Dee Finney's blog

Start date July 20, 2011

Today's date November 19, 2011

page 52




NOTE:  This page occurred because I had a dream about square dancing, which I and others have had before, but I wanted to know why I dreamt this and the reason was not apparent.

I used to square dance and even participated in performances at malls and schools, as did many friends, and it was lots of fun.  But when one dreams about it, it takes on another connotation somehow.  So, I researched it and that was not easy.  See what follows:


11-19-11 - DREAM -  I can't recall a whole dream, but there was a scene at a distance where I was watching a group of people square dancing.  The women were all dressed in yellow, and the men were all dressed in bright green.  They did a set of swing through all through the group of 8 people twice.

Before that, I recall that a group of people, not dancers were also trying to make a set of decisions along the same order - 8 people - 4 women and 4 men.  I don't know what was being decided though.

Other square dance dreams:


11-28-89 - DREAM - I was in a house with my ex-husband Edward. He was expecting his best friend to arrive, so I prepared myself to go upstairs with my favorite stuff so I wouldn't have to meet him. But my plans were disrupted and Edward made me stay downstairs and meet the guy. We were sitting on the sofa and Edward started to show affection to me, but a huge Indian showed up and brought out a trick game to scare them. I was to participate in this. We were standing in a pretend stream of water that ran through the house and the Indian put a little pretend cockroach down that ran over to the men and turned into 8 or 10 little dancing cockroaches. They, in turn, changed their pattern of dancing and went to Edward where 9 of them died off. The one remaining one ran over to the refrigerator and turned into a giant sized cockroach standing on his hind legs. He looked like a huge bug in a tuxedo. A voice announced the date. MARCH 9TH.




10-12-92 - DREAM - I was then in my apartment on the 1st floor where I worked and my apartment walls were all of glass. I could see everything going on around me so I could control it, but everyone could see what I was going too.

I put a stop to some minor things like a young girl who was running around at 1:30 a.m. and an older woman who was walking around the outside of my apartment.

I went outside and my brother-in-law Ralph and his son Tony were out there looking around. I was surprised to see him and he said that he liked my apartments and that he would be looking for a new place to put his mother in a couple of years and he would let me know when. (His mother died several years ago)

I then went into a recreation room where many people had gathered and they said that they were going to be teaching square dancing. That sounded like fun, but I didn't know if I would remember how and I didn't know if I had the stamina to do it now.

My nephew Tony came up behind me and held both of my hands and we started walking together as one person and the whole group started to circle the room in the same manner. We went around and around the room, more and more people gathered, creating obstacles, and we had to go faster from time to time and I didn't get out of breath and we managed to avoid all the obstacles with no problem, then suddenly we were all in a huge dance hall and there were no more obstacles and I was amazed how nice all these people looked having made it through all we had done to get there.

We were about to leave and go home and I saw a post card and it was briefly addressed to Tony who was still holding my hands behind me. Then the address went blank and the message read, "A friend will come from Geneva."


7-19-93 - DREAM - I was in New Berlin with Becky. There was a festival going on in the field next to my house. They were doing square dancing. Becky and I watched awhile, then sat down at an open bar. Becky said there was two Christmas presents there for us. I looked and sure enough, there were two hand-carved, very intricate chairs and each one had the name 'Dolores Wilke' hand-carved in a design on the back of the chairs. Other people were sitting on them. Each was a different type of chair.

I decided to go home to 16th St. and I wanted to take the chairs with me, but I couldn't find them. Becky told me that someone named Lucy (a relative) had sold them because she thought they were inappropriate gifts. I was quite put out and wondered of Lucy had pocketed the money or what.

I went across the street to go home, but I had to check in with someone on the dispatch radio to announce my change of location. My number was 40 and I answered #340 was leaving for home. He asked me how long it would take me. I said '20 minutes' I went across the street to my yellow car and found it full of loaves of bread. I had to move them because they almost filled the car. I had walked past rows and piles of harvested orange pumpkins but they were all too heavy too carry.

By the accelerator, I found a yellow bag with 6 large potato chips in it.

Then I was ready to leave.


10-14-97 - DREAM - It was my last day in apartment #7. I had already moved all my stuff out and had come back for a check out inspection and turn in my keys.

