NEW DANCER’S HANDBOOK for Square Dancing

NEW DANCER’S HANDBOOK
Callers Association of Modesto Area

Click Here to View Original Book from CAMA

PRESENTED BY CALLER ASSOCIATION MODESTO AREA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WELCOME
CODE OF ETHICS
SPIRIT OF SQUARE\ROUND DANCING
TEN COMMANDMENTS
GROUND RULES
GUIDELINES FOR NEW GRADUATES
DO’s and DON”TS
NEW DANCER HOEDOWNS
DEFINITIONS

Top of Page

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SQUARE DANCING

This booklet is produced in an effort to help those new to square dancing to learn about the “Code of Ethics,” one’s attitude toward square dancing, some of the “does and don’ts in square dancing, some “Ground Rules,” some “Guidelines” to better enjoy the activity, introduction to “New Dancer Hoedowns” and a list of calls thru Mainstream. If you read the booklet and find it helpful and informative, then the purpose of the Callers Association of the Modesto Area (CAMA) has been met.

The object in square dancing is to enjoy an evening of friendship set to music The object in taking Square Dancing lesions is to become proficient enough to dance at the level that is danced at the various clubs’ workshops and Saturday dances.

In order to help you attain this goal, the following is recommended:

1. NEVER MISS A CLASS, unless it is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, one must almost dedicate himself/herself to about one year of weekly lessons.

2. STUDY THE BASIC HANDBOOK, which is available from your caller. Also there is a VCR film produced by Gold Star Productions that you might want to view the various calls.

3. ASK FOR HELP, if you don’t understand a call. Remember the caller/instructor and all the other dancers are there to help you in every way possible.

4. ATTEND A MINIMUM OF FOUR NEW
DANCER HOEDOWNS. Lessons are where YOU learn the calls. Hoedowns are where you learn to react to the calls through practice.

REMEMBER, you will not learn at a steady pace. When it seems extra hard and you get frustrated, keep trying. All the club members are interested in helping you learn to Square Dance. Sometimes we will gently guide you in the right direction, if you go wrong . Keep in mind that we are only trying to help.

Top of Page

SQUARE DANCE CODE OF ETHICS

1. COURTESY – As a Square Dancer, I will respect other dancers and callers and treat everyone with courtesy.

2. FRIENDSHIP – I will go beyond the limits to be friendly because those who participate in this activity with me are all my friends.

3. LOYALTY – I will support my own club in all activities because it means the continuance of Square Dancing depends on my personal loyalty.

4. CLEANLINESS – I do not wish to offend anyone. I am very particular of my personal habits, breath as well as body.

5. ABSTINENCE – Many Square Dancers are held in public facilities where alcohol is forbidden and their continued availability is dependent upon a favorable public image of Square Dancers . The cooperation of dancers required for following the calls is impaired by drinking and close contact in a square with those who has consumed alcoholic beverages may be offensive. Therefore, I recognize the validity of the efforts to maintain a separation of Square Dancing from drinking, and will refrain from its use before and during the dances that I attend.

Top of Page

THE SPIRIT OF SQUARE DANCING
DON’T EVER LET IT GET AWAY

“If Square Dancing offered nothing more than physical exercise set to music, the values of participation would be limited. Actually the physical act of Square Dancing, like the folk dances of all nations, is the body within which, the spirit lives, and that spirit is expressive of the people who founded it. Square Dancing is an important social event. The people come because they need each other. They need the encouragement of their neighbors asĀ  well as the relaxation and escape, for a time, from the problems of existence. They dance; they visit; they feast. Hospitality, consideration, kindness, patience, cooperation and good fellowship blend into the spirit of their dancing.”

Author unknown

Top of Page

“EXAMINE YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD OTHER DANCERS”

Square Dancing is and must always; remain a “FUN” activity that blends people of all professions, personalities, skills and levels of experience into one common recreation pursuit. There is no place for a person whom by nature can’t tolerate “goofs” and slower responses. Be patient, laugh off mixups, and appreciate that you had to learn too. In fact, you may be the next to “goof”.

