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  • Patricia Ruggiero

    Patricia Ruggiero Oct. 3, 2001, 3:10 a.m. (Message 27684)

    Square dancing. Was: Contra dancing

    Adam wrote:
    "Square dances are all called and they have a medal system which means you
    can't must sit out certain dances if you haven't got the medal!"
    Perhaps you are unaware that there are (at least) two forms of Square
    Dancing in the U.S.?  *Traditional* square dancing consists of simple, very
    accessible figures, and is often coupled with contra dances.  For example,
    in the Washington, D.C., area, in the mid-80s, the Friday and Sunday evening
    dances were "contras and squares."  Squares have since fallen out of favor
    there and are, sadly, rarely done.
    *Western* square or *Club* square dancing sounds like the variety to which
    you refer.  First a dancer must take a Basic Class, learning the basic 50
    calls (which, as it turns out, are the very ones that constitute
    *traditional* square dancing: grand chain, ladies chain, forward and back,
    circle, right and left through, pass through, among others).  Only after
    mastering these can a dancer move up to Plus Levels where increasing more
    complicated figures prevail.  I don't recall whether one actually gets a
    certificate or medal, but as far as I know it is true that you can't just
    walk into a club dance and expect to join a square without some evidence
    that  you can actually do the dances.
    Note that the figures listed above are those that we find, with some
    variation allowed for change across time and space, in ECD and SCD.
    who moved from the D.C. area in 1998 and now does SCD in Charlottesville and
    Richmond regularly, ECD once a month in C'ville, and contra once a year
    (when an outstanding band comes to town)

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