Here are some simple guidelines for dancers who are learning to navigate our scene.
Giving People A Chance
You can say no to a dance request at any time, for any reason. That said, the scene very much benefits from people dancing with each other. Dancing with more people improves your dancing faster than only dancing with one or two people. The more people you dance with, the more your dancing will improve. We believe in dancing with everyone, no matter their skill level or social group. When people are first starting to learn dance, it is incredibly helpful and awesome to dance with more experienced dancers. And when you are more experienced, it is often helpful to dance with beginners to check in on how your basics are doing and be newly inspired by their enthusiasm. So go forth and dance with everyone!
Asking For A Dance
Don’t be afraid to ask someone for a dance! It doesn’t matter if you’re a lead or a follow. But if you do, it’s generally best to avoid asking someone who is engaged in conversation or else obviously in the middle of something (working at the venue, looking for someone, etc). When you get turned down (and you will get turned down), keep in mind that this is most likely not personal, and go ask someone else! Also, see this helpful infographic: http://rebeccabrightly.com/dance-flow-chart/
Do it! Taking class will give you more skillz – connection skillz, musicality skillz, move skillz, dance skillz.
It is generally regarded as inappropriate to give instruction or unsolicited feedback while in a class. If you are in rotation in class and someone asks you how something is working, feel free to tell them what you are experiencing, but remember, it’s up to the teacher to teach, not the students.
Nobody likes to receive unsolicited advice while dancing. Unless someone has asked you for your opinion, it is never acceptable to tell someone how they should dance. The only exception to this rule is in the unlikely event that you are being hurt by the dance. The best way to handle this is to simply state what you are experiencing, i.e., “this move is hurting me.” If the dance continues to hurt, then protect yourself and end the dance.
Blues can be very close physically. It is not, however, an invitation to create unrequested intimacy. This is a place to dance, not to grind with your partner. We highly recommend taking some beginning classes to learn about how to connect with your partner in a way that will be comfortable for both of you. If you have any questions about what behavior is appropriate, please find the host or our staff and we’d love to talk to you about it! Furthermore, if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, please do talk to us about it! Oftentimes it is merely a misunderstanding of what the dance is about, though in more difficult cases, we will remove people from the venue if necessary.
In general we’d like to avoid ever bumping into another couple, but inevitably this will happen. Just be sure to apologize, even if it’s not your fault. You can avoid these situations by dancing smaller when it’s crowded and by keeping track of where dancers are around you.
Respect Our Host!
This isn’t normal social dance etiquette, but it’s an important part of our venue. Many of our dances are in a community member’s house and located in a residential area. Please be aware of noise levels outside. Also, be aware that you are a guest in someone’s home! Be respectful of their space.
Additionally, Collectively Blue does not permit underage drinking at our events. If you are found to be underage and drinking you will be asked to leave. Really. Period.
Our events are all about having fun. If you make this your first priority at CB events, then we’ll have a great time!
If you have any questions or concerns while at a CB event, find the nearest CB representative (Laney Barhaugh, Eryn O’Neil, Susan Olson, Amanda Kueper, Molly Quigley, Nick Burt, Robert McCauley).
*Adapted from The Rent Party document here.