Helpful Hints and Etiquette

New Dancers

Top 5 styling tips:
1) Timing: Dance each figure within its musical phrase.
2) Giving Weight: Keep arms firm to support each other through the figures.
3) Eye contact: Eye contact is an important part of contra dancing. It is more fun and it reduces dizziness during swinging.
4) Smooth and Gentle: Move with an easy walking step.
5) Alert: Be sensitive to others’ needs and preferences.

Less experienced dancers are encouraged to ask those whom you perceive to be more experienced to dance with you.  You will learn faster, and have more fun if you dance with more experienced dancers.

Learn the basics before trying to put in the extra flourishes.  Coming to our Beginner’s Crash Course can help you learn the basics, and as you continue coming to the dances, you can try new movements to change up the dance.

If you make a mistake or miss a figure, no worries, it’s all in fun!  Smile, and instead of rushing through the botched figure, skip it and go on to the next. You’ll get many more chances, because all the moves in the dance repeat.  It is more important to the people you are dancing with that you be ready for the next figure than for you to complete each figure.


Especially for Experienced Dancers

Experienced dancers should welcome newer dancers into our community by asking them to dance, and helping them to have a fun, satisfying evening.

Refrain from twirls, spins, and other flourishes with newer partners.  This can be disorienting, slowing the learning process for your partner, as well as for other less experienced dancers around you who are watching for clues as to what they should do next.

The goal is to help newer dancers face the right direction and smile!

Keep verbal instructions to an absolute minimum.  It is hard for newer dancers to listen to you, other dancers, the caller, and the music all at the same time.

-Princeton Country Dancers, March 2006; Cincinnati Contra Dance-

For All Dancers

When the caller is teaching, be courteous and give your full attention – please do not talk while caller is speaking, or you might miss a step.

When the caller asks for hands four, this should be accomplished as quickly as possible to avoid confusion and later regrouping.

The importance of hands and giving weight.  Let your partner’s hand rest lightly in yours.  Give just enough weight with your arms (or your hands) to keep your connection while you move through the contra figures.  T his requires mutual sensitivity and adjustment.  Don’t squeeze too tightly or bend your partner’s wrists.

Continuously adjust to the needs abilities of each dancer.  If you dance with 30 people in line, big or little, older or younger, you’ll need to dance 30 different ways.  Aim to please every person that you dance with.

Mistakes are OK. When helping other dancers, keep the atmosphere light.   New dancers will relax when they sense your enjoyment and that you are more interested in being part of the flow than in perfection.

Couples join the line at the bottom, rather than inserting themselves in the middle or the top.  If during the course of a dance you need to drop out of a line, do so when you reach the top or bottom because dropping out midline is disruptive to everyone else in it.

Long line, short line. Nobody ’s happy when a line is too crowded to dance comfortably and freely.  When joining a line, join the shortest set, so the sets stay approximately the same length.

Finding partners. When looking for another partner after a dance ends, thoughtful dancers will look to the sidelines to see if there is someone who sat out the last dance who would like to dance the next.  Generally, dancers wait until a dance is over before asking someone for the next dance.  Everyone has the right to decline to dance.

Dancing should be fun and enjoyable.   If your partner is doing something that hurts or makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed, don’t hesitate to let them know.

If needed, ask the caller or dance manager for further assistance.

-Glenside & Cincinnati Contra Dance-

Hub City Contra Anti-Harassment Policy

Hub City Contra is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, welcoming and respectful space for our community members. At all our events, we are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for every participant, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, physical appearance, body size, age, race or dance ability.

Harassment includes (though is not limited to) deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of events, public intoxication, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, and offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, race, religion, dance skill level, or dance role. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. We expect all participants to help create and maintain a safe, respectful and harassment-free space at Hub City Contra events.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, Hub City Contra organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expelling the offender from the event with no refund. Egregious behavior or repeated warnings or expulsions may result in permanent expulsion from all events organized by Hub City Contra.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please talk to an organizer. We take reports of harassment seriously and are committed to responding appropriately and with confidentiality to reports of harassment.

Hub City Contra Notice of Filming & Photography

By attending a Hub City Contra event, you are entering an area where photography, audio, and video recording may occur.

By agreeing to these terms, you consent to photography, audio recording, video recording and its release, publication, exhibition, or reproduction to be used for promotional purposes, advertising, inclusion on websites, social media, or any other purpose by Hub City Contra and its representatives.  You release Hub City Contra, and each and all persons involved from any liability connected with the taking, recording, digitizing, or publication and use of photographs, digital images, video and/or or audio recordings, and you waive all rights to any claims for payment or royalties in connection with any use of these materials.  You also waive any right to inspect or approve any photo, video, or audio recording taken by Hub City Contra or the person or entity designated to do so by Hub City Contra.

We gather material to help advertise, represent, and promote Hub City Contra.  These collected materials are our greatest asset for promotion and we appreciate your participation in that representation.  If you do not wish to have your image used for any Hub City Contra purposes, please contact Heather Beltz or anyone on the HCC Board of Directors ( and we will ensure that your image is not used.

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