I’ve seen a lot on Facebook for months about ‘dance queues’, where follows (or leads, in some situations) line up for a particular pro. Sometimes, these lines can be as long as 20 or more dancers… or basically, around an hour wait time. Usually, this happens when there’s a big lead/follow imbalance at a big event – but not always. It’s also *usually* female follows waiting for a big-name male lead.

While this article is written from the perspective of leads who talk badly about follows, it can be applied both ways. However, I’ve never seen follows hating on leads for dance-queues, so I’m going with the most common denominator.

I’ve also seen a lot of angry leaders when it comes to this phenomenon. I’ve seem remarks that:

  • Call these follows stupid and entitled
  • Call the follows rude for turning down dances “with perfectly adequate or good dancers” while they’re waiting for that pro
  • Feel upset that “all the follows only want to dance with those pro’s – not mere mortals”
  • Talk about behavior to ‘get back at’ the follows (i.e. – rejecting them, refusing to dance with them later, etc.)

Can this seriously get any more petty? 

To be clear, I don’t like the queue culture. I prefer the strategy of keeping my eye out for when that ‘prized leader’ *is not* surrounded by a throng of adoring fans. For example, when they’re coming back to the room after a break. I also think that it doesn’t give the queued follows the best dance with that pro, as the pro is generally overworked and overdanced.

I also feel bad for the pro’s who get trapped in a situation where they’re simply running through the motions and being treated like a piece of meat. I sympathize with the feeling of not being able to take a break without letting down some people ‘waiting their turn’. It sucks. Quite frankly, we should be looking at ways to disassemble the ‘queue culture’ that has developed in some dances in certain places.

However, these are not the issues I’m looking to address.

Unless these follows patiently waiting in line for their dream dance with their idol have actually done something rude, I’m not going to get on the hate-train.

Social dancing is about doing what will make us happy. It’s about dancing with people who make us happy to music that makes us happy and having a connection that makes us happy. If waiting in line for an hour for that dream dance is what makes a follow happy – are we really the better person for trash-talking them?

People line up at midnight for hours to see Star Wars or for a video game release. They wait hours for a chance to snap a photo of a red carpet star. On Boxing Day, people camp out overnight for a deal on a big screen TV. People in our community will spend hundreds of dollars to fly around the world for a weekend of dancing.

But somehow, standing in a queue is… the worst thing ever?

“But dance queues are bad for dance culture!”

Ok… but that doesn’t give you license to be mean to the people waiting in the queues. Call on your pro’s for better dancefloor-practices, like moving around the floor or dancing in the middle of the room. Look at preventative practices. The prevention starts with the pro – not the follows who are desperate to get that one ‘dream’ dance.

The truth is, the follows who most often wait in queues are the ones who are newer to the congress environment and have never had a chance to dance with a pro outside a queue. They just look at it as a thing they have to do to get that dance – especially if there’s a lead/follow imbalance.

It’s not their fault. If they didn’t wait in the queue, it’s very rare that they’d get a chance to dance with that pro. If that’s what they really want out of the weekend, then of course they’re going to wait in the damn queue. They’re a product of a practice already in place – not its root cause!

You want to fix the dance queue culture? Talk about the root of the problem. Not about the poor follow at her first congress who is there because she saw that star on YouTube and really, really, REALLY wants to experience that dance juuust once… even if it means waiting an hour.

Are queues good? No, they’re not. But, it doesn’t make it OK to be mean to people in them.

“But those follows refuse to dance with perfectly good dancers who ask them to dance when they’re in line!”

You kinda walked into that one. Waiting in line for a pro is kind of a pretty easy signal that they’re not looking for other invitations to dance. Like holding a glass of water, or being deep in conversation with someone.

If you’re asking someone waiting in line for a dance, you are probably going to get shut down. It’s like asking the person waiting in line for a Star Wars ticket to come over and grab a ticket for another movie. They’re waiting for Star Wars. If they leave the line, they’ll lose their spot, and have to start all over. Why would they do that? They’ve already been waiting for 4 songs; they don’t want to start over.

