Dance party
A dance party is a social gathering where dancing is the primary activity. Some dance parties are held in a casual setting and open to the public, such as a rave
Rave, rave dance, and rave party are parties that originated mostly from acid house parties, which featured fast-paced electronic music and light shows. At these parties people dance and socialize to dance music played by disc jockeys and occasionally live performers...

, or those held in nightclub
A nightclub is an entertainment venue which usually operates late into the night...

s and discothèques. Other types of dance parties may be a formal or semi-formal private event which often require guests to don formal wear
Formal wear
Formal wear and formal dress are the general terms for clothing suitable for formal social events, such as a wedding, formal garden party or dinner, débutante cotillion, dance, or race...

 and have an invitation
Invitation is the first full-length studio album from the Finnish power metal band Altaria.-Track listing:# "Unicorn" – 3:32# "History of Times to Come" – 4:16# "Ravenwing" – 4:30# "Innocent" – 4:11# "Wrath of a Warchild" – 4:13...

 or membership within the community hosting the event, such as school dances and Cotillion
In American usage, a cotillion is a formal ball and social gathering, often the venue for presenting débutantes during the débutante season – usually May through December. Cotillions are also used as classes to teach social etiquette, respect and common morals for the younger ages with the...

s. Guests of formal dances often attend in pairs, as consorts, or "dates", for one another. The term "stag" refers to going without a consort, to a dance organized for couples. Dances commonly take place during the evening, although some are held earlier during the daytime; such events are known as tea dance
Tea dance
A tea dance, or thé dansant is a summer or autumn afternoon or early-evening dance from four to seven, sometimes preceded in the English countryside by a garden party. The function evolved from the concept of the afternoon tea, and J. Pettigrew traces its origin to the French colonization of Morocco...


Casual dances

Casual dances are dances that do not have a formal dress requirement; these may include school and community events, raves, evening entertainments provided for guests aboard a cruise ship
Cruise ship
A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way...

, and events organized for certain holidays, such as Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 and Mardis Gras.

School dances

A school dance is a dance sponsored by a school, and may be casual or formal
Formal wear
Formal wear and formal dress are the general terms for clothing suitable for formal social events, such as a wedding, formal garden party or dinner, débutante cotillion, dance, or race...

. Casual school dances were originally limited to Western countries, although schools in other countries are beginning to adopt such events. There are some schools that prohibit school-hosted dances, citing sex and alcohol problems.

In the United States

One of the most significant school dances is prom
In the United States and Canada, a prom, short for promenade, is a formal dance, or gathering of high school students. It is typically held near the end of the senior year. It figures greatly in popular culture and is a major event among high school students...

, a relatively formal event normally reserved for Junior grade and Senior grade students. Some schools host similar formal events for the lower grades. In the 1950s
The 1950s or The Fifties was the decade that began on January 1, 1950 and ended on December 31, 1959. The decade was the sixth decade of the 20th century...

, informal school dances in the United States were often called sock hop
Sock Hop
The sock hop was an informal sponsored dance at American high schools, typically held in the high school's own gym or cafeteria. The term sock hop came about because dancers were required to remove their shoes to protect the varnished floor of the gymnasium. These hops were a cultural feature of...

s. The traditional Sadie Hawkins dance
Sadie Hawkins dance
In the United States, the Sadie Hawkins Dance is usually a less formal dance sponsored by a high school, middle school or college, in which female students invite male students...

 may be formal or semi-formal.

Formal dances

A formal dance, also known as a ball, is a dance event where guests dress formally
Formal wear
Formal wear and formal dress are the general terms for clothing suitable for formal social events, such as a wedding, formal garden party or dinner, débutante cotillion, dance, or race...

. In Western culture, a male may don a tuxedo
A tuxedo is a type of semi-formal dress for men.Tuxedo may also refer to:-Places:Canada* Tuxedo, Winnipeg, Manitoba, a city neighborhood** Tuxedo , a provincial electoral district in Manitoba...

 and a female may don an evening gown
Evening gown
An evening gown is a long flowing women's dress usually worn to a formal affair. It ranges from tea and ballerina to full-length. Evening gowns are often made of a luxury fabric such as chiffon, velvet, satin, or silk...

. Dinner dances are formal dances where dinner is served. Often, the style of music played at a ball is more suited to ballroom dancing.


In Australia, dance parties are popular amongst teenagers, to the point that many dance parties are held specifically for teenagers in nightclub
A nightclub is an entertainment venue which usually operates late into the night...

s or other locations which allow underage guests, who are usually unable to attend such places due to local laws.


Dance parties are usually held at night, and may be hosted in private homes, bars
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...

, gymnasiums, nightclubs, community centers, ballroom
A ballroom is a large room inside a building, the designated purpose of which is holding formal dances called balls. Traditionally, most balls were held in private residences; many mansions contain one or more ballrooms...

s, or other large open spaces suitable for use as a dancefloor by many people simultaneously.

