Hints and Tips for SCD - Dance-floor etiquette
- When joining a line of dancers, always join at the bottom end of the line - since it is counted
from top to bottom, if you join in the middle you may make the count confused.
- The first man in each line of dancers should do the counting - count down the line telling
each couple clearly what position they are in in their set. Remember the ladies need to know as well.
Once you have counted the line into sets, indicate clearly to the MC how many more couples are needed
to complete the last set - in Scotland this is traditionally done by holding up as many fingers as
couples needed. Also let the MC know when the line is complete - arms above head, crossed at the
wrists, with hands in fists - and get back to place quickly (preferably up behind the line to aboid
walking through the sets in the line). If you're not in a rush, once the line is complete,
walk back up again counting backwards to check that you've numbered everyone correctly - this
saves the bottom dancers yelling for a recount when you're back at the top busy studying the
- If your partner is late coming into the line, stand on the men's side of the setduring the count.
This ensures that one line holds the right number of people.
- There is a long tradition that the men ask the ladies to dance and not vice-versa (except during
a ladies' choice). I personally dislike this and am delighted to be asked to dance by a lady,
but it is worth bearing in mind, particularly with older dancers.
- It is considered bad manners to start forming up sets for the next dance before it has been
announced. Wait until either it is announced or the band has played the first few bars of the tune.
- Do not walk through a set of dancers - walk around instead.
- It can be fun to embellish the dance if you are confident with your dancing and with the dance.
Remember you can put other dancers off by doing this. You should only do embellishments
(for instance twiddles or extra spins in turns) if you are sure both you and the other dancers in
the set are okay with this. Be particularly courteous to beginners - they find the whole thing confusing
enough anyway without you going out of your way to compicate matters.
See also the other hints and tips sections:
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