Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

SF, science, and daily living

Fun the Old-Fashioned Way

Posted by hyperpat on August 25, 2006

Ok, when was the last time you went out square dancing? For most people, the answer to that is either never, or sometime back in high school. And that’s a shame. Modern square dancing is, first and foremost, fun. But it’s also quite a challenge. There are various levels of competence that have been defined: Basic, Mainstream, Plus, A1, A2, C1, C2, and C3. At each level, there are calls unique to that level, either more complex, or needing to be executed more quickly than at prior levels. The calls have been standardized world wide – if you can dance in the U.S., you can dance anywhere, and not feel left out. It does take concentration and some coordination, and the classes for the various levels run anywhere from a few weeks to several months, but it doesn’t require years of practice to become decent at it. There’s no requirement to move up a level if you don’t want to – if all you want to do is dance at the Basic level, that’s fine. Most square dancers seem to settle at Mainstream level, but there are some areas of the country (such as the Bay Area) where the average level is Plus or higher. I personally dance at the A2 level, but I didn’t graduated to that level till I had been dancing Plus for several years.

It’s a good way to meet people in a safe, non-alcoholic environment (you simply can’t do square dancing and drink). So for parents looking for somewhere to send their teenagers, this is a good item to consider. Even if the kids think that square dancing is not ‘cool’, ‘rad’, or whatever other term they use for that, after they get out there and try it, many will find that they like it. Note that the national square dancing program has almost no relationship to the quickie intro that most schools provide, and if your child has had exposure in school it will be more difficult to get them to try the real thing, but it’s probably worth the effort. Square dance club membership is also cheap, typically $20 or less a month – and what other form of entertainment can you get at that price? Of course, the outfits are a bit expensive (a man’s outfit is typically $50-100, a ladies $100 – 150), but you don’t even have to get those till after you’ve tried it and decided it’s something you really want to do.

So look up a local club in your phone book and go out give it a look-see. Trust me, you’ll like it.


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