Square Dancing in the Twin Tiers
Region of New York and Pennsylvania
I didn’t know I would like Square Dancing until I tried it. I tried it willingly. I know people who where almost dragged to their first square dance and now you can’t keep them away.
WILL IT BE FUN TO YOU?
I don’t know and you won’t either unless you give it a good honest try. I am not talking about what you might have done in school. I can tell you I was in grade school when I had to do it there. I don’t remember it being bad but I don’t remember it being all that fun either. When I tried it with a youth group in Rhode Island when I was fifteen I had a great time from the very first night. I took lessons with five squares of teens each week from September to May. In fact it got better as each week went by.
GIVE IT AN HONEST TRY
I have been Square Dancing and calling square dances since then. As a dancer I note that I callers are all different and some are more fun than others. So to give it a honest try I recommend you try dancing to a few different callers to make an honest evaluation of how much fun you think it is. Chances are you will have a great time regardless of where you go. Some people who try it already know they will like it but some are more than surprised when they like it too. Square Dancing is not what you think of when you think of dancing, in a way it is almost a game.
"OK," you say, "I SEE… SQUARE DANCING COULD BE FUN!"
This is the reason so many people who start doing it keep doing it. There are many other beneficial reasons to Square Dance. One of the best is square dancing is good for your health. A two hour dance program is the equivalent of a four mile walk or an extended aerobic workout. The real trick is you get all these benefits without really trying,it’s magic. There is a study that credits square dancing with adding ten years to the life of square dancers. If you want me to produce more information on this why don’t you come to one of my dances and ask me in person.
How often do you recall hearing of someone buying an expensive gym membership only to quit going after a short time? They start off with great enthusiasm and even begin to feel the benefits but stop going because it just isn’t fun.
Square Dancing is so much fun that people who have been doing it for years still find a thrill. Squares of eight people dance in modern facilities with people who are of a like mind to have fun with friends. They have their fun at the same time reap the rewards.
My goal is to get you to try it.
My goal is not to make you like Square Dancing or to even prove it is fun. It is to get you to come to a Square Dance so you can discover it for yourself. You have heard it said before, “the more the merrier.” Well that is so true and we would love for you to come and share the fun.
Are You Afraid?
Men seem to have all kinds of anxiety about any kind of dancing. Should I say it right out. Men seem to be more afraid to do it than women in general but they can’t admit. They will say things like, I have two left feet. OK some women are afraid too.
It seems to me some people act like the idea of actually square dancing is more terrifying than anything they would have to do on “Fear Factor”. This “factor” is responsible for a lot of people missing out on a lot of fun and beneficial thing.
Change is difficult. Some people have trouble trying new things. This limits them in many areas of their life depriving them of many new experiences, including some they might have really enjoyed and benefited from. Going to a square dance is an interesting way to do something a little out of the ordinary. You have heard the law, “a body at rest tends to remain at rest” and in today’s world it is very easy to rest in front of a TV or computer screen every night of the week. Is that fun? Is it exciting? The more you change the easier change becomes.
you are just the opposite and work a full time job and often work
overtime. On top of that you are busy every night of the week
with meetings or some other activity. You could be a member of
a volunteer or civic group. Maybe you are a firefighter have a
child in sports. Maybe you have a hobby that occupies all your
A diversion from the norm is good for you. It is fun and provides good health benefits as well as benefits of spending real quality time with your family. You watch your kids play soccer but you can go and have some good fun getting your family together in a square and just having fun.
Teenage males are affected by the Fear Factor of Square Dancing too but once they try it like most others they are ready for more.
It Looks Hard!
A lot of things look hard but in reality it is a series of different calls. Once you learn them you can do it. Square Dancing is very easy. You know how to do some of the calls already, like Circle Left and Circle Right. You can learn to Do-Sa-Do in about two minutes and you will remember how to do it for the rest of your life. If that was all you knew you could learn to do those three calls perfectly in about three minutes. Hey, in four minutes you could learn all the styling of the calls, for instance on Circle Left and Right, boys palm up, girls palm down. But it is not all about styling. It is a good thing too,because, you would get tired of doing Circle left and Circle Right for four minutes, so there are other calls that are just as easy and they add variety. That is where it starts to get fun. Hey you won’t really know it is fun until you come.
Does the word Dance Scare You?
Think about it. In every form of dance the first thing you have to know is where your feet are, unless you are square dancing you can’t say, “On the ends of my legs”.
