Twinkle toes or two left feet? 35 dancing idioms to get your feet tapping

Glitter ballAs yet another fabulous series of Strictly Comes Dancing nears its conclusion (I’m a bit of a fan, in case you were wondering) it seems apt to focus on dancing idioms for the next post in my series.

So, without further ado, put on your dancing shoes and let’s get on with the show…

Hitting the dance floor

All-singing, all-dancing = full of verve and vitality; with many features or attributes

Burn up the dance floor = dance a lot

Dance attendance on someone = do one’s utmost to please someone by obeying their every wish or whim

Dance on air = be very happy; euphoric

Dance to someone’s tune = comply completely with someone’s demands and wishes

Dance up a storm = do something with lots of energy

Dance with death = attempt something that’s very risky

Dancing in the streets = be extremely happy about something that’s happened

Lead someone a merry dance = mislead someone; cause someone a great deal of worry

Make a song and dance out of something = make something seem more important than it really is, so that everyone notices it

Tap dance like mad = get out of a sticky situation; act fast to distract someone

You can’t dance at two weddings = you can’t do two things at once


Catch someone flat-footed = take someone by surprise

Drag one’s feet/heels = be deliberately slow or reluctant to act

Fall/land on one’s feet = achieve a fortunate outcome from a difficult situation

Follow/tread in someone’s footsteps = do as another person did before

Footloose and fancy-free = without any commitments or responsibilities

Get off on the wrong foot = make a bad start to a project or relationship

Have two left feet = be clumsy or awkward, especially when dancing

Have feet of clay = have a fatal flaw in an otherwise admirable character

Have/keep ones feet on the ground = be/remain practical and sensible

Keep someone on their toes = keep someone on the alert

Light on one’s feet = be nimble or quick

Put a foot wrong = make any mistake while performing an action

Put one’s best foot forward = embark on a journey or task with purpose and gusto

Sweep somebody off their feet = cause someone to fall suddenly and completely in love with you

Think on one’s feet = be quick-witted

Tread/step on someone’s toes = offend someone, usually by encroaching on them

Miscellaneous dancing idioms

Be out of step = not as up to date as someone/something

Get into a groove = get used to a routine

Get your groove on = enjoy yourself by dancing

Give it a whirl = give it a try

It takes two to tango = more than one person is involved or at fault

Step out of line = behave inappropriately or disobediently

Strut one’s stuff = display one’s ability

I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of dancing idioms and have learnt one or two new ones. If I’ve missed out your favourite, do please let me know in the comments below.

(Glitter ball image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono via

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