About Square and Round Dancing

What is square dancing?

Square dancing involves a set of 8 dancers (4 couples) dancing together. A caller provides instructions that tell the dancers what to do. It has a long history and is related to dance forms that began in England, France and other European countries. Modern American square dancing uses a set of calls standardized in the 20th century. The standardized calls allow dancers and callers to visit other clubs all over the country (and the world).

What kind of music is used for square dancing?

Pretty much whatever the caller wants to use. You can hear everything from pop to traditional country to Broadway musical to contemporary country music, even rock and techno. The music is usually played from recordings.

How is square dancing taught?

Modern square dancing is taught through a series of instructional dances. After the first couple of weeks, three or four new calls are introduced each week in addition to reviewing the calls that have already been taught. A set of calls known as “mainstream” are taught first. Most dancers eventually decide to also learn some additional calls that are known as “plus”.

What is round dancing?

Round dancing is choreographed ballroom dancing performed to verbal cues. The dancers are arranged around the perimeter of the dance floor, and move in relation to the line of dance, the walls, and the center of the room. Pretty much every type of ballroom dance is performed, including waltz, two-step, cha-cha, rumba, foxtrot, jive and merengue.

How is round dance taught?

Round dancing is taught locally by teaching choreographed dances that use the cues that are to be learned. A few waltzes are taught, and then a few two steps, then some cha-chas, then some more advanced waltzes, more advanced two steps, etc.

Is there any special type of attire?

No special attire is required. Some dancers may wear classic Western square dance attire, but most just wear nice clothes comfortable for dancing. Dances are social events, so most people dress up a little.

What shoes are appropriate?

Shoes should be comfortable, fit well, and stay on your feet. Open-toed shoes (especially flip flops) are not a good idea. Smooth soles (such as leather) make it easier to turn and are gentler on the knees.

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