Dances

The Student Activities Office (SAO), under the direction of the Office of Student Affairs of the University of Notre Dame, presents the following guidelines and expectations for dances that should be followed by all student groups. Changes and exceptions to these guidelines can only be made after approval from the Director of Student Centers, Activities, and Events or their SAO designee. If a student group does not follow these guidelines, they may lose all dance privileges. In addition, below you will find more information on specific guidelines for residence hall sponsored dances (established by Residential Life), tent dances, off-campus dances, and dances taking place in the Dahnke Ballroom in the Duncan Student Center.

Planning a Dance 

To start planning a dance, you must begin by completing an SAO360 request. This request must be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to your dance (or at least 4 weeks prior for dances held in the Dahnke Ballroom). In the request, you will complete the Facility/Location Module (or Outdoor Grounds Module if you're planning to host a Tent Dance) and the Dance Module. NOTE: Dance spaces book up fast, so please complete the Facilities Module months in advance to secure the date and location you're interested in.

For more information on planning a dance, schedule a meeting with the Dance Liaison, Camille Martinez, Program Coordinator for Student Programming in the Student Activities Office, 315 LaFortune Student Center. 

General Dance Guidelines

As of January 31, 2022

When planning a dance, you must make sure that the focus is on it being a group-wide activity rather than a private gathering. To help you ensure that this goal is met, we provide you with the following guidelines. *NOTE: Events which allow students to travel freely between the dance and a private gathering over the course of the evening will not be approved. 

Guidelines:

  • A minimum of $3.00 per person should be spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages for both on and off-campus dances to ensure there is sufficient food for all attendees. Exceptions can be made through SAO if the theme of the dance lends itself to less expensive food.
  • One uniformed NDPD officer, or ND Usher if designated by NDPD, must be present at the event. Arrangements are made by SAO when the SAO360 request is submitted. Please, do not contact NDPD directly unless instructed otherwise. 
  • A club officer (or hall staff member for residence halls) should be at the entry checking the names against a list of ticket-holders for admittance. 
  • Wristbands at check-in are encouraged for dances to ensure students and all dance attendees pass through check-in stations. Wristbands are provided free of charge by SAO.
  • All participants must be present or in line at the dance no later than 30 minutes after the official start time of the dance. 
  • No readmission is allowed once a student has left the dance.
  • All contracts (DJs, Venue, Photographer, etc.) must be approved and executed PRIOR to the event. NOTE: Vendors will not receive payment if SAO does not receive a signed contract prior to the event. To ensure that all vendors are paid on time, submit all contracts at least two weeks prior to your event to the Dance Liaison, Camille Martinez, in the Student Activities Office. 
  • Dances should not exceed 3 hours in length and must end by 1:00 a.m.
  • Dances can only be held on Friday or Saturday evenings, unless permission is granted by the Director of Student Centers, Activities, and Events or their designee.
  • On Home Football Weekends, dances can only take place on Friday but are limited based on space and staffing availability. Tent dances are not permitted on Home Football Weekends.

Guidelines for Residence Hall Dances (determined by the Office of Residential Life)

  • Guests should arrive to join or pick up residents no more than 75 minutes to the beginning of the dance.
  • There should be one formal check-in station (residence hall or dance location) which is decided upon by the Rector of the residence hall hosting the dance.
  • Wristbands at check-in are encouraged to ensure that students and all the attendees pass through the check-in stations. Wristbands are provided free of charge by SAO. 
  • At least one Rector or one Assistant Rector must be present at the dance at all times.
  • If a resident leaves before the dance is over, he or she may return to their residence hall room. Guests will not be permitted back into the hall, except into the residence hall's 24 hour lounge. 
  • Since dances are intended to involve all/the majority of the residence hall community, residents who plan not to attend the dance or residents/attendees who have left early are not permitted to have parties during or after the dance. 

Residence Hall Tent Dance Guidelines:

  • Dance participants should NOT be allowed back into rooms once the dance has begun.
  • Re-entry into halls by attendees is allowed only for restroom access. A hall staff member or security officer should monitor the entrance to the hall. 
  • The first floor of the hall should have ample male and female restrooms.
  • Consider limiting the number of participants allowed into the dance at one time (no more than three at once, etc.)
  • Residence hall staff and/or security officers should ensure that access to the basement and upper floors is restricted to dance attendees.

Guidelines for Tent Dances

  • The hosting group is encouraged to secure a suitable out-of-hall or rain location in the event of inclement weather, otherwise in the case of inclement weather the dance will be canceled. 
  • Student groups or residence halls must demonstrate that equipment has been purchased or contracted for the event (tent with slide flaps, snow fencing, fans, etc.) by submitting a contract or invoice at least 2 weeks prior to the event, to the Dance Liaison, Camille Martinez, in the Student Activities Office.
  • The dance area must be secure by snow-fencing and/or natural borders (wall of a building, etc.). Snow-fencing is free from the University Landscape Services; student groups must pay the labor cost for set-up and tear-down.
  • Bands can play music until midnight. Recorded music (DJs, playlists, etc.) can be played until 1:00 a.m.
  • Students attending the dance should wear appropriate attire for the theme and formality of the event. 

