Here are a few things you might have questions about or should know about if you come to one of our dances. In addition to this, please make sure to read our Safety policy before attending OSDS events. Thank you!


Everybody is welcome! Please be advised that there are several flights of stairs to get to the basement of the church where the dance is taking place. We offer one free entry to one child 14 years old or under for every paying adult.


You do not. We do rotation during our classes and we encourage you to dance with as many people as possible during the evening. Remember to ask people to dance. If they say 'no', move on. It is their right, and yours too!


  • A pair of clean, indoor shoes (to protect our dance floor) that are unlikely to fly off your feet. Our floor is pretty slippery but if it’s very hot and humid out, we suggest bringing shoes with slippery soles.

  • A towel and/or a change of shirt if you sweat a lot.

  • A reusable water bottle (if you forget it, we sell bottled water for 1$).

  • Breath mints or gum can be useful.

  • A manual handheld fan if you have one.

  • Some friends if you want and your awesome self!


Some people dress up, especially on special occasions like the anniversary dance, and some people wear jeans and a t-shirt. What is most important is to be able to comfortably move and sweat a bit in what you wear. We recommend not wearing clothing, or jewellery, that dangles too much as you could hit yourself or your partner while dancing.

We recommend showering, wearing deodorant and wearing clean clothes before the dance. However, please refrain from wearing scented products as they can cause allergic reactions.

Please do not wear stilettos as they will damage the floor and can really hurt if you step on someone's foot. If you are not already used to dancing in heels, we suggest wearing flat or very low heels to start. Leather soled shoes are preferable but not necessary.

Some people who wear dresses or skirts like to wear shorts underneath.

Feel free to bring extra clothes - and shoes - to change into at the dance in case you are feeling uncomfortable and/or want to stay dry!


We are located at 174 Rue Wilbrod St, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N8. Click here for more information.


Please be aware of parking: we have 50 parking passes on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, visit out "How to Get Here" page. People who get a parking pass should park in the far lot. If you don't get a parking pass, please explore the street parking in the neighbourhood or pay at the kiosk.



If you take the classes, expect rotations and dancing with everyone in the class. If it happens that you don’t want to dance with someone in the rotation, step out of the circle and wait for the next rotation while practising the moves by yourself. After each rotation, introduce yourself and wait until it’s time to dance to touch your partner. If it is an ambi class (where everyone learns to lead and follow at the same time), ask your partner which role they'd like to do first. After the class, don’t hesitate to ask your classmates, your teachers and other people to dance. Dancing with as many different people as possible is the best way to improve!


Consent is important in our community - as you can see in our Safety, Consent, and Inclusion Policy. We encourage everyone to dance with as many people, of whatever gender, as possible but:

  1. Make sure to always ask a specific person to dance (no grabbing people and dragging them to the dance floor).

  2. If the person says no, accept it graciously and ask someone else.

  3. Everyone has the right to say no, and we don’t have to state a reason.

  4. Every move is an invitation, not an order. At any moment, you can stop, change a move or hold that feels uncomfortable or unsafe to you. Be attentive to your partner. If they look uncomfortable, check in with them.

  5. Do not bring people into a close embrace, unless you know it is ok with them.

In our scene, we encourage people to dance with whomever they want, regardless of gender. It is also encouraged to dance solo, by yourself or as part of a group solo jam if others want to join in the solo dancing fun! Don’t ask people to partner dance while they are doing this - they are already dancing.


it is the capacity to dance while not stepping or bumping into each other. It is everyone’s responsibility and it’s especially important when:

  • Stepping, kicking, and walking backwards.

  • Sending someone or being sent in open position (away from your partner).

  • The dance floor is very crowded.

  • You see someone getting too close or coming at you and your partner.

Accidents do happen so make sure to apologize if it’s the case and ensure the other person is okay. In cases of serious injury, please notify an exec member or an SCI volunteer!


If you stick around long enough, you will learn several solo mob dances, some that exist since the 1930s! At OSDS, we do the Shim Sham every Friday night. It’s usually danced on the song “T’ain’t What You Do”. When it starts playing you’ll see dancers forming in rows, getting read. Feel free to sit and watch, or get up and try to join in by copying what the others are doing. The end involves people partnering up to partner dance. Feel free to join or simply walk off the dance floor. Some other mob dances include; the Big Apple, the Trankey Doo, and the Mamas Stew, and more.


At OSDS, once per night, we do a celebratory jam. It’s traditionally for people celebrating their birthday (usually in the same week), visiting from out of town, celebrating an important event or leaving for/coming back from a long absence. (Let the host making the announcements know what you're celebrating.) The people being celebrated go inside a circle formed by the other dancers and people try to “steal in to dance” with them (they are often called steal jams for that reason). Everyone whether witnessing or jumping into the circle is participating! Support the jam by clapping to the beat. Vocally appreciating any especially cool moves or swap ins or outs. Moving supportively with shuffles, stomps, doing basic solo jazz steps while watching the action of the main jam dance.

If you want to go into the inner circle, it's good to observe how it's done before jumping in. Be careful not to hurt anyone when trying to steal a dance. Secondly, it’s customary to wait for two eights of music before stealing. Being able to count musical phrases can take some time so just make sure to not steal a dance right after someone did it. Third, consent is not as obvious here because people being jammed do not get to choose who steals a dance with them. Be mindful of that. Do not use this as an opportunity to dance with someone who you know does not want to dance with you - for example, because of a personal conflict or because they have said no to you earlier that evening.


It is custom to thank your partner if all went well. If you had a great time, feel free to let them know! In our dance scene, when you ask a person to dance, you are asking for one song. If you'd like to dance with them again, ask them for a second dance. Do not hold on to your partner and assume that they will keep dancing with you.


No. OSDS is a dry environment. If you show up intoxicated, or you drink at the venue, you will be asked to leave.


  • Everyone has different boundaries, capacities and limits, and they should be respected. Never force your partner to do something that makes them uncomfortable. Make sure to read the Safety, Consent, and Inclusion Policy, if you haven’t already.

  • Everyone has a different level of dancing experience. When you don’t know the level of your partner, it is always best to start with basic moves, and then, as you get to know each other, you can introduce different moves that will fit with your partnership. The most important thing is to ensure your partner feels comfortable, safe and has fun.

  • If you’d like to chat with people, please do it off the dance floor. We have plenty of space with tables and chairs just for that, where you can leave your effects and water bottle to avoid spills on the dance floor.

  • Band and DJ etiquette: When there is a band night, take a moment to clap at the end of every song. When it's a night of DJed music, take a moment to applaud them at the end of their set. If you really enjoyed the band or the DJ set, make a point of telling them after a set or after the dance. If you have any complaints about the band or the DJ, in terms of music choice, speed, length of songs, etc, please bring those concerns to one of the exec members, not to the band or DJ. But remember that we try to have music that appeals to a wide variety of people, so something that doesn’t appeal to you may still be a good choice for our dance scene.

  • Please refrain from teaching or giving unsolicited feedback or advice on other people’s dancing - except if you are worried someone will get hurt of course!

We hope that we’ve created an environment where you’ll be attentive to others’ comfort and safety, and where you’ll feel free to speak up if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. If you find that you can’t speak up - or you have and it didn’t go well - please talk to a SCI volunteer or a member of the executive committee and they will assist you.

We want everyone to take care of each other, feel comfortable, safe and have a good time!