What do you mean, weave in parts of songs?
Here's a "singing call", done by our friends Don Sprosty, and Doug Sprosty, Tom Manning and Bob Asp. They record as Solid Gold Records, and call across the Midwest. Here's another one, by our friends Curt Braffet and Jack Berg of Chicago Country Records. OK, while I'm hunting around, here's another by our friend Bobby Poyner, too!
Don't think that it's all country music: check out Celebration, Dream Lover, What a Wonderful World, Close Enough to Perfect, Proud Mary and Mony, Mony. We've danced to music by Elvis, Beethoven, Elton John, Buddy Holly and almost any other popular artist.
You will find calls from the classics - here's one and here's another one , to the silly songs you have all heard before. Here's one by Stefan Forster , and another one by Chuck Mashburn. You will also encounter the Christmas songs from the classics to the funny. There is even a singing call about a dragon.
As you can see, Square Dancing is not the old country, back of the barn hoedown that you may have thought it was.
(Can't get the songs to play? You'll need the free Real Audio player. Click on this RealOne icon, and look for "Free RealOne Player" in small print.)
So what makes it fun?
Dancers tell about many different aspects that they enjoy: they tell us that while they're dancing, they leave the cares of the world behind and focus on the the beat of the music and the movements being called. It's great exercise: after a fast dance, it's not unusual to see dancers fall into chairs out of breath (but with a huge grin on their face). Sometimes dancers will be amazed at the complexity of the patterns called and wonder how the caller will ever get them out of it -- only to have the caller make one or two simple twists and (surprise!) watch everything fall into place.
Does it really count as exercise?
Studies have shown that square dancing does have a positive impact on health. Did you know that Square Dancing burns 100 calories per hour? Check out this letter from the Mayo Clinic, and this article published on WebMD. The American Heart Association says aerobic dancing is good for your heart, and suggests that fast walking may be better than aerobic dancing for people over 40. Since square dancing is a cross between fast walking and aerobic dancing, it's sure to be perfect! I read an article recently that stated that, in an evening of square and round dancing, you may dance 9 tips of squares (16,416 ft.) and 2 rounds between tips (9,360 ft.) or a total of 25,776 feet? (About 5 miles) Wow!! Five miles and having fun at the same time.
In a report dated October12, 2006, The American Heart Association also stated that "Heart failure patients can waltz their way to healthier hearts"
I don't know if I can move that quickly...
Sure you can. Up until November 2001, the oldest square dancer in the country lived in Park Ridge. Unfortunately, Tony passed away -- at the age of 101! He was still dancing twice a month. Here's an article written about him as he reached his 100th birthday.
If you happen to visit us on our dance nights, chances are that you will see "Uncle" Artie Engren dancing both squares and rounds. Artie just turned 90 this past June.
I remember doing Square Dancing in grade school!
So do we. Trust us -- real square dancing is very different from the elementary (pun intended) levels taught in some schools. This is adult-level entertainment.
If there's "square" dancing, then is there "round" dancing?
American folk dancing has several components, of which square dancing is just one. Round dancing is ballroom-style movements choreographed in set pieces to popular music. Contra ("traditional") dancing is more like the popular image of square dancing, with more whoopin', hollerin', foot-stomping fun. Line dancing is another (perhaps the most popular) part of American folk dancing. Many square dancers are familiar with all four of these styles -- in fact, the larger square dance conventions will have separate halls for all four styles, and dancers will drift from one to another based on their moods.
When can I start?
If your Tuesday nights are open, consider joining us for lessons. (If you can't make Tuesdays, check out the lessons offered by other clubs at the MCASD web site.) If you're an experienced mainstream or plus-level dancer, come to any of our regular dances on the 2nd, 4th, or 5th Fridays of September through May.
Do I have to wear special clothes?
Nope! Many square dancers do enjoy wearing western-style outfits to the regular dances, but they're not a requirement. For men, long-sleeve shirts are the norm, while women generally wear either "prairie skirts" or the shorter skirts with petticoats. Lessons at Arlington Squares are always "casual", so wear whatever makes you comfortable.
I have other questions. Who can I ask?
Drop us a note, and we'll get back to you! Let us know what else should be on this page, and we'll get the question answered for everyone.