The International Square Dance Magazine


I recently received a letter from a disgruntled dancer who not only danced, but she worked as a performer at the last National Square Dance Convention. She made the “mistake” of asking a man to dance with her...his wife became irate. As she mentions in her letter, a simple “no” from the man would suffice. She said she is uncomfortable in getting into a square and holding up crossed fingers to indicate send me a single dancer. In my mind there are several things wrong with this picture. Number one, my wife and I truly enjoy dancing together as usually I am on stage and she has to dance either the man’s or ladies part with someone else. That being said, on numerous occasions, when someone asked, she graciously said “yes” or “no”. Sometimes we are committed to dance with other dancers who ask us to join their square (usually some of our students who like subtle assists or are at their first festival or convention and they our understandably nervous). Number two, I always encourage my single dancers to get up and dance holding up the crossed fingers, sometimes indicating it doesn’t matter, man or woman. Thirdly, at many dances, festivals and convention there is a place for solo dancers to sit, thus allowing for other dancers to join or ask for someone to dance. One other comment, I remember years back when I attended the Georgia State Convention, JoAnn was home and I was dancing in the advanced hall and on every other tip, someone graciously had me dance with their partner.

I keep seeing debates and discussion on differing programs to introduce dancers into our activity. A partial success story from me and the reason it is fun. There is a group of college students who wanted to continue their square dancing after an introduction at a youth camp. There were several problems. They could not be there every week for lessons. They might add or subtract dancers when they could come. Our club is filled with some really old dancer who are slow. And I didn’t know what music they might like. I told them, if you attend, you will dance. I also told them I would continue to teach new choreography as fast as they could learn. As said, they cannot attend every week and the last time they brought in two new dancers and they told me to start over and teach them as much as I could their first night, they helped and we made a lot of progress. When they are there I have to do Rip and Snort and the Virginia Reel as those are some of their favorites as well as Grand Square. The most important thing is they dance and have fun. I told them that if they could come every week at their learning speed they could dance the entire Mainstream Program in less than ten weeks. Their reply, “It doesn’t matter as long as we have fun.” Thank goodness for some of the modern music out there, and the entire program does not matter if your dancers are having fun. I will see you all in Iowa for the National Square Dance Convention. 

Fun set to music!