The callers and cuers use computers (laptops) more and more and by this have more technical possibilities as well as varied possibilities of music storage. You now won’t see often callers lugging their Hilton machine, the speaker and a heavy record box to dances.
The run to the Plus and higher programs has started since a long time, however slowly, now you will find Plus classes more and more often. There are more Plus and high level clubs (from A1 on). The first group in our area (NRW) started with the C level about 1990, now there are already different clubs dancing until C3.
Generally speaking, the formation and teaching of dancers by the callers is not as thorough as before, so the dancing knowledge decreases as well as the capability to dance DBD (Dance by Definition). Often Plus and also A dancers are not able to dance a hard DBD Basic, as it is offered from time to time, or they only can do it after a workshop.
During special dances the program offers besides Mainstream more Plus and higher levels, often the evening program is mixed, e.g. MS/MS/PL. If MS and Plus is danced in different halls, often the Plus hall is more crowded than the MS hall. When you have this mixed program in special dances, the MS dancers don’t like to wait too long for their turn to dance MS, this is the reason that they are or feel pushed to the Plus classes. But there are also callers who make a hard MS examination before the Plus class, and they will also recommend to some dancers still to wait one year before beginning the Plus class. There are always hints to observe the Callerlab recommendation to dance Mainstream intensively for one year.
Now, in the years after 2000, there are more dancers who turn away from Square Dancing after having learnt the Plus program. They feel not being able to show any personal success to their surrounding. The spirit of the times makes itself felt. But if these dancers are enduring and stay with Square Dancing they will go further to learn the higher programs. There are more and more high level dancers who do not dance MS and Plus any longer, at least not regularly. There are also quite a few members of high level clubs who are not members of Mainstream and Plus clubs.
Round Dancing is no longer popular with Square Dancers, in NRW e.g. there are very few Square Dance clubs now offering Round Dancing as well, and if so, there are sections of Square Dance clubs dancing often another day of the week. In our area NRW there are only 2 clubs offering Round Dancing as well as Square Dancing in a mixed program of their club night. In order to maintain these mixed clubs we need “integrative” cuers who are familiar with both dance forms. Thus, Round and Square Dancing drift away from each other. We must admit of course that in Southern Germany this tendency is not so strong; you’ll find more cuers in that area. There are even dancers who feel disturbed by Round Dance tips in a mixed program of a special, and there are many Round Dancers who do not square dance. This is the reason why many special dances and training weekends are separated and Round Dance weekends determined just for Round Dancers. Round Dancing is approaching Ballroom Dancing more and more, this is a clear tendency very visible in the USA already.
Part 1 compare Bulletin Dec 09 page 55
Part 2 compare Bulletin Sept 10 page 69
Part 4 will follow