Will Square Dancing Just Fade Away?

By Calvin Campbell

To give a historical perspective. In the late thirties, square dancing was almost dead. The revival sparked by Henry Ford in the 20's had run out. Pappy Shaw and Herb Greggerson found remnants of square dancing in the rural areas and their exhibitions teams plus the events occurring after WWII provided the spark for the surge in interest. Without these people and these events we would not have had the popularity of square dancing that occurred in the late forties and fifties. By the way, the number of basics during the peak was less than 50. The initial learning period was 10 weeks.

The message is yes it can just fade away. Other dance forms have faded away. Square dancing is no different. Most dance forms faded away when they become so complex that the general population could not participate in them without an extended training period. At this point the dance becomes so specialized that only a small percentage of the population had the time and resources to enjoy it. Eventually the elite population that was left either got bored with the constant drive to keep from getting bored or died off.

The long term survival of any dance form has always depended on going back to the roots of the dance form. The times when the dance appealed to a large cross section of people. Square dancing is doing very well as a casual recreation in the form of one-night-stands. That is one root. IMHO the 1998 version of MWSD is probably going to take one of two different tracks. Either MWSD will follow the path of specialization until the dancers gets bored or die off or it will eventually find that simple is better.

Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

Web Site http://www.henge.com/~calvin/

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12-November-2006 14:17:38