What do I wear?
The most important item of clothing is a pair of comfortable, soft-soled shoes with good support. For square and round dancing ladies are encouraged to wear a comfortable skirt to ensure freedom for moving. For many years the traditional attire has been a knee length full skirt over a crinoline with pettipants. Although ladies are sometimes initially reluctant to wear this attire, it is actually very appropriate for the activity and great fun to swish and twirl the skirts. Prairie skirts are also popular, however, and are accepted everywhere. Gentlemen usually wear a long-sleeved shirt with a western or string tie and long pants. The dress code is no longer as strict as it once was. Many events today are casual, accepting any clean and neat street-wear. All-in-all, there is little need for specialized dance clothing.
How much does it cost?
The average cost is about $5 per person per dance event. Sometimes that is collected as yearly club dues, in other cases the philosophy is "pay as you go". Club members also pay a small yearly membership fee in the National Square and Round Dance Society, which includes third party liability insurance coverage.
What is the time committment?
Clubs usually dance once a week from September to May with a break for the Christmas holidays. Several clubs in the Metro area offer beginner Square or Round Dancing, and those dances are also held weekly. A typical dance lasts two hours, and most are held in the evenings. The Metro Association sponsors a reduced schedule of dances during the summer; visitors are always welcome. Follow the links above to find more information about clubs in Metro and elsewhere in Nova Scotia. The local contact number for Metro is 902-435-4544.
Within a year of weekly dancing most dancers learn enough vocabulary to be able to dance at similar clubs across Canada and around the world. The same list of moves is used worldwide and called everywhere in English, allowing dancers to truly enter a world of fun and friendship.
How difficult is it to learn?
Learning how to square or round dance is something like learning how to play a sport. You need to learn "the moves" and you need to practice - that's what weekly beginner dances are all about. At those dances you will meet new friends who've already been where you're going, and are glad to help. You'll find that they're generally not naturally gifted dancers. They make mistakes like anyone else, and have learned that it's just part of the dance activity. Like them, you'll soon learn to laugh and enjoy the moments of comedy created by our human imperfections. You'll also experience the sense of accomplishment after realizing that "hey, I can DO this!"
Do I need a partner?
Two people form the basic unit of square, round, and contra dancing. The Halifax-based contra dance club welcomes singles as well as couples, and there are usually enough single dancers so that it's not hard to find a partner. Same-sex pairs are accepted without a second thought at contra dances.
Don't give up on square or round dancing if you lack a partner! Singles are welcome in a number of clubs, where they pair up with other single people or with a "free" spouse whose regular partner wants to sit out for awhile. Contact the club to find out about its singles policy.