I am the president of a square dance club.
I am looking for information about the different
types of dress attire. Up until about two months ago, I always
thought that Proper and Traditional dress was the same thing as well
as most of the club members in our small club.
I quickly looked over the web site and probably overlooked where you
have the attire, clothing descriptions. I have the USDA booklet and
really don't say exactly what is proper. Traditional would be like
what we saw at Nationals and at most dances in our area
Casual would be more for theme dances.
But I can't find anything on proper.
Would you be able to help me out or point me in a direction.
Thank you so much.
Perhaps you can define the difference between Square and Round
dancing aside from what might be the obvious - its shape.
A square consists of 4 couples in a rectangular formation.
Movements are done working with the 8 dancers in the square.
Music is almost always 2/4 or 4/4 music with about 128 beats
Round dancing consists of one or more couples, dancing in
a circle. Round dancing is similar to ballroom dancing
except that dances are cued. Round dancers do foxtrots,
waltzes, two-steps, rumbas, jive, etc.
In (Modern Western) Square Dancing, a caller gives the commands,
which the dancers must execute. The caller gives them in whatever
order he chooses. The dancers do not know what is coming next.
In Round Dancing, a cuer delivers a pre-choreographed dance for
each piece of music. The choreo for that music is the same each
last modified: 26-March-2007 ID: 657
Some members of our club are not coming back to dance because
several men do not wear long sleeve shirts. Are long sleeves mandatory
international or just in local clubs? When can we wear short sleeves?
At 113* outside for 2 weeks now and the air not working up to par and fans
all over the room and forced to dance in the basement and etc., several
just will not wear long sleeves. I noticed that some women have wet arms,
Maybe everyone should wear long sleeves on HOT nights. ?????
While we empathize with the situation you describe,
it is really not our place as an individual caller/wife team
to decide what's best for your club. Our personal opinion is
that if you are losing dancers, the club needs to address the
problem and try to resolve it to the majority's satisfaction.
We would venture to say that no dress code is mandatory in
terms of global or international standards. Dress codes are
imposed by individual clubs, associations, and individual
dance events (like conventions/festivals) where the organizers
or leaders deem it "necessary". If the requirement begins to
erode our already shaky foundation of dancers, it is our opinion
that the "necessity" should be revisited.
last modified: 06-March-2007 ID: 601
Hands Up vs. Hands Down
It seems that there are two ways to hold hands in waves, hands up (plus and below) and hands down (advanced and up). I've heard that the hands up way of dancing started in the 70s and has taken over. Do you know if this is true? What can you tell me about these two hand holds. And if given the choice of teaching hands up or hands down, which would you prefer? Why?
Sounds like a hornet's nest to me.
What you're taught is what most people feel comfortable with.
I prefer hands down.
It's more comfortable in the long run. Think about it... we don't shake hands
when we meet someone with hands up.
It makes handholds consistent. Rather than having one style for waves, one style for couples,
one style for turn thru (e.g., scoot back), keeping your hands about waist high at all times avoids
you having to raise and lower hands for calls. At advanced and challenge where there's often a
series of short quick calls, not having to constantly raise and lower your hands makes it easier
to dance a call such as (e.g., from right-hand waves: a right & left thru).
On one of my first trips to Europe, many years ago, for a C2-level weekend, I was asked by
the organizer to introduce the hands-down styling. The organizer had been to challenge dances
in the states, and these dances are all hands down. In any case, I tried to introduce this styling
to the floor, and was met with incredibly stiff resistance (i.e., this is the way we always dance here;
who are you to tell us how to dance; it's the callerlab approved styling; it's the way I was taught,; etc).
One person, in particular, a caller, absolutely refused to do it (stubborn Germans!). Eventually, a
compromise was reached, and we tried the styling for a few tips. Today, all challenge dances in
Europe are hands down, and the stubborn caller also dances that way.
Over the years, the hand height used in my local plus club has drifted downward, as the average
age has increased. They now dance primarily hands down.
last modified: 15-May-2016 ID: 738
Heads from a Squared Set
Issue: From a squared set, when the Heads are asked to do a call,
when do they work to spots and when do they end in the center?
