The Plight of the Single Female
in the Square Dance World

by Pat Tardiff

The majority of square dancers come as couples. If any of you have participated as 'angels' to help with new students, you may have recognized that there were an abundance of single women. When they graduated they may have hung on at club dances but rarely ventured any further. They soon got tired of sitting on the sidelines and showed up less and less and eventually forgot what they had learned so stopped coming out to dance at all.

I was one of those "excess female" students. I had two different 'angels' that guided me through mainstream lessons. Upon finishing up my mainstream classes, I was fortunate to meet a recent graduate of another local club who invited me to take Plus lessons with his club over the summer. I became an avid dancer; dancing at every opportunity.

Over the years, dance partners departed for a variety of reasons (ill health, personality conflicts, lack of interest in square dancing and new relationships). Whenever I would run into couples that I hadn't seen in quite some time, they would inevitably ask "Where have you been, we haven't seen you around". My response would be "I didn't have a partner". Their response would be, "You shouldn't have any trouble finding a partner - you are young, attractive and a good dancer". Certainly those characteristics could give me an advantage over many dancers, but where is the single, male dancer to recognize those advantages?

Some women may be bashful about calling a partner; that was a hang up I overcame early on. Dancing is too important to me. It is my sanity 'fix', my attitude adjustment, my tension release. But there has to be someone out there to call. What is the answer? There are so many of us (single, female dancers) trying to hang on to our passion for square dancing, but without a partner, we can't continue.

I know of one local club (actually, it's not all that local) that I don't hesitate to attend without a partner. They go out of their way to welcome singles. I am always welcomed with open arms and have yet to sit out a tip unless I wanted to. Male or female, singles get to dance at this club. Couples take turns sharing their partner with the single dancer. Is it really all that much of an imposition to share your partner for one tip? I know I have shared my partner with single women at any number of dances. If all of us were willing to share, there wouldn't be an undue hardship for anyone.

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