AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR NEW DANCERS
Congratulations! You have just completed your first
step into one of the finest social activities available anywhere, one that
lets you use your mind as well as your body in a healthy environment with
WHAT NOW? Several avenues are available and you have
the option of partaking in whichever appeals to you. First and most
importantly make sure you don't try to advance too fast. Beware of your
well meaning friends who may want you to come dance with them and they
will "pull you through". Quite often they are really more
interested in showing you how well they can dance than helping you. Make
sure you have the ability to dance on your own two feet before progressing
to another program that might be too difficult for you to handle.
In our area most club dances are listed as " plus
" dances. Make it your goal to gain proficiency in this program
before considering going any further. Should you progress to "
Advanced and / or Challenge dancing? (This should be at least several
years down the line). Here you have to make the decision whether you want
to commit to the additional time and effort to gain the ability to be
comfortable at these dances. I know that most of you at this time feel you
would like to dance most every night of the week. Beware of this! In my
nearly forty years of teaching square dancers I have seen quite a few
cases of " burn out " after several years of trying to dance too
much. Personally I would like to see you dance one or two nights a week on
average than to go dancing four and five nights weekly and burn out in a
couple of years. One of the things that makes me feel really good is to
see somebody that I taught some thirty years ago still dancing and
enjoying themselves and those they dance with.
When you are ready, try to dance to different callers.
One thing your caller/teacher can't teach you is how to react to a
different caller in a different hall. A good way to accomplish this would
be to go to a State or National Convention. These conventions are held
yearly. It is not necessary you attend one your first year of dancing. You
might feel more comfortable if you dance in your local area a year or so,
to gain confidence before going to one. Your caller can tell you when you
are ready to attend. Should you and your partner learn to round dance?
Round dancing is a nice part of our square dancing picture, but not a
necessary part. It requires an additional commitment and time on your
part. If you have the desire and the time to add this to your lifestyle -
- go for it!
In closing, remember that when we are having fun, it
must be fun for everyone. Be as tolerant of your fellow dancers as you
would expect them to be of you. Also remember how nice it was to have
experienced dancers with you while you were learning, now it is your turn
to dance with the new and newer dancers. You'll be surprised how much you
can learn being an "angel" in the next class, and most
importantly bring at least one couple with you, they will be forever
grateful to you.
Seminole Squares (Okeechobee)
Caller Vern Johnson