Learn to Dance
Why Learn to Square Dance?
Because it's fun!
Because it's good exercise for both the body and the mind!
Because you like moving to music!
Square dancing is a combination of many enjoyable things.
It is a physical activity, a mental activity, a musical activity, and a social activity.
If you enjoy any of these things, and especially if you enjoy more than one of these things, maybe it's time to give square dancing a try!
So what exactly is this?If you have already watched some of the videos on this site you may have a general idea of what modern square dancing is about. But for a basic introduction to things like what makes a square and what a caller does, intended for somebody who may have never even heard of square dancing, watch this quick introductory video from Sweden:
Not convinced?Maybe you don't think of yourself as the type of person who dances. Many people who are now square dancers thought that before they started!
But somebody convinced them to try it, they came for a few introductory or class sessions, and discovered that they did like it:
Square dancing is not a spectator sport. It's very hard to understand what it's like just by watching. We do it for fun, as a recreational activity. Except for a few groups specifically organized for that purpose, we are not putting on a "performance" for the benefit of spectators. You are welcome to watch, but to understand why we like it ... You really need to try it yourself!
How Can I Learn to Dance?
People who want to make square dancing an ongoing part of their life usually join a square dance club. Members of most square dance clubs dance together on a regular schedule - weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. In addition, these clubs may sponsor events to which they invite dancers from other clubs nearby. So that they can all dance together, they all learn a particular set of calls. That way the caller doesn't need to explain everything from scratch each time -- they can just start dancing right away!
Many clubs that dance using a particular set of calls (a "program") offer classes that teach these calls. Once new dancers have learned a program (set of calls), they can dance at any club that uses that program.
The programs most commonly taught to beginners vary by geographic area, to match the programs used at club dances in those areas. The programs most commonly used at club-level dances in California are called "Mainstream" and "Plus". ("Plus" includes more calls than "Mainstream", so it takes a bit longer to learn.) Some clubs make use of smaller sets of calls to make it easier for new dancers to get started - these may have names like "ABCs of square dancing", "Basic", "GDP", "SSD", or "50 call program".
But it doesn't really matter much which program you learn to start. It's generally best to begin with whatever program is recommended by current dancers in your area - they know what will be most useful for attending events in that area. And once you get the idea of how square dancing works, you can always learn additional calls, if you want to be able to dance in other areas or at more kinds of events. The important thing is to get started!
Where Can I Learn Square Dancing?
Here are examples of sessions coming up in the next few weeks where you could try out square dancing (no previous experience needed):
Contact the clubs in your area for information about when other sessions and classes are being scheduled.
Or contact any of the California Council of Square Dancers' area Vice Presidents or other officers and they will be happy to help you!