Be patient and tolerant, laugh together and differences will eventually be swallowed up in your dance , fun and enthusiasm. The GOLDEN RULE should always apply at your club

Top of Page

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SQUARE DANCING

1. THOU SHALT – greet thy caller and learn the power of concentration by silently repeating his call as your success depends upon his words.

2. THOU SHALT – wear badges, be friendly and exchange greetings lest thee be labeled a snob and unworthy of the title Square Dancer.

3. THOU SHALT – remain silent while the caller gives advice and instruction. You might receive the ire of the caller as he knows the other seven in your square don’t know what he is teaching.

4. THOU SHALT NOT –

Anticipate nor dance ahead of the caller for he possesses the ability to foul you up and make you look foolish to those you dance with .

5. THOU SHALT NOT – ridicule those dancers who have two left hands or feet but do everything in your power to help them distinguish one from the other.

6. THOU SHALT – try always to dance in ” different sets so you can share your personality and experience with all.

7 . THOU SHALT NOT – moan and belittle the caller when you have goofed and save the arguing until after the tip. A set that breaks down doesn’t stand, they usually get into lines and restart when the active sets are in lines or they square up.

8. THOU SHALT – bathe diligently before going to a dance and use deodorants as many pass under our arms.

9. THOU SHALT NOT – partake of strong drink before nor during a dance lest thy mind become befuddled and you end up being criticized by all you dance with.

10. THOU SHALT – be an active part of your class, club or workshop and remember that its success rests upon your shoulders. It is not a sin to as~ for help when you have trials for when you go home confused; you will return confused.

THE REWARDS OF OBSERVING THESE COMMANDMENTS WILL BE GREAT FOR MANY FRIENDS WILL YOU HAVE AND YOUR NAME WILL BE LISTED AMONG THE FINEST PEOPLE …THE SQUARE DANCERS.

Top of Page

GROUND RULES FOR SQUARE DANCING

1. BE A GOOD LISTENER. The caller is like a quarterback. He calls the play~ by. giving you the signals for the ‘movements he wants you to make. Talking or thinking of something else is distracting to you and makes it difficult for others to listen.

2. GET INTO SQUARES QUICKLY. Don’t make the caller and fellow dancers beg you to dance! Do you realize how much time in an evening is spent that could be used for dancing if so much time was not wasted waiting for dancers to ‘square up’?

3. BE A COURTEOUS DANCER. Standard rules of courtesy are always appreciated. Saying “Thank you” to all those in the set with you is a natural reaction.

Be aware of these special courtesies:

a. Its considered bad manners to pass a square in order to fill another square.

b. Even worse, is to leave a square, once you have joined it, until the tip is over.

4. BE ON TIME FOR CLUB AND CLASSES.

This speaks for itself. Just one person can prevent a square from “squaring up”.

5. BE A THOUGHTFUL DANCER. Personal cleanliness is important in any activity, especially one where folks exercise vigorously in clear contact with each other. Another rule to remember is – BEFORE SQUARING DANCING, DON’T DRINK.

6. BE A COOPERATIVE DANCER. A square is made up of eight individuals working as a unit with no individual person attempting to show off or be “THE STAR”.

7. TAKE IT EASY. Don’t overdo. If you get tired, sit down. Sometimes you can learn a great deal by watching and listening.

8. BE A FRIENDLY DANCER. You are the host in each square you dance. Get acquainted with others in the square and make it a point to dance with as many different dancers as possible each evening. It has been said that “Square dancing is friendship set to music” .

9. YOU’RE NEVER THROUGH LEARNING. You’ll find there is always something new that you can learn or some part of your dancing that can be improved upon. 10. ENJOY YOURSELF. Have fun. Pleasure is contagious. You’ll be surprised how much your smile will pep up t.he entire square.

Top of Page

GUIDELINES FOR NEW GRADUATES

1. DANCE WITH OTHER CLUBS
Your club needs your support and there should always be a special pace for the

club where you learned to dance, but you are missing one of the great things about Square Dancing if you only dance with your home club. You are missing the chance to make many friends and denying other dancers the chance to meet you . At the same time, if for some reason, you are not happy in the club you are with, don’t stop dancing. Find a club you can be happy in.

