Left Ah!llemande, Right & Left's Grand!

By David Sperl

I am forever indebted to Gunner Gosgrove who tried to teach me square dancing but MADE CERTAIN that I learn Left Allemande to a Right and Left Grand. Without this knowledge many tips would be a continual goof. What is my reason for this statement? Are there facts to back it? I believe there are and hope you will agree.

Being endowed with no better than average intelligence, I find it difficult to learn a complicated routine sufficiently well to respond to a command and execute it within the span of two to four beats of music. The more complicated the routine, the more difficult it becomes to retain this knowledge and execute each part in proper sequence. In square dancing I am not an indivdual dancing solo; rather, I am one of 8 individuals dancing as a group or square. Each one of our individual actions must coincide, blend with, or complement the movements of the other members of the square. If any one member of the square reacts more slowly than the majority, it slows--and may even stop--the flow of the dance. If the hesitation lasts more than four beats of music, the square is out of sequence with the caller; and the only recourse is to go home and wait.

This can and does happen occasionally even when each member of the square knows the routine and the commands. But sometimes someone will forget, or simply get confused. To complicate the situation, commands of known routines are changed; two or more known routines are combined and given a name. A dancer may be thoroughly familiar with the individual parts of this combination, yet never have heard the name of, nor been taught this combination. So someone hesitates, stops the square, and all must now go home and wait. Wait for what? Why, for something familiar to all of us in the square.

Fortunately there is one command, one routine, which we all know. Many an evening would have been a total washout were it not for this standard. No matter how muddled our brains, no matter how clumsy our feet, no matter how broken our set, we can rest secure. We are certain that the caller will eventually pity us, so we wait, all senses alert for a break in the stream of commands. We are ready. We wait with confident faith for that one sequence we can do even in our sleep...

The call comes, and with a joyous shout, sparkling eyes, smiles on our faces, and a warm handshake to each lady in turn, we Left Allemande, Right and Left Grand! We are back in the dance.

David Sperl


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16-November-2006 19:28:32