Quick Tip: seating at salsa socials

This week’s quick tip comes to you courtesy of Ana’s list of dance pet peeves. Let’s talk about the purpose of chairs in a dance venue.

If you’ve gone out dancing, you’ve probably noticed that most social dance venues are big wooden-floored rooms with chairs lining the walls. The purpose of those chairs is to give dancers somewhere to sit while they’re taking a break from dancing. Their purpose is not to serve as a home base for you during the entire night.

Most people understand this and treat dance floor seating as the public resource it is: like a park bench, for instance – you’re welcome to use it when it’s free, but once you stand up, it’s fair game. However, there are often a few newer dancers who aren’t yet familiar with this bit of dance etiquette and assume that, once they occupy a seat, it’s theirs for the night, and will actually shoo others from “their” seats when they come off the dance floor (happened to me!).

So, in the interest of keeping the peace, here’s how salsa social seating works:

  1. Seating =/= coat check
    Most venues have a coat room, and this is where your coat, scarf, boots and other personal effects belong. Please don’t bring them into the dance area or drape them over your chair.
  2. Chairs =/= purse pedestals
    Most of us ladies bring our purses into the dance hall. They go under a chair, not on top of a chair. If you leave a bag (or anything else, for that matter) on a chair, you’re saying it’s ok for me to sit on it.
  3. There’s no reserved seating in salsa venues
    Unless you’re in a club with tables, and you’re having food and/or drinks served to you, there’s no such thing as “your” chair. You sit where you find a free seat; if you get up for a dance and come back to find that same seat is occupied, look elsewhere.

Finally, I’d like to say: if you spend enough time sitting to need a reserved chair, you need to be dancing more! Get up and ask someone!

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