Magnolia Ballroom
Dancers' Association

Dress Code & Etiquette

Dress Code

Our dress code is "elegantly casual," which means no
T-shirts, athletic shoes, flip flops, jeans, or caps. We
realize that in some cases these items can be dressy,
but please wear them some other time. If you have
invited a guest to come watch your exhibition, etc.
please let them know about the dress code. Thank
you very much for your cooperation.


We welcome and encourage dancers to perform
dance exhibitions at our dances.

Layout of the Dance Floor

The dance floor is usually divided into concentric lanes, with the outside lane being described as the fast lane. Depending on the size of the dance floor there may also be an inner lane for slower dances or dancers. On larger dance floors the center of the floor is designed for spot dances.

Follow the Line of Dance

Dancers should move around the dance floor in a counter-clockwise direction. This is generally referred to as the "Line of Dance". Avoid traveling against the Line of Dance (Do not travel clockwise around the dance floor). Some moves may take you against the line of dance and it's OK to do them if the area behind you is clear, but watch where you are going. Just remember that you do not really want to be going against the line of dance for more than a couple of steps.

Traveling Dances

Fox Trot, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Tango, and Polka are considered "traveling dances" and they are danced around the edges of the floor and follow the Line of Dance. When doing a traveling dance, if you are not moving quickly, it is best to stay out of the fast lane and move to the inner, slower lane, and let other dancers pass you on the outside. The closer you go to the center, the slower you may go.

Spot Dances

Swing, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Salsa, and West Coast Swing are examples of "spot dances" and they are danced at the center of the floor. It is possible and totally correct for some people to be dancing a Fox Trot while others are dancing a Swing, so it is very important to observe this convention to avoid collisions. In a case where everyone is doing a spot dance, like the Swing, the center of the floor section may expand out to include the inner lane. Even then keep the fast lane open for those who may still be in a traveling mood.

Sharing the Dance Floor

A key aspect of sharing the floor is to match one's speed to that of others. Faster moving couples stay to the outside and slower moving/stationary couples stay to the inside. This is very important because people travel at different speeds and if you're in the wrong section of the floor, you can end up blocking or running into other dancers or maybe force them to dance around you when they shouldn't have to. If you're not traveling, then get to the center to dance. In some cases the corners of the dance floor may be used for Spot dances. Be careful not to block Fast Lane traffic if you use one of the corners.

Dealing with a Crowded Floor

If the dance floor becomes crowded the space per couple reduces. This situation will require you to become more conservative in your dance moves. You will need to reduce the size of your turns and respect the space of other dancers. Even though you may be considerate of others, there will always be someone who dances like they are the only ones on the floor. Chances are Mr. Oblivious to Others won’t get the hint so it might be best to just move to another section of the floor and avoid them all together.

Respect the Center of the Floor

Spot dancers are usually located in the center of the floor so it might be somewhat inadvisable to move too close to the center if you are doing a slow dance. Spot dancers should never occupy all three lanes and prevent other dancers from taking the floor. Likewise those in the inner and fast lanes should never cut into the center of the floor when spot dancers are present.

Entering and Exiting the Floor

Use caution when entering and leaving the dance floor when other couples are still dancing, so that you avoid causing collisions. Also, try to avoid stopping while dancing so that you do not block traffic. It is not appropriate to stand on the dance floor to socialize! You should never completely stop (and thus block traffic) during a traveling dance, regardless of where you are on the dance floor. If you are not dancing; please move off the dance floor. The best way to move off the floor is to dance your way off by moving to the outside "fast" lane and then off the dance floor.

Avoid Collisions

Always be courteous to other dancers on the floor. If you are partner dancing always try to shield the lady from bumps and bangs on the floor. She probably cannot see what is coming while you can! If there is a collision, always apologize (even if it isn't your fault). This usually prevents unnecessary unpleasantness and often leads to the forging of some great new friendships. However, don not make a habit of making new acquaintances in this way.

Respecting the Floor

A hardwood dance floor should be treated with care. Drinks, food, chewing gum or any other foreign substance should never be brought onto the dance floor as this can be both dangerous and unpleasant. If you wear street shoes to dance make sure they are free from mud, rocks and dirt.

What Shoes to wear

It is best not to wear sneakers or other shoes with rubber or spongy soles. They can stick to the floor during turns and spins and cause ankle and knee injuries. Shoes with leather soles work best for most dance styles. If you dance on a regular basis consider purchasing shoes designed for ballroom dancing. These shoes have leather or suede soles and are lighter weight. Well worth the investment for serious dancers.

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