General Dance Discussion > Declining Dance Invitations

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by MadamSamba, Oct 5, 2003.

  1. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    How to say no.

    Ok, folks. The ideas for topics are flowing fast and free, so here goes again...what are the most diplomatic ways to decline a dance without seeming horridly rude? You can only say "no, thank you. My feet hurt'' so many times.

    I'm asking because there are a few dancers at my studio who, while wonderful dancers, are a little too "friendly" or awkward to dance with etc and, while it's only fair to give everybody a chance as you probably were when you started, everybody has at least one person they'd prefer not to dance with, for whatever reason.

    I'd love to hear how people decline dances without actually hurting the person who asked you. I've noticed some women simply say, "No" or "no, thank you'', which doesn't sound terribly caring.
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I really want to give others a chance to talk here, so I'll keep it brief.

    One thing I've found to be helpful is to ask for another dance. For example, if your feet really are killing you, say so, and then make an appointment for when you'll dance again. It might sound like this,"Oh my goodness. I really can't dance one more lick right now. My feet are killing me. Would you save me the next rumba?" This way, you can decline without offending. But make sure you really do save the gentleman the next rumba, and go ask him for it. Chances are, he won't ask you the second time if you've turned him down for the first.

    Anybody else?
  3. will35

    will35 New Member

    Well, if we could all just get used to the rejection, women and men, it would be easier. It's only a dance, after all. I have turned down women when I did not want to dance. I wanted to talk, so I pulled up a chair and we talked. Maybe we danced later, maybe not. What a real cad would have done is to claim his leg was broken. Then, the lady who was turned down could look around the floor later and see him cutting a rug with some younger, more attractive, better smelling, skinnier, sexier, blah, blah, blah. You get the idea. Never lie to get out of dancing. That is my only rule.
  4. jon

    jon Member

    Re: How to say no.

    There's no diplomatic way to reject someone, which is what this comes down to from their point of view. That doesn't mean you should have to dance with people you don't want to, no matter the reason, nor that you have to justify your preferences to anyone. But you will have to bear the consequences of that choice.

    One way to avoid this situation without awkward discussion is to see the unwanted partner approaching early enough to avoid eye contact, and ask someone else before they get close enough. They will probably get the message eventually.
  5. will35

    will35 New Member

    One way to avoid this situation without awkward discussion is to see the unwanted partner approaching early enough to avoid eye contact, and ask someone else before they get close enough. They will probably get the message eventually.

    Sounds like you have invented your own type of American "cabeceo". The Argentine version is all about eye contact. If you don't want to dance, don't look a dancer in the eye.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi jon! I missed your first post, so this is my official welcome to the forums! Welcome to the forums! :D :D

    I agree, it really is hard to reject a potential dance partner without hurting their feelings. But what do you do if you really have a legitimate excuse for sitting out one or two, like MadamSamba, who has been wearing too-small dance shoes for the last year? She really does have a good reason for sitting down some, and that's why I made the suggestion above.

    I know what you mean, though. Rejection is really hard to take, and can be even harder, depending on one's personality. These are reasons why I rarely, if ever, say no to a dance.

    But sometimes you have to say no. Like the time I had just driven fifty minutes acros town to get to a dance and really needed to use the restroom, when a gentleman came over and asked me to dance. :shock: I used the technique I suggested in the thread above, asked him for a dance as soon as I got back from the restroom, and he asked me to dance three or four more times that night. *shrug* My technique might have offended some, or even many, but it worked with him that night. Who knows? :?

    What do you think? :D
  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

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  8. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    I've never turned anyone down yet so not much to add here. I just limit the women I don't enjoy dancing with to one dance a night.
  9. jon

    jon Member

    Or at least one aspect of it. Interesting to read up on the history of that on some of the AT websites.

    Different dance culture traditions can be a minefield, such as an American friend who went to Germany and discovered that the tradition there was always to dance two consecutive dances with the same person. Unfortunately he only discovered this by inadvertently insulting several women in following our native custom and walking off after the first dance.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hey Jon!

    That is really ineteresting. I hadn't thought about how much of this stuff -- advice, etc, is culturally based. For example, here (FL), the custom is to walk off the dance floor with your partner after one dance, holding hands if it's convenient, say thanks at the edge of the floor, and move on to the next partner. That's pretty specific behavior! But I never thought about that before. I wonder how things are different in other places -- other locales within the US, or, even moreso, in other countries. Hmmm. That really makes you think. :? 8)
  11. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

    Re: How to say no.

