European Association
of American Square Dancing Clubs e.V.

Friendship is Square Dancing's greatest reward


EAASDC-Bulletin September 2011

ECTA Board

Square Dance Coordinator
Thorsten Dudziak
e-mail: Opens window for sending emailsquare-dance-Coordinator(at)ECTA.de

Square Dance Dress Codes

Dear Dancers,

from time to time the topic of correct SD dress comes up. Therefore, a general dress code was defined by CALLERLAB quite some time ago, which was taken mainly over by ECTA afterwards. It is important to understand these dress codes rather as proposals than as mandatory requirements without any allowed exceptions.

There might be a good reason, why a guest of a club night may show up in jeans and T-shirt even if the announced dress code is traditional. This should not be a reason to treat this dancer as second class or to exclude from the club night. The fun to dance should be kept as the important element.

In the July issue of the Bulletin the ECTA Clogging Coordinator Sandra Pohlmann informed you about the dress codes in Clogging. She noted that also Clogging knows three different „levels“ of dance dress codes. In the following you will find the three levels of SD dress codes:

Traditional Square Dance Attire

"Traditional" square dance attire provides a connection to the history of our activity, adds to the visual enjoyment of participants and spectators, enhances individual dancer styling included in individual calls, and provides for the protection and mutual comfort of dancers i.e. shoes, long sleeved shirts, petticoats, etc.. The “Prairie Skirt” is also included in the category of “Traditional Attire”. We support the choice of dancers, clubs and festivals selecting "traditional" as appropriate attire.

Proper Square Dance Attire

Traditional attire can at times be an inconvenience to dancers, and even deter people from joining and/or participating altogether. At these times a code of “Proper” could be used. This includes slacks, and dress jeans for men and women, and short sleeved dress or polo shirts for men. T-shirts for men do not fall into this category. It should be noted that even if an event is advertised as "proper" attire, "traditional" attire is always appropriate.

Casual Square Dance Attire

Although proper attire may allow for a wide variety of choices, there may be times when travelling, weather and other conditions would discourage dancers from following either traditional or proper Dress Codes. In that event, leaders are encouraged to advertise those dances/sessions/festivals, etc. as "casual" attire. It should be noted that if an event is advertised as "casual" attire, "traditional" and "proper" attire are always appropriate.

Regardless of the desired code for a particular dance, the attire should always be in good taste.

Clubs and leaders who run dances and weekend festivals are encouraged to specify "traditional attire", "proper attire", or "casual attire" for their individual dances, sessions and events. A policy of tolerance should be supported and encouraged by all square dance leaders and participants. The opportunity of fun and friendship should not be lost regardless of the selected dress code.

However, have fun dancing and consider to bend the rules some times. A nice
person may wear the short sleeves.

Thorsten Dudziak
ECTA Square Dance Coordinator 

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