An Online Guide to Square Dancing

From time to time, we all want to get to the dance floor and shake off stress. Everyone from all ages love to dance. We find it entertaining and it is one of the most popular social activities. It makes us feel good about ourselves and people who watch dancers are amused. Dancing is part of global culture. No matter where you go, you will find that dancing is a necessary tradition in all cultures. It is one of the most important functions of humanity.

A particular dance that originated in the United States is square dancing. As immigrants flocked to the country, they brought with them their traditions and shared their customs to US natives. One that is noteworthy of mentioning is Contras Reels, which was brought by British settlers. Many of these dances became American folk dance. Another one is the Appalachian dance, which came from the mountains of the same name.

American folk dance is a combination of many movements. It requires proper timing and form in accordance with the music. It also requires participants to form a shape like a circle or a square. In some cases, a line. Square dancing is sometimes known as the cowboy dance or clodhopper. The entire activity requires what is called a "caller". The caller is the person who announces when the dancers should start moving and which direction to take. This cue ensures that the dancers move in the same style, with the same steps, and in the same direction.

An example of a call is "Everybody do a diamond. Now flip your diamond and recycle now!"

History of Square Dancing

We can trace the origin of square dancing as far back as the 17th century. It was during this period that the first kinds of square dances became popular, but they were called by different names such as Morris Dance and Quadrille. The dances needed the accompaniment of acoustic bands and the tones were mostly country music.

The French takes credit for quadrille. Today, square dance enthusiasts and experts recognize that quadrille is the grandfather of what we know today as square dancing. Quadrille requires at least four couples to dance with the assistance of a caller. The caller demands for some moves that the dancers must comply to. In olden times, you typically get to watch quadrille in social occasions like wedding. The dances were typically held in a large area like a barn or in the town hall.

Types of Square Dancing

Just like any dance, square dancing has evolved over the centuries. But nonetheless, the variations maintain the basic premise of the dance, which is to dance in a square. In a square dance, the participants form this shape and revolve around the imaginary square. They only need to stop in their original positions.

Today, square dancing can either be modern or traditional. Modern dancers perform square dancing with modern music while the traditional ones will perform with country music. Modern square dancers also do not follow the square pattern anymore. The contention is that the absence of the square is made up for by the presence of the caller. In such cases, the dancers will dance to the tune of hip hop, rock and roll, and pop music.

Modern square dancing focuses on the dancers' ability to follow the caller. This is very different from other modern dancing in which there is a practiced choreography and everybody is expected to memorize the steps. With square dancing, you need to focus your attention to the caller's lead and be able to keep up with it. There is also no known structure for modern square dancing. The caller can pretty much make calls in random.

Square Dancing Organizations

There are country wide and international organizations that support and support square dancing. These organizations have a vast collection of pictures and historical mementos about square dancing. These groups usually hold an annual convention. They also facilitate classes and sessions for square dancing enthusiasts. Newbie square dancers are welcome. Some are free while some organizations charge a membership fee.

Apart from teaching you how to dance, these organizations also provide resources and activities for you to learn how to call. They house many experts and old timers who can teach you the old ways of calling patters, to a certain extent that you begin to realize how it has become an art form overtime. The art of calling the steps is one of the key elements of making square dance entertaining. Apart from learning the calls, you will also learn how to time your calls so the dancer have a brief moment to process the call and execute it.

Single Square Dancers USA is one of the few organizations that promote single square dancing. There is no need to have a partner to form the square. The organization's goal is to promote square dancing and spark interest among young people. The members want to ensure that square dancing does not get lost in time and that it stays as a tradition.

General Square Dancing Tips

Square dancing is fun but it takes time to learn. It is amusing to watch and the dancers are viewed with special awe. This style of dance requires grace and serious skill. In addition, this requires decency in clothing. It is very much unlike modern dancing in which the dancers are scantily clad. The dance attire required for square dancing is always modest. For males, the attire usually has a cowboy theme while the women dress in frill skirts or petticoats. The men are also expected to wear long-sleeved clothing.

As you come with an almost formal attire, you are also expected to behave with decorum, etiquette is a must. People do not typically drink when they dance. It smells bad and is off putting to your partners. Besides, alcohol impairs your motor coordination and this is bad for dancing. Your partners expect you to be able to concentrate. Bad behavior is also frowned upon. As mentions, proper etiquette and respect are expected at all times. Failure to do these things can give the club due reasons to ban you from membership and use of their facilities.