square and round dance in eastern ontario

Round Dancing ~ What is it?

What is Round Dancing?

Round dancing is best described as choreographed ballroom dancing for couples. It is a social non-competitive activity. On the dance floor, choreography is directed verbally by a round dance cuer, enabling all couples on the floor to dance the same steps at the same time. Round dance has many choreographed sequences of steps that are borrowed from or can be transferred directly to normal ballroom dancing.

What makes Round Dancing unique?

Round dancing uses a cuer, so that dancers don't have to memorize a vast list of dance sequences. There is a strong western dance influence in the 2-step and early level waltzes. And, thanks to hundreds of choreographers over the last 30-35 years, there are many superb sequences of dance steps in the rounds classic dances.

Parallel forms of dancing include sequence dancing, which is also choreographed but dancers must memorize the choreography and ballroom dancing which is, usually, freestyle and the dancers choreograph as they go along.

How does the round dancer get started?

The aspiring round dancer gets started by joining a club which teaches beginners. Beginner clubs offer instruction, workshop review, and dancing fun in a smoke and alcohol free environment. The dance season usually runs from September through to the end of April. If really interested, dancers can buy videos to supplement class instruction.

How difficult and complicated is it?

Music and Levels

There are six levels from beginner through easy, intermediate, to advanced. The dance music used is mostly popular instrumentals and vocals from the easy listening category, dating back to the 1950's and earlier. They include show tunes, swing, rock, and western.


The easy level emphasizes the 2-step and waltz. As one makes the transition to the intermediate level, the foxtrot, quickstep, tango, rhumba, cha cha and jive are introduced. Advanced levels add more rhythms and sophistication. In higher levels the dancers might also find themselves doing the Macarena. As in any other activity, the dancers control how far they want to go.

What Countries have Round Dance Clubs?

Round dancing is a world-wide activity, although most clubs are in North America, and the world-wide language is English. An international association of round dance teachers, called Roundalab, maintains the syllabus, instruction standards, and the introduction of new steps and rhythms.