Friday, October 11, 2013

Friend Feature Fridays

Samuel Atherton, Teresa, Andrew, & Samuel Mestel 
Happy Friday!  One of my favorite parts of square dancing is the people I meet!  As part of this blog, I am going to feature a friend from a different region that I have met square dancing on Fridays.

As I mentioned before, square dancing is an international activity.  My family has had the opportunity to dance in 8 different states and I have called in 6 states.  Although we have never danced outside of the country, we have danced with people from Japan, Germany, and even Australia.

This week I am actually going to feature 2 friends!  In September, my brother and I called a dance at the Indiana State Museum with 2 other youth caller, Samuel Mestel and Samuel Atherton.  Mestel is from the southern part of the state and Atherton is from central Indiana.  With Andrew and I from Northern Indiana, we had a diverse state representation.  As the only youth callers in the state, we have acquired the name "The Young Guns."

Both Mestel and Atherton got involved in square dancing with their families.  Like my brother and me, they started calling for the challenge.  They loved dancing and calling was just the next step.  Both have unique voices and styles.  Mestel has been calling for 7 years and has developed a smooth calling style.  Atherton has only been calling about 3 years but still likes to be able to create an enjoyable time for the dancers with his upbeat songs.

Mestel, Teresa, Andrew & Atherton calling at the danceThe State Museum Dance is held annually.  Dancers from all over the state and even surrounding states come for this free dance.  We were all extremely honored to be asked to call at the museum.  We had a  large turnout and everyone had a great time!  We enjoyed being able to sing and harmonize together.

The four of us met at the Indiana State Square Dance Convention several years ago.  The Convention is held annually in October.  The Convention starts Friday evening and ends Sunday morning.  It is a great way to meet dancers and callers from all over the state.  I am looking forward to this years convention and seeing all my square dancing friends.

Are you a part of an activity that holds conventions?  Are there other activities in which friendship plays such a big role?  Feel free to comment below with your thoughts, questions or ideas about friendships within activities!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Picture of the Day - Diversity

One theme of this picture is obviously diversity.  What is diversity and how does it relate to square dancing?

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, diversity is "the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization."

Square dancing is not just an American activity, but rather, it can be found across the world.  Japan has a fairly large square dance population.  Conventions and festivals are especially popular in Japan.  Many national and international callers travel to Japan as guest callers for special dances.  There were 37 square dancers from Japan at the 62nd National Square Dance Convention held this past June in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

This picture really represents square dancing quite well.  The different skin colors represent the wide variety of people that participate in square dancing.  This picture also gives viewers a sense of being connected.  For me personally, the square dance community is like a family.  I know this is the case for many square dancers.  We physically connect while dancing and those connections carry over and form lasting friendships.

For many square dancers, the activity is purely about the friendships they form.  One of the most common sayings in square dancing and also the name of a square dance television show is Square Dancing is friendship set to music.  When I look at the picture, I think of the friendships I have formed through square dancing and square dance calling.

What do you think of when you think of diversity?  Do you have any experiences that have led you to create lasting friendships?  Comment below and let me know your what you think about diversity in the square dance world!  Did you learn anything?

Monday, September 23, 2013

What is square dancing all about?


First of all, let's bust some of the stereotypes about square dancing.

- We do not dance in a barn.  
- We do not all wear big fluffy skirts or big belt buckles.
- We dance to all kinds of music - not just fiddles and banjos.
- Square dancing is not just for old people.
- This is not what you did in high school gym class!

Modern Western Square Dancing has evolved extensively since its hay-day in the 70's.  Today square dancing is an international form of dance that people of all ages enjoy.  I began square dancing when I was 12 years old with my family.  My parents square danced and my brother and I wanted to learn too!  Then at age 17 my brother and I started learning how to become square dance callers.  A square dance caller leads the dancers by "calling out" the pattern of dance steps to create an enjoyable time for the dancers.  

In this area my brother and I are definitely a minority.  Although there are many youth dancers around the United States, the dancers in our area are older.  The fact that I am a female caller also makes me unique.  Most square dance callers are male.  Despite these facts, I am determined  to work towards diversifying square dancing through my calling.

In this blog, I hope to share my love of square dancing.  There are many stereotypes about square dancing that are not true.  Most people do not realize what this dance form actually entails.  I want to let my readers know modern western square dancing actually is. To do this I will share my personal experiences of dances, lessons, conventions and festivals.  I will share information about upcoming events as well as talk about past events.  Square dancing is all about having fun and I will show you some of the many ways that we do have fun in this activity.      

To start off my blog, I want to share with a video of modern western square dancing.  This was taken when I was attending a Caller School in Fultondale, Alabama.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

I want to hear from you!  Have you ever square danced?  What have you heard about square dancing?  How do your prior ideas about square dancing differ from what I have told you here?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Have a great day!  :-)