To establish a clean dancing atmosphere, the right music is the fuel in the dancing engine. First read Know When to Play a Song to get a feel for our music selection methodology. This will help this section to make sense.
Appropriate dancing can be uplifting and fun. However, inappropriate dance can be demeaning, uncomfortable, nasty and in some cases physically painful.
Dance style should not allow or encourage full body contact or intimate positions with the dance partner. For example, during a ballad or slow dance, partners should use the standard ballroom dance position as opposed to the contemporary slow dance position. In ballroom dance position, the girl’s right hand is held by the boy’s left hand, the girl’s left hand is placed on the boy’s right shoulder and the boy’s right hand placed on her back on or between her shoulder blades or small of the back.
At events, we charge the chaperons to do this work – that is making sure dance partners do not use the contemporary slow dance position where the girl places both hands around the boy’s neck and the boy places both hands around the girl’s waist. This encourages full body contact and is not conducive to traditional ballroom dance steps.
As the event host or the DJ, we pay special attention to how the participants dance. We understand:
- Dance style should not include sexually suggestive body movements.
- Dance style should not include touching private areas of the body.
- Dance style should not include “chicken rides” or “piggy-back” rides (especially boys carrying girls).
- Dance style should not include body slamming or “mosh pit” or “Break-dancing”. Other than the physical danger to the dancer, the venue has serious liability issues with these dance styles.
So, how do you control a crowd to get the correct response or dance style and what if you have zero support? There are two things you can do. First, pay attention to how they dance to certain songs and stop playing that type of music. If songs are promoting dangerous dance styles from “show-offs” you need to kill that song. Getting a boo from the crowd because you chose safety is better then everyone taking a knee while the ambulance pulls that player from the field. Second, is education. Teach them how to dance. We suggest instruction either an hour before the event start (and invite new dancers to this instruction) or events where proper dance technique is taught, separate from the dance.
You will be surprised at how quickly local dance studios will jump at the opportunity to teach youth how to dance in groups. Most often at a lower rate then expected. In addition, the participants at dance studios will be thankful for the opportunity to dance with their peers and even can help to chaperon. It becomes a win/win to tap this group for support in education and attendance.
If music is the fuel for the event, the participants and their ability to dance is the engine. You cannot hope to have a clean dance without clean dancers and this will not happen unless you teach them. Leave a comment if this helped you or if you have suggestions to share.