Our Side of the Mic
by Bob Riggs
The Holiday Seasonis upon us. It is time for all of us to celebrate the joy of our activity with all of our friends, both new and old. Many new dancers will begin joining us on the dance floor during the coming months. We must remember that we were new at one time and others welcomed us to the dance. If you have not visited a class lately we want to encourage volunteers to go dance at a class to experience the freshness of the class experience and to get to know the new dancers.
This month we have the DAS&RDC Anniversary Dance at the Arvada United Methodist Church on the November 3rd with Lynn Strobel calling and Mitchell Thompson cuing. Other dances include a retirement dance for David Parker and the beginnings of a long list of holiday parties.
On a slightly more serious note, years ago when a dance was planned the club and the caller worked together to setup a fairly formal program for the evening. It included a schedule for the tips with rounds and other dances that would be programmed between the square dance tips. Up through the 60’s the caller lead the entire program and most rounds were danced from memory. In the ‘70s programs became less formal with what became a fairly fixed pattern for every dance, you would recognize it as Tip, a round, a Tip, a round, etc. for the entire evening. Also, during this time the number of round dances exploded and cuers began to be hired by clubs to cue the wide variety of mostly two-step and waltz rounds. Today, we have an even wider variety of rounds in many rhythms and most dancers don’t have any rounds memorized. What this means is that round dancers need to hear the cues, just like the square dancers need to hear the square dance calls. To this end we need to ask that those that are square dancing only take a few minutes during the round to watch the dance and/or speak softly. Excessive noise during the round is very distracting and discourteous. The programs continue to be very fixed with dances starting with either a ½ hour of rounds, plus or a workshop. Then the dance follows a fixed pattern of Tips and Rounds with virtually no dance formation variety. This is not wrong, it is not bad, it is a stability that most dancers have come to expect. As we look to revitalize the square dance activity we need to carefully review what our customers want for their entertainment dollar. It may be a program like we have seen for many years or it may be something quite different. Consider your options, do some market research and then begin producing dance events that your customers will want to buy.
Finally, may you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving !