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Marilyn and I began Square Dancing in 1976 in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Marilyn because she loves to be on her feet moving to the music, but I did it because I promised a friend I would do it, "cause I owed him big time". Now the same guy says, "look at the monster I created".
Real men don't dance!
Actually, square "dancing" is a misnomer... why you ask?, well simply put, the caller of a square dance doesn't care which foot you dance on, you can use the same one all the time if it suits you. But... how can that be? Well the "dance" word implies footwork, but there isn't any perscribed foot work in square dancing. If you can walk to the beat of music you are doing great, if you can't walk to the beat of music, you can have a great time but you will work just a bit harder.
All of the movements in square dancing involve hand and forearm contact with others, walking on a perscribed path and body turns in quarters of a circle.
Actually it's that easy, but as a dancer you really don't know what the caller will give you as the next part of the musical puzzle, so you have to have your wits about you. Actually, dancers who find that they can anticipate the callers next move quickly move on to other callers, sort of why pay for the same dance twice. Makes sense to me!
Square dancing as been around for a long time, settlers used it at barn dances in the northeast, the hoe-downs if you will. Cowboy dances were the thing in the west, but eventually westerners developed a set of calls which evolved into a well defined set of rules to help the dancers negotiate the callers commands. What we dance to today is called Modern Western Square Dance.
World Wide Fun
Square Dancing is an International hobby. Squares are called in English throughout the world, so once you know how to do the calls you can join a square in any country. Interestingly, I have had a chance to dance with folks from many countries who follow the calls in Square dancing perfectly, yet do not consider themselves to be proficient in the English language. Were we to visit a foreign country, we could dance there without any difficulty, but couldn't communicate without help in their native language. Basically, you just have to think of the calls in square dancing as a language, so when the caller says "spin the top" you react by doing a certain sequence of moves rather than by asking yourself "what top" duh.....
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