’t like being told!


Everyone can go and ask somebody for a dance regardless of gender or if you are leading or following.

So don’t just sit there. If a person you want to dance with is sitting down, then go over and politely ask them to dance. It is very rare you will get turned down. But if you are turned down, don’t take it personally. Normally it’s because they have been dancing a lot and need a a rest, want to socialize with some friends, don't like the specific song playing, or they are very nervous and only like dancing with specific people.

It’s not a nice feeling when people come to a salsa class/event and are just sitting there all night not dancing. If you see this happening, then make an effort to go and ask them to dance. I guarantee you will make their night! And like above, if you get turned down, don’t take it personally. There are loads of reasons. So just say thank you very much and move on to the next person. There are always plenty around!

Important: Don’t keep pestering someone to dance. If you have been turned down more than once through the night, then don’t ask them again. Wait for them to ask you. It is not polite to keep asking someone to dance, if they have already said no to you, for whatever reason.


Although as we said above Latin dancing is normally danced close, you will find a lot of people only dance very close if they are familiar with the other person. You have to use your judgement here based on your partner’s willingness or resistance to being close. Don’t push it any further than your partner is happy with.


It is important to remember to dance within the space you have. Which normally means, very small steps, no big arm movements and be aware of who else is dancing around you. Adjust your moves to the space available. If there isn’t much space then stick to moves that are tighter, otherwise you will keep bumping into everyone around you.

Dance floors are often overcrowded and at some point you are going to bump into somebody or step on their feet. If this happens, apologize. If somebody bumps into you, apologize even if you think it was their fault.

Miscellaneous Tips


Especially if there is no cover, if there's a tip jar for the band drop a couple bucks in, if it's a restaurant grab a bite, if it's a bar, a drink. Even though dancers like to think of themselves as free entertainment,

It costs $ to make a dance happen anywhere and keeping the bar and the band happy is not only the cool thing to do, it keeps our venues open so we can keep dancing.


Don't ask someone to dance by telling them how terrible you are. It's like when your friend says "man this food tastes horrible!" and then asks you to taste it. A bad sell. If you are a new dancer, it's no problem to mention it, but keep it positive & brief and get to the dancing. If you are nervous, that's all good, just be nervous and don't talk about it the whole dance and try to smile, it really goes a long way.

You can generally ask anybody you want, even if you are very new, so don't be too shy. You'll see that it shakes out with folks tending to dance with people around their own level, but that is not a law, that's mainly less experienced folks being shy to ask more experienced dancers. While it is probably smart to not get too greedy with asking the best dancer 10 times in a row, it really is fine to ask someone better than you for a dance once in a while, it can be fun for both people.


Don't apologize the entire dance. Everyone goofs up from time to time and it really is no big deal. Like many other interactions in life, the fun your partner has is based to a surprising degree on the fun you have, so try to relax and enjoy yourself.


Feel no obligation to talk the entire dance. The great thing about social dancing is how you can communicate your response to the music without talking. You can introduce yourself etc, but if you have a conversation for the entire dance, you may miss some of the fun - and if you are new, talking and partnering at the same time can be tough!


Have fun! You may be surprised how much of a chore folks can make dancing sometimes. I've mentioned it a couple of times, but it bears repeating. Enjoying yourself will make-up for a lot of other shortcomings. It makes people enjoy dancing with you more, it distracts you from your insecurities, and really it is the point of the whole endeavor.

Minneapolis Salsa Bachata Dance

Minneapolis Salsa Bachata Dance

2161 University Ave W Suite 208

Saint Paul, MN 55114

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