Introduction to Square Dancing
One of the marvelous things about 'Modern Square Dancing' is that although it is a couple of centuries old, it is as modern as today and fresh and challenging as tomorrow. Modern square dancing is formation dancing by sets of four couples. With two couples facing each other up and down the hall and the other two couples facing each other across the hall, thus forming a square.
A Caller sings a song to music, provided by a record, which includes directions to the dancers. The 'square' in square dancing doesn't refer to the people that participate; rather it refers to the formation. Although the formation changes throughout the dance, it always starts and finishes in this 'square' formation. Because clever Choreographers have adapted it to the needs of the present, today's choreography is clever and interesting and fun. It is a great relaxer to help combat the pressures and tensions of our present day environment.
Generally, modern square dancing is done in Clubs throughout each State. The Clubs provide a great social, fun and friendly atmosphere, as well as the dancing. Square Dance Clubs usually have an intake of beginner dancers once a year. For most Clubs in Australia this is around March or April.
It used to be that you would learn all that there was to know about square dancing in the first 15 minutes and then just dance the rest of the evening. However, that changed when the 'Modern' movements were introduced. These days a beginner dancer is required to attend classes every week for about eight to ten months, before 'Mainstream' level is reached. The 'Basic' and 'Mainstream' moves form the bases of the level most Square Dancers dance at. Experience has proven that the man in the family is the one who really gets bitten by the square dance bug. Perhaps this is because men don't look upon modern square dancing as a dance, but rather as a sport. It certainly has a lot of challenge.
At Club level, dancers don't have to wear any special clothes. However, at major functions, such as a Convention, dancers are expected to dress to a suitable standard. The ladies will usually wear a dress with full skirt, or a full skirt and blouse, and the men will usually wear long-sleeved shirts and neat trousers. The ladies outfits are usually very colour-ful with frilly panties and petticoat under the skirt and the men often wear shirts to match their outfits.
Entertaining music is played. From rock'n roll to jazz, country and western, ballads, disco, as well as the latest hits. Modern Square dancers come from all walks of life. You'd be surprised; it could be your next-door neighbour, your doctor, or the grocer down the street. The age group is from 10 years old till over 80's. Square dancing is now enjoyed by people in nearly every country in the world.