The International Square Dance Magazine


Patrick Demerarth

Valentine Family Square Dancing

The American Callers’ Association in its attempt to be of service to all callers, dancers, and associations provided current, timely, and effective information on new dancer recruitment, winning ways to retain club dancers, and pitfalls to drive square dancers away from 2000 to 2017. ACA appreciates the positive comments, encouragement to continue, and contributions from callers and dancers all over the country and from 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.

Historically, ACA searched for effective square dancing programs, which demonstrated successful methods of getting people into square dancing. This month’s ACA Viewpoint presents an interesting and exciting narrative on square dancing of a very successful club with children and seniors dancing side by side.

February is the month of St. Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine was a 4th Century priest who in violation of Roman law married Christian couples. Valentine was executed for crimes of marrying Christians. The celebration of St. Valentine’s Day is called a day for lovers and at the same time encourages family unity. It can be done in square dancing.

This successful program features lessons and the club dances weekly. How often have we heard that it is necessary to get square dancing back into the elementary school systems in order to revive square dancing? Often we look at re-starting square dancing in the elementary schools as an all but impossible action. Several square dance clubs have found ways of doing it in a very encouraging and unique way.

 This article features square dance clubs who feature family unity and family dancing. The programs feature senior’s (grandparents) square dancing every week with groups of young people. Together, they are swinging their partners, promenading, and circling left and right. The American folk dance may be in decline across the world, but square dancing shows no signs of decline in some clubs.

Where do the family unity youth dancers come from? The answer is very unique. Club members bring their grandkids to take lessons. Another profitable source is from home school organizations, as well as former dancers returning to square dancing bringing their grandkids with them. The main rule is that parents who wish their kids to learn square dancing are not required to take the lessons, but they are asked to stay in the hall for the lessons. This system has proven to be very successful in the martial arts classes, where the kids who earn their black belts are the ones whose parents come to the martial arts lessons. If the parents either participate in the lessons or stay for the lessons, the kids continue to earn their black belts or square dance diplomas.

If one looks around they will see a solid number of squares in the class with some angels filling in. One might see a family with four kids, a single mother and her daughter, and at several grandchildren. Senior dancers often comment that they love dancing with the children as they are eager to help out in the square.

One positive encouragement to all the readers of this square dance journal, try it. It may work very well.

This article demonstrates that square dancing can be successful with different generations of people “breaking down the age barriers” which separate them with dancers of three or four generations dancing together. Square dancers of all ages can build energy and enthusiasm and can easily merge into square dancing while at the same time richening family unity of St. Valentine...

Any individual, club, caller, or association who wishes to communicate his/her opinions on this subject or communicate their success story in recruiting is encouraged to contact the American Callers’ Association at  or Dr. Patrick Demerath at  The American Callers’ Association will be pleased to publish your story.

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Until next time, Happy Dancing.

Fun set to music!