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What We Dance

The simple explanation of how we dance is:

SQUARES: Four couples stand in a square formation facing inwards. (Your Partner is standing beside you)

CONTRAS: Any number of couples stand in two lines facing each other. (sometimes your partner is beside you, sometimes in the opposite line)

Within these formations, while dancing, other smaller formations are made such as circles, stars, lines and waves.

THAT'S IT.

 If you're the type to analyse further then browse on and you'll find explanations accompanied by diagrams.

 

Squares

 

It's just a formation

A square formation consisting of four couples.



If you look at our square on the right you'll see that each couple has a number. Men are the squares, ladies the circles and the dots, their noses, to show the way they are facing. 

No. 1 and 3 couples are also known as Heads or Head couples.

No.  2 and 4 are Sides or Side couples.


No. 1 couple always stand with their back to the caller. The ladies very often change partners but the men always retain their original couple number. 
Its the callers job to get all the ladies back to their original partners.


Contra Dancing

 

It's just a formation

Contra means opposite

Two lines of dancers opposite each other


That good old traditional dance, the Virginia Reel, is a contra. It's merely the name of the formation. Most people have danced it, when they were young, maybe later, but whether you have danced country Dance, Barn dance or Folk Dance it is always there as one of the original traditional dances. If you pace yourself i.e. dance to the phrase of the music, contra dances are not hectic. If you dance too quickly/ahead of the music you only find you keep stopping which is more tiring.  
If you like studying diagrams see the ones on the right

Square symbols are men,  circles are ladies. The dots (noses), show which way they are facing.

With the exception of two or three movements peculiar to Contra, all other movements are Square Dance ones.

 

How we Dance

The Caller will explain what he/she wants the dancers to do and will then have the help of experienced  dancers to demonstrate those movements. Each of the movements has a definition of where you should stand in relation to other dancers. You will find the Caller explaining this definition in more than one way.
Some of us easily absorb verbal instruction (without action) and some of us like to see the action (demonstration).
At first it is a combination of both for everyone . As you gain experience so less needs to be demonstrated.

So This is What we Dance

When we start to dance we all learn in slightly different ways and at different paces.

This page describes the set-ups of the first (basic) formations. I've included some description and some diagrams. You aren't expected to memorise anything here, just to browse and get an idea about it.

However,

there is no definition for SMILING
Be warned that if you don't, the Caller will remind you.

Demostration

Note: The caller is giving you cues on the movements and most of the time, advice on where you need to be.   Easy?   Smile then, you've just been shown how to.

Finally

No, not another formation, but just to say that one of the great things about Square Dancing is that you are not asked to remember lots of routines/figures.  You learn the individual movements, the caller puts them together and tells you, as you dance, what he wants you to do next.  You will find the caller putting some movements together and repeating them so you will find in some dances you'll remember what you did previously.  What could be simpler? Having it all explained and being reminded as you dance along.
Can't wait to start?

 

 

 

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last updated - 29th August 2009