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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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Finnish traditional folk dance song.
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 change partners. The rules of "mixing" vary. Some mixers have traditional names.