Square Dance Etiquette

  • When the music starts head out onto the dance floor. Get up and dance! Don't let the caller and dancers wait while we're finishing our treats or are deciding about dancing.

  • You don't need a dance partner. Ask someone to dance! You can go on the dance floor and form your own square or enter an incomplete existing square; step into the position you're dancing and hold up your hand to signal you're looking for a dance partner.

  • Introduce yourself to the other dancers in a square. It's nice to be nice.

  • Listen to the caller. It’s okay if you miss a call, but listen for the next call and try to catch up. Talking while dancing distracts both you and other dancers, it can cause the square to break down.

  • Always let the caller explain the call. It’s hard to hear the caller when other people are talking or noisy.

  • If you are having trouble with a call in a class or workshop, ask your caller or an experienced dancer to run through it between tips.

  • The default hand-holding position is right hand palm up, left hand palm down. This way everyone always interlocks. Chi-Town Squares generally dances in a relaxed hands-down fashion, rather than hands-up.

  • Be gentle with other dancers. Use a gentle handhold. Most experienced dances will touch, but not grasp, other dancers’ hand. Never push or drag a person into position. Some dancers don't like twirling. Get to know the people in your square!

  • Energetic dancing is fun, but make sure you understand the limitations of everyone in your square. You don’t want your exuberance to injure another dancer.

  • Keep your squares tight. Sometimes while dancing we can drift away from one another. It is easier to keep time with the music and easier to move into the next formation if we're closer to one another.

  • Avoid strong fragrances. Some dancers have fragrance sensitivities to strong perfumes and deodorants, causing breathing problems or allergic reactions. Keep it clean.

  • Don't leave your square unless there's an emergency. If you have to leave a square, let the other dancers know.

  • It’s a club policy: drinking alcohol and dancing don't mix. Even that one glass of wine can impair your learning and dancing ability, causing you to lose concentration and break down your square.