I went down to the basement where the owner was giving a going away party in my honor. The owner and his wife were small Japanese people. They wanted to play a game nobody had every played before. In order to do that, they sprayed a fine mist of yellow stuff on the floor to make a 4 sided square divided diagonally. There were 8 people...2 to a side. It actually seemed like a square dance because several of us faked a dosie-do in fooling around.

At this point, I saw a vision of a red arrow with the numbers 1 & 3 at the ends and knew that only couple 1 and 3 would be going back and forth. I was on the #4 side.

The Japanese womans aid the loser of the game had to forfeit $30. Several people didn't have any money. The Japanese woman said the loser could pay the winner with sex. That wasn't agreeable to everyone and several of us decided not to play. So, we didn't play at all.

I then had to finish checking out the apartment to make sure I had everything out of it. I wanted to go alone but was accompanied by the guy who lived in #8. We went inside the apartment and there was an 8 sided candy counter in there - each side had a different kind of candy under slanted glass windows.

The other guy said that was always his downfall when he used to manage the place because he ate up all the profits.

I remember having a silver key in my hand and unlocking the door, but cannot remember turning in the key. I might have kept it.

NOTE:  On this same dream page, I had a dream about meeting the alien Gilgamesh and he showed me a secret glyph which was the number 7.




DREAM - 3-24-02 - I know I was in ... dresses and petticoats from square-dancing, from the 60's with tons of lace. I was going to try on one of the brown lace dresses, ...




 9-14-07 - DREAM - In this dream, I was at my Father's lake cottage with my sister. We went over to the resort where there was a dance-hall. A man was sitting at a desk and teaching square dancers how to do a 'new' movement that had never been done before by these dancers. He told them to hook their left arms into each other in a circle and then dance backwards in a counter-clockwise motion.

Meanwhile - three couples lay on the floor (off the dance floor) and I noticed that the women were wearing pink shoes.

Since I didn't have a partner to dance with, I signed up at the square dance caller's desk for the next time and they would find a partner for me.

I then went back to the cabin and went on the internet where I started studying alternative health protocols that I was going to teach in Milwaukee once I got back home.

When I finished that, I went out to the driveway and since my husband hadn't come to the cabin, I was going to drive home in my sister's car.

My sister seemed over anxious to have me leave and go home and she made me promise not to take Highway 41 home which would be fastest, but a main freeway with a lot of traffic, but she made me promise to turn left at Germantown and take Highway 45 which was a narrower and slower, but safer.

I told her I wasn't ready to go home yet, but I was just getting ready.

I pulled out a map then and the map was only of Northern Canada that showed the north pole. The north pole had shifted south into Hudson Bay right near the northern edge of Canada.

Here is a map of the magnetic North Pole and the Path of Movement

Later, I had a vision where I saw the sun, colored very pale yellow and next to it where the letters FOIA which was indicating I should do a Freedom of Information Act search about the sun. That information is below:

Later - while meditating on the sun on the sofa in the afternoon, I saw five Mayan words to the right of it, along with the word tsunami. Right after that I saw the word 'tsunami' again. That doesn't seem to make any sense to me, but we'll see what happens.

In a dream following the vision, I was going across the street to a school, and I forgot to take the mail with me.

Inside the school was a set of stairways like the school was built around the Temple of Palenque.

I got to the top of the steps and was standing on the top platform and I wanted to go down the center stairs, but it was too steep for me, so I went down a stairway on the right side that wasn't quite so steep and it had a green iron hand railing on the right side. (There was a matching stairway on the left)

I got down to the front door and stood at the curb, waiting to cross the street, but there was a big fire truck parked at the curb on the other side of the street. A little girl came running out of the house across the street and just then two more fire trucks came screaming down the street with their horns blowing and stopped behind the other fire truck.


9-16-07 - DREAM - I was in a school made of stone. The students were all adults.

There was a special group of stones set in a pillar-like pattern. Some of these stones were dated Dec. 7 and some were dated Dec. 9.

There were deep grooves carved into these stones within and when something was activated, an energy would spiral through these stones and great upheavals would occur.

We weren't told in advance when this energy would begin and that we shouldn't mess with these stones unless we knew all about the energy.

