Room layout for a ceilidh

Laying out a room for ceilidh dancing

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A good room layout for ceilidh dancing will allow for an easy connection between the band and the dancers. Here’s some points to consider when planning the layout of your room:

  • keep the dancers as close to the dance floor and the band as is comfortably possible
  • don’t compromise on dance floor size
  • ceilidh dancing needs more space than disco
  • if space allows, have tables or at least chairs round the edges of the dance floor
  • leave room between the tables for dancers to get to the floor easily

Here are some thoughts on different room shapes and layouts that help/hinder dancing.

Rectangular rooms

Diagram of a room with tables too close together

Most halls are well proportioned, but it’s important to think how you can preserve the connection between the band and the dancers

Diagram of a room with a small dance floor

Some venues set up the dance floor space to accommodate disco dancing. Ceilidh dancing needs considerably more room.

Diagram of rooms with ideal layout for a ceilidh

If the space allows, set some chairs or, even better, tables with chairs, along the sides of the dance floor. These 2 diagrams show ideal layouts for a good ceilidh.

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Long narrow rooms

Diagram showing layout of a long narrow room

Long, narrow rooms can be tricky to lay out. With the tables far away from the band, it makes it more difficult to keep a connection between the band and the dancers. When the tables squeezed tightly together, dancers will find it awkward to get to the dance floor. People at the back might struggle to hear what’s happening. We would prioritise the volume on the dance floor in a situation like this, to avoid deafening the people near the band.

Diagram of a long narrow room layout

After folk have eaten, it’s usually possible to remove a couple of tables to allow folk to move about more easily. If space allows, the chairs from the removed tables can line the edge of the dance floor. This allows those that want to to stay nearer the dance floor.

Diagram of a long narrow room layout

Although the layout above leads to a narrower dance floor, putting the band in the middle of a long room with tables at either end creates a much more intimate atmosphere, making it easier for the caller to encourage people up to dance.
The band can adjust their own layout in rooms like this, to maximise the depth of the dance floor.

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Bar and seating in a separate room

Diagram of a room with bar and seating separate

Some venues have a small room for dancing, with the bar and tables/chairs in a separate adjoining room. We wouldn’t recommend booking a venue with this layout if you’re keen for people to dance, as it’s difficult for the band to keep a connection with the dancers during the evening.

If your venue has this layout, we’d recommend asking the venue to put some chairs round the edge of the dance floor if space allows.

Small rooms

Diagram of a small room layout

The size, layout or features of some rooms dictate that the band must set up in the corner. This need not be a problem.

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