Bush Dance Etiquette

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Why Etiquette?

Dancing is a social activity, where we all join together in a common effort to enjoy ourselves, and the "rules" of dance etiquette are there to help us to achieve that common enjoyment.

Joining Sets

Unless specifically invited because there is room at the top, it is polite to join at the bottom of a set.

Invitation to Dance

These days it is polite for folk of either gender to invite a partner to join a dance. It is usual in bush dancing to join the sets as couples, rather than to signal for a partner from the set.

If you decline an invitation to dance, it is not courteous to accept a later invitation for that same dance. It is usual to accept an invitation, but there can be exceptions such as if a person tries to monopolise you on the dance floor, makes inappropriate advances, is unsafe, or is in other ways unacceptable to you. A simple "no thank you" is appropriate in these circumstances, but very much the exception to the rule.

Gender Imbalances

If there is a gender imbalance, and you are comfortable dancing as the opposite dancing gender, and your dancing partner is comfortable with that, then you are doing everyone a great service by dancing as the opposite gender. It can also be great experience.

Please come back even if there is an imbalance, these things can change dramatically from week to week.

What to Wear?

Dancers are very tolerant, so it is better to come along in something that you think will be appropriate, then adjust if necessary as you go along, rather than staying away because you don't know what to wear. There is always a diverse range of dress at any event and you will never be made unwelcome because of what you are wearing, even more so on your first night. See what others do and follow suit. Check out photos of previous events on the internet (Google is your friend). If it is your first time and you are concerned, email or phone the dance organisers and ask.


To avoid introducing grit to the dance floor, and for the sake of your knees, it is better to wear dance shoes if you have them. Sneakers or other shoes with rubber soles can stick to the floor during turns and spins and cause ankle and knee injuries - of course if they are all you have, that's what you will have to wear.

Personal Hygiene

Dancing is an activity where people come in close contact. Personal hygiene is important, but avoid strong perfumes or after-shaves. Be considerate of folk who are sensitive to these fragrances and may have allergic reactions.

Share the Fun

Try to involve everyone in the dance experience, and ask a variety of dance partners during the evening. Be aware of folk needing to be asked for a dance as the night evolves.

The most important person in the room is the newest person, for they represent our future. It is polite for good dancers to ask beginners to dance, to help the beginners and keep the better dancer in touch with the world.

Help the Event

Volunteer, help pack up, and help keep the venue clean, tidy and safe. It's all run by volunteers just like yourself, to give you the simple pleasure of being able to dance in the company of lots of others.


And most of all, smile! Friendly behaviour is contagious, and can help lift the mood of the whole dance.

Content Manager: End of Month Dance Organising Team (EOMDOT - please see Contact Us for current contact information); Status: Draft

MFS Members are encouraged to contribute to the development of this page. EOMDOT review and may edit changes, and will publish reasons on the discussion tab if they cannot accept any particular contribution.

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