Is there ever an appropriate time to reject a dance request?

Burju Hurturk PerezBurju Hurturk – Boston

This is a controversial question.

When you are the one being rejected there is no appropriate time, being rejected just sucks. And when you are the one rejecting the dance, whether or not your excuse is valid, you risk having the label “mambo snob” attached to your name. But rejection is such a harsh word.

The way I feel is that unless someone has made me uncomfortable in some way by offending me, hurting me, trying to hit on me or grope me in any fashion, which are all very appropriate times to “reject” a dance, I use the postpone method.

The postpone method: If I’ve just danced a very long song or several in a row, and am obviously quite winded, or may need a water break, then that is a valid reason and an appropriate time for me to politely say “could we wait until the next song?” Some people may take this as a polite brush off but I try my best to make sure I follow through with the dance.

Is there ever an inappropriate time to reject a dance request? Of course there is. If you are standing on the edge of the dance floor looking like you are ready to go and someone asks you to dance and you say no because you don’t think they are good enough, that’s pretty inappropriate. People can tell. Especially if you just rejected a dance then accepted one with someone you know or like dancing with better.

Everyone has their moments of not feeling like dancing for whatever the reason may be. But what’s important is to exercise proper etiquette. Think back to when you first started dancing and when you were the one who was constantly rejected or never even asked to dance. I know I’ve been there. It makes you not want to dance anymore.

I would have loved an opportunity to dance with someone that was better than me or just looked like a lot of fun to dance with. Why not make people happy by such a simple gesture as accepting a dance.

Jami JosephsonJami Josephson- NY

Is there ever an appropriate time to reject a dance request? Yes there is… if someone just got off the floor and there looking all tired and out of breath or even just sweating to death and need a break it should be cool to say “no, need a break” “THANX”

Is there ever an inappropriate time to reject a dance request? YES!!! if you just turned someone down that you didn’t want to dance with and a few sec’s later someone asks you to dance and you say yes… that sucks… or if your standing on the edge of the floor looking to want to dance with someone and you say no to someone who asks you but your just not sure if there good… shame on you!

Dance with everyone! It’s good for the soul!


Magna GopalMagna Gopal – Toronto

Yes, there are appropriate and inappropriate times to reject a dance.

If you are engaged in a conversation with someone else and you are asked to dance, obviously, you should have the option of continuing your conversation without having judgment passed on you — ie/ she’s so stuck up, etc. Likewise, if you have danced with someone who is violently rough, does not know how to adjust his lead, is drunk and irresponsible on the dance floor, throws you into others or puts you in harms way, then by all means, rejecting a dance with this person is completely justifiable.

Occasionally, some people reject dances from people that they have witnessed being rough or where they have heard from others that they are rough. Personally, I like to know first hand instead. Some people have different leads/follows and therefore might not easily execute certain moves so a rough dance with one person could be the smoothest sexiest dance with another. Level of comfort is also an appropriate reason to reject a dance.

As a female, if you dance with a lead who does not respect your personal space, especially if you try to make it clear that you would like it respected, then you shouldn’t feel obliged to repeat such an episode. And the most obvious and most abused reason (lol) is if you are tired and taking a break.

The WORST thing you could do though is to say you’re tired to one person and immediately dance with someone else. That’s just plain rude. At the very least, hold out for a song, and then dance with someone else.

As for inappropriate times to reject a dance, well, I can only speak for myself because I don’t assume to judge others reasons. Restating the above, if you say you’re tired, stay tired for at least one song. If you say next song, also, stay true to your word. There are no contracts on the dance floor, all you’ve got is your word. So, be true to it.

If you don’t intend to dance with someone to the next song or later or if your reasoning is not because you’re tired, then simply respond with a “thank you, but no.” I know as a dancer progresses, he/she would like to dance with progressively better dancers as well.

Personally, I love dancing with better dancers because I feel challenged to be light on my feet, not anticipate, and match their style. But at the same time, I am aware of the fact that I was a beginner once and to a degree will always be a beginner with one thing or another. So, just as some very amazing dancers did not reject me when I asked, I too don’t always reject a dance from someone who is just starting out. Mind you, sometimes there are songs that I really want to throw down to, so I’ll seek out someone who would allow me to do that. But if I do reject someone for that reason, I’ve always caught up with that person later for a dance.

All in all, what’s appropriate or not depends on your own judgement. Generally speaking, being rude, is not appropriate. To assess your actions/words to see if they are rude, just put yourself in that person’s shoes (beginner, timid, etc) and think about how you would receive that rejection. We all started somewhere. It’s important to always keep that in mind.

