Guidelines for dipping in a ballroom social dance are different, as are guidelines for performances and competition. This discussion pertains to dips that are typically executed on the salsa social dance scene.
No.1 The lead should always, always take full responsibility for the safety of the dip. (See below)
No.2 For a first dance, the lead should always ask the lady if she wishes to be dipped. (I have had ladies complain to me for not dipping them, and others for dipping them.)
No.3 If a lady is comfortable performing a dip with one partner, she may not be comfortable performing it with another.
No.4 Never surprise your partner with a complicated dip. Complicated dips should be worked out slowly in practice. (I have seen all too many injuries to the lady because of this.)
No.5 The lead should always lead a first dip, slow, easy and somewhat restrained.
No.6 The lead should always make sure that there is sufficient room for the dip.
No.7 If the partners aren’t perfectly set-up or balanced for the dip, the lead should not go ahead and lead the dip.
No.8 Know that dipping a partner with both your arms on her back is high risk for straining your back.
No.9 Never rush a dip. Let the lady know it’s coming and give her time for a lovely pose.
No.10 The dip is for the lady to present a pose. Not for the lead to show her what he can do.