The racetrack rule
Here’s a hint for avoiding collisions and near-misses while waltzing: think of the dance floor as a racetrack on the outside perimeter. Couples who want to travel along as they dance – and this applies to polkas and schottisches, too – should move out to the edge of the room and travel in a counter-clockwise direction (CCW). That is a common convention that you will find at any kind of dance. Those who want to dance slowly or stay in one spot should remain in the center of the room. That’s all there is to it.
You can jack up the energy at a dance just by being there!
The first twenty minutes of any dance is important to the overall spirit of the whole evening. At those dances where there are enough people to get started right near 7:00, the energy level of the whole two hours is noticeably higher. New dancers tend to be on time because they haven’t aquired the hip air of the jaded old hands who come in fashionably late. And, yes, a lot of you old hands are pretty lax about the time you come waltzing in. We’d like to reorient you just a little bit.
The first half hour is where the experienced dancers can have the greatest effect on the quality of the dancing and the future of our dance community. When you can get there on time your skills become important teachers to the newest dancers, without you ever saying a word. You know the dance figures, you have the timing down, you know how to give weight when doing allemandes and swings, you know when to listen to the callers instructions. That all adds up to a skilled dancer, and just being there and dancing like you do will shorten the learning curve for the new dancers. You are the best teachers at a dance, any caller will tell you that. Which is why we’d love to see some of you get there during that golden first half hour.