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!  :-)