seasoned, this list of Folk Dance Etiquette is for you! These few helpful hints
are bound to increase the enjoyment for all!
Introduce yourself to
and welcome new people to the dance.
Informal wear is fine.
Wear something that is comfortable for dancing.
sleeveless shirts and strapped dresses.
Avoid accessories such
as big rings, brooches that might get caught.
At parties, folk
costumes are appreciated (but not required).
Bring clean dance
shoes without spiky heals (for safety and to protect the wooden floor).
For turning dances,
make sure that your shoes do not have rubber soles (they can hurt your
We will be in close
contact with each other, so please arrive clean and use a deodorant.
Please do not wear
perfume, as some people are allergic to or very sensitive to those
Please avoid foods
that produce strong odors, such as garlic and onion, before a dance.
Most of the dances
move counter-clockwise around the floor. The leader of a line is therefore
usually on the right end. In general, join the line at the end opposite the
It is OK to withdraw
from the line at any time, just make sure that those next to you adjust to
When holding hands in
a line, do not use your thumbs. The touch should be light.
little-finger holds, make sure that your rings do not get in the way and
hurt your partnerís fingers.
When dancing with
shoulder holds, make sure that you carry the weight of your own arms and
that you keep your own balance. Be aware and considerate of people of
If you do not know the
dance, please follow from behind until you know enough to move with the
Never pull or push
your partner or neighbor. This might be dangerous, depending on his/her
Please learn the names
of the dances and request the ones you like or you think other people like.
Anyone may ask anyone
else to dance. Women are particularly encouraged to do this.
Please do not be
offended if you are turned down. There can be many reasons that the person
does not want to dance.
Please let your
partner know if you do not know the dance, so that he/she can decide whether
to go ahead with it anyway.
If your intended
partner is currently standing or sitting next to someone else and they are
conversing, use common sense and courtesy before you break in and ask for a
If you are available
for a dance, try to signal that to potential partners.
Dance in response to
your partner's ability. Try not to push your partner beyond his/her ability
feel your partner is being overzealous, say so! If that does not help, it is
OK to stop dancing.
sure to dance with a variety of partners.
Leading, and Teaching
Remember that there is
only one teacher during class.
Some tunes have more
than one dance and some dances are done to different tunes. Some dances are
also done differently in different places. Please trust that the teacher has
done the necessary research.
Try to learn the name
of the dance --- that way you can request it later!
Please keep quiet so
that the teacher can be heard by all.
Do not "correct" the
teacher during class. Feel free to share your comments with the teacher
If you already know
the dance being taught, now is a great time to relearn it and give
first-timer learners more feet to watch.
Do not be discouraged
if you do not learn a dance right away, smile and have fun anyway.
When you are confident
that you can perform a dance (steps, rhythm and style) and be a good model
for others, please request it and lead it. You do not have to be perfect,
just a good model.
do not ask someone else to teach you on the side. If you need help, please
ask a board member if the dance can be formally taught during class. If you
want some advice from someone, wait until he/she sits out a dance.
Please do not teach
anyone on the side. Instead, learn the dance well enough to be a good
example during the dancing.
The folk dance
community is aging. We want to encourage parents, young people and children
to participate. This can only happen if they are welcomed. Some flexibility
and thought is required.
Please do not
discipline children that you are not responsible for. Talk to the parents
instead. If the parents are unresponsive, take the issue up with the board.
Treat young people
with the same respect you extend to adults: Never laugh at them (laugh with
them). Never tickle children, even if they ask for it.
When children are
present, you can expect some noise. Before taking action, see if you can
position yourself to minimize the distraction. Alternatively, ask the
teacher to speak louder.
Dancing is meant to be fun, so please ENJOY!