European Association
of American Square Dancing Clubs e.V.

Friendship is Square Dancing's greatest reward


EAASDC-Bulletin March 2011


And in every beginning there’s magic .... *

Kerstin Keller, Colonia Swingers

So it is with us two, Renate and I, who were graduated in May/July 2008 and who plunge jointly into the club life of square dancing.

For us it is really a sort of ecstasy, the desire to catch up on a lot of things, and finally be able to begin dancing. There are many new things we meet, and we are on the so-called “free hunting-ground” as we say, the “student bonus” is on the fritz .....

The impressions are diverse, just as in another world in which we immerse, never existent before, and now everything seems to consist of square dancing.

Our club night is on Wednesday. If the month has a 5th Wednesday this evening is used for visiting another club. So we get around a lot, drive to places we didn’t know before, and get acquainted with other dancers and callers.

We also visit the so-called “Specials”, events that sometimes last from the afternoon to the night or even present a diverse program spread over the entire weekend. In the summer I bought a wonderful petticoat, as we dance in traditional square dance attire every first Wednesday of the month and also when visiting other clubs.

I should specially mention the demonstrations (demos or show dances) that our club presents for street parties and other events. These demos are very important in order to advertise new classes. By the way, the beginner classes: our club organizes them reciprocally every second year together with our neighboring club, the “Crowns & Flames”.

In our club we have one caller, the socalled “club caller”, who is active one night per month changing with two other callers. The other club nights we have guest callers. You notice that most of them have been doing their job for some time, but one thing is common for all of them – they are all trying hard to look after the dancers, they look at difficulties and repeat figures that do not flow very well. And we quickly learn to adapt to different callers. We also learn that every caller has his particular way, his method to call, but this is what makes it so interesting.

Sometimes the caller expands on a particular figure – as he did on the last club night when he exercised the figure “Walk and Dodge” with us – from all possible positions. To be honest, I couldn’t bear it any longer (“I felt it came out of my ears”), but I’m sure that I was able to learn something there. Then the callers like to surprise us with certain “theme nights” – so we had one club night with songs from the Beatles, another time with songs from Louisiana. Once, we even had an excursion into Contra Dancing, a dance to calls (or prompts as they say) whose figures are danced in two facing lines in time with the music.

I continue to be astonished what the callers have to offer us. And their success is clearly to be seen, as mostly we dance with 4 or 5 squares. Often there are guests from other clubs, from both near and far, sometimes only a few, but during the last summer we danced with nine squares and some of us had to dance in the court outside or in the hall in front. In summer we had a summer party with a barbecue.

In September the club organized the “Do Si Dome” Special: very successful as I heard, but I could not attend as I was on holiday. By the way: Holiday, even there I was not obliged to do without, but I could visit a club where I stayed for one week, a club near Bad Tölz. In September we presented Square Dancing to a big audience in the “Köln Arcaden”, a large shopping mall in Cologne, and afterwards we continued dancing for two or three hours – with or without spectators, it was just fun for us.

During the Christmas time we danced to Christmas carols in a hall festooned with Christmas decorations, we sang a carol “O come you dancers” instead of “O come you children”, and we finished off our dancing year on December 30th with a rush of visitors from our neighboring clubs. With such a colorful program boredom is just not possible.

But I was most impressed by the Progressive Squares with Stefan Förster as caller during the Fall Round Up in Leverkusen. For several days after that event I was just thrilled that this is at all possible. About 30 squares dancing together, the hall is crowded with people, and we move around the entire hall. If someone had told me before I would not have been able to imagine this. But it works and we finished up in the same square we started in.

Well, Renate and I are both very satisfied with the club life of the Colonia Swingers. We are always happy to belong to this club where we have already experienced and got to know so much in such a short time. We were warmly welcomed and now feel well integrated. And at the same time – without effort – we have gained confidence in dancing.

Transl.: Hartmut Heiber * As far as I know, this citation is by Hermann Hesse, a German writer, from his poem “Stufen” (steps)

Reprint from Square Up, March 2009

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