Using the right focal length and a wide open aperture of f 2.8 or lower, we can isolate a subject in a scene. The shallow focus provided by long lenses and wide apertures allows us to lift a subject out of the background.
Focus carefully, the depth of focus will be razor thin.
Long lens, wide aperture, and short camera to subject distance, throw the background completely out of focus. It is important to watch the background to eliminate as many distracting objects (fuzzy blobs) as possible.
Here a wide aperture gives shallow focus on front row. A longer camera to subject distance kept the back rows in the composition but still allows the focus to be on the front row of dancers.