2. DANCE TO OTHER CALLERS

During your lessons you have tuned yo ear to the caller who taught you, and you will have a special place for him/her, too. Every caller has a different style and that’s all part 0 the fun. Decide for yourself which callers you enjoy, but try them all . You might miss a good one.

3. DON’T DANCE IN THE BACK OF THE HALL:

The tendency is for the newer dancer who is a little unsure of his/her proficiency to want to hide in back where he/she thinks the caller can’t (wont see their square break down. If all the newer dancers dance in the back, you are only dancing with each other and your square is more apt to break down. If there is going to be a sound problem, it will be in the back where the sound travel through all the people dancing in front. The crowd noises also makes it harder to hear. Obviously everyone can’t dance in front, but don’t be afraid to take your turn.

4. DON’T DANCE JUST WITH OTHER NEW DANCERS

This goes hand in hand with dancing in the back of the hall. If all four couples in your square are new dancers and a little slow to react to calls, your square will break down. Sometimes an out-reached hand from a more experienced dancer is all that your square needs to keep going. Everyone dancing today was a new dancer at one time and can remember how it felt. They will be happy to dance with you. NOW BE AWARE you may run into the “old grouch”. If they make some unfavorable remark don’t let them dis-courage. Remember there are 100 others that know the ethics of square dancing.

5. TOUCH HANDS WITH EVERY MOVE (on both sides)

ANOTHER MAIN REASON SQUARES BREAK DOWN IS BECAUSE THE DANCERS HAVE FAILED TO ESTABLISH THEIR POSITION BY TOUCHING THE HAND OF THE DANCER OR DANCERS NEXT TO THEM AT THE END OF EACH MOVE. Do AS THE TELEPHONE COMPANY SUGGEST: “Reach out and touch someone”. If you are lost, at least you will know you have company when you are touching hands. Remember: IF YOU CAN TOUCH HANDS.

6. KEEP DANCING DURING THE SUMMER
This is possibly the most important hint. You have all this new information jammed into you head and the only way to make it “second nature” is to practice, practice, practice. If your club shuts down for the summer, find another club that are still dancing.

7. BE AWARE OF YOUR DANCING LEVEL
Most of the new dancers graduate as Mainstream dancers and should have received a list of all the calls. Included in this level. But before you graduate there will be New Dancer Hoedowns given by different clubs. Look for dances that are advertised at the level that you are dancing. DO NOT GO TO DANCES/HOEDOWNS EXPECTING OR HOPING THAT SOMEONE WILL “PULL” YOU THROUGH. Do not be afraid to ask the caller to explain a move or call at a dance if you are having troubles. Many dancers can explain a call, but they may tell you wrong. The best thing is to ask the caller. Callers started out as new dancers, too!!

8. DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO DANCE OTHER LEVELS

There are several levels of Square Dancing. The level you dance has nothing to do with how good a dancer you are no matter what some will insinuate. It has to do with how much time you have had to devote to the hobby. You may choose to move to another level and that’s fine. Don’t make the choice at all until you have danced Mainstream for at least one full year after graduation even if your caller has or is teaching Plus. Don’t let anyone rush you.

9. DON’T TAKE SQUARE DANCING TO SERIOUSLY

Square Dancing is for fun. The odds a fairly good that someone is going to make a mistake once in awhile (SOMETIMES THE CALLER EVEN MAKES ONE)

Don’t worry about whose fault it was. It doesn’t matter. Keep smiling, regroup quickly, form a line and wait until the rest of the dancers are in a line, then start with the next call. There is a saying “If you make enough mistakes, buy some equipment and become a caller”.

Top of Page

Finally!

Jump right up when the music starts, get in the first open square, introduce yourself, smile and have fun. Thank everyone in your square when the tip is over.