We were in awe of what the teacher said, but just then the energy started and it was too late to learn about the energy. The stones were already starting to split.


9-16-07 - VISION 2 - I was standing in an area of buildings made of stone. The ground began to tremble and shake and loose stones began to fall off the buildings more and more and littered the ground in every direction.

VISION 2 - I was standing in front of a tall pillar made of dark stone. At the top of the pillar kneeled a young blonde man, wearing a bright yellow long-sleeved shirt and bright green pants.

I heard a voice say, "He's not going to stop the stones from falling down!"

Tuesday, 22 May, 2001,

Sun key to Mayan misery?
By BBC News - Ivan Noble

The ancient Mayans may have had good reason for their fascination with the heavens, new research by climate historians suggests.

It seems that the Mayan homeland in central America was plagued by droughts which appear to have followed a cycle determined by the Sun.

Researchers at the University of Florida, US, analyzed sediments from a lake on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and found a pattern of drought repeating every 208 years.

The pattern matches a cycle of brightening and dimming in the Sun.

Sediment sample

"It looks like changes in the Sun's energy output are having a direct effect on the climate of the Yucatan and causing the recurrence of drought, which is in turn influencing the Maya evolution," said David Hodell, lead author of the study.

In 1993, Professor Hodell and his colleagues extracted a sediment sample from Lake Chichancanab in northern Yucatan documenting 9,000 years of climate history.

They found that the driest period of the current era was from AD 800 to 1000, coinciding with the collapse of the classic Mayan civilization in the 9th Century.

This time they went back to the lake and found data that backed up their findings and pointed to other periods of drought coinciding with other declines in Mayan building activity.

They found evidence for major dry periods between 475 and 250 BC, and AD 125 and 210, which, they believe, coincides with the abandonment of pre-classic Mayan sites in the Mayan Lowlands.

Tree rings

The evidence is by no means conclusive, but, as Professor Hodell explained to the journal Science: "It's hard for me to believe that's just a coincidence.

"I think drought did play an important role, but I'm sure there were other factors, such as increasing population, degradation of the land, and socio-political change, that interacted.

"Civilization collapse has got to be complex," he said.

Archaeologists specializing in Mayan history have described the climate evidence as compelling, but agree with Professor Hodell that it is not sufficient by itself to explain the Mayan collapse.

But other climate researchers using tree ring dating (dendrochronology) have also found evidence of a bicentennial drought cycle in step with the variation of the Sun.

The research appears in the journal Science.

I have had many Mayan themed dreams in the last few days, and a 2012 dream last night. Before I get to those, here is a plotted graph of the Chandler wobble that more or less proves what I observed.

1/29/2006 3:40 AM
Re: the suns magnetic field has doubled, and the chandlers wobble has stopped!

The OP is correct, the Chandler wobble has stopped. And this event which has developed in the past couple months, could have dire consequences for the history of mankind.

As the Earth spins about it's axis, it has a slight wobble, like a spinning top. This is the Chandler wobble. The Chandler wobble when plotted on a graph, normally makes a regular circular pattern. But it hasn't been doing that since early December of last year. This dramatic change in the direction of the Chandler wobble has been called the biggest anomaly in the history of recording the Chandler wobble, which goes back over 100 years. Here's the plot for the past 3 years which shows the current shift.



4-6-08 - DREAM - I was living in an apartment in Milwaukee which was brightly lit. In the mail I received a gift. There were three dress pins which represented the parts I and two friends had played in a stage play in the past. One was IOESOUS - which was an all white mother of pearl pillar. One was a wide silver pillar with mother of pearl rings at the top and bottom named ISIS, and mine was a delicate white mother of pearl pillar with rings of gold at the top and bottom and labeled GLORY - an angel I had played.

Then two of my friends walked by who went up on a stage to dance a square dance together. One wore a silver dress - ISIS, and the other wore leather and he had wild reddish brown frowsy hair and he looked like Evil Dick from the Big Brother TV show, and they did a square dance together. I wished I could be up on that stage with them dancing but I didn't have a part in their play.

I then went home to New Berlin and I didn't find any people there - only 5 caged brown terrier dogs, and one white terrier dog running free with a butch hair cut on her head. (My kids)!



Square Dancing is an Americanized version of the medieval court dances of Old England, and of the various folk dances that are part of many European cultures. What has distinguished Square Dancing from most other folk dances is the use of a caller to help direct the steps of the dancers. Typically, groups of couples are arranged around a circle or square shape, with the steps moving them around the circle and back and forth with other partners. A caller has music and a microphone, and directs people through a variety of routines and steps. You can dance one number, or you can dance all night!

For example, the dancers are said to belong to a certain economic level or come from certain locales; the steps are simple and repeated, so that any member of the community can participate; the dances require no audience; and they are passed down through many generations. Each of these criteria can be contradicted by dances that are indisputably folk dances, and in each of these criteria, folk dance overlaps with other kinds of dance.


Folk dance is sometimes defined as dance performed by agricultural peoples who live in close-knit communities–a definition that reflects the division of preindustrial Europe into a peasant class and an aristocracy. People in modern industrialized cities, however, participate regularly in what are called folk dances, which were brought to the city by immigrants from rural areas or, sometimes, from other nations. Although the dances of rural Europe are called folk dances, in Africa–which has no peasant-aristocracy division comparable to that of 18th-century Europe–rural dances that in function and complexity are comparable to European folk dances are instead often called tribal dances; confusingly and inconsistently.

Folk dance is usually viewed as being strictly for the pleasure of the participants, as not requiring an audience, and, despite the dancers' enjoyment, as often being of little interest to spectators. If participant pleasure is the only criterion, folk dance overlaps somewhat with much tribal dance and with modern social dance, for example, the waltz and the twist. Paradoxically, some traditional ritual and ceremonial dances, such as the English morris dance

 and the Romanian calusari, have for generations attracted local informal audiences. On the other hand, when a traditional recreational dance is performed onstage in a formal concert, its origin, steps, and patterns may be those of folk dance, but it has been removed from the context of folk culture.

Folk dances are defined as being passed from generation to generation, with no known choreographer. Folk dances continue to be invented, however, and in many cases the composer of the dance is known; most Israeli folk dances, for example, were created in the 20th century. At the same time, the choreographers of popular social dances (such as the jitterbug) are usually anonymous; but because these dances remain popular only for a brief time and do not gradually become part of tradition, they are generally not considered folk dances (see also Popular and Social Dance). The many forms of folk, popular, court, and theatrical dance, however, may be closely related. The waltz, for example, originated in Alpine folk dances, was popular for more than a century as an urban social dance, and persisted in folk tradition after its popularity had otherwise lapsed.

Folk dance in its first existence is an integral part of community activities. The dances are learned by individuals as they grow up in the society. Each dance is a living form that changes over time. Folk dance in its second existence refers to dances that have been removed from their original context. No longer performed as part of communal life, they are danced in other contexts, either for recreation (perhaps in folk dance clubs in cities or in foreign countries) or as stage adaptations to entertain an audience. Not learned by the dancers as they grow up, the dances must often be taught through formal instruction. At this point in their existence, they may cease to change or develop variations–unlike the folk dances that flourish within a community.

Most folk dances are open to everyone in the community. In some dances, however, participation is limited by age, sex, skill, or status. Certain dances, for example, are meant only for children; dances of this category may overlap with games such as ring-around-a-rosy. Other dances may be reserved for older members of a community or for specific groups, such as unmarried girls, as in the Balinese rejang. Separate dances for men and women are common. Some dances may be limited to people who have attained given levels of social or ritual status. Dance clubs, fraternities, or secret societies–such as the Mexican Concheros or the Pueblo Kachina societies–may possess exclusive rights to certain dances, or, as with morris dancers in the late 19th century, they may compete with other groups in perfecting a shared repertoire of dances.

Folk dancing may be sacred or secular, although in many cultures this distinction is difficult to make because religion pervades all the society's activities. Almost all ritual dances, however, have a social element, and many dances formerly performed for ritual reasons are today danced simply for recreation.

Dances related to the events of the agricultural cycle–from clearing the land to harvesting–are extremely common. Dances at planting time may involve symbolism related to fertility. Springtime rituals celebrate the first fruits and the resurgence of life, and the dances may take the form of symbolic combats between winter and summer

Most folk dancing also functions to create or promote a sense of community. Even when other nonrecreational functions have ceased to be viable (as when immigrants bring an agricultural dance to the city), folk dance can continue to make dancers feel part of a national or regional group and help them establish ties with their heritage.

