How Can I Get More Social Dances?

As a salsa enthusiast I have been to many salsa socials and festivals all over the World. When I go to these events, I usually see a number of people who simply stand on the side lines watching with this mixed expression on their face. They love Salsa and they want to dance, but they are not getting the opportunity to dance and they are sad about it. These individuals are usually:

  1. Women who are waiting for Men to come and ask them to dance; or
  2. Men who get told – No by a number of  different Women during a night.

Now if you have ever felt like you are not getting as many dances as you would like, I am sure you have asked yourself, “How can I get more social dances?

There are a couple of things you can do to increase the quantity of dances you get in a night, but lets start with the most basic. 1 to 1, all the other suggestions pale in comparison to this one simple truth – increase your dance ability. At the end of the day, dance ability is the only real currency that matters on the dance floor. (Special thanks to Olu Olu for this line).

What is Dance Ability? Simply put, this is your ability to Lead or Follow and connect with your dance partner. It has nothing to do with your dance level or how many moves you know or spins you can accomplish. You can be a relatively new salsa dancer with a very clear lead or seamless follow and ability to connect with your partner! You can also be a long time salsa dancer with a very poor lead or inability follow and totally disconnected when you dance. Level is not a factor and as a result, you should never stop working on improving your dance ability.

That being said, it does not matter how able you are as a dancer or  how much dance currency you have, some people just won’t buy what you’re selling. There will always be some rejections if you ask people to dance, or some people who will just never ask you to dance. Once you accept this fact and realise that its ok, the happier you will be on the dance floor.
However the better a dancer you are, the less rejections you will experience and the more likely you are to have people lining up to dance with you.

Now, lets say you are happy with your dance ability and don’t want to invest any more time or energy into it,  well then lets look at other factors which play a role in keeping you busy on the dance floor.

Don’t be sad, be awesome instead:

– Smile and have fun when you dance.
– Show off that amazing personality of yours when you interact with people so they are drawn to you.
– Be open, give off great and positive energy. People tend to avoid negativity.


– Accentuate your best physical features. Being confident never hurt anyone.
– Dress to impress. It shows when you make an effort. It has also been proven that dressing up makes the wearer more confident and people are instinctively drawn to that.
– Smell Great!

Human beings despite there higher cognitive functions are still animals, so peacocking  appeals to us on a basic, fundamental level that we cannot logically digest (or even agree with). This does not change that its a fact of nature.

Now while being Awesome and Peacocking will definitely increase the number of dances that you get,  if you had to pick just one – remember none of them matter more than your dance ability. If you should choose however  to combine all three, you will be unstoppable on the dance floor. 😉


Now at the end of the day, you can have all the dance ability in the world – the only way people will know that you are a good dancer is by actually dancing with you. This particularly can be a challenge when you enter into a new dance scene. Life however has one simple rule – Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you want a dance, don’t be afraid to ask for it (whether you are a Lead or follow).

Now some people (usually followers) disagree with this piece of advice and think it is always the Leads role to ask. We live in the 21st century and while some people will experience life on easy street and never really have to work for anything, they are only 1% of the population. That does not apply for the other 99% who have to work for it. So if you want a dance, go ask for it and don’t sit back waiting for it to come to you.

Take risks:

Now what if you are afraid, even mortified of rejection? Well I have some advice for you.

1. The results of rejection on the dance floor are all in your mind. It has no real world implications other than the ones you create for it. Think about it, if someone says no to dance with you, apart from a bruised ego, what is the real impact? That’s right – Nothing.

2. If you are not buying into my point above and you think the World will come to end when someone rejects you on the dance floor, then I have a tip for you – rather than ask a question, make a statement. The reasoning behind this is simple; a question can be met with a negative response – i.e. NO. A statement cannot be met with a negative response because its an expression or opinion.

So walk up to the person and state – I like the way you dance. I want to dance with you.

The ball is now in the other persons court. They can pick up on your hint and ask you for a dance or they can say “thank you” and politely ignore your dance comment. Either way, its a win – win.
1. You may get that dance you always wanted, or
2. Even if they don’t ask you to dance, your interaction wont be stained by the sting of their refusal.

This sums up my thoughts on this article. Let me know what you think by posting a comment below and lets get the conversation going.

Remember, if you want something – go get it. Life is too short to be spent worrying about things that don’t really matter. 😉

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  1. says: Nizar

    Grate article and useful tips, I did not understand what ‘just keep dancing’ mean specifically by ‘flirting’ and what’s acceptable in terms of it in Salsa nights and what’s not

  2. says: Need Something Simpler

    I love this suggestion – “So walk up to the person and state – I like the way you dance. I want to dance with you.”. I’m sure it is very effective. Complimenting someone definitely breaks the ice. But complimenting a woman can sound cheesy hence guys need to have a good pickup line because not all followers are great dancers and they know it.
    I honestly believe that there should be some kind of color coded wrist band given to the dancers so that it is easy to distinguish people and less time is wasted in going around asking for a dance. Hawaiians have done it with the flower worn behind their ear. Right side means they are available left side means nothing more than flirting :-). Can someone do that please?

  3. says: Just Keep Dancing

    Great Article.

    I would add one more tip to get more social dances.

    Learn how to flirt.

    Being more flirtatious always leads to more dances. Flirting much like dance, is an art and skill.