If you are someone who just started taking social dancing classes but haven’t gotten the courage to go to any parties yet, then this is for you. In this post I will explain what the parties are like, what to take with you and how this all works. I recently went to a social dance party and vlogged the whole experience so you could see what it looks like! Hopefully this serves as a nudge of encouragement and make you will ready to join the next social in your city!
First you get ready – shower, brush teeth and find dance-friendly party clothes. If it’s an indoor party, take your indoor dance shoes with you. It’s okay to bring them in a separate shoe bag if they don’t fit into your purse. Guys usually also bring extra shirt(s) in case they sweat through the first one. You’ll also want to bring a deodorant, some mints, hand sanitiser etc – hygiene is extremely important, since you’ll be dancing very close to other people for many hours!
The party can be either completely free of charge; free, but you are suggested to buy a drink from the bar to support the event, or with an entrance fee. Workshop weekend and festival parties are usually included in the event pass.
When you get to the venue you take off your outerwear and change shoes. Ladies usually take their purses to the dancehall and leave them on chairs or windowsills close to the dance floor. (It’s not really possible to dance latin dances with a bag, however small it is.)
Just like to dance classes, you don’t have to come with a partner. At parties people invite each other to dance even if they don’t know one another that well, so it’s not uncommon to go alone. Newcomers might feel better going with their friends or classmates from their dance school. People that have been dancing for longer will most likely see many familiar faces there anyway.
Social dance parties are for all ages, shapes and sizes, for singles, couples and married people – anyone who would like to dance!
At the start of the party there might be a workshop (= dance class) or two, and after that the social dancing begins. At bigger events they might pause the social dancing in the middle of the party for some performances and shows – this usually happens around midnight.
The way social dancing works is as follows. First you invite or get invited for a dance. You go to the dance floor and dance 1-2 songs together (sometimes more). At the end you say “thank you” to your partner (no high-fiving like you do in class!) and you walk off the dance floor together. Repeat.
In between dances you sit or stand close to the dance floor and chat with your friends or look at people dancing. Don’t forget to drink lots of water to stay hydrated! It’s not common to drink a lot of alcohol, since you need to be alert enough to execute your best dance moves and have good balance. People do drink at bigger events, but lightly. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands from time to time.
Smaller regular weekday parties won’t be longer than until 11pm or midnight, bigger events can end anywhere between 2am to 8am in the morning.
Going to your first party can be scary, since you don’t know what to expect, but once you get over your initial fear, it will only get better. Your dancing skills will start improving faster and you’ll gain much more confidence. Parties are the heart of social dancing – you will miss out on all the fun if you only attend classes!