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Participation dance, also known as group-participation dance or audience participation dance, is a major category or classification of dance forms or dance styles based on purpose. The purpose of this type of dance is to actively encourage dancing (participation) in a group. The dancing that is encouraged might be among those who would otherwise be passive dance viewers, or it might be among dancers who are encouraged to dance in a new way, or with new partners.

This compares to other major dance categories based on purpose:

Ceremonial dance - Competitive dance - Erotic dance - Performance dance - Social dance

Participation dance is also the common name for social games based on dancing. These can be seen, for example, at weddings, festivals, and other large social gatherings.

  1. Some of these dances consist of a few simple steps which are learned during participation, either from simple instructions given by a dance leader or from watching others who are already experienced at the routine. Examples are Electric Slide, Macarena, YMCA, and the Chicken Dance.
  2. Other participation dances have an easily learned song that is sung to the music and which may act as a reminder of the steps. Examples are the Hokey-cokey, and the similar Hokey Pokey. Cuing by a danceleader is not uncommon in this type of participation dance.
  3. Others incorporate some kind of game.

Participation dance games


Elimination rules disqualify a dancer or dancers. This can be include of lack of endurance, entering a particular part of the floor, a specific age, and so on.

Follow the leader

A designated leader makes some motions, usually repeating several times, and the rest repeat the motions. In some cases the dancers form a chain or a file. Examples of the latter case are Conga line, Bunny Hop and Finnish dance Letkajenkka. The "Letkajenkka", also known as Letkajenka, Letkiss and Letka-Enka, was a dance craze in Europe during the 1960s. It is an adaptation of Madison, Conga and Bunny Hop dances, played to a Finnishmarker traditional folk dance song.

Mixer dance

A mixer dance or dance mixer is a kind of participation game for dancers that have some skills in social dancing. During a song or several songs of a dance or dances well-known to participants (Waltz, Foxtrot, West Coast Swing, etc.), at certain moments pairs exchange partners in a random way. The rules of "mixing" vary. Some mixers have traditional names.

See also

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