As for dealing with rejection, my best advice is: don’t take it personally and don’t let it phase you. When I started out I was rejected quite often. Of course, the first dance was always a yes, especially if I was wearing a pretty dress. lol But, when they realized I couldn’t dance, they often found a way to let me down easy whenever I asked again. I never took it personally. I just came back later.

My goal in asking people to dance was to improve my dancing. If I allowed rejection to phase me and stopped asking people to dance, I would not have gotten here today and I will not get there tomorrow. Some people are just plain rude but for every one of those people there are at least a handful of people that are very nice and will dance with everyone (at least once).

Be positive, don’t take it personally, and just think about improving your dancing. The more you stick with it, the more you improve and the less rejection you will encounter in the future. And always be aware of the attitude you exude. In the salsa scene, I’ve found that your reputation often precedes you. So, although you may become the best dancer if your attitude sucks, you could easily be known as the biggest a**hole and your reception will not be that warm and welcoming.

Karen AguilarKaren Aguilar – DC

These two questions are very hard for me. Why? because I don’t like to reject anyone on the dance floor! Because you can learn from the most basic dancer to the most advanced. Basic dancers are great for advance dancers to keep you alert and in control of your dancing. Also keeps you smiling more because you already know what to expect and its great that they are on the dance floor with you. Advanced dancers because I love to expect the unexpected on the dance floor and it gives me a high energy of satisfaction and a challenge!

The first question, Is there ever an appropriate time to reject a dance request?

I want to say no, but realistically yes there is. It all comes down to enjoying the dance with who ever the dance partner is. So both partners should feel comfortable dancing with one another. Please don’t take any of these responses personally I would probably reject a dancer when:

  1. I have just danced a fast song that required me to work it, so I am gasping for air in the corner some where, so I have to say NO.
  2. I have danced with you before and I know that you will handcuff me when leading me on the dance floor and I might not be in the mood to be handcuffed 🙂 lots of love!
  3. I don’t like the song! and the DJ’s music, so I am getting ready to take my shoes off and leave!
  4. The last dance I danced, somebody stepped on my foot and I need time to heal and wipe the tear off my eye 🙂
  5. I am just tired and I have danced ever since I stepped into the place so its my time to just observe enjoy the music and the people dancing 🙂
  6. If you are wearing a shirt that is drenched in sweat and your sweat is dripping from your face. I know its hot sometimes but everyplace there is a dance floor there is also a bar with napkins and they are free. I definitely use them. There is also a bathroom 😉
  7. You are asking me to dance and you can barely stand up, because you like to drink a little too much,and it’s not h20 🙂

Is there ever inappropriate time to reject a dance request? I would call it an inappropriate time only if the dancer feels they are too good to dance with any other dancer. I think dancing is a social positive activity and if a dancer prevents themselves from dancing with anyone just because they put themselves above any other dancer they are projecting negative energy.

Janet TrottoJanet Trotto – NY

Is there ever an appropriate time to reject a dance request? The responses to this will definitely vary for everyone….I personally feel that I feel it is appropriate to reject a dance request if you’re either feeling injured (knees, ankles, or got elbowed, etc) , got stepped on pretty harshly during the previous song by a woman’s 3-inch mambo heel, or are experience a stomach cramp….The body knows its limits and if we are uncomfortable, then it is difficult for us to enjoy the dance, so there is no harm in sitting out a song or two and waiting until we feel a little bit better.

Some men still get offended if you turn them down for these reasons but they have to understand that it is not a personal thing and that we would be more than happy to dance with them a little later on. Remember, people are not machines !

Is there ever an inappropriate time to reject a dance reject? Different woman feel differently about particular male dancers, so it is difficult to answer this question from the general female perspective.

I personally feel its inappropriate to reject a dance for selfish, superficial reasons. I know a lot of woman who will only dance with “advanced” dancers or men who get a lot of attention while on the dance floor. It is wrong to deny someone a dance because you want to be “watched” all the times you are dancing.

Don’t get me wrong, if a woman is advanced and she’s dancing with an advanced partner, the chemistry is a great thing, but it is wrong to turn someone down because he may not have the same level of dance experience as you. We all like to be watched while we are dancing, hey it makes you feel good to know that people enjoy you’re dancing…but there is no need for a “diva-like” mentality!

We all began dancing because it was fun and we were all beginners at some point, and it does not feel nice when someone rejects your request to dance (A side note: I think a lot of men assume that because a female is a strong dancer that she will automatically reject their invitation to dance if they are not a “superstar” or “advanced”, and this is not true (for most woman at least). A flaw of the mambo scene is that a lot of assumptions are made…So fellas, never assume that a female will reject your dance if you haven’t even attempted to ask her 🙂