This is a reprint from Bulletin December 97, but already in 1997 they said it was a reprint from more than 10 years ago. So more than 23 years passed since these remarks originally were written. But the problems are still the same and it is worth to repeat it nowadays.
We all decided at one time to make Square Dance our hobby, and to most of us this hobby became to mean more and more. What was the reason for YOU, YOU or YOU to learn this hobby? Was it the dance with its variety of figures that fascinated you? Was it the company of nice people who soon became friends? Or the opportunity to dance and have fun with a lot of likeminded people of whatever nationality or race? Was it the jolly afterparties after the dance?
It will not be easy to answer these questions one by one, because what we mean by Square Dance is dancing and good company and fun. But if we are honest, we must admit that we walked the stony road of the class up to the graduation in order to learn, and later be able, to dance properly with our friends.
We like to remember the time shortly after the graduation. We were always glad, when we had managed a tip without having caused the square to break down - and we were proud. Every newly graduated dancer knows this wonderful feeling. Even now after many years of active square dancing, it still gives us pleasure to dance the tips easily and smoothly. This is what the majority of the dancers like. However, their pleasure is disturbed as soon as the rhythm of the dance is disturbed by unnecessary gags.
Perhaps not everybody has got a feeling for rhythm. Some people were born with it, and others have got to learn it. Therefore the first task of a caller/teacher should be to teach his class the feeling for rhythm, which is the foundation of all smooth dancing.
Dancers who have no feeling for rhythm don't dance, they plough their way through the square and are often susceptible to certain extras. To them these extras are a welcome change which - as they think - gives the dance the necessary pep. They cannot understand that they break the dancing rhythm of the others.
However it would be too easy to explain every misdemeanor with a lack of rhythm. Too often it is just regardlessness, when others are forced to this kind of fun. It would be against all Square Dance rules to leave the square. So all one can do is grin and bear it. But if one finds this kind of "humorist" in one square after another, it can be quite frustrating.
If you keep your eyes open you will soon realize that rough dancing increases where the program lacks ideas. The continuous repetition of standard figures is an invitation to dancers to find extras.
On all dancing levels so many variations are possible that even the less skilled callers should be able to offer an interesting program, providing they prepare their program thoroughly. We don't want to give all the blame to the callers, but they can give their share of putting the fun back in Square Dance.
In some clubs the board and the caller take great care of styling. They have so-called fun tips in order to give the twirl-, bump- and kick-freaks a chance to let off steam once an evening. The result has proved them right, because people have stopped to give up Square Dancing, since dancing is fun again.
The twirl-, bump- and kick-freaks should ask themselves why their acrobatics displease so often. Our motto
"Square Dance is Fun"
has nothing whatsoever to do with these extras, although it is often used as an excuse. When this motto was found a long time ago, those extras were totally unknown. One took pleasure in dancing and in the nice people with whom one shared this beautiful hobby.
In order to keep this motto valid for the future, we should add a sentence which a group of worried but also enthusiastic dancers and callers found:
Lets put the dance back in Square Dancing !