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  • Adam Hughes

    Adam Hughes Oct. 3, 2001, 2:03 p.m. (Message 27692)

    Re: Square dancing. Was: Contra dancing

    Thanks Pat.  I didn't appreciate the difference.  It sounds like here we 
    get some "Traditional" square at our fortnightly contra evenings, and it 
    is the "Western" Square dancers who get uptight about us not doing them 
    right, much like some of the SCDers get when we dance Posties Jig twice 
    through without stopping at a Ceilidh.
    The point was:
    Calling and writing cribs, listening to callers and reading cribs.  They 
    are two parallel sets of skills, and neither is harder than the other. 
    America has lots of good callers, the UK has fewer, but cribs only need 
    writing once well to still be valid.  Both western square clubs and SCD 
    clubs attach a mystique to reading these runes, which I think is daft.
    What can we do to make cribbing more accessible?  Since the accepted 
    method of learnig a dance for a SCD ball is by cribbing, should we be 
    teaching cribbing in classes, as much as teaching by walk through?  Has 
    anyone any good resource for teaching people to read cribs?
    Cambridge, UK.
    Patricia Ruggiero wrote:
    > 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.
    > Pat
    > 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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