Square Dance - what is that?




10 questions about square dance


1. Why is square dance called Square Dance?

Doing the Square Dance, 4 couples are dancing with each other starting (if you look at it from above) in a square figure. During the "tip" the dancers build a big variety of figures, but at the end all are again sorted into the starting square postition.



2. Is square dance differnt from other dances ?

There are always 4 couples dancing in a square. There isn't, as in folk dancing, a learn-by-heart queue of figures that have to be danced, but a "Caller" leads through the song either by singing or speaking. He (or she) slightly shifts the original vocals of the song in order to enter "Calls" into it. Those are orders which will announce the figures which are to be danced next to the dancers. By this, every "tip" is unique and every song can have a variety of square dance versions.
The announced figures are standartized througout the world. If you know square dancing, you can dance it all over the world with others.
In opposition to classic standard oder latin dances you may have learned at some dancing class, square dance does not necessarily require grace or a great coming-out of the individual, but focusses on a harmonic getting-along with your fellow dancers and (very strongly) on enjoying yourself.



3. How many figures are there and how long does it take to learn them ?

The standard programm "mainstream" of square dancing is made out by 66 figures, that a "Caller" can announce during the dance. In a "class" you can learn this standard in about half a year - and it is really easy !
Of corse there are a lot more of figures with an increasing difficulty level. By this, everyone can expand his/her knowledge at his/her own speed and likes.


4. Which prepositions are there to dance ?

Age : practically none. there are square dancer from 6 to 99 years of age.

Fitness : with square dancing using only figures that have to be walked and turns, it is healthy for your bones and increases your dexterity. By remebering the "calls" you train coordination and your brain.

Knowlegde of dance : Square Dance is a couple's dance, being fit for everyone !! Who says "i can't dance" will be proven the opposite at square dancing.


5. Are there championships or contests ?

No !! Its the initial thought and the often-stated goal of square dancing to bring forward the affiliation with others and the fun Therefore there is no competiting, but there are regionals and country-wide events called "Specials" and "Jamborees", where there are up to 2000 dancers meeting to dance with each other and - as a matter of course - have a great party-time.


6. Who can go square dance ?

At square dancing there are no differences made refering to your social status, religion or your origin. The social aspect is emphasised at square dancing. A comfortable being-togehter, called "Afterparty", after the end of the dancing time is a must-have.
Likewise, the square dance clubs make a point in visiting each other. So there are often trips to a nearby clubs organized or travels to more distant ones, and at almost every vacation place theres a square dance club to come and have a look at the evening...


7. Is country music a necessary part of square dancing ?

The origin of square dance is at the pioneers and the great treks in the USA and therefore almost naturally in country music, so that there are many of those songs used. But square dancing is developing itself, and very often the callers use songs of others musical styles. square dance is that flexible that you can dance it equally well to oldies, popmusic, present hits, jazz or christmas carols.


8. are there performances in public as well ?

Surely !!! Because of the typical, colorful square dance dresses (petticoat for the ladies, western shirts for the gentlemen) and the easy-going music, square dance performances are always an enjoyment for the eye and the ear.


9. Where to dance square dance ?

In germany, there are about 450 Square Dance Clubs. In every town or greater village you will find a club, an in most towns there are two or more. Square Dance is known world-wide. There are a huge amount of Clubs scattered all over america, japan and the whole of europe.


10. Do you have to be a little crazy to square dance ??

This question can't be entirely answered. Who enjoys to have fun in dancing and can imagine wearing unusual clothes and having an unusual hobby at which he/she will meet a lot of like-minded people, will very well fit to square dance. Square Dancer get decorations "Dangles" for dances performed under difficult circumstances or at special places and for the most visits of other clubs and celebrate together after dancing. 




 Key-words : 

Afterparty : celebration after dance. After the dancing evening, everybody is invited to share a beer, a pizza or just a place on the bar. square dancers organize special seasonal feats as well.

Angels : Angels are adept dancers who help the "newbies" learning how to dance.

Badge : every club has an own, self designed badge. The badge of the bridge house twirlers includes the Clubsign and a name-bar. The Bridge House Twirlers Badge shows the landmark of
Bad Kreuznach, the old and famous Bridge Houses

Calls : Announces from the caller to the dancers to let them know what to do next

Caller : He`s announcing the next figures to the dancers by singing

Class : during a class you will learn  66 figures. They wil be explained and trained week by week. Usually a class takes about 6 month and ends with a graduation party.

Dangles : decoration for a special event or dance (for instance- you`ll earn the grasshopperdangle by dancing barefoot at grass or lawn)

Jamborees : countrywide event where Square Dancers come together for two or three days to have fun and party time.

Mainstream : Starting-program that a Square Dancer had to learn during the class

Open House : special evenings open to everybody who is interested to see how Square Dance works and a chance to try the first steps 

Specials :  regional events hosted by a club for any special reason

Students : "Newbies" who wants to learn Square Dance in a class

Tip : normally a pattern and a singingcall in the time of 15 to 20 min. There are about 6 to 8 tips on a square dance night with breaks for the caller and dancers.