How To Do a Circle Dance in a Wedding

Dancing in a circle is an ancient tradition that is often used to mark a special occasion. It is the oldest of dance formations; its purpose is to encourage togetherness. In this country, the most popular circle dances are the Jewish Hora, the Italian Tarantella, and the Greek Khastorias. Though each has its own particular style, all circle dances for weddings are based on similar fundamentals.  

I've been teaching ballroom dancing for twenty-three years, and have averaged twenty-five wedding preparations per year; each time, the circle dance is hugely popular among the guests.  Here are the steps to make your wedding's circle dance a success:


Inform the disc jockey or band of your intentions.  Select an appropriate song, like Hava Nagila for the Hora or another culturally appropriate tune.  Assure the men that they do not have to be Fred Astaire to do this dance, and that making a fool of oneself is perfectly acceptable.  A tall pre-dance drink made be in order. Call everyone to the floor - in spite of the pep talk, be prepared to drag the men!

Call up the Bride and Groom

Put them in the middle of the circle. Form a wide circle around the newlyweds. Some cultures seat the bride and groom in chairs while others incorporate them into the circle. If you use chairs, put the taller carriers in the front of the chairs to keep the chairs from falling backward.  This also allows the couple to hold hands instead of worrying about their balance.

Remember who the Guests of Honor are

Start the music and begin the dance. For the first minute or so, just have your dancers move left and right in a circle to allow the dancers to get their rhythm and adjust their comfort level. The first dancers in the middle should be the bride and groom, first dancing with each other and then with their parents or other significant family members. Then the remaining dancers take turns in the middle and usually mimic the different aspects of married life, i.e., housework, rocking a baby in your arms, etc.


An appropriate way to finish the dance is to separate the bride's and the groom's guests; have each one pick a partner from the other side to show a joining of the community.

When the music ends, every dancer congratulates the new couple with loads of hugs and kisses.


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