Best and worst dance snubs when you ask a lady to dance


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I agree, but it's not my job to teach other people how to behave when I'm in a social situation, and I've gotten enough flack over the years for trying to show people what's wrong with their behavior that I don't feel the need to put myself in that sort of situation again. Most people who are that clueless won't listen to what you have to say anyway, so it's a waste of my energy and breath.


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All valid points- and I do agree, but I've just always wondered whose job it IS to at least try. Also, at least they're aware of it then, so they can't be totally surprised if someone takes it to a venue owner (in a worst case scenario maybe?) and they get banstaffed.


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Also: These situations are why we teach etiquette in our group classes: How to ask someone to dance, how to accept or decline, how to react to either, how to say thank you, what to do during dancing, etc. along with the rest of the instruction. It's actually curbed a lot of that in-partnership back-and-forth, at least in class. I think, as mentioned, a lot of people don't realize their 'helping' isn't- but MANY of them stop when it's pointed out. The ones who don't go on a list to be wary of.


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IMO, some people "teach" because it's inherent in their nature, some "teach" because they enthusiastically want to share this new thing that they've just learned or discovered, and some "teach" because they're trying to impress or have an inflated opinion of their skills.

On another tack, a "No, thank you" from a follow usually tells me clearly that she is not interested in dancing with me for whatever reason and I won't ask her again. If she explains why she's declining, I probably will ask her again. You can always temper declining by saying, "Maybe another time". But nobody is under any obligation to dance with anybody if they don't want to.

(I should be at a social asking people to dance right now, but I managed to catch a whopper of a head cold. <grumble> <snort> Where's the freaking hot tea and rum when you need it? o_O )

Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
OK DF'ers, I'm taking a survey. Do I:

1. Politely refuse from now on, with no explanation (unless asked).
2. Accept the next time he asks, but mention that I do not appreciate the critique/instruction.
3. Accept, say nothing about criticism, encourage conversation.
4. Other?

As I've mentioned before, I almost never refuse if asked to dance and I generally just try to avoid a handful of gentlemen that I don't enjoy dancing with. There is one I have managed to successfully avoid but he caught me the last time I danced at a venue we both go to, so I accepted. We don't know each other very well (only as infrequent dance partners - I think I am his partner of last resort). He is a decent but not exceptional lead, but he is very impatient/critical of his follows, but in a calm, matter-of-fact, dull sort of way. All of my lady dance friends try to avoid him for this very reason, but are generally too polite to refuse if he asks. I'm usually just really good at sitting out of reach and not making eye contact.

Anyway, our most recent dance was a rumba. I missed one of the figures he was trying to lead, and he said to me drily "That is called Turkish towel". At the end, I was late on a follow and he dismissively stated "that's a fast turn". He does not speak to the follows during dancing (or in between) other than to offer up these observations. However, for the first time ever, he actually spoke to me in between these critiques - asked me upfront where my "master instructor" was (not sure if it was sarcastic/joking/serious - and it got a little awkward when I confessed I wasn't sure who he was talking about) and asked me if I had taken the group class beforehand and when I responded "no", he said it was a good class. It wasn't clear from his tone whether he was just trying to make conversation or if these were additional underhanded criticisms (i.e. no wonder you didn't follow the TT, since you weren't in the group class).

Anyways, I'm getting to be that age where I have less patience for continuing to tolerate, or perhaps more accurately, subjecting myself to miserable situations just because I am afraid of hurting someone's feelings. I would frankly rather sit out a dance than dance with this guy. On the other hand, maybe I am judging too harshly and he's making a breakthrough, and doesn't realize that his criticism is offputting, and I should give him the benefit of the doubt. This could go a lot of ways. I'm partially venting, partially trying to figure out how to balance compassion and self-preservation.
Let me ask you this: Do you want to dance with this guy again?

If "no," then go with response #1.
If "yes," then say, "Yes, but only if you can spare me any critiques or instruction." (Friendly smile)
I'm always a fan of giving the benefit of the doubt, so I'd agree with the consensus that the guy's probably not a raging jerk and just lacks tact. You're under no obligation to help him develop it, and most of developing it has to come from his own motivation, but it couldn't hurt to try. For what it's worth, the approach you were talking about using would probably be the verbal smack upside the head I would need to snap out of that kind of behavior. And if he doesn't take to the nudge, you can always decline going forward.

Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
There are additional NICE ways of saying that you don't care for instruction or critiques. Here is a variation of your tactful "I feel..." idea in your previous post:

"Yes, let's dance. But I do not feel comfortable with you critiquing or instructing me."

One of two things will happen: He will take the hint; or, he will persist with the behavior anyway while excusing his own actions. This will prove him to be either tactless or that he's a jerk.

You'll know what to do then.


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I've tried the "If you want, you could also" track before. "You know, we could just dance, if you didn't want to help out- I mean, I appreciate it, but I didn't want you to think you had to or anything."


