Imagine (or reimagine) this ever familiar scenario:

You’re hanging out with a few friends – maybe they’re from high school or a chapter of your life that didn’t involve dance – and you’re about to meet some of your friends’¬†friends. Perhaps they know each other from college, from work, from Tinder. In any case, you’re mentally preparing yourself for the introduction, the handshake, the, “Nice to meet you, I’m _____,” followed by the, “Wait what’s his name again?” thought a few seconds later. As you search for easy topics to establish conversation over (other than the weather and whatever touchdown/hole in one the Chicago Bullfighters scored at that one match), you then get asked about your hobbies. “Oh, I just do a little of this and that, I like to hang out and I dance.”¬†

“Oh you’re a dancer?!?!?!?!!”

This has happened to everyone at least once, whether the person asking you is a mutual friend or one of your grandma’s bingo playing buddies. I don’t know which is worse though: the non-dancer who asks a million mainstream questions and demands for you to dance MONKEY DANCE, or the non-dancer who swears he/she knows way more than you about anything in regards to dance because he/she watches ABDC, SYTYCD, Dancing With the Stars, and Dance Moms (I can’t believe Paige is suing Abby whaaaat).

So this is for you, from one dancer to another. Here are some questions that dancers are asked by non-dancers, how you can politely answer them, and how you probably wish you could answer them in real life if being rude and sarcastic when meeting someone for the first time WASN’T frowned upon.

1. Can you show me a routine?

What you can say:

Oh sorry I would but it looks weird with just me. I need my team with me! It looks better together!

What you want to say:

Yeah, have you heard of YouTube?

2. Can you show me how to do *insert dance move here including, but not limited to, the shmoney dance, the dougie, the nae nae, the jerk, “crank that soulja boy”*?

What you can say:

Sure haha well it’s just kind of like this…

What you want to say:

Can you show me how to not be annoying? I know you don’t even REALLY want to learn it right here, right now, as we are standing in the middle of Starbucks.¬†You’re just asking me so you can slyly let me know that you know what the dougie is. OK dude, even my mom knows. Bye.

3. Can you teach me your favorite moves?

What you can say:

I have so many! It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite!

What you want to say:

Yeah! Ok so you start by taking a step to the left, then another to the left, and then a few more to the left, until you are successfully walking away from me. Practice makes perfect.

4. Do you get distracted by all the hot dancers?

What you can say:

Oh no we are all just friends!

What you want to say:

Lol there’s like 1 hot dancer out of every 250 and there’s a 400% chance that he/she is taken. So yes. Yes I do get distracted by all the hotties.

5. Do you have hot dancer friends?

What you can say:

All of my friends are hot… on the inside and out! #PersonalityMatters

What you want to say:

No. And if I did, there would clearly be a “boy/girl” in front of that “friend” word, nawmean.

6. Do you not have to work out because dance is like cardio?

What you can say:

I mean I don’t usually have time to go to the gym, what with all of my practices, but it is an acceptable work out for now!

What you want to say:

Yeah because a 6 minute set (that which I’m in like… 3 minutes of it… maybe) is equivalent to running a marathon. Why I don’t have 6 pack is just beyond me.

7. Have you tried out for “So You Think You Can Dance”?

What you can say:

Oh no! Maybe some day!

What you want to say:

No because I do not think I can dance — I KNOW I can dance. Boom. You’re done.

8. Is your crew on ABDC?

What you can say:

No, but the community has a lot of teams like the ones you see on TV, and a lot of the dancers on the show are in the community as well.

What you want to say:

You don’t even know what I mean by “community” huh.

9. Do you know the Jabbawockeez?

What you can say:

Oh yeah they are great dancers!

What you want to say:

I’d love to jab you right in the wockeez thanks.

10. Did you see that viral video on YouTube of that dance troupe being the most in sync performers IN THE WORLD?!

The Company at Vibe XIX

What you can say:

Yeah I’ve competed with them/seen them at competitions before! The whole dance community is like that, it’s amazing!

What you what to say:

Sigh. Like do you even know that there is a whole community? That these competitions happen always and there are so many dance teams that do this?!

11. Can you have a dance battle right now with *insert the only other person in the room that is a known dancer*?

What you can say:

Oh that’d be weird haha, there isn’t even any music playing!

What you want to say:

What no. I hate freestyling. And that’s seriously so awkward in this setting. We’re at a restaurant.

Unless he/she’s down. Then I guess I’ll have to throw it down and defend my family honor.

12. So do you want to be a dancer when you grow up?

What you can say:

Maybe! It’s kind of a difficult career path, but I love it for now, so we’ll see!

What you want to say:

Are you hiring? Cause if not, you are irrelevant bye.

13. Have you seen “Step Up”?

What you can say:

Yes I’ve seen the movies, there’s some great dancing!

What you want to say:

Have you seen “Stop Asking Me These Questions Please”? It was an Indie film but I’m pretty sure it’s available on Netflix if you’re interested.

14. Do you know that little girl in Sia’s music videos?

What you can say:

Oh she’s amazing!

What you want to say:

Yes, Maddie and I are besties clearly, how could I have forgotten to tell you? Brb, going to go swing on a chandelier while talking to my other new BFFL Shia.

15. Does Ellen know about you?

What you can say:

Haha I wish!

What you want to say:

Yeah! She actually called me and (De)generesly asked me to drop some knowledge on you about the dance world and educate you on the community. Go read something STEEZY.

Of course, anyone asking a question about the dance world is just another opportunity to educate them on our love and passion in the community! Take any situation where non-dancers are curious about our world and use it to let them know what they’re missing out on! Or just give them one of my generic and polite answers and then pretend you’re getting an urgent text message. Either/or is good.

You could also invite them to one of your¬†dance competitions to really submerge them into the community, so as to subtly indicate they should stop asking these general (and redundant) questions. And if you really have non-dancer friends that ask you these questions, the perfect¬†time to show them what it’s REALLY about is at Vibe this weekend! (Except word on the street is that Vibe tickets are already sold out so hopefully you thought this through ahead of time and invited them anyway.)

It’s Vibe’s twentieth year-run so it’s guaranteed to be a pret-ty spectacular show. Even though it started off as a small talent show, Vibe has quickly become one of (if not)¬†the¬†most anticipated competition of the season. For the first time in history, VIBE was sold out a week before the show.¬†The lineup is usually insane, everyone shows up for it, and all performing teams bring fire to the competition. As an organization, Vibe is partnered with Culture Shock LA to support youth programs, having raised $6,410¬†in their most recent event (VIBE Jrs 2014)!

VIBE’s mission is to create a platform for emerging and established artists to congregate, share, and showcase their creativity and intellect through dance. They support the urban arts culture by bridging the global dance community through use of new media and are committed to providing an incomparable attendance experience.¬†

So we’ll see you (and perhaps your non-dancer friend) there? Cool.

Vibe will be held at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center of the Arts this Sunday¬†– check out more updates about the lineup here!

Get these non-dancer questions a lot? We feel ya. There are also certain moments that only dancers can relate to – check out our list of small pleasures that only dancers know!