How To Dance In Social Settings

Beginner Guides

How To Dance In Social Settings

Charise Roberts
January 23, 2024
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Do you want to be THAT girl/guy who’s always out on the dance floor living their best life? Here’s a little secret…There’s nothing holding you back from being that person! Whether you’ve never had the chance to learn the basics, or it’s a lack of confidence keeping you glued to the wall at parties, all it takes is a little guidance (and practice!) to become a great social dancer. Here are the dance basics everyone should learn to start dancing with confidence in every. Single. Setting.

When learning how to dance in social settings, it might seem like a good idea to take a dance class at your local studio, but you'll likely end up learning choreography and moves that don’t translate to a wedding or party.

Instead, you should focus on learning simple, singular, basic moves that can be repeated over the course of a song without looking like you’re “trying too hard.”

Start by listening to music and practicing your rhythm.

Just about any popular song can be counted in 8-counts, meaning you should be able to chunk out sections of the song, by counting 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8 to the beat.

Follow along this video for practice!

This counting will help you understand how to move your body while you dance.

For basic, social dance moves, you’ll usually be stepping your feet and moving your arms at the exact moment the beat hits.

Once you get the hang of the counting, you can start learning some moves!

Simple moves like...a Side to Side Rock

a Slide

or A Heel Pivot Step...

...will look much more natural in a social setting than full on choreography.

While physical dance studios rarely focus on these social basics, you can learn basic moves by watching tutorials online and practicing in the privacy of your own home.

If you're looking for videos with clear, step-by-step instructions, you can learn the moves above (and more!) on STEEZY Studio!

I was able to learn enough moves to last me an entire night out in less than 45 minutes.

Click here to start learning!

If you’re wondering about the choreographed dances you do see at weddings and parties, those are considered “line dances."

Line dances like the “Electric Slide” (that dance you’ve seen at literally every wedding ever) might look complicated at first, but they’re surprisingly easy to learn with 10-15 minutes of practice.

See for yourself! You can check out our “Electric Slide” class here.

If you show up at a party wearing super uncomfortable shoes/feeling bloated from eating ~200 tacos for dinner, you’re just not gonna want to get up and start moving.

So wear a pair of shoes you feel comfortable in, eat light beforehand, and take the time to warm up.

No, you don’t have to do jumping jacks by the bar before you hit the dance floor...

But maybe before you start busting out moves, take some time to just nod your head and step to the beat while you allow your body to relax.

If you make sure that your body is feeling as comfortable as possible before you start dancing, you’ll look much better while you’re dancing.

Of course, if you’ve ever felt too awkward to get on the dance floor, you know that it takes more than familiarity with a few moves to feel comfortable doing them in front of people.

So how the heck do other people manage to look so confident!?

Confidence is not a state of being.

It's an act – a practice.

In order to come across as confident, you have to actively project confidence by doing a couple of things:

  1. First, acknowledge the fact that you WILL make mistakes. 

You know those moments when you step on someone’s toes, trip a little, or try to do a move and it just doesn’t match the music?


Those moments happen to everyone!

If you want to look confident, you have to let those little mistakes roll off your back – you just gotta keep on dancing like nobody saw.

Chances are, it’s true, nobody saw it!       

2. Engage your whole body while you dance.

Stand tall, make eye contact with others, and avoid keeping your arms glued to your sides.

Every now and again, check in with yourself as you’re dancing.

Remind yourself to look at the person (or people!) you’re dancing with.

Make sure you’re standing up straight.

Take a deep breath and commit to each move.

You'll notice that when you make a conscious effort to practice confidence, you'll spend less time worrying and more time growing into a confident dancer.

If you’ve never been comfortable dancing before, you might not realize this, but…Dancing should always be fun!

So, if dancing at parties and clubs still feels like a chore, take the time to ask yourself why.

Is it the music genre? The setting? My partner?

If something is holding you back from enjoying dance as an activity, you might just need to change up the way you’re dancing.

If you don’t like dancing to Hip Hop, don’t be afraid to request a few pop or house songs to the DJ.

If you think the clubs you’ve been to are distractingly loud, find a quieter bar with a dance floor that feels less intimidating.

If you can’t keep up with your partner’s fancy footwork, let em’ know!

Don’t limit yourself to thinking that dance can only be enjoyed a certain way.

Keep experimenting until you figure out what feels good for you.

Learning how to dance is something everyone can and should do.

Not only is it fun, but it’s a great activity to share with other people and an amazing way to express yourself.

Stop missing out on when you’re attending weddings and parties!

Just review these tips and learn a couple of moves beforehand.

All you need to join in on the fun is some practice and a touch of confidence. 😉