    There are two seperate issues here, that of "I don't want to dance with anyone right now" and that of "I don't want to dance with you"

    The first one's easy - just tell the truth ie 'my feet hurt', 'I need to go to the loo' and follow that up with 'next one?' or 'I'll find you later' if you like.

    The second one is rather more difficult and telling the (whole) truth is not necessarily reccomended. Imagine the following

    No thanks, last time we danced I left the floor with multiple contusions and a dislocated shoulder.
    No thanks - I've no wish to be instructed in how to follow by someone who's lead actively prevents the execution of the move he's expecting.
    No thanks - removing your fingers from my a**e should not have to be done more than once.
    No thanks - you smell bad.

    Personally I think that leaving any one of these replies at 'No thanks' is quite polite enough.

    Also, having been on the rejected end myself[1] I'd much prefer an unambiguous `no thanks' than a `later' and then be avoided for the rest of the evening.


    [1] I'm pretty certain that the reson was `you're not skinny enough'. I smell good.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi Sarah!

    First, not skinny enough is dumb! :evil: Dancing ability has nothing to do with size, so that's no excuse for these guys. They don't deserve you!

    Second, I think you're right. There are two different reasons to say no. One is legitimate reasons (like the loo! :lol: ). The other is people that you're perfectly justified in rejecting.

    And you're right. A guy who's drunk, or who gropes, etc. deserves no more than a "No thanks." The other guys, I think, deserve polite behavior, and if possible, an explanation.

    What do you think?

    BTW, I'm glad you're with us in the forums! :D

  13. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    You will live along life, and it's just one dance. It iwill have no bearing on the rest of your life.

    You went there to dance . . . why not dance? If a certain guy gets a little "too friendly," that's the time you need to speak up. Remind him that you came there to dance, not to be man handled. Remember him for the next time that he asks you to dance. Then say "no." He'll remember why.

    Just dance.

    And remember, some of us guys have "great" comebacks for those women who have turned us down . . . nad we use it if we feel that the woman was being snooty++++
  14. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Jenn, this is exact behavior popped up as a problem for me a couple of moths ago... to me, not escorting a partner onto and off the floor is rude. One of my regular partners had her fiancee with her this one particular night (he's a non-dancer) and, while he was OK with what happened on the floor, apparently he got a bit tweaked over my holding her hand while walking to and from the floor...

    In this case it was amatter of different norms between dance and non-dance cultres, but similar rules come into play -- as jon points out -- between different dance cultures as well.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yup, Vince A, that's my policy. We've talked about this before, but for the new folks, Vince A and I have the "never turn anyone down, if possible," policy.

    It's a lot easier, in the long run, especially when you consider that most dances last three or four minutes, max. :D
  16. jon

    jon Member

    Even within a single dance scene - for example, increased formality is likely to be more appropriate when dancing with older partners than younger, due to expectations of the different cultures their formative years were probably spent in. (Of course, this is simply a general guideline, not a prescriptive rule. Quite possibly the 60 year old partner grew up in Haight-Ashbury and the 18 year old in a strict religious environment).
  17. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Absolutely jon... and then there's the familiarity factor as well. Even if you don't already know the person, is it another regular on the scene and you know you've both seen each other around before, etc.?
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    When I go dancing with my group of "crazy friends who can't dance," that I've been dancing with for years, no problem. I dance when I want, reject when I want. And nobody gets offended.

    With strangers, I (rarely) never say no to a dance, for fear of offense.

    There are two different "cultures" in effect here. The friends culture, versus the strangers culture. And when you add in racial/national cultures as well, I bet it gets even more complicated.
  19. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

    I never said it was a good reason.;) I know I'm self propelled!:D I also know that he missed out.

    I smile when I say no thanks.....
    I only turn people down if I'm sure that I'd be much happier never dancing with them again ever. This makes it sound as if I'm doing it all the time. I think I've done it twice in all the time I've been dancing. I do give people second, third, and fourth chances.

    I've not been able to come up with a nice way of asking people to not to do these things that make them so very unpleasant to dance with.
    One thing I might do is have a quiet word with their teacher if they have one and if I know them and if I thought it would do any good.

    Thanks, its nice to be here :)

  20. will35

    will35 New Member

    Sorry to have offended anyone. It really goes without saying that weight doesn't have anything to do with being a good partner. It just came into my head as an excuse some people might use. That's what the "blah, blah, blah" means.

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