International Folk Dancers of Ottawa
International Folk Dancers of Ottawa
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International Folk Dancers of Ottawa


International folk dance refers to the traditional dances of different countries and cultures and offers an opportunity to learn and appreciate music and rhythms from around the world. Whatever your age and background, we invite you to enjoy many hours of fun and exercise in good company. Although we do have some couple dances, you will usually not need a partner as most dances are performed in open or closed circles, or in lines.

Here are a few pointers to make everyone’s experience a pleasant one:

Learning a new dance requires concentration on the part of the dancers. So don’t talk during lessons no matter how interesting the conversation with your neighbour might be. Of course you can pipe up if you have a question for the instructor.

Dancing is a social activity which means you have to interact with others. And as most of our dances are performed in a line you have to hold hands. Depending on the dance you often hold hands down as if you were taking a stroll, less often you place your hands up in a W position and sometimes you rest them on your neighbours’ shoulder. In the W and shoulder positions you have to keep your hands up and not pull down on your neighbour no matter how tempting it is to rest them. If you have an urgent need to leave the dance or you realize you don`t know the dance, please back out elegantly, drop your hands, then join your neighbours’ hands to reform the line.

The best way to learn a dance is to stand behind the line near the beginning and copy the steps of the person in front of you, or join the line at the very end.


  • No perfume or cologne – this is our policy as well as Community Centre policy. We do however recommend unscented deodorant
  • Wear comfortable clean clothing as you will be moving a lot and breaking a sweat
  • Wear soft soled shoes – we are not tap dancing and you will preserve your precious feet
  • Do not wear rings with stones which could cut into your neighbours’ fingers
  • Welcome! We hope you will enjoy yourselves with the International Folk Dancers of Ottawa (IFDO).