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Banner Stealing Rules

Banner Stealing Guidelines - Updated!


Banner stealing is a great way for dancers from different clubs to get acquainted and for clubs to support one another by increasing attendance at regular dances.

In our area, banner raids were popular for many years but died out when too few clubs could muster enough raiders or retrievers to support it. However, news of a recent raid in Batavia by the Copy Cats indicates this lively tradition is being revived. So, we thought now would be a good time to remind everyone how Banner Stealing works. It’s not a sneak attack; The “thieves” come in, pay their door fees, socialize and dance; A banner changes hands; Nobody gets hurt.

Here’s how it works:

1) Since not all clubs are able to support Banner Stealing, clubs interested in participating should register with the Rochester Area Federation (email to, where a list will be maintained online on the “FEDERATION” page. Registered clubs should also have at least one “Traveling Banner” available to be stolen.

2) To steal a banner, the “Stealing” club must bring at least four couples who pay the visitors’ fee at the “Host” club’s dance. Exception: Smaller and less mobile clubs may meet the “four couples” level by either (a) including up to two “allied” couples (from other clubs than the Host club), or (b) by prior agreement with the Host club, accumulating any combination of smaller “serial raids” that add up to four couples over a three-month period. Remember, the spirit here is to encourage dancers to get around to other clubs, so actually, any arrangement that works for both clubs is fine!

3) A representative of the Stealing club must advise the Host club’s president at least 48 hours in advance. If more than one club is planning to steal the same club’s banner, then the first club to notify the Host club takes precedence.

4) To actually earn the right to take home the banner, the raiding party must demonstrate its dancing abilities — and its good humor — to the Host club in a demonstration tip of the Host caller’s choice. In the case of serial small raids, it’s up to the Hosts and raiders to agree on a suitable demonstration of skill and good will. Exceptionally large raiding parties of eight couples or more have been known to return home with the Host caller’s shirt, but naturally this would have to be arranged in advance with the Host club.

5) It is the responsibility of the Stealing Club to safeguard the stolen banner, display it at their club dances and return it only to its owner club.

6) To retrieve a stolen banner, the owner club must bring at least four paying couples to a dance hosted by the Stealing club. Stealing the new Host’s banner at the same time, requires an additional four paying couples, and 48-hour advanced notification to the new Host club president. (Exceptions for smaller clubs can be arranged with club leadership, as noted above.)

7) If a banner has not been retrieved within a reasonable time (three months of the dance season), the Stealing club is allowed to bring it back to its owner club, with up to four couples admitted as non-paying guests. The owner club’s president shall be notified at least a week in advance of the planned return.

8) Banner stealing and retrieving are restricted to regular scheduled club dances only. Special dances with a guest caller are subject to approval in advance by the Host club’s president.