LDS youth dances have to be one of the best things ever invented…if you understand it that is. At my first dance I remember feeling so out of place! I only knew a few people, the music was loud, and I didn’t know any of the dances. It wasn’t until I really started understanding it a little more that I started having fun. There is a lot to learn, of course a lot comes from attending/observing a dance but there are some basic ground rules and such that everyone should know before (or after, as the case may be) they go to a dance. This guide is for all of those little things that affect members and non-members alike. Enjoy!
Before You Go:
Dress and Appearance: You may be asked to dress up for what I’ll call “Special Event” dances. Sunday dress, white shirt, slacks and ties for boys, and dress/skirt for girls, may be required for dances after Best of EFY, or another conference. Most of the time, though, normal clothes are what you wear. They should be comfortable (you’re going to be in them for a long time), and allow you to be active and have fun. For ordinary dances girls would be better off NOT wearing a skirt or dress and NOT wearing high heels. They can become tedious, restricting, and even painful after a few hours or dancing and jumping. Wear a hairstyle that is sturdy and can resist a lot of abuse. That way, you don’t have to worry about it all of the time. Also don’t wear something that you are going to get too hot in. Those dances get hot and muggy! If it’s cold outside then wear a coat or sweatshirt, but then check it in, you don’t want to get too hot in there. As with all church related functions, keep it modest. Don’t wear anything that is revealing or nasty. Boys, girls don’t care what your boxers look like, just keep the pants pulled up!
Boys: Don’t wear earrings.
Please do not wear hats.
No extreme clothing (i.e. punk, Goth, ect.)
Rides and Carpools: For some people the dances won’t be too far from where they live, for others they may be up to forty minutes away. To keep from annoying your parents you may want to arrange a carpool with another friend attending the dance. Be sure you plan your rides out BEFORE you go to the dance. It saves everyone stress.
Your There, But Not There
Signing In/Dance Card Check: As you enter the foyer, some dances may have a spot for you to sign in. If so, do so. It’s simple as that, if for some reason you’re confused then there are ordinarily adults at the entrance to help you. You may also be asked to show a dance card. If you have one, then you should always bring it, just in case. If you don’t have one or if you’re a guest, then just say so. They may give you an overview of the rules, but they will let you in.
Coat and Purse Check In: Believe me, you don’t want to be lugging that purse around everywhere, and you don’t want to accidentally leave that coat somewhere. Most of the time there is a place, near the entrance for you to leave you belongings for safe keeping until you need them. You can access them at any point during that dance if you need to.
It’s Dance Time!
As I searched the web looking for any already existing guide I can across the site of someone who had attended a dance. An entry in the person’s blog read:
“Ah, the mormon dance. Nothing quite like it. It is, to say the least, a singular experience. No other way to really describe it. Where else in this world would you be able to find over a hundred college age students getting down to "Love Shack" and "Ice Ice Baby" combined with some slow dances without the presence of alcohol? Nowhere. I mean, here you have the educated (well, sort of) part of society acting like complete fools voluntarily and not under the influence of any substance. Well, maybe Country Time lemonade. Who knows what's in that stuff.”
- Difference of Opinion [http://dop.outsidetheworld.com/archives/030304.html]
Well, I don’t know if it’s the lemonade, or the carrot sticks, but I must say that I certainly have fun, but I wouldn’t say people are making fools of themselves, just…having fun is all.
Asking Someone to Dance: This is one of those things that is easy for some people and hard for others. Most of the time it is common etiquette for boys to ask the girls, but sometimes the boys are won’t, and then the girls should ask. Remember, it’s not about dancing with the best looking person at the dance (though, I have to admit sometimes it is), it’s about meeting someone new and having fun.
Accepting a Dance With Someone: The one thing that will get you shunned at a dance is refusing a dance with someone. Not only is it impolite, but it just isn’t very nice. Remember, you’re not getting married, or even dating the person. It’s just one dance. It’s always good to meet new people and, hey, maybe you will even learn something new!
Conversations: Congratulations, you’re dancing with someone, but what’s the point if you aren’t going to talk? You may as well be shuffling around in some corner alone. Having a conversation can be hard or easy, depending on what type of people you and your partner are. If you are just meeting the person for the first time, be sure to ask them their name, and where they are from. Once you get past that there are a number of directions you can take the conversation. Here are some good ones:
What’s your favorite thing to do?
What’s your favorite class at school?
If you were a fruit, what type of fruit would you be?
What is your favorite food?
What’s your favorite type of music?
Who is your favorite musical (or other) artist?
What do you think about [issue here]?
What school do you go to?
If neither one of you can hold up a conversation, then just be polite and enjoy one another’s company. When you are finished dancing, thank the person for asking you to dance, or dancing with you and you’re done.
The Finer Points of Dancing
Okay, so I’m not really a pro at this one here, but maybe I can help a little bit.
It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing: No dance would be complete without at least one swing dancing song. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to swing dance, just jam out. However if you do know how, you may want to pick up a partner are show off your moves. Your partner will have loads of fun and everyone else will enjoy the show. Just be careful not to hit anyone while you’re swingin’ around!
Break Dancing: This one can really attract a crowd if you’re good. If you’re planning on showing off, then I suggest you brush up and be good enough to beat the competition! There is often music perfect for break dancing, so never fear if that’s your forte.
Group Dances: Some songs that will be played have set dances that have come to be associated with them, just like the Macarena. The steps are easy to pick up, that way anyone can join in.
I Need a Break!
Like I said before, the area where the dance is held gets very hot! If you get too hot or just need a break then there is a snack room that you can visit for a drink or a light treat, fans to cool off near, or sometimes you can even step outside for a minute to cool down.
Notes for Guests
You shouldn’t worry about getting into a deep religious or philosophical discussion. After all, the other kids are there to relax and have fun too.
It is still a church activity so there will be an opening and closing prayer. You will be expected to be respectful during this time.
Someone may ask you what Ward you are from, or what Stake you are from. You may not know what these are, but don’t worry. Simply reply and say that you are a guest or a visitor, and all will be just dandy!
Overall remember to have fun. If you respect yourself, your friends, your partners, and everyone else at the dance then you will have a great time. Just relax, and have fun, and DON’T worry about what people will think of you.