Here are some simple guides for dancers who are learning to navigate our scene.
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..). And while we believe in a culture of accepting dances, you may get turned down. Keep in mind that this is most likely not personal, and go ask someone else! Also, see this helpful infographic.
You can say no at any time, for any reason. That said, we like to encourage dancing with as many people as possible. Dancing with more people improves your dancing faster than only dancing with one or two people. 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. However, you are NEVER obligated to dance with someone whose behavior is making you uncomfortable. A polite “no thanks, not right now” is always appropriate and should be respected.
Take classes! Really! It’s fun and will astronomically improve your experience and the experience of your dance partners. When taking classes, keep in mind that 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.
Taking Care of Yourself
Always take care of yourself while dancing. This means that if something is hurting you or making you uncomfortable, let your partner know! 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 ask to end the dance. Similarly, if a partner tells you that something is hurting or making them uncomfortable, 1) stop doing it 2) apologize 3) ask if there’s anything you can do to fix it.
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 say something to us! 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.That means that whenever there is a collision there should be four sets of apologies! 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 venues. 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, Burque Blues 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 Burque Blues, then we’ll have a great time!
If you have any questions or concerns while at Burque Blues, ask one of the organizers..
*Adapted from The Rent Party document here.