Because folk dancing is found throughout the world, and because it can be so broadly defined, it occurs with great variations in style and with many different floor patterns. Costumes and accessories also create various effects in the dances, and dancers sometimes contribute to their own musical accompaniment. In this diversity, some generalizations can be made, and every generalization probably has exceptions.

Because most folk dances are meant for general participation, they tend to contain fairly simple movements composed of short phrases or patterns that are repeated many times. The dances of most societies, however, range from the simple to the highly complex. In European and European-derived dances in the western hemisphere and elsewhere, step patterns are emphasized, with little special movement given to the upper body. In Asia, Africa, and Oceania, dance movements involve more parts of the body or, sometimes, mainly the arms. Men's and women's movements are usually different: Men may stamp vigorously and execute spectacular leaps, as in the Norwegian halling and the Caucasian lezghinka. Women's styles are generally less energetic, calling for graceful movement, with smaller steps, and with fewer (and lower) jumps and kicks. Sometimes, however, as in American square dancing, men and women dance in the same style.

Group folk dances vary in their spatial formations and spatial progressions. Many of the geometric designs in folk dance have, or formerly had, symbolic meanings. A circle–possibly the most common dance formation–promotes feelings of unity among the dancers. Originally, circular dances may have symbolized the apparent motion of the sun or moon; the dancers may also surround a symbolic object, as in maypole dances. Examples of circular dances include the Serbian kolo and the Romanian hora. Chain dances usually have a leader, and they may involve serpentine or spiral formations as well as straight-line patterns. The dancers may be aligned side by side, or they may follow one another, and they may or may not touch one another. If they touch, the contact can be made in various ways–holding hands, encircling waists or shoulders, grasping one another's belts (as in many Greek dances), or linking arms.

Longways dances, those performed in two parallel lines, are less common than circle and line dances; but they are particularly characteristic of the country dances from the British Isles. In these dances, lines of men and women face one another, and the dancers perform complicated patterns of interweaving and exchanging places. See Country Dance. Brought to America by early colonists, longways dances developed into a form known as contra dances. The Virginia reel is an example of a contra dance. In other dances, especially in Oceania, the participants align themselves in many parallel lines and dance in unison in one spot, not interacting with one another. Both same-sex and mixed-sex dances are performed this way.

Couple dances take many forms. Group formations such as the quadrille, square dance, and longways country dance involve couples and characteristically promote the exchange of partners. In other couple dances–as in most ballroom dances–partners do not change.

Group formations of couples sometimes keep within a given spatial pattern–often a circle or, in square dances, a square. The spatial pattern may change several times during the course of a dance; couples might first progress around in a circle, then hook up with other couples to form a pinwheel or star, and then drop partners to form either one big circle or two or more concentric circles. In other dances the spatial design relating couple to couple may be minimal: Waltzing couples may all follow a general circular pattern, for example, and in contemporary disco dances the individual couples maintain no fixed floor pattern in relation to one another. Finally, in couple dances the partners may or may not touch each other. See also Czardas; Mazurka; Polka; Tarantella.

Solo dances may involve many individuals dancing at the same time or one dancer performing alone. Solo dances tend to be more difficult than group and couple dances, and they often present an opportunity to display the dancer's skill. One such virtuosic solo form is the Scottish sword dance Gillie Callum, in which a male dancer executes complex steps over a sword and scabbard lying on the ground. Another example is tap dance. As more and more skill is required, solo dances of this kind easily evolve into theatrical forms. See also Hornpipe; Sword Dance.

Although not every folk dance requires aural accompaniment, music is nearly always extremely important. Many dances are intimately related to musical forms and, in particular, to musical meter and rhythm. The waltz and mazurka, for example, both have musical and step patterns in three beats; in the mazurka, both the music and the steps emphasize the second beat. Many European dances, especially those of the Balkan countries, contain complex rhythms and syncopations.

A specific dance often calls for a specific tune or song. Just as frequently, however, a given piece of music can be used for a whole category of dances, and a particular dance can be executed to different tunes.

