The Callers and Dance Leaders whose names appear below would like you to consider a viewpoint which they feel is important to the future success of Advanced and Challenge festivals and conventions.
The practice of keeping a square together for an extended period of time (more than 2 tips) is causing some dancers (and some of them very good dancers) to stay away from festivals and conventions. Very often if a dancer arrives at a given hall after the first tip of an hour or session has started, it is impossible to find a place to dance for that entire time period. This does not reflect on their dancing proficiency, only their poor timing in arriving at the hall. To make matters worse, some dancers are entering the hall with these pre-arranged sets. This is especially unfair to the dancer who is only proficient at the program being called in that particular hall. These dancers go home and say to their friends that they don't recommend going back because if you are not with the "in-crowd", you don't get to dance as much as you would like. The multi-level dancer feels constrained because they like to move around to different halls and dance with their other friends or to their favorite callers. If they do so, they take the risk of not getting to dance with those friends and of getting shut out when they return to the hall they left.
We understand the desire and the right to dance with anyone you wish, but we are suggesting for the good of the activity that you consider limiting pre-set squares to 2 tips (usually 1/2 hour). At home clubs and many week ends you are accustomed to squaring up by thenumbers, and therefore, pre-set squares are not a problem. Why not try to achieve a middle ground between pre-set squares and totally random computer squares. Perhaps everyone can come away from festivals with a good feeling about dancing and their fellow dancers.
This letter was composed at an informal meeting held with several national callers assembled at this year's CALLERLAB convention. It appears in the current issue of the Zip Coder and will appear at the American and National Convention of Advanced and Challenge dancers in Louisville and Toledo.
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