Our Side of the Mic
by Bob Riggs
Happy Holidays … Merry Christmas … Happy Hanukkah …
It is time for all of us to celebrate the joy of our activity with all of our friends, both new and old in this joyous season. New dancers are joining us on the dance floor and we are making many new friends as we dance to the music of the season.
On a different note, during the last several years Callerlab has had a continuing conversation about how to have an entry level program that would make it easier for people to join the activity. Many have proposed that we drop calls from Mainstream to make it an easier entry level. Some have suggested a restructuring of Mainstream and Plus into a single list and others believe that the Basic list today should form the basis of such an entry level program. As of the last Callerlab convention, a sub-committee (Walt Burr, Chairman) of the Mainstream Committee (Bear Miller, Chairman) was formed with callers from around the world who are interested in establishing Basic as the new entry destination program. During the last 6 months we have had a very active conversation between callers from Asia, Europe and the Americas on this topic. So far the committee has agreed to propose that Basic be established as a Callerlab recognized destination program. Further, proposals are under discussion and may be presented to the Callerlab membership at its April 2014 convention in Reno, NV.
To learn more about the potential square dance market and its involvement in the club world, several of the sub-committee members are conducting our own experiments in our areas of the world to see how this new stand-alone program might be implemented. My efforts to establish Red Hot Country Squares, is just such an experiment.
When we speak of Basic, we don't want to think of it as a class level dance or as a beginner dance. We want to think of it as a destination for those who desire to enjoy square dancing with the Basic programs' 51 calls, a destination for those that don't have lots of time to participate fully with the Mainstream and/or Plus programs, a destination that can be reached in less time & more easily than Mainstream or a series for those that just want to enjoy the simplicity of the dance without the intense mental puzzle of Mainstream, Plus or beyond. It will usually NOT be slower, NOT less challenging, NOT for old folks, and NOT for those that want the same evening program that we have experienced during the last 30 years.
In the Colorado Square Dance Community we have a rich diversity of dance opportunities. We have: (1) dance parties, sometimes called one night stands, that allow the non-recreational dancer to participate in our activity, (2) community dances or limited basic dances held for specific dance segments (Ex. Harolds Angels and Fly'n B Squares at Wind Crest), (3) Mainstream dances sponsored by a variety of clubs, (4) Plus dances sponsored by a variety of clubs, Dance-by-Definition (DBD) workshops & dances, Advanced workshops & dances and Challenge workshops & dances. There is something for almost anyone that wants to participate in what we call square dancing.
Our Colorado dance community is very healthy because of this diversity of dance opportunities. Adding dance events that use only the Basic calls add to this strength and takes us back to the early days of the activity when there were thousands of dancers and many tens of clubs that formed a base for the growth of the activity and the explosion of dance material created by and used by our predecessors like Frank Lane, Vaughn Parish, Burl Main and many more. With a strong base we can again grow the activity by providing a full spectrum of dance opportunities to all segments of our world.