I have been social dancing for about a year now, and till this day I never know who I will meet and what people will ask for a salsa or bachata. And that’s one of the beauties of the social dancing community, no one will judge who you are, how old you are or what you do for work. But even so, you can still notice certain characteristics which stand out from the others. With that said, here are 6 types of people you may encounter or identify yourself to be on a social dancing night.
1. The Bystander
Socials are meant to let people dance the night away, but there are some who only dance to maybe a couple of songs, or even not dance at all. In fact, all the bystander does is sit on a chair, or position himself (or herself, I ain’t discriminating) in a solitary corner, or if there is a bar around, stand by the counter with a drink in hand, whilst watching all the dancing action from a distance. And don’t get me wrong, these people do know how to dance, but they just prefer to chill out, have a drink and perhaps chat with those who are taking a break from dancing. Who knows, maybe they’re simply tired from work during the day, or they think they are “too cool” for the dance floor.
It’s perfectly normal to sweat when you dance. Basically it’s part of the workout. But there are those get so drenched in sweat, you can visually see droplets flying off their hair when dancing, or in most cases their shirts are so wet that it turns into a different color altogether. Those who are aware of their sweaty condition often come prepared. They bring a highly absorbent towel to wipe their sweat between dances, and at least 2 or 3 extra shirts to change into throughout the night. And if you do have this habit, you smart! You loyal! I appreciate that!
There will always be new faces entering the social dance scene. It could be they have social danced before in a different country or state, or they have just picked up the basics of salsa and bachata a week ago. And because it’s a whole new world to them, these people are very shy to ask for a dance or agree to one. On the dance floor, newbies often stiffen up and murmur the timing of the steps to make sure they follow the music. I have been in that position not long ago myself, and I understand how nervous it is to dance with someone more experienced than I and try not to screw up the dance. Yet I am fortunate enough to meet people who have encouraged me to continue practicing and social dancing, and here I am now, completed addicted to salsa and bachata.
4.The Walking Ad (aka dance instructors)
If you notice that one dancer who always draws a small audience while dancing, or has a line of people waiting to dance with him or her, it is likely that person is a professional instructor. These individuals are such important figures in the scene and receive much attention by everyone. But let’s be real: a dance school is after all a business, and in order to sustain this business you need students. So on particular social dance events, some instructors will come out to dance, not only to “strut their stuff” and practice their syllabus, but also as a strategy to talk to current or potential students about lessons and other offers. It certainly sounds like a cash-cow move, but it’s vital for instructors to expose themselves as capable social dancers and social people in general, as part of good marketing and awareness building.
5.The Picky Chooser
When you first start social dancing, you want to make use of every song and dance with anyone and everyone in the area, just to get the full experience of the night. But as you stay in the scene for a while, you may realize that you have developed personal preferences to certain types of music or particular individuals whom you only want to dance with. And so, the picky choosers will sit out the songs they don’t like, or make a song request to the DJ if they run out of patience to wait. These people will also refuse dance invitations from someone they haven’t danced with all night, and then turn around to approach one whom they’ve danced with 5 times before within the same hour. In a way this challenges the idea of social dancing, which is to openly dance with anyone and everyone with the same passion for salsa and bachata. But hey, such is life and we are all born to be selfish in one way or another.
It is common for love relationships to blossom from the social dancing community. And the sound of meeting the love of your life on the dance floor is undoubtedly romantic and slightly cliché. But once the relationship becomes officially exclusive, some couples will spend the night dancing with no one else but their love partner. Even if say one of them dances with a different person, with close observation you can notice the other love magnet, mostly commonly the female one, spying from a distance that nothing “out of the ordinary” happens. I am not saying there is anything wrong with feeling jealous once in a while if you see your boyfriend or girlfriend dancing sensual bachata or salsa romantica with a different person, and appearing to enjoy it. But to be fair, if you are in love with someone from the social dancing scene, be prepared because that feeling of envy is bound to appear from time to time. I am aware of certain people who strictly forbid their partners to dance with anyone else but them, and honestly I’m quite sadden by this observation but hey, who am I to judge?
Do you recognize any of your salsa/bachata friends to fit the criteria, or maybe you yourself classify as one of the above? Feel free to leave a comment on your experience meeting some of these people, or share it around to your social dancing pals whom you think may relate closely to my list. But no matter which type of person you are, the most important thing is to just have fun and enjoy the night.