This is the foremost question many women ponder while sitting bored at a dance event.
“Why do I have to wait for someone to ask me to dance?” You don’t! If you’re comfortable doing so, get up out of your chair, cruise the floor, make yourself visible, walk over to a likely man, and ask, “May I have a dance?”

Admittedly, for a woman, or even a man, this takes a bit of courage. The fact is every person at this event has come to dance. The likelihood is strong that that you won’t be refused. This is the rule: you must dance with someone who requests. You must dance at least one dance; it is simply polite.

However, there are a few polite excuses:
• I am so sorry, I just refused another person, so I can’t accept your offer.
• I just danced so many songs in a row, and I have to sit down for a second.
• I’m dying of thirst and on my way to find a drink.
• My feet are killing me and I have to rest them for a little while.

Then, end with: Please ask me again later.

Dancers should also make themselves as appealing as possible to potential dance partners. Smell clean, wear clean clothes, and use breath mints. If you sweat a lot, change your shirt through the evening. It’s not fun to dance with someone who is soaking wet and/or smells awful.

When you receive a yes, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself. You could say “I’m just a beginner, so please be patient.” Most men are flattered to be asked, and are pleased to give the ladies a hand. On the other hand, most women are flattered to be asked, and are pleased to give the man a hand.

When you’re done, say thank you, and men escort the lady back to her seat, unless she is grabbed en-route by some other eager man.

If your dance with this person was not a particularly satisfying experience, resist offering advice. Try to be pleasant and even upbeat; remember you were a beginner once, too. Avoid saying “Don’t ask me again, especially until you’ve learned how to step on the floor, not my feet.”  That’s just rude!

Beginner dancers are shy and embarrassed and find it hard asking a stranger for a dance. It may feel comfortable and secure to always dance with your regular partner, but it’s like the blind leading the blind. As with any new experience, beginners must persevere to climb this platform and reach a higher level. Beginners should ask more experienced dancers because here they will find consideration and guidance. More experienced dancers should offer dances to starters in a spirit of mentorship. It builds confidence on both sides.

A dance is a social event. Make new friends, get acquainted, and maybe arrange a dance practice. You’re not yet being invited to meet the parents. You’re being invited to assist the other person to facilitate the learning process at a workshop or an evening of dance. You will both benefit by being more competent and confident.

-From Tibor Káldor