Below are the talking points that we use when discussing dance etiquette in Access class in preparation for the first Middle School Fun Night of the year.
Middle School Dance talking points.
Use these points to start a dialog with your access students about dance etiquette. Please read through it completely before starting. Tthere will be things that you will want to say differently, but please cover all of these points. It will probably help the discussion if you write the five main points on the board first so that people can save questions/comments for the appropriate time. This will probably take two days to cover. Don’t take a laying down the law posture; take a helping them have fun at a dance posture.
1. What does it mean when someone asks you to dance?
- They are paying you a compliment. There are lots of people they could ask.
- They are taking a big risk, because you might say no.
- They would like to spend 3 minutes dancing with you.
It DOES NOT mean any of these things
- That they are asking you to marry them.
- That they want to be your boyfriend or girlfriend.
- That they want you to spend the rest of the evening with them.
2. What do you do when someone asks you to dance?
First remember that they are only asking you to dance. Then remember that they are someone special in God’s eyes who has feelings that you could really hurt. Then…
- Say yes. (we’ll talk about saying no tomorrow)
- But there are some circumstances when it is okay to say no. Only use one of these reasons if it is true, and always explain to the person that you’d be glad to dance with them later. In fact, it would be nice for you to ask them later.
- If you are uncomfortable dancing that type of dance (slow, fast, line, whatever).
- You’ve been dancing a lot and you just need a little break.
- Never refuse to dance with someone because you’re waiting/hoping for someone else to ask you. Besides, it’s better to be out dancing so that special someone can tell that you like to dance. Oh, and don’t wait for that special someone anyway. Ask them to dance.
- It’s incredibly rude to tell someone no when they ask you to dance and to then tell someone else yes for the same dance. No one wants to be rude (it’s harder to get people to dance with you if you’re rude).
3. How to ask someone to dance (and what to do afterwards).
- First of all, yes, it’s quite fine for a girl to ask a guy to dance. In fact, we’ll have some “ladies choice” songs where only girls can ask guys. Remember, some guys are shy, and will need a girl to ask them.
- Look them in the eye (especially if they are with several people) and just ask them. If you don’t have a clue what to say, try any of these:
- “Would you like to dance?”
- “Wanna’ dance?”
- “Might I have the honor of the next dance, m’lady?” (okay, maybe not this one)
- Walk with them out onto the dance floor. Where on the dance floor? It doesn’t really matter. If they look like they want to go somewhere specific, go with them. Otherwise just find a spot. Some people like to be in the middle and get lost in the crowd, and some people like to be on the edge.
- When the dance is over say “Thanks, that was fun” or something like that. Remember, you just asked them to dance, so don’t think you have to spend the rest of the evening with them. Or that they will spend the rest of the evening with you.
- Can you ask them again? Maybe, but not right away. Go ask someone else. It’s always nice to ask someone who looks like they want to dance, but is just hanging out on the edges.
4. During the dance (just a bunch of general stuff).
- School dress code applies. If you are not in dress code you will be asked to change or leave. Some people will wear what they normally wear to school. Some people will dress up a little. Either way is fine.
- There will be several different types of dancing. Mostly fast dancing with some slow dances and some line dances thrown in. If you don’t know how to line dance just jump in on the ends or in back and learn. It’s not hard.
- Guys when you’re slow dancing your hands go on your partner’s waist, not her hips. And although we’ve never had a problem with it at middle school dances, leave enough space between you to see daylight (as the saying that I just learned goes, “Leave room for Jesus.”). Besides, it’s REALLY embarrassing to have a teacher come up to you in the middle of a dance and ask you to come talk with him. Girls, I think you put your hand son the guy’s shoulders (or maybe your wrists on their shoulders). Who knows?
- Do you talk while dancing? It doesn’t really matter. Some people do and some don’t. If you need something to talk about, try making fun of Mr. Krall. Everyone likes that. But DON’T say more than a few words to someone other than your dance partner. That’s rude.
- Juniors/Seniors and Teachers can’t dance with you. Don’t bother asking. As much as they would like to say yes, they can’t.
5. Reasons why people say “No” when asked to dance.
In this section, we’ll look at reasons why people might not want to dance with someone who asks them, and some possible answers. This will spark a whole lot of questions, the guiding principle to use is: “it’s only a dance”.
- They smell bad, look funny, dress weird… God accepts us the way we are. Be nice and dance with them.
- Too short/too tall… It might be slightly awkward dancing with someone who’s a lot taller or shorter than you are, but it’s really no big deal. Remember, no one can control how tall they are.
- You like them. Sometimes you don’t want to dance with someone because you like them and are embarrassed. This one’s easy. Pretend like you don’t like them and dance with them.
- They are rude. This one’s tougher. If they are rude when they ask you then you can ignore them (the normal thing to do to rude people). If they have been rude to you in the past, you could say, “You’ll have to apologies for _______ before I’ll consider dancing with you.”
- They were dared to dance with you. You can never know this until afterwards, so if you let this keep you from dancing, then you might not ever dance. Better to just dance and have fun than to always worry about what other people are doing.
- You don’t like them. If you have a reason for not liking them then see number 4. Otherwise see number 1.
- You’re afraid people will make fun of you. Everyone in Middle School has heard this whole long talk. If they make fun of you for just being polite to someone who has complemented you by asking you to dance, then they are the type of person who will make fun of you for anything, and not someone worth listening to.
- There can be a lot of these. With some people it might boil down to telling them that if they don’t want to dance, they can simply not go into the small gym.
A good way to conclude might be to restate point one from the first day.