10 Common Mistakes Women Make Going Out Salsa Dancing: Do's and Don'ts
As a professional ballroom dance teacher, I've been going out salsa dancing in nightclubs, restaurants, and dance studios for the last 7 years. I've come up with a list of 10 common mistakes that I've seen other women make (including myself) when they first start out dancing salsa in a social setting.
This list is pretty straightforward and will explain to you what to expect when going out salsa dancing in a nightclub and how you can avoid making these common mistakes so you can have a good time out dancing by yourself or with your friends!
Have you gone out salsa dancing before reading this?
Mistake #1: Wearing the wrong dance shoes
Wearing the wrong type of shoes at a salsa night will give men the impression that you're only there to party and probably don't really know how to dance.
- Men who know how to dance are smart enough to figure out that giant 6" stripper stilettos, flip-flops, and heavy winter boots are terrible for salsa dancing. This means that you probably won't be asked to dance very much, but you will get a lot of guys hitting on you and asking to buy you drinks because they'll think that you're only there to party and are not serious about your dancing.
- Salsa, bachata, and other Latin dancing is best done in shoes with a low/small heel, less than 3 inches high. Shoes with a 4-inch heel or more will make it hard to stay balanced during spins and will make your feet hurt and feel tired very quickly.
- Ideally, your shoes should have some kind of straps that securely attach them to your feet so they don't come off or get loose when you move around. Mary Jane or T-strap style shoes are best.
Mistake #2: Wearing the Wrong Clothes
If you wear something really tight, short, and low-cut; then you will
- Risk having an "accident" that exposes some private part of you while dancing,
- Draw a lot of unwanted sexual advances from men who think you are looking for a date and a drink since you're wearing clothes that are impractical for dancing
Wearing clothes that have an open back will discourage some men from dancing with you because they know that your back gets all sweaty and moist when you get hot dancing, and they get grossed out at the idea of having to touch it while dancing with you.
Wearing really warm clothes and/or long sleeves will make you really hot and feel like you're melting, which is not fun.
A knee-length short-sleeved sleeveless dress is usually a good choice because you can look sexy and appropriate, without overheating or risking wardrobe malfunctions while dancing.
Mistake #3: Getting Drunk
It's okay to have one or two drinks while you're salsa dancing, but just remember to drink in moderation. Being tipsy or drunk is a terrible idea for salsa dancing because your dancing will be sloppy, off-time, and uncoordinated. You also increase your risk of accidentally losing your balance and falling down while dancing. Don't be that person.
- Getting drunk is also dangerous because someone could try to take advantage of you while you're intoxicated. You don't want to risk getting yourself into a potentially unsafe situation, so remember stay clear-headed while out dancing.
Mistake #4: Assuming He's Interested Because He Danced with You
Just because a guy asks you to dance, doesn't automatically mean that he wants to date you or asked you out. Yes, he might have danced very close to you or told you that he likes your dress, but that doesn't automatically mean that he's interested in you romantically.
Some guys just dance very close to women because they're very good dancers and are trying to do some more advanced patterns or have very good body action and know how to move their hips well.
If you think a man that you danced with is interested in you, wait until the end of the song and see if asks you for a second dance, offers to buy you a drink, asks you for your number, or engages you in conversation. If does one of these things, then he might be interested in you. Don't assume that because he held you close while dancing that he's interested in you romantically because his girlfriend might be waiting on the side for him!
Mistake #5: Dancing with the Drunk/Weird/cCeepy guy
If a guy is drunk, do not dance with him, because it will not end well because....
- He will be very sloppy, bump into other people, jerk you around, and hurt your arm when you dance with him.
- He might try to feel you up, put your hand down his pants, kiss you, or do something else inappropriate.
So if a drunk guy asks, just say NO, thank you.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of guys who are only there to hit on women, get phone numbers and hook up. Usually, those guys are the ones no one wants to date; but they persevere and don't give up. They will usually try to feel you up and/or say sexually inappropriate things to you while dancing.
