• Progressive/travelling dances are travelling/walking dances danced around the dance floor e.g. Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep ...
• Many progressive dances have spot patterns - non-travelling patterns danced on a fixed floor area.
• Spot dances are dances danced in a fixed area of the dance floor e.g. Swing, Salsa, other Latin dances... .
• A dance spot or slot is the floor area used to dance a spot dance or spot pattern. It is often in the shape of a rectangle with equal space in front and behind the leader (Salsa, Cha-Cha, Rumba, West Coast Swing...). In West Coast Swing it is called the dance slot.
• The long side of a dance slot is usually parallel to the short side of a floor.
• These floor craft notes are for social dancing in dance halls and small floors such as those found in restaurants.
• The dance floor of dance halls consists of two sections; the outer travelling lanes for progressive dancing, and the inner or centre-floor for spot dancing and spot patterns.
• The dance floors in restaurants and the like, are often small dance floors that do not have room for the outer travelling lanes.
• Floor craft skills for social dancing are different from floor craft skills when dancing in larger ballrooms.
• Ballroom dancers should pay particular attention. Ballroom dancing is designed for ballrooms and not for small dance floors.
• Ballroom dancing styles, especially International Ballroom styles, are not suitable for dancing in small spaces. Adapt them using the floor craft skills listed here.
Floor Craft Links
Floor Craft - Dancing in Dance Halls.
Top Ten Dos and Don'ts
- Travel in two-lanes counter-clockwise around the floor. This is called the line-of-dance. Avoid frequent lane changes.
- Use the rest of the floor, that is, the inner floor or centre floor, for spot patterns, practice and alternative dances (e.g. Swing during Foxtrot, Jive during Quickstep).
- Do not travel through the centre.
- Do not travel or step back against the line-of-dance. A couple of back steps by the leader are possible by turning and dancing in the line-of-dance. However, the leader must first check if space and traffic permit this manoeuvre.
- Keep moving in the line of dance. Do not stop suddenly, practice, or do spot patterns that hold up traffic (other than quick turning patterns that finish in the line-of-dance) in the travel lanes.
- If you feel like doing a spot pattern, move to centre-floor, finish the pattern and then move back into the travel lanes (when there is an opening). See spot dancing below for spot pattern or spot dancing floor craft tips.
- Avoid overtaking. Use rocking or other types of hesitation steps (such as Cadencia steps in Tango), and wait patiently for the travel to resume. DO NOT push or elbow your way past the blockage. When someone is stubbornly holding up traffic and overtaking is necessary to help maintain flow, move to the next lane only if there is an opening in that lane's traffic.
- Men must protect the lady against collisions and must never place the lady in a position where she can get hurt by others.
- Do not invade another couple's space. Do not tail-gate. Give other couples enough space to execute normal patterns.
- Do not focus on completing a pattern if a collision can result - or if completing a pattern can result in invading someone's space. Learn to adapt patterns to what the traffic permits.
If you bump into someone, apologize.
• See dancing on small floors below.
• The same floor craft applies to spot dances on small floors and spot dancing in the center of a dance hall.
Floor Craft - Dancing on Small Floors
Top Ten Dos and Don'ts
- Unless other dancers are travelling around the floor (as in a tango cafe) - convert travelling dances to spot dances when dancing on small floors. For example, waltz using a box step.
- Establish a dance spot and do not drift around the dance floor.
- Do not drift into someone else's space. Especially, do not drift in behind another leader (a blind spot). This drift can lead to collisions.
- If the orientation of dance spots/slots have already been established by other dancers, follow that orientation. West Coast Swing dancers know this well.
- Leave enough space behind a leader to permit a cross-body lead, and for the follower to change position from one end of the slot to the other.
- Leave enough space on each side of a leader for the follower to execute cross-body underarm turns.
- When dancing on small floors, use a compact dance hold and steps. Use small steps, do not extend arms or throw arms or legs out to the side.
- Do not push and weave between other dancers.
- When entering the dance floor, first check to see if you have enough space to establish a dance spot. Do not invade someone else's space when entering the dance floor.
- If the dance floor is full, wait until the next dance.