Top of Page

SOME DO’s AND DON’T’s FOR THE NEW DANCER AND REMINDERS FOR THE “OLD TIMERS”

DO be aware at all times that square dancing is a recreation rather than a completion.

DO keep smiling even if you are angry with yourself for “goofing”. The other seven people in the set might think you are frowning at them.

DO recognize your corner, not only what they are wearing, but who they are. Next to your partner they are most important person in your square.

DO be quiet and attentive to the caller during the instructions even though you know what he is trying to explain. Perhaps someone else in your set needs to be briefed.

DO wear proper Square Dance Attire – long sleeves for men, full skirts for ladies.

DO remember to treat all ladies as yo would want other men to treat your wife. The ladies always seem to treat other men a little gentler than their own spouse.

DO wear a name badge at all times. It might surprise some of the oldsters t learn that they are not as ‘well known or important as they think they are t others.

DO accept or admit you “goofed” this time. Next time it could be someone Else’s turn so don’t feel bad. And when you “goof”, goof gracefully and try to recover the best you can in order to save the set from breaking up entirely TRY TO KEEP DANCING.

DO remember where your place in the square (sides, heads,I,2,3,4 couple) DO end each dance with a flourish, applause and tanks to all in the set and mean it.

DO support a club as a dues paying member. The life blood of the square dance picture flow through this avenue and is the backbone of the recreation If everyone was a free loader, there would be no way to pay the bills.

DO make it a practice to thank guest for coming, the caller for his efforts, and the club president where you are visiting. In general, thank everyone who help make your evening a pleasant one.

DO pretend to be having a good time even if you are bored. Perhaps the other seven are thoroughly enjoying themselves. If you want a real challenge, try dancing with the seven weakest dancers. Maybe you are good enough get them through.

DO take your turn at responsibilities in the Square Dance picture as officers in a club, on the serving committee, in any way that you can help others rather than be catered to always.

CAUTION: Don’t take a club office until you have danced at least a year.

THE LAST DO: Always thank the caller at the end of the dance. His pay is not the small amount of money he receives but the pleasure he sees as you enjoy yourself. Let him know if you had fun. DON’T be a competitive dancer. Don’t try to out do the others.

DON’T be over exuberant. Your yells might drown out the caller’s next command for everyone around you . Learn to be “noisy” at the right intervals: IE. during a Right and Left Grand but not on the Allemande Left or during an Allemande Thar patter and not at the change of command point.

DON’T be a “know-it-all”. Let the caller be the instructor unless you are asked personally after the tip is over.

DON’T cut in or out of a set unless you know how. If you are cut out, leave gracefully.

DON’T be guilty of “horse-play” unless you know the set would not be offended, or the club.

DON’T take that extra swing with your partner. It might make her late for the next left allemande with her waiting
corner.

DON’T forget to trade a dance, especially with a guest. And don’t overlook the caller’s wife. She might like to dance rather than sit all the time. At least ask her.

DON’T sit like a bump on a log when another couple is needed for a set. If you want to sit out a tip, disappear into the wash room or some place where you are not seen. But don’t disappear if you think your partner may square expecting you to join the set.

DON’T cry about the hall, the sound, the crowd, the floor. Think positive thoughts so others around you aren’t effected. They might be having the be time ever.

DON’T spin or twirl the ladies unless you know she likes it. Let her decide if she wants that extra twirl. No one ever got a sore arm by not spinning.

DON’T set up squares to go out on the dance floor. If you are sincere about dancing with friends in the same set , stand across from each other and allow any two couples to join you that happen to come along.

DON’T insist on dancing YOUR way when visiting other areas. If these people dance palms up in the alamo, go along with it. If they do or do not stir the bucket, do as the Romans do but keep your opinions to yourself unless asked.

Top of Page

NEW DANCER HOEDOWNS

Flyers will be available at your class telling you when and where New Dancer Hoedowns are being held. The flyer will state the level of the dance. You can tell if you are dancing the level by checking with your instructor or the list of calls located in this booklet. All the New Dancer Hoedowns in our area will be at the level you are dancing. However, if you attend a dance outside our area, be sure to check the level to insure that you can dance all the calls to be used. If the caller uses calls beyond the advertised level, then it isn’t your fault. If you go to a dance beyond your level and the square breaks down, then it will be your fault. Some experienced dancers will say “Come on, we will PULL you through.” Don’t go. You don’t want to be “pulled” all night, do you?

