First, let's start with the obvious: Men are pretty simple, and if you are dressed fashionably, you improve your odds of being asked to dance. That doesn't mean you need to look like you're auditioning for lead pole at the strip club, or on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction but the, "I'm going to Home Depot for some painting supplies" look isn't always a winning one for a lesser known dancer. (Newer guys shouldn't look like they slept in their clothes either.)
Partner dancing provides a vehicle for showing off your femininity, and you should probably lean toward more dramatic clothes in the earlier stages.
These can range from ripped jeans and trendy cami's to shorter skirts and sexy tops. Pick a style that represents you and compliments your beauty, and don't be afraid to dress with attitude!
Location, location, location
All clubs have a "sweet spot" or location where the ladies are more likely to be asked. Figure out that location and make it yours when you're not taking a break. Many clubs have spots where the crowd has to pass to get on the floor. Stand there when waiting to dance. The more guys who walk past you, to or from the floor, the better your odds. Avoid sitting until you really want a rest.
While standing and waiting, if you are subtly grooving to the music, that is also a positive. Guys are attracted to movement, and some simple movement makes you a more inviting partner than someone doing a potted-plant imitation. Enjoy the music by yourself, and men will notice.
When dancing with a good lead, see if you can influence him to dance in front of the other guys you want to ask you later. Seeing you on the floor dramatically increases your future dances, and often a club has an area where the stronger leads hang out. Since most guys don't care where they dance, if you state a preference most are fine going to that area.
Look like you are having fun with the other leads. This is huge. Few care if you're a world class dancer; they'd rather dance with someone who has moderate skills, a great attitude, and a sincere smile than a Britney Spears wannabe-diva who looks bored with the dance. They'll assume that if you're having fun with others, you'll do the same with them. In some instances, this is known as "faking it" and in dancing it works.
Wearing dance shoes is also a major plus. Maybe you're a Victoria's Secret model, but if you wear sexy street pumps, guys will admire your shoes (and maybe your looks), but more experienced leads won't ask you to dance unless they've seen you dancing with others.
Too many times, the decked-out women in street shoes isn't a dancer. Wearing dance shoes says you're not only out clubbing, but you're either already decent or investing in getting better. For many experienced leads, this is important if they don't know you. If they know you, few care about your shoes.
If you do sit and want to dance, don't get too far from the dance floor. Leads are less likely to ask you; because it hard to tell if you don't want to dance, if you're shy, or if you simply want to watch. If you are in a booth, avoid sitting inside, with a guy on the outside. Few leads will go around a guy to get to you unless they already have an established connection with you.
If you're sitting on some guy's lap, or he is close enough to put his arm around you and you are in a conversation, you look unavailable at that point. Be sure you don't look like a couple constantly, unless you want time off the floor.
If you are new at a club, take the class before the dancing starts. You meet men as you rotate during the class and some will ask you to dance if you had a fun attitude. You may not need the lesson but it's still an excellent way to get some new dance friends. Remember that familiar faces get more dances in the early days. You can also say something like "save me a dance later..." before you rotate. Few guys can resist that invitation.
Of course, if we have a common friend or I have seen you dance reasonably well with others, that changes things. If you have a great dance with a lead, ask him if any of his friends dance as well as he does. He'll be flattered and introduce you to the other good leads he knows.
If all else isn't working, prime the pump by asking some guys you want to dance with. You choose and 98% of them will say "sure" after you ask. You can do that as often as you wish, and over time you'll become known and get asked more too. As you walk off from one dance, others are more likely to ask you too, and soon you don't need any of these tips to have a great time.
Guys: Let me know what makes it more likely for you to ask a lady to dance.
Ladies: Let me know what has been successful for you.
A man on a date wonders if he'll get lucky. The woman knows.
- Monica Piper
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This article was originally published in May 2007. It's had a few minor edits.