Quick Tip: Dance etiquette – how to handle accidental collisions

Dance floors can get crowded. We all do our best to look where we’re going and avoid salsa becoming a full-contact sport, but accidents happen. This week’s Quick Tip deals with how to handle accidents on the dance floor.

Control and quick reflexes are two of the best things a dancer can develop. We teach our students to avoid putting their full weight on their heels. We also preach small steps, controlled turns and looking before you move into a different space. All these things help avoid most accidents. However, if you do step on someone’s toes, here’s how to recover from it:

  1. Shift your weight so you do the least amount of damage. This is especially important if you’re dancing in heels – they can be very painful.
  2. Make eye contact and apologize. Never ignore an incident or try to avoid the situation – you’re only making it worse. Most dancers are understanding of accidents, but they are less forgiving of bad dance manners.
  3. Make sure the person is ok. Most dance floor accidents are minor and won’t be given a second thought, but if you did cause a scrape or cut, offer help.

On the other side, if you get stepped on:

  1. Assess the damage. Again, most accidents are minor, and you’ll be fine after a few seconds. But if you did get a scrape or cut or worse, it’s best to deal with it quickly. Let your partner know if you need to sit down. There’s no shame in it.
  2. For cuts or scrapes: ask the organizer of the event (or have someone ask for you) for a first aid kit. Disinfect and apply a bandage.
  3. For bruises (or things that might turn into bruises): ask for ice or an ice pack. Call it a night and stay off your injured foot as much as possible. Keep your foot elevated and apply ice – 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. This will keep swelling and bruising to a minimum.
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