Etiquette 101 (en)



While all other well-intentioned, non-binding advice is optional, there is little room for compromise regarding hygiene. The physical closeness characterising this dance requires a high degree of respect, which is expressed, among other things, through adherence to certain hygiene standards. Anyone who wants to be part of the community must meet certain minimum standards, which we value highly.

Here are the most important points:

  • Be freshly showered, wear clean clothes, and brush your teeth; use chewing gum, mints, or breath sprays if necessary.
  • Please use perfume sparingly; a subtle deodorant can be helpful.
  • Forró can get intense and cause you to sweat quickly. Please bring a change of clothes and, if necessary, a towel to dry off. Take breaks between songs to cool down and dry off if needed.

What to wear?

  • We dance in comfortable shoes. Generally, we recommend bringing flat dance shoes or light (athletic) shoes rather than bulky shoes. Havaianas/flip-flops, barefoot (or with socks) are also fine. Nowadays, there are many dance sneakers available for everyone, such as those from Taygra and Pra Bailar.
  • Although these recommendations apply to everyone, they are particularly important for followers, as following often involves dancing on the balls of the feet, as well as many spins. More potential alternatives are flat dance shoes like those from Capezio, lyrical sandals, dance paws, or specially made Forró Molecas from Tati (DE), Xiado (PT), or Forrostore (UK).
  • High heels should be avoided. They are impractical for the type of dancing we do and can lead to injuries in case of collisions, as some of us dance barefoot.
  • Important: We adhere to the venue’s house rules. Depending on the location, street shoes on the dance floor may not be allowed, including athletic shoes worn outside.

Dress Code
  • You don’t need to dress particularly chic for a Forró evening. Wear what you feel comfortable in and what doesn’t hinder your dancing.
  • Some examples of clothing and accessories less suitable for Forró:
    • Skirts that are too tight, limiting the step length
    • Dresses that fly up higher than you’d like during spins (Tip: wear shorts underneath)
    • Loose sleeves or tops in which your partner’s hands can get caught
    • Bulky or sharp-edged jewellery
  • Further notes:
    • Wristwatches can get tangled in the partner’s long hair
    • Short pants are recommended for warm parties or class sessions
    • Pants with Velcro fastenings can uncomfortably rub against your partner’s thighs and potentially damage their stockings
    • Remember that clothing like T-shirts or shirts can be easily changed, and if you anticipate heavy sweating, you can bring more than one.

Asking for a Dance

Asking someone to dance can be a challenge.

When to ask whom for a dance?
The song has just begun, and you don’t have a partner yet? Then act quickly: look around to see who else is standing on the edge of the dance floor and looking impatient.

If you don’t know the person, you shouldn’t necessarily interrupt them in a conversation or hinder them from ordering a drink.

Holding a drink might signal a break, but not always.

Please avoid always asking only the more advanced dancers to dance. Also, don’t continually ask someone to dance if they never ask you in return.

In our scene, anyone can ask anyone else to dance, regardless of gender. Furthermore, anyone can dance as a leader or a follower, which is noticeable in our community.

Some still prefer to wait to be asked, others can be shy and might not ask quickly. While nothing is wrong with this, it may affect how often you dance. If you are not invited, don’t take it personally. Being proactive can help you to dance more and meet new people.

How to Ask for a Dance?
Make eye contact, approach the person, and ask if they would like to dance. Extending your arms can substitute for asking, but it’s more polite to smile and say, „Would you like to dance?“ or simply „Dance?“

Be friendly and genuine in any case.

When and How to Decline a Dance?
Just as you can ask anyone to dance, you can also (politely) decline any dance request/offer. Declining should not be seen as a negative act but rather as a way to respectfully communicate you would prefer not to dance at that moment. You may always decline, no matter your reason.

That being said, we encourage everyone to accept dance offers per default and not to decline out of shyness or because you don’t know someone.

Reasons to decline include needing a break, not liking a song or simply inconvenient timing.

To decline, a friendly „Sorry, I need a break“ works well and maintains the peace. Although you are not obliged to dance with anyone, if you do feel like dancing with this person and the reason you are declining is unrelated to them, consider adding: “We could dance later” or “I’ll look for you later.” This should only be done if you genuinely mean it.

Sometimes, there may be a reason to refuse to dance with someone in particular, such as them being heavily intoxicated or having behaved disrespectfully towards you previously. Your personal safety—both physical and mental—is important. Don’t feel pressured to accept a dance in such a situation. The declined partner may ask for a reason. This provides a good opportunity to provide honest feedback; however, it remains your decision whether or not you feel comfortable giving such feedback at the moment. (Depending on the behaviour, you can also provide such feedback regardless of whether they ask for it.)