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And some people, no matter how tactfully you ask them not to instruct you, will take it negatively and be offended. Not everyone can differentiate a statement they don't want to hear from something that merits offense.

Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
As a guy and a leader, I tend NOT to "instruct" unless asked. And even then, I hesitate because there are professionals who get paid to teach who are much better than me at that. If I am asked frequently for "instruction" by partners, I eventually refer them to a real teacher.
Proximity asking could set a bad precedence. What if the woman were to stand right next to you so that you can't possibly miss her without running her over? Would it be a snub if you want to ask someone else instead?
Several things here. First off, if I ask you for the favor of your company on the dance floor, it is just that, a favor!

You don't need to apologize or explain if you don't wish to dance with me. I figure that if you try to explain it
is either that you are being nice, or because you think that you might want to dance with me at another time.
(Why do women always try to make men think so much? You must know that we ain't particularity good at thinking.)

Second, as to trying to teach on the floor, my experience is very different. Most often the lady actually asks
that I try it again or she asks what she missed.

As a Social Dancer it is never the ladies fault, so I usually tell her that I can lead it better and then I'll try it again. (Perhaps with a couple of verbal leads added.)

I do toss out thoughts as to what I am trying to convey with my body leads. (If you feel my right side
stretching that means that I am going to---) In my experience the ladies want to hear the reason why
leads are done in the manner they are done. I don't think ladies are taught enough about lead and follow
but what do I know.

Good followers always seem to want to know why my lead worked, or didn't work,-- or what I could have done to lead it better. I almost never get complaints about "Teaching on the floor".

Perhaps it is more a matter of the lady feeling like she is being blamed than a matter of her not wanting helpful instruction? If I lead it well enough, you will follow. All I ask is a little bit of patience from you because I am far from perfect. I bet most of you would want to hear it if it was put that way. (Every so often a women will still
tell me why she disagrees, and when she does,,, I always learn a little bit more about how to lead.)

Third, to answer your question, I don't know if "Snub" is the right word but my not responding to your non-verbal request would be a refusal. The ladies here are a little bit ahead of you in that they will stand right next to me and then say, "I figure if I stand this close you will notice me and ask me to dance." (This always works.)

I often tell the newer ladies to stand between the dance floor and the food. (Or the Men's Room and the dance floor.) When the guys say "Excuse me" as they are trying to get past you on their way to the dance floor,,, Simply grab his arm and say, "Well yes, I would love to dance."


Well-Known Member
When a follower asks to try it again or what it was they missed, they generally don't assume you'll spend the next thirty minutes lecturing them over it. "It was called a - and it's like this"- walk through "If you want to try it next time, let me know" would suffice. On the other hand, yes, some followers (or leaders) DO want you to stop and give them a lesson. For free. See where this is going.

I agree that followers- AND leaders- don't learn enough about lead follow, and that's the fault of the teachers. It's easier to teach something you can simply memorize and use wherever- that's one of two reasons line dancing is so popular. I also think this should change, of course.


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People should know that generally, they will be judged by their actions, and not their intentions (we're not Severus Snape, just a bunch of random muggles). There will be some intelligent people (like fascination) who can think of all the possibilities behind such action and talk in a flash. A lot of other people will not. To be safe, avoid actions and attitudes and talk that can be considered rude or condescending.

The first time I went social dancing after a LONG break, I was VERY rusty. I asked a certain pretty lady to dance. Granted I didn't have a lot stuff up my sleeve, but it is RUDE to say to the guy you're dancing with: "you're boring" In a few weeks all the old juices started to flow back again, but she had made my blacklist.

Interestingly, the lady I enjoy dancing with the most at my regular place isn't that good of a follow. She has this habit of raising her elbow and making her forearm horizontal whenever I lead a spin. But she has an AWESOME attitude toward it all, and I in turn try my best to work with whatever she gives me. Plus we have similar energies, it's just fun.

Now speaking of snubs: I asked someone to dance. She declined: the floor is too crowded. I hadn't walked 5 steps away from her when another guy walked up to her and she agreed to dance with him. The guy in question is 20 times the leader and dancer that I am, so I tried to rationalise it by thinking he can protect her from the crowd and collisions better than I can, while giving her a good time at the same time. Nevertheless, it's rude.


Well-Known Member
Guh, I can't even imagine. I mean, if someone's boring me at a social, great! They're not tossing me around or making me uncomfortable, their lead isn't confusing, I'm happy. Sure, I don't want to dance with them all night, but boring is just fine with me. Boring is relaxing.

And even if I hated boring dancers, what's the point in telling them? At best they already know they're boring, at worst you've just completely demoralized someone who wasn't making you uncomfortable.

What a jerk.

As for saying 'yes' to the other guy on the same song... it's kind of rude, but I feel for her. Sometimes you're put in that situation and all you can think is "aw damn, this guy is fantastic and he's only going to ask me once... if I want to dance with him, it has to be now" ... and it has nothing to do with the other leader you just postponed, or your feet being tired, or the floor is too crowded, etc.

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