Self-accompaniment is often important in folk dancing. The dancers may carry instruments such as rattles or castanets, or sound makers–such as the rustling skirts of hula dancers or the bells on the legs of morris dancers–may be attached to the dancer's body or costume. Frequently, the dancer's shoes are important sound makers, emphasizing rhythms and accents; the sounds of wooden shoes, tap shoes, and boots may go beyond merely accompanying the dance and may become its main focus (as in tap dancing and clog dancing).

Dancers may clap, snap their fingers, slap their bodies (as in the Bavarian Schuhplattler), or stamp their feet. Sword dancers and stick dancers click their weapons, thereby accentuating the rhythm of the dance. Dancers often sing or chant; they may punctuate their movements with vocal sounds such as yells, yips, and yodels.

E. Costume

The clothing worn by dancers may affect the nature of their movements. Japanese women, for example, are restricted by the tightness of their kimonos. On the other hand, some elements of costume, such as full skirts, handkerchiefs, and capes, can be manipulated by the dancers, as is done in the cueca, a couple dance of Chile. The visual appeal of a dance may be enhanced by brightly colored national costumes. Dress styles today have become fairly uniform worldwide, and people wear their everyday clothes when they dance, or for special occasions, perhaps don fancier versions of the same styles. Revived forms of folk dance, however, may be executed in traditional clothes, emphasizing the national origin of the dance; some dances, therefore, are recognized almost as much by their costumes as by their movements.


North America in particular, are populated by immigrant groups, who brought their dances with them. Although some dances are usually lost, others are preserved. New forms result when dances transplanted from one country combine with those brought from another. Square dancing, for example, evolved from the dances of several immigrant groups. Tap dancing, too, probably developed from a combination of national dances–the clog and solo jig dances of the British Isles (see Jig), together with styles and movements from West African dancing. The last hundred years have also been characterized by the revival of folk dances, both in their native countries and in their new homes in foreign countries; national pride and group identity continued to be asserted and displayed in folk dance.



from:  http://autocww.colorado.edu/~blackmon/




Modern Western square dance (also called Western square dance, contemporary Western square dance, modern American square dance or modern square dance) is one of two types of square dancing, along with traditional square dance. As a dance form, modern Western square dance grew out of traditional Western dance. The term "Western square dance", for some, is synonymous with "cowboy dance" or traditional Western square dance. Therefore this article uses the term "modern Western square dance" to describe the contemporary non-historical dance which grew out of the traditional dance.

Modern Western square dance, like traditional square dance, is directed by a square dance caller. In modern Western square dance the caller strings together a sequence of individual square dance calls to make a figure or sequence. These calls are the building blocks of the choreography that is danced by the individuals, square dancers, in the squares. There are eight people (four couples) in each square; at a dance there may be many squares. Generally speaking, each of these squares dances independently of each other, with the exception of specialty or "gimmick" dances, where there might be some crossover of dancers from one square to another.

The square functions as a "dance team" for the duration of a square dance tip, a group of dances usually separated from the next tip by a pause during which the dancers regroup into new squares. A square dance tip is usually composed of a combination of patter calls and singing calls, the two types of square dance calls.


Dancers learn the individual square dance calls required to square dance at classes, which are usually taught by square dance callers, and are usually sponsored or organized by square dance clubs. In addition to sponsoring classes, clubs also sponsor special social and dance evenings, as well as larger dances, which are usually open to the general square dance community (i.e. non-club dancers).

The individual square dance calls are categorized as belonging to a particular dance program, or level of difficulty. Each dance program has a list of defined dance steps, which is associated with it. These lists of dance steps are managed, and universally recognized.

Callerlab, the International Association of Square Dance Callers, the largest international square dance association, manages the most universally accepted and recognized lists. There are four main levels, some of which are divided into sublevels: Mainstream, Plus, Advanced (2 sublevels), and Challenge (5 sublevels, the top two levels of which are not managed). In general, the first three levels are more physically active than the challenge level (often referred to as challenge square dance). Challenge square dance is more cerebral, and focuses on problem solving.

