Wednesday, July 16, 2008

As Easy as ABC!

I was over at Kent, Brian, and Michael's last night. Kent and I were discussing the DC Diamond Circulate web site, then veered off into other square dance topics. He asked me if I had heard of ABC Square Dancing. I had heard about it, but hadn't really looked into it.

One of the challenges of square dancing is that if people are going to learn it, they have to make a big time commitment to it to take classes and learn the calls. Most people want to dance, rather than learn how to dance.

In the Olden Days before Modern Western Square Dancing, that's exactly what people did. The caller would teach the figure at the beginning of the dance, the new dancers would be designated the third or fourth couples in the square, and by the time the dance came to them, they knew how to do the figure. In ancient days, when people went to a square dance, they danced.

The ABC square dancing restores some of this immediate danceability back to square dancing. Couples, within a tip or two, learn basic calls that move them around the floor. By the end of an evening they know fifteen or so calls. The whole ABC program teaches 22 calls/formations/designations. Within three sessions, dancers will have learned all 22, and can become quite proficient in the ABC dance program.

If some of the dancers want to go on the Mainstream or beyond, they can then take square dance classes. The beauty and simplicity of the ABC program is this: you encourage people to dance first. Let them dance the first time they are out on the floor, and if they want to learn only those calls that's fine! They're square dancing, and that's what they want to do! You encourage dancers to dance immediately. You don't worry whether they will continue with square dancing; instead, you focus on giving dancers a great dance experience.

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