If you don't like a guy and he makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut feeling and just say "no." Remember that you don't have to say "yes" every time to every guy.
Mistake #6: Being picky and Saying "No" Too Much
Unless you're out on a date and only plan to dance with one person for the rest of the night, you should try and dance with as many different guys as possible. So if a nice, normal looking guy asks you to dance, you should try and say "yes." Being super picky and only dancing with guys who meet all 20 checkpoints on your wishlist is gonna result in you sitting out on the side most of the night.
Earlier I said that you should avoid dancing with weird/creepy/drunk guys because you should never dance with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, violated, harassed, or disrespected in any way.
However, the point that I want to make here, is that there are a lot of great guys out there, who treat women with respect and come there just to dance and not do anything sexually inappropriate. This means that if you say "no" to every normal guy that you don't know, haven't danced with before, etc. then you are going to miss out on a lot of great dancing opportunities.
Even if the guy isn't the best dancer, it's still good to meet new people.
Keep in mind that a lot of guys aren't great at the beginning, but then after a few months of classes and lessons, they turn out to be really good dancers, so don't go around burning bridges because you might regret it later.
Mistake #7: Not Asking Men to Dance
Don't be afraid to ask guys to dance with you.
This is really good to do if you are at a new club and not a lot of people know (if any), so this way you can start drawing attention to yourself as other guys watch you out there, and you'll get their interest and start getting asked to dance more as the night goes on.
Usually, men will say "yes" when you ask them to dance unless they're busy drinking a beer and watching some crucial moment in the game on tv there, in which case, come back later.
There are nice guys who know how to dance well. If a guy looks normal and dances well with other women (aka no creeping), then open yourself to the possibility of new partners and ask him to dance with you. If it doesn't go as well as you hoped, then hey, at least you tried.
Mistake #8: Coming at the wrong time
Find out when the event is and try to show up at the right time.
Usually, about half an hour to an hour after the group class ends and/or social dancing begins is a good time to show up.
- That is a good time because people will have come and started dancing so you'll have partners, but they won't be super hot and sweaty and gross from dancing a lot.
- Coming late at the end of the night you will have missed out on good dancers because a lot of people could have gone home already. Also, everyone will be super sweaty and gross.
- However, you don't need to show up super early because you will end up sitting out on the side waiting for everyone to show up.
Mistake #9: Dancing when you're sweaty
Men don't like dancing with sweaty women, it's gross.
I've had a lot of male dancer friends complain to me about women who are really sweaty and/or smelly and how gross it feels to hold them.
- To avoid this situation, wear light-weight breathable clothing, and consider bringing an extra top if you feel that you will get really hot and sweaty, so this way you have something dry to change into.
- If you're already out, consider drying yourself off with paper towels in the bathroom, or drying your shirt under the hand dryer so it's not so wet.
Mistake #10: Not knowing how to dance
If you don't know how to dance, don't show up at a salsa club and expect guys to teach you.
Take lessons or classes beforehand so you at least know the basic and understand how to turn correctly. It's very frustrating for guys when women show up and assume the guys will teach them everything they need to know in five minutes or less.
Some guys might be nice and explain a little bit to you, but most men don't know how to dance the women's role and are honestly not looking to teach someone from scratch. It takes more than one song to learn how to salsa, so don't get upset or frustrated that you're not a professional after 3 minutes.
Have you ever made any of these ten mistakes before?
You don't need to be a professional or dance salsa for 10 years in order to have a good time dancing. What is important though is that you get yourself set up right for dancing by wearing the right kind of shoes and clothes, staying clear-headed, avoiding weird guys, but being open to new possibilities and opportunities with other partners.
At the end of the night, what counts is that you had a good time. Regardless if you're a beginner or have been dancing for some time and are feeling frustrated, I hope that these tips will help you make the most of your salsa evening wherever you are!
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© 2016 Anya Brodech