Asking for a Dance
These days, anyone can ask anyone to dance. Anyone can decline a dance for any reason, no explanation necessary - a simple "no, thank you," or "not right now" suffices.
New dancers are encouraged to partner with experienced dancers early on, since this is the best way to learn quickly. If you arrive with someone special, consider spending the first half getting acquainted with other dancers and learning from them, and dancing with your special someone after the break.
Eye Contact & Avoiding Dizziness
Contradance is as simple as walking around, joining hands with partners and neighbors to make different patterns, like circles and long lines. Eye contact can be part of nearly every figure - it's the glue that holds the dance together, and the way we greet others and express joy in creating the dance.
Eye contact is not required, but certainly encouraged! It can help guide new dancers nonverbally, and also helps avoid dizziness.
New dancers may find the "swing" uncomfortably close at first. Turning away from the other dancer can actually create a more awkward arrangement! Keeping a wide, barrel-hoop-like frame is best, and looking at the other dancer can help avoid dizziness. If eye contact is uncomfortable or unworkable, try finding a spot on the other dancer to fix your gaze - a lock of hair, a button - rather than watching the room spin around you. Tilting your head can increase dizziness. If you'd prefer a slower or walking swing, you can tell the other dancer this.
Courtesy & Consent
Many contradancers enjoy adding flourishes. If you do, please practice asking other dancers for consent!
We recommend not flourishing with first-time dancers, only flourishing with neighbors you know like to twirl, and knowing how to decline a flourish.
For figures like the "courtesy turn" that involve extending a hand, a high hand is considered an invitation to flourish, while a low hand means "no flourishes, please."
Ending the swing with a flourish can be a lot of fun, but it's important to consider the whole set, and be sure to end your flourish in time for the next figure. When considering a swing flourish, please use your words: "would you like to twirl?"