What do all square dancers like to do? Dance! And Dance! And Dance! And more than that, we want to dance well. We don’t want to be the dancer in a square that gets lost or breaks down the square we’re in. It happens to all of us sometimes, even the most experienced dancer. And I don’t believe there are any of us who don’t want to become a better dancer. But how do we do that? Well, let me suggest some ways!
- It’s amazing what “floor time” will do for you. I remember when Dick & I were new graduates and I’m sure we had the “deer in the headlights” look for a while. But that didn’t stop us from going out and dancing as many nights as we could. And don’t just dance at your “own” club or with your own club caller. Go to many different clubs and dance to different callers.
- Brush up on your skills by going to classes or workshops. Many clubs have continuing classes/workshops and are always happy to have a few extra dancers participate. Most of the clubs that began classes in the fall of 2017 will be getting into Plus Lessons soon and that is a good opportunity to join the new students and brush up on your skills as well as helping angel the beginners. For a list of classes near you, open the “Classes” tab on this website.
- Look at some of the on-line sites that explain and illustrate calls.
- One that many new and experienced dancers use is Taminations. You can download it as an app for almost any device and it’s free. It explains and illustrates all the calls, from Basic through Advanced.
- A CD is available for purchase that uses more life-like figures in explaining and illustrating the calls. I found it to be very helpful when taking lessons. It’s titled Animated Square Dance Movements. You can view a sample and/or purchase it on-line at http://www.squaredancecd.com/ or at Suzie Q Creations, email@example.com or 1-407-894-2227.
- An online-video site at https://videosquaredancelessons.com/lessons uses a caller giving instructions and real people following the instructions to illustrate the call. That may help you see it “in person” though it has limitations of being easily replayed or slowed down.
- There are other on-line sites you can explore on your own. I think each dancer has to find the one that helps him or her the most, as every person thinks and learns differently.
- Another way to learn and remember calls is to memorize the definition. When you took lessons, the callers explained the definition, but it’s really hard to learn and remember that many at once. And I know that sounds boring! But it can be a real help until you dance them enough to have “muscle memory.” And even after that, it’s helpful to know the definition of the more complex calls that aren’t called often by the local callers, and in cases when the caller (as all good callers do) calls something when the dancers are not in the usual position. For example, if you know that Pass the Ocean consists of these definite moves—“Pass thru; Face your partner: Step to a Wave”–you can do it from any position. To learn the definitions, go to any of the sites discussed in Number 3 above, or ask a caller.
- Again, see number 1—Dance! A good opportunity to do a lot of dancing is coming up in May. The Ohio State Square Dance Convention will be held on Friday & Saturday, May 4 & 5, 2018. It’s in Columbus, only a two-hour drive from Cincinnati, and at a very convenient location—The Crowne Plaza Hotel North. The convention center with all the dancing and the hotel rooms are under one roof which makes everything readily accessible. It’s close enough that you can drive up there for a day or you can spend both days there. There is square dancing and round dancing from 1:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday. For all the information you need, check out the website at http://www.58ohdc2018.com/.
President, Greater Cincinnati Dance Federation