They’ve made their choice – and it doesn’t make them a bad person. Saying ‘no’ for any reason is legitimate – whether or not you agree with their motivations. Would you rather that, or the follow looking over their shoulder every two seconds at the pro they wish they were standing in line for? If you really want to dance with that person, come back later when they’re not in line for their dance-idol.

If you don’t care about dancing with that particular follow, why are you hating on them? What about the multitude of other follows who are NOT in line? There’s usually a lot. If you really didn’t care about the level of the person you were dancing with and only wanted an engaging dance, why not go ask one of the follows who actually is waiting to be asked? 

“But it’s stupid to wait the whole night for one dance!”

To you, it’s stupid and you would never do it. To them, it could be why they spent $500-$1,000 to come to the event. Maybe that person is who inspired them to start dancing. Maybe the thing that they’ve been hoping to do for years is to share one social dance with that star. Stop being the judgemental person.

There’s a good chance they’ll do it for 1-2 events and then realize they don’t like queues. They may very well decide they would rather have a ton of great dances with people just like you. For now, let them have their pro line-ups. If you want to change the fact that there are line-ups, it needs to start with the pro.

You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to do it. You don’t have to hate on others for doing it. You can even think the IDEA is stupid without calling the PEOPLE stupid. These follows are not hurting anyone, and that dance could be really important to them. I don’t hate on my friends who wait for 4 hours in the freezing Canadian cold for Boxing Day sales. I think the idea is stupid, but I don’t think my friends are stupid for doing something that makes them happy.

“Well, I make sure to NEVER ask those follows for a dance. I’ll also shoot them down if they ask me, because they’re entitled and bitchy.”

… If this is your attitude, I don’t think that bitchy girls are why you’re getting rejected. That’s a terrible attitude.

If someone has ACTUALLY been rude to you, go ahead, decline. But, if you’re declining because you disagree with their choice to wait for a dance with a particular pro? That’s really petty. If they’re asking you later, it’s because they want to dance with you. They’re done with their lineup, have gotten their happy-dance, and are now ready to mix-n-mingle.

Don’t be an ass – there’s really no reason for it. I’m all for declining dances that you can’t give your all to, but doing the whole “let-me-get-back-at-you-for-something-unrelated-to-me-that-I-think-is-stupid” mentality is really not cool. Plus, they’re probably not going to know that’s why you’re rejecting them unless you tell them.

If you do tell them the reason then… Seriously? Was it really necessary to make someone feel like shit for something they did to try and make their weekend special?

I have seen rude behavior in dance lines. I’ve seen side-eyes, aggressive behavior, and rudeness towards pro’s and other dancers. That’s not OK. But I’ve also seen new girls who are totally enamored by the opportunity to just have one dance with that pro, and follows who sit quietly simply waiting for the opportunity. I’ve witnessed follows ‘respecting the line’, and making sure that the next in line gets ‘their’ dance.

It’s not just ‘bitchy’ follows in lines. It’s also quiet follows, new follows, shy follows, experienced follows, and sweet follows. There’s one or two rude ones, sure… but they’re usually not even the majority!

Dancing should be about kindness and fun.

When you start tearing apart these follows, you’re not creating an atmosphere of kindness and fun. When I see leads who rip apart all of these queue follows online, it makes me want to dance with those leads less – not more. It exposes an edge tinged with callous judgement, which makes me (as a follow) feel very uncomfortable.

If you are spending your time judging other dancers, you’re taking away from your ability to give great dances, receive great dances, and have fun. Instead, you’re channeling your energy into a negative pit of what you perceive as a slight against you.

If you don’t like the behavior, go find another follow. There’s MANY of them out there. If you would rather stay away from the lines – do it. Go grab the follow who is alone in a corner, just wishing someone would ask them to dance. Go ask the newbie who is so nervous that they’re shaking when you first hold them, and give them your positivity until you feel their body relax.

Prove how generous a dancer you can be, instead of showing how much you can judge other people.