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!  :-)


  1. I think square dancing looks like it's a lot of fun. The fact that you call is really awesome! That is job that doesn't seem easy. I feel like it would require some improvisation on your part and a lot of thinking ahead in order to know what you are going to say for the next step. Did that come easy for you? Do you just know to call a certain combination of steps for a certain song? How does that work?

    1. Square dance calling definitely requires a lot of improvisation and thinking ahead. Parts of it came easily for me but other parts have taken a lot of practice.
      There are 2 types of calling: singing calls and patter. Singing calls are pre-written figures that follow the melody of a song and we also insert some of the song lyrics. The video above is an example of a singing call. Patter is a random set of calls. My job as the caller is to create a smooth, enjoyable time for the dancers while moving them around their square of eight people, eventually putting them back in the place they started. This is definitely the most challenging part!
      You should consider learning to square dance! It is so much fun!
      Thanks for your comments!

  2. I like the list of what square dancing is "not." I do remember high school square dancing, and I actually liked that. I was good at it.

    I think your introduction blog post has worked out well and includes a lot of relevant information. The design layout is simple, but sometimes simple is the best way to go.

    1. That is awesome that you enjoyed square dancing in high school. Have you ever thought about taking square dance lessons now? You should definitely check it out! If you are interested let me know!
      Thank you for the positive feedback!