Guidelines for Off-Campus Formals

All the same policies apply to off-campus dances. In addition to the guidelines already provided, if your student group or residence hall is planning an off-campus gathering, you must secure charter transportation to the event location. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the Director of Student Centers, Activities, and Events, or their designee.

To host an off-campus dance, you must schedule a meeting with the Dance Liaison, Camille Martinez, in the Student Activities Office, at least 3 weeks prior to your event. 

Dahnke Ballroom Dance Protocols

As of November 3, 2021

If you are interested in hosting a dance in the Dahnke Ballroom, please use the following information as a timeline guide of all the responsibilities and requirements that you will need to follow if hosting an event in this location. If you have any questions regarding hosting an event in the Dahnke Ballroom, please contact Ron Grisoli, Assistant Director of Duncan Student Center. 

Dance Planning Meeting

  • SAO staff will meet with the student dance coordinators prior to the dance (typically two weeks in advance) to walk through the Dahnke Ballroom Dance Protocols, and determine final logistics for the dance. 
  • The SAO staff member will send a follow up email sharing Dahnke Ballroom Dance Protocols, cc'ing the group's advisor or Rector. 

Student Group Staff Support

  • Each student group hosting a dance in Dahnke Ballroom must have at least one advisor or University representative present for the entire dance who can serve as a point of contact for the SAO staff member managing the event. 

Additional SAO Staff Support

  • When the size of the dance is under 500 attendees, the dance will typically be managed by one SAO staff member. 
  • When the size of the dance is over 500 attendees, at least one other SAO staff member will assist with staffing the event. Decisions on SAO staffing needs will be made in consultation with the Director for Student Centers, Activities, and Events. 

Check-in Procedures

  • All participants must be present or in line at the dance no later than 30 minutes after the official start time of the dance.
  • Check-in is required to take place on the first floor of the Duncan Student Center for all non-residence hall dances. 
  • Check-in for single residence hall dances can take place on either the first or seventh floor of the Duncan Student Center. The check-in location will be determined at the dance planning meeting with SAO staff and cannot be changed on the day of the dance.
  • Check-in for dual residence hall dances is required to take place on the first floor of the Duncan Student Center.

Wristbands

  • Wristbands will be provided free of charge by SAO and are required to be worn by all dance attendees. This ensures that the expected capacity will not be exceeded.

Elevators and Stairs

  • SAO staff will post signs in each elevator with the message: "WARNING: This elevator is under surveillance. Jumping will disable the elevator, resulting in an entrapment of up to 2 hours and a fine."
  • The sponsoring student groups must provide two monitors (volunteer students or staff) to circulate in each 7th floor elevator lobby where the restrooms and stairwell entrances are located.
  • The sponsoring student group must provide one operator for each elevator activated for the dance (typically 4-8). These operators will be responsible for preventing attendees from jumping or bouncing in the elevators. Elevator staffing protocols are as follows:
    • Non-residence hall student groups must pay for an usher to staff the elevator from the beginning to the end of the dance. The usual rate is $10.00 per hour.
    • Residence halls may choose to pay for an usher to staff each elevator from the beginning to the end of the dance at $10.00 an hour, OR they may position their hall staff as the driver of each elevator for the first hour of the dance.
    • For large or complex dances (over 500 guests, though other factors may be considered in this definition), the student group must provide staff (either volunteer students, or paid ushers) to monitor the service stairwells to ensure guests are not entering or exiting through these. 
    • If the Officer of Crowd Control is not able to supply enough ushers to meet the need, then Monterrey security guards will be hired at a rate of $25.00 per hour.

Intoxicated Guests

  • Students and their guests are not permitted to bring in any beverages from the outside (including water bottles). If students or guests are seen with beverages determined to be alcoholic inside the dance, they will be required to leave the dance.
  • Intoxicated students or guests will not be permitted to remain at the dance. SAO staff will work with the student group advisor or University representative to ensure the student's safety and well-being, with the final decision made by SAO staff in consultation with NDPD.

Prohibited Items

The following items are not permitted for dances in Dahnke Ballroom:

  • Open flames
  • Helium balloons
  • Chocolate fountain or fondue
  • Glitter
  • Anything taped, tied or sticky taped to wall, columns, or railings
  • A photo background may not be attached to the wall, but SAO staff will provide a structure that can be used to create a photo background

DJ use of SAO and Dahnke Ballroom Equipment 

  • DJs contracted by the student group may use SAO and Dahnke Ballroom sound and light equipment.
  • DJs may not make any adjustments to settings or levels on the PA System or lighting controls. Changes to these settings must be requested of the house manager.
  • If there are any issues with this, the DJ will be given a warning by SAO staff managing the event. Should the behavior continue during the dance or a subsequent dance, the DJ may not be permitted to continue to serve as a DJ in SAO facilities.