Ten stupid things beginners do to mess up their contradance experience/Sitting out Dances
5. Sitting out Dances.
This is something to be cautious about, particularly at the start of the evening. Usually, callers will begin the night with easy dances (and will design their beginners workshops to teach the figures of the first dance or two to make them easier), and then move on to more involved and challenging dances as the evening progresses. Sitting out a dance early in the evening means you won't get the practice doing the figures you've already learned, and may also mean not getting the instruction on a new figure that will recur later in the evening. It's really a bad idea to "just watch until you get the idea"; there's a strong kinesthetic component in learning this dance, and it looks discouragingly more difficult and chaotic than it actually is.
Of course, if you're worn out or dizzy and need to sit out, by all means sit out. Just pay attention to the instruction that's going on so you'll have some idea of what to do when you join the dance again and that new figure is called again.