I have a strong opinion about this, which may contradict how
computer programs such as SD do this.
From a Squared set, if the Heads are asked to do the call,
they end in the middle ONLY if the call requires them to
work with the other Head Couple. That is, if the call is
a 1-dancer call, or a 2-dancer call that does not require
them to work with the opposite, they do not move into the
middle. I.e., Heads Partner Tag or Heads 1/4 Right ends in an "O".
Also, I dislike calls from a Squared Set such as
"Heads Once Removed Split Square Thru" since I believe
they are illegal. I'd rather prefer the caller to say
"Heads move in (or Press Ahead)" followed by the call.
last modified: 19-May-2007 ID: 674
Hire a caller
My family lived in South Dakota for 10 years when I was young. I have fond memories of a square dance in high school: a bunch of high school sophomores taught to dance (well, to some degree) by the caller over the course of the evening. We had a great time.
I found your website while looking for callers in my parents' neck of the woods. If you have the time, could you answer the following?
Do callers routinely call small(er) events, like family reunions (I'm guessing around 50-70 people)?
Do callers usually have their own music and sound system?
How much should I expect to spend to hire a caller?
Events such as family reunions come under the square dance category typically referred to as "One night stands". Dancers attending these events are not expected to know anything about square dancing. The caller teaches several easy figures, keeps the dancers moving and entertained, and gives a general introduction to square dancing and associated dance forms.
Callers almost always have their own music and sound equipment.
This typically consists of a speaker, amplifier, microphone,
and music, often on 45rpm records, but nowadays on CD, MP3, and
The cost of a caller depends on what you want. Do you want the caller just
to call a few tips (10 or 15 minutes each), or do you want the
caller to call the whole evening and/or afternoon? You need to
negotiate with the caller and tell him/her what you'd like. The price
depends upon many factors. For example, how many people are you expecting?
How far does the caller have to travel to get to the event?
Is alcohol involved? (square dancing events typically do NOT involve
alcohol) What age group? What kind of facilities? Outdoors? Dance floor?
For a one-or-two-hour dance session, expect to pay between
$100 and $250.
last modified: 25-July-2006 ID: 528
I'm a writer, working on a book about Kansas (where I grew up). I'd like to know what some of the typical songs would have been for square dancing in the 1870's. Can you tell me, or tell me the best place to look?
I like your site-lots of good info but, I'm searching for and answer to a simple question? What exactly is a 'National Caller"? Is there some kind of special requirement, degree, task or educational level that one must meet?
A national caller regularly travels around the country (or world) for square dance calling.
A national caller has bookings in several states and often travels by air.
There is no degree or educational level requirements.
last modified: 02-September-2010 ID: 722
Scholarships, awards, dangles...
Since you and Vic have the most comprehensive website in the world, I hope you can help me.
I'm looking for 3 comprehensive lists:
Square dance scholarships available for High School students
Square Dance special awards, i.e. Friendship Award
Available dangles and requirements, i.e. purple heart when dancing with 3 callers, etc.
Do you have any idea where I might begin to research such items?? I would appreciate any assistance.
1. Square dance scholarships available for High School students
Many scholarships are state or regional, rather than national. I'm sure
I will miss a lot of them, but I've listed a number of URLs below.
Some of these don't show current information, but if you seek out those
responsible for the past awards, they may help lead you to current ones.
I can't seem to find patterns for sewing of square dance clothes
for women. I haven't found one website that will give a site for those of us that sew, I found 1 kwik-sew pattern which I have purchased but would like another style. I've been square dancing for 1 year and am trying to learn plus calls.
I'm directing the musical "meet me in saint louis"
and in the show is the song "skip to my lou" square dance
and I'd like to be true to the dance and moves for authenticity.
Please could you enlighten me on the moves
for "rope the cow" and "brand the calf"?
I hope you can help many thanks for your time in reading this.
There are no such calls that I know of, and I can not find any reference
to them anywhere either. My guess is they're just folksy-sounding names
intended to please the audience.