Dancing Games

A collection of social dance games and contests, like those played at Stanford’s Fall Ball and Big Dance.

Red Light, Green Light

For traveling dances, with or without music. A partnered, dancing version of red light, green light. When the leader says “green light,” couples travel across the room toward the leader. When the leader says “red light,” they stop. Couples who move during “red light” are out. The first couple to reach the leader wins.

Variation: Musical Red Light, Green Light. Same as above, except the leader starts and stops music (perhaps music of several different types), instead of saying “green light” and “red light.”

Simon Says

For any kind of dance, with or without music. The leader (Simon) calls out dancing instructions (“Simon says do a follow’s spot turn”), which the dancers follow, as long as the instructions are preceded by “Simon says.” Couples who follow instructed that are not preceded by “Simon says,” or who fail to complete instructions preceded by “Simon says” are out. The last couple dancing wins.

Musical Partners

For any kind of dance, with music. Music plays, couples dance. When the music stops, everyone must find a new partner. The last two dancers to find a partner are out. Repeat. The last couple standing wins (perhaps the last two couples).

Hat Tag

For traveling dances, with music. One or more couples begin wearing hats. Other couples try to steal those hats. Couples wearing one or more hats when the song ends win the prizes associated with those hats.

Sneaky Statues

For non-traveling dances, with or without music. All dancing couples are statues in a museum. One or more curators wander through the museum, looking at the statues in dancing poses. While their backs are turned, the couples who cannot be seen come to life and dance. Couples who are seen to be moving by the curators are out, as are those who stay in the same position for too long (as determined by an outside observer). The last couple dancing wins.

Variation: Musical Statues. A combination of the previous two games. All couples dance until the music stops. Any couple dancing while there is no music, or not dancing when there is, is out. The last couple standing wins.

Dancing Darts

For traveling dances, probably waltz. All couples form a circle (and safety barrier) around the dance floor. The center of the circle is marked with tape. One couple is blind-folded, and waltzes toward the center of the circle, stopping at the center of the circle (or where they think it is). The distance between their resting point and the center point is recorded. Repeat for all other competing couples. The couple who stopped closest to the center of the circle wins.

Polka Limbo

Couples polka up to the limbo bar, and limbo under it. Those who make it under continue, those who do not are out. As the game proceeds, “polkaing up to the limbo bar” may include increasing numbers of pivots.

Streamer Tag

Each dancer gets a streamer tied around their arm, and a partner. The couples waltz around the room (they must always continue waltzing), trying to tear the streamers away from other couples. Couples who lose both of their streamers are out. The last couple standing with at least one streamer wins.


Know another good social dance game? Share it below!

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