You will find that you learn a lot at a hoedown. This is the time you can practice and learn to react to the calls. This is the time to enjoy, with less pressure, what you have worked so hard to learn during lessons. Have FUN at Hoedowns. That is what they are for.

HAVE MORE FUN, GOING TO AS MANY NEW DANCER HOEDOWNS AS YOU CAN

Top of Page

DEFINITIONS

C.C.S.D.A: California Square Dancer Association. All the square dance clul from Merced, Tracy, Twain Harte, Groverland, Modesto, Manteca, Turlock ; Don Pedro, Hughson, Oakdale, Columbia , Mariposa, Copperopolis, Murphys, Ceres Sonora have joined together to form an association. Representatives from the various clubs meet once a month to share ideas, coordinate activities and in general work for the GOOD of square dancing. It sponsors two festivals per year and publish the Promenader. At the present they’re 21 sq. dance clubs, 5 round dance clubs, 1 clogger club and 1 trailer club.

CALIFORNIA SQUARE DANCE Council. All the associations (like CCSDA) in the state join together to deal with issue of state wide concerns in square dancing. The Presidents of the various associations meet regularly. The state council hold one major festival per year called the State Convention. Ever other year the convention is held in a southern state city. The following yea it is held in a northern state city. NATIONAL SQUARE DANCE COUNCIL: The representatives from the various- State Councils in the U.S. and others meet and promote square dancing on the national level. They hold a National Convention once per year in various cities in the U.S.

FESTIVAL : Usually a three day event from Friday night to Sunday with multi programs; sq. dancing, rounds, clogging, contra, western swing, etc. (Same as National and State Conventions)

WING DING: A three day festival held in Turlock in March sponsored by C. C.S.D.A.

COUP OF GOLD: A three day festival held in Sonora in June sponsored by C.C . S.D.A. The profits from these two festivals are used to operate the Association and promote square dancing.

CLASSES: Usually refers to those new to square or round dances, but can refer to concentrated learning of a new program. THE EMPHASIS IS ON LEARNING. WORKSHOP: Local clubs meet to learn and practice various calls and routines. More emphases is on practice and enjoying dancing with other club members.

HOEDOWNS OR DANCES OR PARTY NIGHTS: The meaning is basically the same for all. Dancers from all clubs are invited to dance together. The emphases is on dancing. Very little if any teaching is done. Dancers are encouraged to check the level of the dance and not dance “over their head”.

CALLERLAB: An organization of callers from allover the world. It has no jurisdiction over local callers, and is not necessary for a caller to belong to the organization to call. CALLERLAB , has a convention once a year in vario cities of the u.s. There is no dancing at this convention. Members meet to coordinate and share ideas, make suggestions and recommendations concerning square dancing. CALLERLAB been responsible for establishing levels of dance so dancer~ ” can dance the same movements anywhere in the world. At the present there are the BASIC, MAINSTREAM, PLUS , ADVANCED 1 & 2, AND CHALLENGE PROGRAMS.

ROUNDALAB: Exactly the same as CALLERLAB except for round dancing. A the present the round dancers call their programs PHASES. There are six the present, each progressing with difficulty dance steps.

BMI AND ASCAP: Licensing agents for those that write and record music. It is necessary for callers and/or the club to be licensed by BMI AND ASCAP , use the songs and music for square anI round dancing. A club or sponsoring agency can be held liable for a very heavy find if the club or their caller and cuer is not licensed. The cost is between $100 and $200 per year.

INSURANCE: For a fee you can buy insurance to cover you while at a dance. This is secondary insurance after YOUR primary.

CALLERS ASSOCIATION MODESTO AREA (CAMA)

To read up on all of the old members, click this Link and reminisce.

Top of Page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *