The International Square Dance Magazine


This month I am touching on a topic that I am worried, concerned and care deeply about – new dancers. While this does not seem like a new topic, there is a problem with several clubs that I have seen recently.

Case in point: At a club a young women walked in with her nine year old daughter and said her daughter wanted to square dance. The person at the door immediately said, “she may be too young.” I heard the statement and said, “How do you know, she has not even been in a square yet.”

A little more background: This club does not advertise for classes, they have me print flyers and they give them to friends whom they have asked over the years. After three years of no classes and reducing to one square, I told them if they want me to call, I am going to have an open dance and anyone who walks through the door is welcome. The club now dancers three squares. Some of the dancers can dance all the Mainstream calls, some only the basics. No Rounds and no breaks for the Caller as I make sure everyone gets up to dance.

The girl and her mother got in the next square. Interesting to me was the mother wanted to dance the “man’s” part so her daughter would be with her. Then nine year old and her mother enjoyed the dance and on the first night learned, stars, allemande, right and left grand, pass through, wheel around, ladies chain and grand square. The young women and her daughter were almost “snubbed” by several of the older dancers (most of ours) and the following week they did not return. Fortunately, this story seems to have a happier ending. The following week the young woman, her boyfriend, daughter and her parents all showed up and all got into the easier squares.

My concern is that many clubs discourage young dancers either overtly by disparaging statements or covertly by ignoring and refusing to dance with them. After all if I am over 60 why should I have to dance with a ten year old. We need a new attitude, we need to welcome all dancers, we need to get the dancers on the floor as soon as possible. We need to rediscover that we have a recreation that is supposed to make people laugh and have a good time. We need to realize that dancers want to have fun. Most every dancer that I know joined because it was fun. Not because of exercise, sociability, or any other of the reasons we try and tell people today. Fellow dancers and callers, we have and should make sure our dancers have fun. REGARDLESS OF AGE!

Fun set to music!