I have never danced before, can I still join?

Absolutely!! Folk dances are meant to be enjoyed by everyone and, with some practice, you will be able to do it. It may take some time to feel completely comfortable with the movements and steps, but you can enjoy the beautiful music and social interaction from the first minute.

Attending our introductory course will help you to learn the basics; and, during the dancing later in the evening, you can pick up a lot by simply following. If a dance is easy enough, the more experienced dancers will often let you know and invite you into the line. Often a second line is formed behind the other dancers for those who are trying to learn. Never forget that everyone was a beginner once and even those who have danced for many years do not know all the dances and will sometimes be trying to learn too.

Do I need to bring a partner?

You do not need to bring a partner. Most dances are done in a line or a circle, holding hands with the people beside you. Some dances are done individually, and partners are found spontaneously for the occasional couple dance. Anyone can ask another to dance.

Learning a new dance with the International Folk Dancers of Ottawa at Jack Purcell Community Centre in Ottawa

What should I wear?

On a typical Thursday night, dress is casual. Most dancers will wear something in which they can move comfortably, and which will not be too warm. Wearing a few layers mostly works well. For parties, some dancers like to dress up, either in a traditional costume or just a fancier outfit than usual. Shoes should be low heel indoor shoes; dancing is easier if they are not too sticky.

What else should I bring?

Dancing will make you warm and thirsty, so bringing a water bottle is a good idea.

To what kind of music will I be dancing?

Except at some special parties, we dance to recorded music. The styles of music are as varied as the styles of dance we do. Please click the audio player below to hear some samples of the music we dance to.