Fun Dancing With John Wargowsky

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But I Can't Square Dance! Yes You Can!

Posted on November 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Are you a person who has never square danced, or hasn't square danced since gym class in elementary or junior high school? Are you worried you will look silly and won't be able to figure it out? Nearly every dance I call includes people in this category. In fact, this described me at a youth conference I attended in July of 1977.

 

I had never square danced before.Whatever set (group of 4 couples/8 people) that I was in kept messing up the dance the first couple of days. It took me a little while to figure out the left allemande, but I did, and then my set would do the dance correctly. What I remember is that everyone was patient and kind while I learned. No one criticized me or made fun of me. And once I figured it out I fell in love with this kind of dancing!

 

I continued to enjoy learning more about square dancing; along with line, round, novelty, folk and social dancing; over the next several years. By 1981 it was time for me to start leading dances and called my first square dance. If you visit the About Me page, you can find more details about this progression.

 

This process of 1) learning to dance, 2) appreciating the value of dance being taught, 3) and having fun while learning to dance, teaching dance and experiencing all this with people just like me molded my approach and style of leadingdance today.

 

How to get started square dancing.

This addresses the kind of square dancing referred to as traditional/hoedown/swap and swing/eastern. Western square dancing has prescribed moves in a series a levels. There are numerous western square dance clubs that welcome your participation if you want to try that style of square dancing.

  1. Seek out a dance that welcomes beginning dancers. If the publicity doesn't spell that out, call the host and inquire if there will be teaching. It is understandable that some dances are designed for experienced dancers who want to deepen their dancing experiences.
  2. Feel free to let the square dance caller know you are a beginner.
  3. Feel free to let other dancers in your set know you are beginning square dancers so they can be helpful to you.
  4. Take a deep breath and expect the experience to be fun.
  5. Listen to the caller and follow instructions. Don't over think the instructions. Square dancing isn't rocket science.
  6. When the dance is being taught, feel free to raise your hand and ask questions if there is something you don't understand. As a caller, I appreciate this.
  7. Don't get embarrassed when you make a mistake and be patient with yourself. Making mistakes and working together to figure out the dance is  a big part of having fun together. Ultimately understanding how to do the dances makes the experience even more fun.
  8. Expect that different callers may have different styles and call different dances to a song than another caller.
  9. Different areas of a state may have slightly different ways of executing dances. Embrace those differences, ask their help and have fun with it.
  10. Once you understand how to square dance, always be willing to help other beginning dancers. The more we welcome beginning dancers, the more total people we have involved in the activity.

Feel free to contact me if I can be helpful to you in leading such an experience. I post a monthly blog listing square, round, line and contra dances that I know about in Ohio. I also provide links to other groups that regularly hold such dances.


Have fun dancing!


John Wargowsky

Categories: Square Dance, Fun With People, Leadership & Communication

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