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To Dip or Not to Dip?



Dipping on the social dance floor

Guys, when it comes to dipping on the social dance floor, you’ll find that ladies have all sorts of mixed feelings towards this act – some love it, some hate it and some are just plain scared of it. The important takeaway here is that dipping your partner on the social dance floor is dangerous.

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.

What do the ladies think?

Follows see dips in a whole different way than leads. The idea of dipping can make many follows nervous, anxious or even scared to social dance. Depending on the follow’s physical condition and trust level in the lead, dipping may be a complete no-go.

Leads, it’s your responsibility to be safe

Guys, as the leader of a social dance, you are responsible for giving your partner a comfortable and enjoyable experience. This means knowing your partner’s boundaries and whether or not dipping is on the menu.

Many follows dislike dipping because it feels forced and too showy, others simply want to avoid it for health reasons. If you’re the kind of lead who often whips your partner down into a fast dip, it’s time you start reconsidering. More often than not, you could be causing your partner pain, discomfort or even trauma, so make sure you are aware of what she is willing or not so willing to endure.

There are exceptions…

Now it’s important to clarify that there plenty of ladies out there who enjoy dipping, however, the goal of this post is to make you leads out there more aware of the follow’s who dislike dipping and let you know why this is such a sensitive subject when it comes to social dancing.

Some of the main reasons ladies dislike dipping:

  1. In a social dance environment, dipping feels unnatural and unnecessary
  2. Dipping can cause neck and back pain
  3. Dipping can irritate chronic injuries
  4. A lack of trust with a new partner increases the fear of being dropped or injured

Fellas, after reading those points above it’s easy to understand how dipping can be a potentially harmful act, but let’s be honest this doesn’t mean you should NEVER do it. These Salsa tips are meant to inform you of the follow’s point of view so you can make an informed decision on whether or not dipping is okay.
salsa tips dipping resistance dance dojo

How to decide whether dipping is appropriate

First off, partner communication is key. Quite often you’ll be dancing with a complete stranger so there is a good chance you won’t know her physical condition or comfort level with dipping. If this is the case, you can either ask her if she is okay with being dipped or just forget about dipping her altogether. If you are dancing with a friend, then you are likely more familiar with her comfort zone and physical abilities and should have no problem making a solid judgement call. Regardless of the situation, when in doubt, ask the follow! Lastly, you should always check yourself and make sure you are confident that you can dip properly and safely. Don’t forget that you’re skills play a role here too.

Once you decide dipping is okay, try following these guidelines:

1. Consider the follow’s physical condition
Some basic dips might be appropriate while other more advanced dips may not be.

2. Be considerate of the follow’s level
If they’re new, take it easy on them and stick to a slow gentle dip.

3. Be aware of your surroundings
Identify any possible hazards such as kicking feet, chairs, bystanders etc.

4. Be aware of your partners signals
Are they showing resistance? If so, avoid dipping. There’s probably a very good reason for there hesitation.

5. If you must dip, do it gently
Only go for the big showy ones if both you and your partner are up for it.  And, of course, make sure the surrounding area is clear.

Well that’s the bulk of what you need to know to make the right decision to dip or not to dip. When it comes to social dancing, always keep this dipping etiquette in mind. It’s an important part of being a considerate Salsa lead.

Now it’s your turn

Whether you are a lead or follow, give us your opinion on dipping during a salsa social dance and let us know if you have any interesting stories (we welcome the good, the bad, and the ugly).