Space management on the dance floor

Optimise the use of space on the dance floor 

Version 7 March 2024
Koen Dhondt – Frisse Folk

General recommendations

  • Try to contribute actively to optimise the dance space for everybody. Think and act in the interest of the collective
  • The dance floor is for dancers. Give them  a maximum of space when you don’t dance!
  • Avoid bumping into others or blocking their way
  • If you bump into someone, react appropriately: make eye contact, check if they are OK, apologise verbally or nonverbally
  • Be aware of your own and other’s blind spots at all times
  • Adapt your dance to the available space
  • Be attentive in the setup phase of a dance. Dancers usually need more space than the mere surface they occupy in their starting position, so don’t squeeze in too close.
  • With the exception of chain dances, avoid joining collective dances that have already started. If you do want to join anyway, reflect on the impact you will cause, then choose the ideal spot and moment. 
  • Group dances that are already set up: ask if (and where) you can join, at least nonverbally. Small circles that grow too much increase the risk of collisions with neighbour circles
  • If the dance floor is already full, don’t join. Sometimes you can improve the situation by gently asking the public to go backwards to free up extra space.

Summarised guidelines for several dances 

  • Bourrée à 2 temps: line up starting from the stage, maximizing the number of lines. Bourrées with 6 dancers should also respect this aligned pattern. Circle bourrées (brande d’Ardentes) are only danced when musicians announce them.
  • Cercle & jig/chapelloise: Make larger and fewer circles, starting close to the border of the dance floor. Be attentive when constructing the dance. All dancers should help to close the outside circle to avoid spirals. 
  • Waltz, polka, polska: progress constantly in the dance direction (counterclockwise). Branle béarnais, rondeau en couple & rondeau en chaîne always move clockwise. 
  • Branle béarnais & Rondeau en chaîne: make short chains (6-10 dancers) 
  • Bourrée auvergnate, fandango, arin arin, congos, … : dancers need a lot more space than their starting position. Don’t start too close to others
  • Bal limousine, maraîchine, ronde du Quercy, rond d’Argenton, rond de St-Vincent and other dances in small circles: preserve almost a metre of safety margin in between circles. 


It’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to be a beginner, but all efforts to improve space use on the dance floor are highly appreciated. Thanks a lot!

To learn more about this subject, Check out our YouTube video, and follow the workshop ‘Festival skills: optimise the use of space on the dance floor’.