Sunday, May 28, 2017

River City Square Dance Memorial Day Weekend

Here are some highlights of the River City Memorial Day Weekend

  1. NextGen-SD is a Wisconsin-based organization whose goal is to try to shape the new image of Square Dancing by sharing our energetic style of dancing and new music to encourage both the young and/or the young at heart to try this activity.. They are designing a course on how to put the "dance" into square dance. They were at the River City Square Dance and here are some of the points they shared:
    1. A lot of techniques taught in other dance disciplines such as Ballroom Dancing can be applied to Square Dancing.
    2. An opposable thumb is not required to square dance
    3. Don't use a ball and socket hold for Box the Gnat. Instead connect with gently curved fingers.
    4. Use knowledge of the next call to choose the hand hold to use for that call. This requires that callers stack the next call.
    5. Timing is important. Milliseconds matter.
    6. Dancer's right hand should be up (as in upright) and the left hand down. This avoids fumbling when establishing a hand hold.
    7. Establish a pivot point in a Swing and an imaginery glass frame between the dancers that is being supported equally by both dancer. Dancers do not look directly at one another because doing so puts their bodies face to face rather than more to the sides.
    8. When an error happens do not try to fix it. The milling around detracts from the smoothness of the dance.
    9. Use a thumbless forearm grip to allow an easy communication between the connected dancers.
    10. Give dancers room to dance. E.G. when heads are squaring thru the sides should move back a bit and at the proper time flow back in.
    11. It's a square dance, not a square walk. Use shoes with leather soles to facilitate gliding along to the beat
    12. React to the beat even when inactive? Dancers should have a subtle constant flow and never be totally inactive.
    13. Avoid sharp turns? Smooth corners to increase the sensation of flow
    14. Flourishes allow dancers to showcase their skill in an elegant way but they don't encourage them when they are dancing with less experienced dancers.
    15. Get a lot of floor time to increase your confidence, even slight hesitations detract from the elegance of the dance. Confidence is not something that can be taught just like in basketball height can't be taught
    16. Don't talk while dancing.
    These can be practiced at any level of square dancing!
  2. Introduced the A2 call Remake. Called Remake from waves and facing diamonds. Also had only the ladies do it in their box of four.
  3. Called Spin the Top from a Tidal Wave (Grand Spin the Top) resulting in a column of three couples with the remaining two dancers attached to end couples in the column: sequence diagram
  4. Called Acey Deucey Once and a Half. Note that the boys form a big diamond, the two lonely boys and the very centers of the wave of six form a small diamond and the ends of the center wave of four and the two lonely boys form a medium diamond. Jerry called Diamond Circulate for all these diamonds.
  5. Follow Your Neighbor was called multiple times in rapid succession wreaking havoc in some squares. This sequence diagram suggests why this may have happened. Notice that the roles of dancers 6 and 7 change. Before the Swing Thru dancer 7 was always a leader and dancer 6 would alternate between being a leader and a trailer. After the Swing Thru their roles changed. In the first part, dancer 7 did not have to look for a dancer to cast off 3/4 with, in the second part it did. The opposite was true for dancer 6. This required a continuous awareness of where you were in the box circulate, something that requires experience to maintain.
  6. Called Ladies 1/2 Zoom. See Zoom from Double Pass Thru and drag the thumb half way
  7. An ambiguous call: Follow Your Neighbor and Spread twice. Was that
    1. Follow Your Neighbor and Spread, Follow Your Neighbor and Spread or
    2. Follow Your Neighbor and Spread, Spead (which is equivalent to a Follow Your Neighbor without a Spread.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding point "1.e": I wish people could listen to the music when doing grand square. Mostly they just shuffle around, instead of stepping to the best. Re: point "h": I just hate it when someone calls me out when I make an error. Equally annoying is having someone pull, push or shove you. In Thursday's EA class, Jerry had us in a ping-pong formation with a wave (left hand I think) in the middle. He called "centers step to a left-hand wave". I was in the middle and I had a momentary brain cramp and thought he said, "centers step to a left-hand *star*". I corrected my mistake almost instantly, but in the meantime someone figured they had to shout my name. I felt like saying, "Hey -- don't *you* ever make a mistake? Or are you perfect 100% of the time?". It's very discouraging. Another thing that happens more often than you think is that someone will "correct" you, even though it's actually *him* (or her) who is in the wrong. I think in general we should all relax and enjoy the activity, and let up on the intensity. It's only a dance! We're supposed to be having fun! Reminds me of when my parents used to play bridge w/ my aunt & uncle, and my father would yell at my mother when she played the wrong card. Sheesh. Lighten up! It's only a game. Regarding point "m": I've heard the opposite advice. Someone said to made turns more compact and sharp in doing "square through" and someone else was wanting me to make a sharper curl in as the lead in the "exchange the gears" conga line. Same with cloverleaf. Regarding point "p": I sort-of disagree. You're in an intimate setting with 7 other people. Unless you're a zombie, there has to be at least a "Hello" now and then. Moreover, I find it fun and challenging to keep up a running "conversation" during a tip. Makes your brain have to work MUCH harder to keep the calls, the movements *and* the conversation straight! But I suppose for most people, it's not feasible.