In Richie’s post on God Awful Dancers – which is a rather entertaining and worthwhile read – he mentions “The Screamer” who unexpectedly pierces your ears as soon as you dip her. The fact is, nobody should ever meet The Screamer and she shouldn’t have been dipped in the first place. So, to avoid such embarrassments and do a service for all salsa men and women going forward, I’ve compiled the following wisdom on dipping etiquette.
Dipping looks great, it’s sexy, the pros do it, but you probably shouldn’t.
Every beginner salsa dancer, male or female, romanticizes about giving or receiving that perfect sexy dip on a horn hit or to finish off a perfect dance. After all, it’s what we’ve seen so many times before. But there’s more to it than just to do it. Does she want one? Can you give one? Should you give one?
When it comes to dipping on the social dance floor, you’ll find that ladies have all sorts of mixed feelings towards the act – some love it, some hate it and some are just plain scared of it (see The Screamer, mentioned above).
Dips can be sexy and dips can be fun, but when dips cause a broken nose, dislocated vertebrae or neck strain, they aren’t so cool anymore and they leave your partner in bad health.
Lead’s, your partner’s safety is your responsibility
As the leader of the dance the ball is in your court to make sure she has a comfortable and enjoyable experience. This includes knowing if dipping is on the menu or not. If you’re considering a dip or your someone who regularly whips your partners down into dips, check yourself…
- Does she have the technical ability to be dipped safely?
- Do you know how to dip properly and safely?
- Does she trust you, a stranger?
- Is there enough space on the dance floor?
- Are there other couples around that could hit her?
- Does she have an injury that might flare up?
- Is she ready to expose what’s under that really nice dress of hers?
- Did you ASK her if it’s okay to dip her?
There are very few leads who go through that checklist before dipping, but you can be one of those awesome guys who doesn’t flash the crowd, tweak her spine, break her nose or make her scream. Great opportunity to stand out right?
There are Exceptions…
Naturally, there are some ladies out there that love to be dipped! That said, the point of this post is to bring about awareness that not all ladies desire to be dipped and that it’s a sensitive subject and act.
If you know she’s game and you’re making an informed decision after mentally going through the above checklist (man, dipping is a lot of work huh?), then here’s what to do next…
Guidelines to Follow Once you Know Dipping is a Go
1) Consider her skill level and physical condition
Every follow comes with a different body type, set of abilities, strength and coordination. Sticking to basic dips is best, especially with beginners. Leave advanced dips to when you’re dancing with a pro.
2) Be aware of your surroundings
If it’s a crowded dance floor and there’s other couples around that’s danger zone red. It’s one thing if you can control yourself, but there’s no way to control what everyone else around you is doing. Make sure you have enough space and there’s no chance of collision.
3) If you must dip, do it gently
There’s no need to be aggressive or show off. A dip can be simple, small, gentle and enjoyable all at the same time. Save your tricks for a performance.
There you have it, some simple guidelines to avoid hurting or scaring your lady friends on the dance floor. They’ll surely come in handy if you plan on showing up to the same party twice. Word of mouth travels fast amongst females, especially when weirdos and rough or unenjoyable partners are involved.
Have a dipping nightmare or fairytale that just needs to be shared?
Do tell! We all love stories, so indulge us in the comments section below.
Enjoy this post and want to learn more? Try a sample lesson from our progressive On1 and On2 salsa curriculum taught by Canadian Salsa Champs Patrick and Scarlet at TheDanceDojo.com.