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Ask Bailar: Can I say no to a dance when I'm at a social event?

There are many reasons why you might say no to a dance. You might be tired, you might have promised a dance to someone else or maybe you're just in the middle of a conversation. ⁠

Regardless of the reason, you should not feel obligated to dance with someone just because they asked. Social dancing isn't any fun if your heart isn't in it!⁠

So how do you say no without hurting the other person's feelings? ⁠

1. Remember, it takes a lot of courage to ask for a dance. Be kind and respectful when declining. ⁠

2. If you are interested in dancing with them, offer to look for them later when you're ready to dance - and make the effort to do so. DO NOT offer this just to soften the blow. It will be even more upsetting when they realise that you aren't going to dance with them. ⁠

3. Sit out the song if you've not told them that you've promised someone a dance. Nothing sucks more than seeing the person who just said they're too tired tearing up the dancefloor with someone else. ⁠

In a nutshell, while it's every dancer's prerogative to be selective with dance partners, let's be kind in our actions so that we can maintain a community that is welcoming to everyone.

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