What to Do When Your Invitation Is Declined?
Respect the „no“ at all times. Avoid pressuring or coercing them (physically or verbally) into dancing with you, as it’s important for everyone to feel comfortable and respected on the dance floor.

Remain understanding. The person you invited may have various reasons for declining—they could need a break, be in conversation, or be heading to the restroom. Don’t let it dampen your spirits; another opportunity to dance will come soon.

On the dance floor

Not Crossing Boundaries of Others
  • Respect your dance partner’s personal space and boundaries. Avoid using physical closeness as an opportunity for inappropriate behaviour. An invitation to a dance is just that, and not consent for anything else. Both leaders and followers communicate their preferred level of closeness through body language— and both should respect these cues. Ignoring them can result in lasting negative impressions.
  • Each dance scene has its own norms about what physical contact is appropriate. For instance, in our Forró scene, particular touches like stroking your partner’s belly or the back of their head are generally unwelcome and can be surprising rather than appreciated.
  • Some movements can feel very intimate, especially when dancing closely. Be sensitive to your partner’s comfort level and avoid such movements unless you are sure they are welcome. This applies mainly to leaders, as they suggest most movements, but it also applies to followers.
  • Be mindful of practicalities, too. Keep keys or other personal items out of your front right pocket to prevent them from rubbing against your partner’s thighs. This small consideration can prevent discomfort and annoyance.

Setting Your Own Boundaries
  • Communicate clearly if your partner’s actions make you uncomfortable. If their touch is intrusive or unwelcome, remove their hand from the area and make them aware of your discomfort.
  • Don’t hesitate to end the dance if they persist despite your clear indications. Don’t tolerate anything that makes you uncomfortable. To do this, it’s important to personally define what is comfortable for you and what isn’t.

If you have any questions or need support, our team members are available to help anytime.

Adjusting to skill levels
  • As a leader, you have the most control over which movements and figures you dance. Therefore, it is important to adjust your dancing to your partner’s skill level and preferences. Forró is about creating a harmonious connection, not showing off complex moves. Respecting your partner’s comfort and skill level helps build a positive dancing experience.
  • Furthermore, being aware of the space around you and the couples dancing nearby is essential. Ensure your partner feels safe and can trust you. If a collision occurs, apologise promptly and continue dancing with consideration.
  • As a follower, allow yourself to be led, even if the leader struggles with the rhythm. It’s encouraged to address and help with such issues constructively in the classes. During social dances, use your judgment to decide whether to offer feedback. This depends on your relationship with your partner and the appropriateness of the moment.
  • Avoid anticipating movements or preempting your partner’s intentions. Instead, focus on being receptive and precisely following their lead. This will ensure a more fluid and enjoyable dance for both partners.

For Everyone::
The ultimate rule is: Be kind. Everyone anticipates having a pleasant evening full of dance with many nice people at a Forró party. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

  • Look before you lead your partner somewhere. Look where your partner sends you.
  • Both partners should watch out for each other and be ready to stop or move themselves and their partner to avoid danger.
  • Especially on tight and overcrowded dance floors, choose movements and variations wisely. Opt for figures you do comfortably—it’s probably not the right time to try out the new lift figure you’ve only thought about once.
  • Dear experienced dancers: Dance with beginners. Never forget: You were once a beginner, too. Use your experience to make it easier for newcomers to start. Show them that they are warmly welcomed among us. They will thank you later.
  • Dear beginners: You have no reason to hide. Feel free to invite those who already dance well. This is by no means impolite; it’s completely normal. Mix with the crowd, accept some well-meaning tips, and have fun dancing.
  • It’s not uncommon to dance several dances with the same partner. The range is often between one and three dances. Saying „thank you“ at the end of a dance usually marks the imminent farewell. Thank each other, hug, and go your separate ways. In this context, „please“ is not an appropriate response.
  • If mistakes haven’t caused physical pain to your partner, there’s no need to apologise. However, if your partner apologises, don’t accept the apology. Respond with a cheerful „It’s okay“ to convey, „Yes, it was your fault, but I forgive you.“ Usually, the apology is just a courtesy, based on the understanding that mistakes are rarely solely attributed to one partner and that it ultimately doesn’t matter. In the best case, the apology is the understatement of a better dancer.
    A better response would be a brief „sorry!“ or simply a smile.
  • When holding a drink, please stand aside. Under no circumstances should you stand in the middle of the dance floor with your drink, obstructing the dancers. Even without a drink, there’s an absolute ban on stopping on the dance floor. It should be clear to everyone to take their drink off the dance floor before dancing.
  • Moderate your alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol reduces inhibitions, makes you less considerate of others while dancing, and, in extreme cases, can lead to intrusive behaviour. Additionally, you won’t dance as well and may have bad breath.
  • Smoking is not permitted at our events except for open-air events.