When one learns modern Western square dance one learns all the steps in a specific dance program over a period of time. There are many opinions as to how long it should take to teach and learn a dance program, and as to what is the best teaching style. Callerlab recommends that the Mainstream program be taught in no less than 56 hours. Depending on the length of the individual class and how often one meets, it can take a half year or longer to learn the full program. Some clubs, especially those with younger or more motivated dancers teach at accelerated rates.

Regardless of how long it takes to learn a dance program, there is, generally speaking, universal agreement that the result should be confident dancers that can handle themselves on a public dance floor with a variety of callers, unfamiliar choreography, and the challenge of dancing with strangers at the learned level.

It is generally recommended that after one learns all the steps in a specific dance program, that one dances at that level for a year before advancing to another dance program, if one desires to advance at all. It is important that the dancer is thoroughly comfortable with all the steps in a specific dance program, and that the dancer can apply these steps in many different positions and situations, before advancing, because advanced dance programs are built on the foundation of previously learned programs.

Because there are so many different dance programs from which to choose, dancers have many options as to how far up the dance levels they want to advance. There is no requirement to progress to more advanced levels. One is encouraged to dance the program in which one is comfortable, and only to progress to another program if one has a real desire to do so.

At the non-challenge square dance levels the dancer is introduced to many square dance calls. A few of the most fundamental and well-known calls are Dosado, Promenade, and Right and Left Grand. Among other things, the dancer is additionally trained to move smoothly and rhythmically, to appreciate timing, to execute the steps from many different positions and in many different formations, and to cooperate effectively with the others in their square so that they get the most out of their dance experience.

Starting at the Advanced level the square dancer is introduced to square dance concepts, an addition to a call which modifies it in some way. Concepts often generalize more basic notions of square dancing and are an important aspect of challenge square dance.

[edit] Dancing modern Western square dance

Each dance round, called a tip, typically consists of two dances. The first dance part is known as a hash call, which is characterized by its unstructured and often puzzling dance choreography. The music is usually instrumental and the calls are typically not sung, but rather rhythmically spoken. The second dance part of a square dance tip is a singing call. The dance instructions are sung as well as the lyrics during the long duration calls. The music are often popular songs and the calls are timed to fit. During a singing call the female dancers temporarily switch partners in a counter-clockwise order around the square until they return to their original partners. The caller restores the original order of the square both at the end of the hash and the singing call. The duration time of a tip may vary, but is usually between ten and twenty minutes. Between tips, dancers are generally encouraged to find other dance partners and form new squares for the next tip.

Dancing well requires more than attendance at class, it requires practice. The more often the dancer can train the better their skills become. Clubs generally provide their students the opportunity to dance outside of the class situation. Clubs commonly hold "club nights", which are informal dance evenings for club members. These often allow those learning a new level to dance at their class level, and often with more experienced dancers. Clubs also commonly hold special dances, which are often open to members of other clubs.


Dress code

Modern Western square dance has developed a "look" that has become known as "traditional square dance attire", a "look" that has nothing really to do with traditional square dancing. This style of dress developed when square dance’s popularity in the United States increased after World War II, and began soaring during the '50s and early '60s. Several factors may have helped influence the look that has become known as "traditional square dance attire". These include the visibility and popularity of square dance performers such as Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw‘s traveling troupe of "teenage cowboy square dancers"; the way square dancing and the west were portrayed in western movies and early television; and the popular clothing styles of those times, for example poodle skirts.

At the non-challenge levels of modern Western square dancing participants are often expected to wear western-style square dance outfits, or "traditional square dance attire", especially at large dances. Over the years, there has been much discussion within square dancing circles about relaxing the dress code, and this has led to the adoption of alternative less restrictive attire designations— "proper" attire and "casual" attire. Clubs that sponsor dances are free to select a less restrictive dress code and are encouraged to advertise the dress code that is appropriate for their dance. Some clubs drop the "traditional" dress code requirement for classes and for their summer dances, and some, like challenge groups, gay square dance clubs and youth square dance clubs, have never had a dress code.

Traditional square dance attire for men includes long-sleeved western and western-style shirts, dress slacks, scarf or string ties (bolos) or kerchiefs, metal tips on shirt collars and boot tips, and sometimes cowboy hats and boots.

