The International Square Dance Magazine
AMERICAN CALLERS' ASSOC. VIEWPOINTS

By
Patrick
Demerath

The Heart of Square Dancing

The American Callers’ Association in its attempt to be of service to all callers, dancers, and associations has provided current, timely, and effective information on new dancer recruitment, winning ways to retain club dancers, and pitfalls that drive square dancers away from 2000 to 2016. ACA really appreciates the positive comments, encouragement to continue, and contributions from callers and dancers all over North America and abroad to continue these initiatives. ACA will continue to provide information that will help the square dance community recruit, retain and retrieve square dancers as well as encourage the dancers to speak out on the cumbersome dance programs.

February is the month of St. Valentine, a 4th Century Christian Bishop who married Christians when it was against Roman law. The penalty was death and St. Valentine was condemned to death. The goodness of St. Valentine lives on today with hearts, flowers, chocolates for our loved ones. Let’s relate this to square dancing.

Marketing research indicates that the life style and preferences of many of today’s square dancers and non dancers have changed to a desire on their part for a quicker gratification and wishing to square dance at a program that can be taught in a short period of time. The ACA program can be taught in as little as 15 lessons and features a one floor program with no segregated square dancing programs.

ACA believes that Callers and Dancers Associations at all levels must the focus on what the Dancers wish and hold dear if square dancing is to survive. ACA advocates that square dancing has the potential to continue to be a source of fun and joy to all dancers and non-dancers. It does not have to fail if we all begin to change our ways by focusing on the Dancers’ needs and preferences and let go of the current debilitating dance programs with their long and stressful periods of instruction leading to a segregation of dancers and exit of square dancers from square dancing.

Let’s focus on the Heart, a positive side of Square Dancing. Many square dancers who have gone unnoticed, unrecognized, and un-thanked for helping when needed. Let us as callers and national, state and local association and federation leaders remember them and help them.

Who are the Hearts of Square Dancing?

  • Square dancers who have helped support church social activities and entertained the infirmed or in rest homes.

  • Square dancers and square dance clubs who have helped raise funds to support such worthy activities as the “Handicapable” Square Dancer Activities.

  • Square dancers who take offices in clubs and associations because no one else will take them.

  • Square dancers, who work to recruit new dancers, retain current dancers and retrieve former dancers.

  • Square dancers who are not callers but fill in for callers for extended periods of times often taking no compensation.

  • Square dancers who start new square dance activities where there were none.

  • Square dancers who are willing to try new ideas as the old traditional “sacred cows” are ineffective and outdated.

During these times of decline membership in Square Dancing, let us focus our attention to service on the Dancers.  They are a source of pride and the reason we have jobs and conventions.

Very special thanks Callers who touched the “Heart” of square dancing, the Dancers. It is by focusing on their needs and preferences that square dancing will survive.

Any individual, club, caller, or association who wishes to communicate his/her opinions on this subject is encouraged to contact the American Callers’ Association at Loulet@aol.com or Dr. Patrick Demerath at pdemerath@hotmail.com.  Please visit our website and newsletters at www.AmericanCallers.com/news.

Until next time, happy dancing. 

Fun set to music!