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Jacks and Jennys Square Dance Club

Spokane, Washington

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A Discussion On ETIQUETTE

Or in the more common venacular: MANNERS

Everything You Ever Needed To Know
You Learned In Kindergarten!!


Remember the simple things your mother taught you, and how often she reminded you to "Mind Your Manners?

            Cleanliness is next to Godliness

            Always be polite and courteous

            Greet people warmly

            Watch your language

            Say Please and Thank You

            Use your napkin


            Be pleasant and gracious


            Never hurt anyone's feelings

            Don't be bossy
(my mom said she would appoint the boss before she died and it wouldn't be me)

            Don't be nosy
(my mom said if it's your business you started it)

            Know where you end and another begins
(my mom said time is best spent in your own territory)

            Forgiveness is a gift from God
(my mom said forgiveness is the sweet smell of roses that makes you soft and comfortable)

            Hold no resentments
(my mom said resentments and grudges are bitter pills that contort your face and makes you ugly)

            Always hold hands when crossing the street, and when you are in a square.

            Wash your hands before you eat

            Cookies and Milk are good for you

            And remember, God loves everyone

Now that you remember the basics let's translate them into Etiquette for a Square Dancer.

Be on time and don't leave early. In square dancing, one late couple or person may mean that three other couples or seven people must sit out. By leaving early, you are telling the other dancers and caller that you did not have a good time at the dance. The "wind-down" tip is just as important as the first or middle tips. Plan to spend the complete evening when you come. "Fashionably late" is an excuse for plain old rudeness and lack of consideration for others. (Know where you end and others begin)

Make it your personal responsibility to welcome, visit with, and say good-by to every visitor who has attended your dance

Always introduce yourself and your partner to others in the square if you don't know them. Thank them for dancing with you after the tip.

Never leave a square early. Your ability, or that of your fellow dancers, is no excuse. We all start at the same level and the only way to get better is to dance. If you become ill or an emergency arises advise the other members of the square and if possible try to find a replacement.

Don't come to a dance, workshop or class if you have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs. Square and Round dancing requires your best mental and physical alertness. Your coordination must be at its very best. Should you be suspected of being "under the influence" you may be asked to leave.

Male dancers please wear long sleeves. No one will deny they are warm; however, most will admit they don't enjoy grabbing a sweaty arm. Ladies should avoid wearing excessive jewelry. It hurts. Everyone is expected to wear a name badge.

Don't dance over your own level of dance, unless invited. If you attempt to dance over you head without being invited you will only embarrass yourself and may upset the remainder of the square. If you haven't completed mainstream lessons don't expect to dance with those who have unless you are explicitly invited. If you are a mainstream dancer and a plus level tip is announced, sit out.

Personal cleanliness is important in square and round dancing. If possible always shower or bathe. Use your deodorant, cologne or perfume sparingly, and don't forget to use something to sweeten your breath (mouth wash, chewing gum, etc.) Avoid eating garlic or other offenders before attending a dance. Please remember to wash your hands before you stand in the finger food line. Let's avoid passing along germs and viruses with a little soap and water.

When the music starts, get on the floor. Don't make other dancers wait or the caller "beg" you to fill the square. Join the square nearest to you that needs a couple. It is considered "bad manners" to pass a square needing dancers in order to fill another. If you are looking for a square, raise your hand as you move across the floor. If your square is not full, raise your hand with as many fingers extended, as couples are needed. If two or three couples are squared up and do not have a hand up, it indicates that they are waiting for someone who has promised to dance with them. Do not try to square up with them without asking. Do not arrange squares more than once in an evening. It is best not arrange a square at all. Do not get on the floor and expect the caller to find you a partner.

Always introduce yourself and your partner to others in the square if you don't know them. Thank them for dancing with you after the tip.

Once a tip is underway, refrain from talking. It is frequently difficult to hear and your talking may very well prevent someone else from hearing a call. It is also extremely rude to talk while announcements are being made. Try to quiet anyone speaking to you. Give the speaker the same consideration you would want if you were speaking.

Mind your language and avoid swearing, cursing, debasing, loud, and disrespectful language. Remember just because it's funny does not mean it isn't demeaning. Jokes at anothers expense are hurtful.

For some, square dancing can be a strenuous exercise. If you feel you are unable to dance, sit out. It is usually best to remove yourself from the dance area and return after the tip has started. Sometimes you can learn a great deal just by watching and listening. Be considerate. If another dancer is watching and listening, don't insist upon talking. Square dancing is a social event but the dance floor is not a place to socialize during tips or rounds even if you are not dancing. Feel free to socialize in the seating area between tips.

When it is time for refreshments remember you (your club) have guests and guests are always served first. Members of the hosting club should always enter the line to the buffet table last, waiting until all the guests have had an opportunity to serve themselves.

Jim and Carol
Enjoy, Have fun, Smile

There is one more rule of etiquette that is often over looked and that is the etiquette intrinsic of membership in a club. Being a member of a club is not a right, it is a privilege and with that privilege comes responsibility.

When deciding to become a member of a club one must look at the requirement of support each member must freely give from their heart in order for the club to be a functional group. A club is just like a family and it can become dysfunctional very easily and that dysfunctional can easily lead to the demise of the group. In our case this is a true and important reality considering our relationship with NSDA and the responsibility that NSDA has incurred for the benefit of Square Dancers. It is imperative that each member, and the club as a whole, function at the highest level of productive self actualization for the well being of the club.

Square dance clubs are the backbone of Square & Round Dancing. Without the clubs, Square and Round Dancing will cease to exist. Therefore, it is important that all dancers belong to and participate in at least one club's well being. What I am attempting to say is really very simple: If you square or round dance then you should belong to a club and as a member of the club you need to support the club by
1.) Becoming an officer or committee member.
2.) Paying dues in a timely manner
3.) Supporting refreshment obligations.
4.) Attending club visitations.
5.) Attending club meetings and social activities.

Every club has to have money that they can count on to operate. Halls are expensive and getting more costly. Callers and cuers must be paid enough to meet their expenses and be compensated for their time. In comparing the cost of nearly every other activity with the cost of square dancing you will find that square dancing is a bargain.

The end of the dance is as important as the beginning. First, make it your personal responsibility to say good-by to every visitor, and to thank them for coming to your dance.

Second, remember there are many chores that must be completed before the hall can be secured.

1.) The hall must be swept and chairs have to be put away.

2.) The kitchen must be cleaned up

3.) Carpets vacuumed

4.) Bathrooms cleaned

5.) And several other chores must be accomplished.

Responsible club members don't just walk out after the dance; they stay until all the work is done.

Clubs belong to a Federation For Square and Round Dancers. A federation usually sponsors week-end festivals, helps clubs secure insurance, disseminates information between clubs and at the state and national level. They perform other services that are different in different areas. Their main function is to promote square dancing. The federation has no jurisdiction over local clubs.


"Yellow Rock"(hug your corner) or "Red Rock"(hug your partner) are common signals to square dancers. "Hugging is a miracle medicine that can relieve many physical and emotional problems". Some women do not like strangers hugging them, so be a little careful until you get to know them. Most men like the tradition. In any case, "Have you hugged somebody today?"

Invite non-square dancers out to visit with you. Try to get them interested in lessons. Non-dancers may be afraid to start lessons. You should bring them to class until they are comfortable coming by themselves. Make friends and share the fun with those friends.



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Jacks And Jennys Square Dance Club
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