Traditional square dance attire for women include gingham or polka-spotted dresses with wide skirts or a wide gingham or patterned skirt in a strong dark color with a white puff-sleeve blouse. Often dancers wear specially-made square dance outfits, with multiple layers of crinolines, petticoats, or pettipants.

Partners might have color- and pattern-coordinated outfits.

Both sexes might wear boots.


NOTE:  In the Midwest we wear dance slippers made for square dancing.  Purchase your clothes in a square dance shop OR make your own.  It's fun.


Flourishes, sound effects, and games

There are many additions to or variations from standard square dancing, which have gained headway over the years. These are not universally recognized, and they are not all equally accepted or considered acceptable under all circumstances, or in all areas. Some of these are of local nature, and others are more widely known.

These variations fall into the following basic categories:

Movements either in addition to or replacing the standard movement as defined. There are certain accepted flourishes in most communities, which may be limited to a club or geographic region, or be common among members of a group such as youth square dancers or gay square dancers. Common flourishes include replacing the Dosado with a "highland fling" move, or twirling at the end of a promenade. Flourishes which are very common in a geographic area may be known informally as "regional styling differences". Flourishes are usually omitted with those just learning to dance, as they may obscure the standard movement. Occasionally flourishes provide an opportunity for dancers to interact with adjacent squares.
There is a lot of controversy about flourishes, including from some square dance leaders who feel that flourishes divert dancers from dancing according to the standard. Unusual, unknown or uncommon flourishes may disturb dancers unaccustomed to them, or might be considered disruptive. Some flourishes can be physically challenging and are therefore potentially damaging, such as unexpected twirls and rough handling, especially for older people. Some flourishes are perceived as not fitting to the expected timing, giving some dancers a less than optimum dance experience. At higher dance levels, differences in body flow due to a flourish can interfere with proper execution of a call, as with "Dosado three-quarters". For any of these reasons, dancers may ask that flourishes be limited while they are dancing.
Sound effects
Standard responses to the caller. These include vocalized sounds, hand claps and foot stomps. Sound effects are generally well accepted, as they do not change either the timing or the execution of the step, although they may surprise and/or amuse newcomers to a club. The sound effects often serve as a mnemonic device, in that dancers associate the execution of the step with the particular sounds. A rhyming or punning word-play on the name of the call is common. For example, the response "Pink Lemonade" mirrors rhythmically and rhymes with the call "Triple Trade". Since some dancers respond "Boom!" to the call "Explode", the call "Reverse Explode" may elicit the response "Moob!" (that is, "Boom" reversed right-to-left).
Problems with sound effects can occur when they make it difficult to hear the caller's cues, or are shouted painfully close to other dancers' ears; however, in practice such situations are rare.
Rule bending games that increase the difficulty of a dance. These include dancing with fewer than 8 people in the square, changing partners in the middle of a tip, and changing squares in the middle of a tip. Playing games without the permission of the entire square (and often the caller) can be considered extremely rude, and may confuse other squares as well. Games can, however, be an excellent tool for improving square dance skills, especially in class or club situations, and often have the function of allowing dancers who otherwise cannot form a complete square to participate in a dance.

[edit] History of modern Western square dance

[edit] Traditional western square dance

Keywords: cowboy dance, frontier, folk dances from Europe, new developments

[edit] Preserving the heritage

Keywords: Henry Ford, Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw, the publication of Cowboy Dances, saving the form from extinction, Lloyd "Pappy" Shaw's Cheyenne Mountain Dancers, courses for square dance teachers

[edit] The square dance boom

Keywords: World War II's returning veterans and the home/family culture of the 1950s, "transition from the traditional, visiting couple type of dancing into all-four-couple-working kind of dancing in the 1950s" (Herb Egender), the amplifier, phonograph, square dance records, Square Dancing Magazine (formerly Sets in Order), Step By Step Through Modern Square Dancing (Jim Mayo)

[edit] Square dance's maturity

Keywords: Callerlab, the greying of the dance community

[edit] Square dance today and the future of square dance

Keywords: New markets/dancers: youth square dance and gay square dance, other new developments, competition from other forms of recreation/entertainment, increased expense, elimination from public-school curricula, changed society, changes in music and recording (MiniDiscs, personal computers, laptops, personal recording of music), impact on square dance music "industry"