I have heard talk of "dance etiquette". What does this mean?
Dance etiquette only requires politeness and consideration for others, and constitutes nothing more than good manners on the dance floor. Sadly, not everyone is as thoughtful, which is probably why you will read about dance etiquette and hear people talk about it. It is always worth reminding dancers of some of the points to bear in mind.
Traditionally, on the dance floor, the man leads and the lady follows (with same sex couples, one partner is designated the leader, the other the follower).
This, in turn, gives the man the responsibility for asking the lady to dance (although there is nothing to prevent a lady from asking a man to dance), escorting her onto and off the dance floor, and leading her in the dance by exhibiting good floor craft and following the correct line of dance. An invitation to dance should always be accepted unless there is very good reason not to. The man should lead well enough for the lady to follow and, provided she knows the steps she is being led into, the man should take responsibility for any errors in the dance.
Collisions should be avoided, particularly by more advanced dancers who are expected to recognize less experienced couples and give them more room. Should a collision occur, apologize straight away and with good humor, even if you do not consider it to be your fault.
When dancing with someone other than your regular partner, keep the steps and figures to a basic pattern, even when dancing with an expert. This also applies on a crowded dance floor and particularly at a social dance where competition level figures could easily intimidate novice dancers.
If you wish to cross the dance floor, you should walk around the outside against the line of dance so you can avoid colliding with dancing couples and they can see you approaching too. You should not stand on the dance floor chatting with your friends as it is annoying to couples who wish to dance around.
Above all, have fun and enjoy yourself - that is what dancing is all about !