When the caller is teaching, please be courteous and give your full attention. When the caller asks for hands-four, do so as quickly as possible to avoid confusion and regrouping.
Mistakes are OK. When helping other dancers, keep the atmosphere light. New dancers will relax when they sense your enjoyment and that you are more interested in being part of the flow than in perfection.
When looking for a partner after a dance ends, thoughtful dancers will look to the sidelines to see if there is someone who sat out the last dance who would like to dance the next. Generally, dancers wait until the dance is over before asking someone for the next dance. Other dancers like to line up a partner ahead of time (booking ahead) for the next dance, or even subsequent dances in the evening. Either way is acceptable. Do not feel obligated to accept when someone tries to book ahead with you if you prefer to wait until the dance is at hand.
Everyone has the right to decline a dance without feeling guilty or having to explain why. If you are turned down for a dance, take it in stride and seek another partner.
Couples join the line at the bottom, rather than inserting themselves in the middle or at the top.
Don’t squeeze into a line that is already full. Dance etiquette calls for always joining the shortest line, so that the lines develop to equal lengths. If the caller asks for some sets of 4 to join a shorter line, several sets at the bottom of the line should do so agreeably.
If you need to drop out, try to wait until you reach the top or bottom of the set. If you must drop out mid-line, warn the couple you and your partner are currently with so they can drop out at the same time. This allows the progression of the line to continue without disruption. The couple that dropped out with you can rejoin at the bottom of the set.
Let your partner’s hand rest lightly in yours. Give just enough weight with your arms or hands to keep your connection while you move through the figures. This requires mutual sensitivity and adjustment. Don’t squeeze too tightly or bend your partner’s wrists. In most figures partners give equal weight. Help support your partner, but at the same time, don’t hang on them.
Contra dancing can be quite aerobic. Some dancers work up a good sweat, especially during hot weather. If you perspire a lot, please bring an extra shirt, towel off, etc.
It is recommended that you wash your hands well after dancing, especially before touching food or touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.