Ten stupid things beginners do to mess up their contradance experience

Subject classification: this is a music resource.

by Blain Nelson and other contributors



The purpose of this document is to help beginning contradancers have a positive experience so that, hopefully, more of them will choose to stick with the dance form and build the contradance community. It seeks to do so by pointing out some of the common patterns beginners fall into that lead to less-than-satisfactory experiences and the decision to leave the dance form too quickly.

While the title labels these as Stupid Things, that's as much to create a snappy title as it is a fair description. They don't require much stupidity in practice, and many intelligent people have done them. The reasons they are chosen are quite understandable, but they remain counterproductive and rather easily avoidable if given the information this document intends to present. Some of them are listed to create a list of ten things, rather than because they're stupid, and those sections still have information useful to the beginner.

Oh, and there are more than 10 things listed. This really doesn't break anything. You'll see.

The Stupid Things are presented in the approximate order they will occur in the dance experience, with the first two taking place before the dance starts, and the rest happening during the dance.

Table of contents

  1. Dressing Impractically
  2. Skipping the Beginners Workshop
  3. Waiting to Be Asked
  4. Sticking to Beginner Friends
  5. Sitting out Dances
  6. Getting Too Fancy Too Quickly
  7. Tolerating Bad Behavior from Other Dancers
  8. Not Asking Questions
  9. Not Counting
  10. Leaving Too Early
  11. Expecting Perfection

Printable versions


A pamphlet version of this advice