European Association
of American Square Dancing Clubs e.V.

Friendship is Square Dancing's greatest reward


EAASDC-Bulletin November 2010

Square Dance Etiquette

Keyword ‘Refusals’

Ulrich Miller, Crailsheim Country Squares
aus ‘S HORÄFFLE 1/97

It is quite common and accepted in Square Dance that women ask for dances as well, while men at the same time are expected to accept such invitations. Since everybody already is introduced to this common practice at Open House nights, it goes without saying.

But I think it is necessary to examine 'refusals' more closely: When a dancer turns down a request for a dance only to ask another lady for this same dance or to accept another invitation right away, this is a 'true refusal'. Such offending behavior cannot be accepted.

Instead various types of 'false refusals' seem to exist, as the number of male dancers is considerably lower than that of female ones on most club nights. Ours are not the only club nights on which this old problem is obvious.

Simple counting proved to me that the relation is often 1 : 3. Therefore 'false refusals' can hardly be avoided if the man asked has already promised exactly this dance to somebody else and has perhaps even made appointments for dances to come. In these cases his refusal is a 'false' one. With the relation among dancers being as it mostly is, the advantage lies with the men: they can (or are obliged to) dance all the time.

Nevertheless, some will not enjoy doing each and every Tip, as the leisure activity Square dancing should not turn into a hard time. I think women have to come to terms with the fact that men now and then need a break or that they just wish to finish their conversation.

When turning down a request for one of the reasons already described, the man can politely make up for his 'false refusal' by promising a later dance to the women who asked him.

Some men even leave the room when a new dance begins because they then will not be considered as dancing partners - and a 'false refusal' therefore is not necessary. But I think they should better admit their need for a break openly instead of taking flight.

My experience taught me that women also use 'false refusals' out of their need for a break - when their legs or shoes hurt or they simply feel like having a bit of fresh air. Men understand and accept such behavior. The best explanation for a 'false refusal' I had so far to cope with: "I wear trousers today and will only dance in male positions." - such reasoning is only just acceptable.

I would like to pass some secret information to ladies, who travel very little: On Special Dances the relation of male versus female dancers is far more balanced. When dancing Plus, a higher number of men than women is almost the normal standard.

Of course it is not quite fair to ask people to wait for different and future events. Instead, we ourselves should try to do something about the present situation. Although the problem of more female than male dancers cannot be easily solved, we can try to improve it. All of us but particularly all ladies should do more advertising for Square dancing and try to win new members. If the number of dancers increases, the problem will become less severe. Please talk to all your male friends and acquaintances! I myself am a victim of such successful and long-term campaigning and am still glad for it, owing a thank you to the lady who persuaded me to do Square dancing.

Advertising for our new class should start now. Our demos are best turned into a successful means of advertising by all dancers' good mood, their true smiles and the skilful presentation of music and dancing, while everybody's dress will prove the Square dancers' excellent taste. Every male we can this way enchant and trap for Square dancing will automatically reduce the number of 'false refusals'.

Transl.: Maria Oswald

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