What to expect at a Modern Square Dance

What happens at a square dance is mostly square dancing and socializing. Folks are generally friendly and will welcome newer dancers warmly. Square dancing has some of its own etiquette conventions, please be aware of them.

A square dance will have designated a designated level (or levels). The level of a tip describes which list of calls could be used. If an event uses multiple levels the level of each tip will be announced. The full new dancer program will cover the Mainstream and Plus levels.

The details of a square dance session can vary a lot, some events feature almost-continuous dancing, some include lots of snacks, some cater to the extreme puzzle-solvers, some are especially well-suited to dancers with relatively little experience, some have live music, some events are huge, some are just a single square of eight dancers. There are events to suit every dancer.

When the music starts that's the sign for dancers to form squares. The squares closest to the caller will generally be the most fun. To join a forming square just walk up and stand at one of the home positions. Folks who are looking for a partner to join them hold up the hand they'd like their partner to take. Somebody holding up both hands is ambidancetrous (ready to dance either part).

When a tip is completed it is customary to thank the dancers in your square. At Oaktown 8s (and other IAGSDC clubs) the convention is for all the dancers in a square to make a circle facing in, each dancer take the hand of the person beside them, crossing right hands over lefts, everybody says "Thaaaaaaaaank You" while turning to the right and ducking under your right hand. Letting go of the handhold is very important. A lot of dancers will hug the other dancers in their square, hugs are optional.

One of the things that makes it easier to socialize at a square dance is the practice of wearing name badges. If you're a newer dancer or don't have a badge with you can use the stick-on name tags provided by the club.