The music at dance parties is usually played through a PA system
Public address
A public address system is an electronic amplification system with a mixer, amplifier and loudspeakers, used to reinforce a sound source, e.g., a person giving a speech, a DJ playing prerecorded music, and distributing the sound throughout a venue or building.Simple PA systems are often used in...

 or a more powerful sound system
Sound reinforcement system
A sound reinforcement system is the combination of microphones, signal processors, amplifiers, and loudspeakers that makes live or pre-recorded sounds louder and may also distribute those sounds to a larger or more distant audience...

, and is often supplied by a DJ who selects and plays pre-recorded
Sound recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical or mechanical inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording...

 songs from vinyl records, compact disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

s or with a laptop
A laptop, also called a notebook, is a personal computer for mobile use. A laptop integrates most of the typical components of a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device and speakers into a single unit...

; however, some dance parties feature live instrumentalists or musicians playing their music live on an instrument, or with a laptop. Raves and other large, modern dance parties use visual
Visual effects
Visual effects are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the context of a live action shoot. Visual effects involve the integration of live-action footage and generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or...

 and lighting effect
Lighting or illumination is the deliberate application of light to achieve some practical or aesthetic effect. Lighting includes the use of both artificial light sources such as lamps and light fixtures, as well as natural illumination by capturing daylight...

s, such as strobe light
Strobe light
A strobe light or stroboscopic lamp, commonly called a strobe, is a device used to produce regular flashes of light. It is one of a number of devices that can be used as a stroboscope...

ing and smoke machines
Fog machine
A fog machine or smoke machine is a device which emits a dense vapour that appears similar to fog or smoke. This artificial fog is most commonly used in professional entertainment applications, but smaller, more affordable fog machines are becoming common for personal use. Fog machines can also be...


Cultural milestones

In the Jewish community, Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations often involve dances.

Dances are common for Quinceañera
Quinceañera , sometimes called "Fiesta de quince años", "Fiesta de Quinceañera", "Quince años" or simply "quince", is the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and elsewhere in communities of immigrants from Latin America...

s, sweet sixteen
Sweet sixteen (birthday)
A sweet sixteen party is a type of birthday party in the United States celebrating a sixteenth birthday, Sweet sixteen parties mark a coming of age.- Types of sweet sixteen party :...

 parties and débutante
A débutante is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity, and as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal "début" presentation. It should not be confused with a Debs...

 celebrations. Some of these coming of age
Coming of age
Coming of age is a young person's transition from childhood to adulthood. The age at which this transition takes place varies in society, as does the nature of the transition. It can be a simple legal convention or can be part of a ritual, as practiced by many societies...

 events involve a father-daughter dance
Father-daughter dance
A father-daughter dance is a dance between a daughter and her father. Father-daughter dances are common at Western wedding receptions, although not all weddings have a father-daughter dance. In situations where a daughter's father is not available, he may be substituted with a man of an older...


At wedding reception
Wedding reception
A wedding reception is a party held after the completion of a marriage ceremony. It is held usually as hospitality for those who have attended the wedding, hence the name reception: the couple receives society, in the form of family and friends, for the first time as a married couple. Hosts...

s, the newlywed couple may opt to have a first dance
First dance
The first dance is an element in a number of traditions, being an opening of a certain dance function: ball, prom, etc.-Balls:In the context of balls, the term "first dance" has two meanings....

 (before all guests are invited to participate on the dance floor).

Specialized events

Some dance events may put an emphasis on certain genres of dance. For example, an event may feature swing or square dancing
Square dance
Square dance is a folk dance with four couples arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, beginning with Couple 1 facing away from the music and going counter-clockwise until getting to Couple 4. Couples 1 and 3 are known as the head couples, while Couples 2 and 4 are the side couples...

 rather than dancing in general. A masked ball
Masked Ball
Masked Ball is a 1918 Hungarian film directed by Alfréd Deésy and featuring Béla Lugosi.-Cast:* Norbert Dán* Róbert Fiáth* Lajos Gellért - * Annie Góth* Richard Kornai* Béla Lugosi...

 is a type of costume party
Costume party
A fancy dress party or a costume party , mainly in contemporary Western culture, is a type of party where guests dress up in a costume.-Fancy dress parties in Britain:...

 that features dancing. Dance parties at which people mainly dance Tango
Tango (dance)
Tango dance originated in the area of the Rio de la Plata , and spread to the rest of the world soon after....

 are called Milonga
Milonga can refer to an Argentine, Uruguayan, and Southern Brazilian form of music which preceded the tango and the dance form which accompanies it, or to the term for places or events where the tango or Milonga are danced...


See also

  • Social dance
    Social dance
    Social dance is a major category or classification of danceforms or dance styles, where sociability and socializing are the primary focuses of the dancing...

  • Dance music
    Dance music
    Dance music is music composed specifically to facilitate or accompany dancing. It can be either a whole musical piece or part of a larger musical arrangement...

  • :Category:Dance festivals
  • :Category:Partner dance
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