Etiquette & Traditions

Although some of the dances go back centuries, what we know as reeling today isn’t necessarily what previous generations remember. Over recent years reeling has incorporated elements of rock 'n roll and jive, meaning that even one of our most recognisable turns - the "overhead" spin - is actually quite a new invention. We like to do things properly, but equally add our own flair to these ancient dances - as many have done before us.

That said, reeling does have hundreds of little rules (unspoken and otherwise) that may seem silly but all serve a purpose. We have included some of the more universal rules below, particularly as they pertain to PGT.


There is no need whatsoever to bring a partner with you to reeling, despite the fact that the dancing is always done with partners. It is a very sociable sort of dancing, and indeed you are likely to be frowned upon if you dance more than a couple of reels with your significant other!

Although dance cards are a staple for most of the balls and bigger events, we don't book partners in advance at PGT - at least no further than the break before each reel. If you are new and don't know many people, please don't hesitate to ask one of the committee for help.


Sets are always numbered. At PGT, this is usually done in sixes with couples number One and Four starting. Historically the top man will "number off" (though at PGT it is tends to be one of the committee), walking down the middle of the set, both arms outstretched, calling out the numbers. Once this process has started, please do not try to squeeze yourself into the middle of a set. It is considered quite rude and disrupts the numbering. If you would like to join the set, simply go down to the very bottom of the line and encourage others to do the same. 



Encores are often played without question to make sure everyone gets a chance to dance. Should the band not indulge you of its own accord, stamping your feet will often do the trick - but please don't be too disappointed if there simply isn't any time left or the band needs a break.


Reeling is very energetic and comfortable clothing can be a plus. We have no set dress code at PGT, and many of us come straight from the office, but flat shoes with non-rubber soles and relatively loose clothing are recommended. 

Auld Lang Syne & Gallop

PGT’s Christmas and summer parties (and indeed the majority of balls) end with Auld Lang Syne, followed by a gallop. The words are printed below. We hold each others’ hands in a large circle around the room and sing along to the band (it really is worth knowing the words). Hands are not crossed until the final (second) verse, followed swiftly by a mad dash into the middle of the room. It can be raucous but is also wonderful fun. 

After Auld Lang Syne ends, grab the person next to you for the ‘Gallop’ - essentially holding them in a waltz hold and running around the room. As the speed of the music increases, so too should your speed. Throw in a few turns and you won’t look out of place.


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my jo,

for auld lang syne,

We’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.


And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!

and surely I’ll be mine!

And we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.