At our last board meeting, the issue of ‘teaching on the floor’ was raised. ‘Teaching on the floor’ is when a dancer gives their partner unsolicited advice or critiques their dancing on the social dance floor
At our meeting we heard recent stories of new dancers getting asked to dance, but then getting unwanted advice, tips, and lectures about their dancing. This is reported from several beginner dancers about several experienced dancers. Some beginners have decided not to come back because of this feedback.
We’re all working to grow our dance community, and it’s great when new people come out to try it. Our first instinct is to want to help them learn.
But when ‘help’ is —pushed— on them by taking the new dancer aside and lecturing them or repeatedly offering tips to them as they dance, that adds up to an evening of people picking at you. That’s not fun. Not welcoming.
Even if the new dancer doesn’t want your advice, how can they say no? You are clearly the experienced dancer and this is your community.
Think back to when you were a beginner. You know learning a new dance takes some work, and plenty of encouragement.
No matter how well intentioned you are, no matter what level of dancer you are, please stop offering unsolicited advice on the social dance floor or during lessons.
Here is our advice: Dance with everyone, at whatever level they are at, with whatever they can do. Give them the best, most fun dance you can. Be encouraging and point out the things they are doing well. Show how much you love this dance. No, they won’t do it perfectly… but they just might come back. (… and thanks for reading, see you on the floor)
(Reposted from our Facebook Group)