You really don’t have to think about your feet. As soon as you start learning any other dance form you have to think about your feet. Line dancing is harder in that you have to learn the steps, and then remember the order they go in for the whole dance. Square Dancing is done for the fun of the participants not as a competition or something for spectators to watch. Ballroom dancing is a lot harder than line dancing but with both you have know where your feet and on top of that remember the sequence of all the steps that make up the dance.
OK. So you tried it and it was fun.
You would not mind doing once in a while or even every week for a while. I want you to get the most enjoyment from it. I have sort of a unique perspective about square dancing. If you would care to readfurther I will share some of what I know and have observed about square dancing to help you decide exactly what you want to do.
Up until now it has been a real commitment to learn to dance with clubs requiring a year of lessons and then another bunch of lessons so that you can dance at their club level. Hey, all of that was fun for me and will probably be fun for you if you want to make the commitment to a year of lessons and not miss many of them. You should be able to find a club to start those lessons every fall.
A lot of times the first three nights in September and Early October are free for new dancers. Some people go to a few of these open dances each fall although they never make the commitment to take the lessons. This is a good opportunity to dance to different callers, just for the fun of it.
There are many different types of participation providing something for everyone, the most popularbeing recreational dancing, “just for the fun of it!”
Most forms of dance where you receive any kind of instruction are done and perfected for the spectators watching. Square Dancing is fun to watch but the real fun is derived by the people doing it.
There are many different types of participation in Square Dancing other than recreational dancing. There is Demonstration Dancing, Precision Dancing, High Energy dancing, in 4-H there are even competition dancing. There are also many different levels such as Basic, Club Level, Mainstream, One-Floor, Plus, Advanced, and four different Challenge Levels. Most of these levels required you learn the preceding levels in order as they are built one upon another and to really progress you need to dance more than one night a week.
Why do people do all this?
Because it is fun and some folks can’t get enough. If you want to go this route I will recommend that you take your time to get there and enjoy the trip on the way. If after you have danced two or more nights a week for five years learning to dance more than two-hundred calls at the Challenge Four Level you will discover you are not in the majority as most dancers settle in at some “Club Level” somewhere around the American Callers Association “One Floor Program”or the Callerlab “Plus” Level.
In fact you will find that If you want to dance for instance at the “Plus Level” it is recommended by Callerlab that you take more than 40 lessons to get to the Mainstream Level and then you dance there for a year before you start dancing taking Plus Lessons or workshops as Clubs like to call them.
IS CHALLENGE LEVEL DANCING MORE FUN?
I have to tell you I don’t really know. So far the highest level I dance is some advanced and I haven’t learned all the advanced calls yet. The Advance Calls I have learned I learned with my wife, Joanne and group of friends who needed a couple to make up a square to learn it.
There are a lot more people who dance at the level I dance than at the Challenge Levels. I know I like learning new calls but I also like dancing what I know in different formations. I also enjoy getting in a square with people who haven’t danced before and enjoy sharing their first time.
In the past if you where not ready to commit forty weeks to lessons there was not really a place for you in Modern Western Square Dancing. Now you can come and dance. You can learn a little more each time and have fun the whole time. If you miss a week or even six weeks you can come back and start over or pick up where you left off.
IT’S AS EASY AS ABC!
With the new ABC Program we are providing evenings of Square Dancing Fun with no commitment. Those who come occasionally will have a great time at each dance and those that come more often will continue to learn new calls and enjoy the variety the ABC PROGRAM offers each week.
The goal is to have fun. Not to get to some level or learn a set number of calls. If you are thinking about learning all the calls, there are thousands of them and I don’t think anyone knows all of them and I don’t know of a caller who calls them all.
Let’s face it. Learning new calls is part of the fun of square dancing. Butt he level of fun is not based on the number of calls you know. Back in the days when forty weeks of lessons where to only way to really start square dancing some people found the lessons to be very enjoyable and even this last fall classes started all over the country and these people are on their way to the Mainstream Level have a good time each week.
We don’t have lessons, we have dances. The fun of lessons is preserved in a non-stressful way. If you come and dance every week with us you will eventually learn enough calls to dance all over the world. Square Dancing is very popular in Australia and Japan right now but all the callers call in English.
Each night is a square dance. You don’t have to know a single call to attend as we start from scratch each week.
· Many levels of participation.
· Advance at your own pace.
· Teens have a great time dancing together, developing there own, somewhat unique styling techniques.
· Families dance together and have a great time. The ABC Program has some real meat for adults but it is easy enough for an eight year old.
· Retired people stay young and while enjoying themselves square dancing.
· Dance with our Demonstration Group.