Western Square Dancing - DOSADO.COM - The Original Community Page for Modern Western Square Dancing
Western Square Dancing - DOSADO.COM - The Original Community Page for Modern Western Square Dancing
The Original Community Page for Modern Western Square Dancing
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Parlez-vous square dance?

By Patience Andy Ploumacie - December 1990 Zipcoder


Do you consider yourself bilingual? I mean, do you speak Square Dance? You know the scenario: you are driving along with a fellow dancer, and when asked for directions to your destination, you say, "Veer to the left!" or "Press ahead!" or "Zoom around this slow poke!" or the ever-popular "U-turn back!" Only square dancers understand your precise meaning and will do as you say.

How many other times in our everyday life do we think in Square Dance, even when the situation at hand has nothing to do with our beloved activity? As American Square Dance Magazine once pointed out, we know we are in it deep when our boss says "Keep busy!" and we walk away reciting the definition to ourselves! Think about it next time you find yourself thinking in Square Dance in your everyday affairs.

Seriously, I have been wrestling with the issue of what makes square dancing so attractive to me. While some folks have trouble committing to a once-a-week classs or club night, I have difficulty making time to do much else. I have realized over the years that as I learn more and more, both new calls and the mechanics of calling a dance, I am really learning to speak another language. One of my lifelong interests has always been the science of language, or the syntax, grammar and structure of how a language is put together and understood.

We as square dancers interpret what a caller says, vis-a-vis the command; we click it into the gray matter of our brains, come up with an interpretation of the call, and execute it in our square. In effect, we speak Square DAnce, but instead of verbal feedback, we communicate with the caller and the other dancers that we understand the call by performing it in our square. Square Dance is a language spoken and understood only by other square dancers. Notice the reaction if you ask just anyone off the street if they "box the gnat!"

Square Dance is really an international language. Consider the German "allemande", the French "deucey" and the Japanese "ah so." We can go anywhere in the world, walk into the local firehall or school cafeteria, and feel right at home as soon as the needle goes down. Never was this more apparent than at the National Advanced and Challenge Convention 1990 in Virginia Beach. This was my first time at this convention, and right away, at the trail-end dance on Wednesday night, I found myself in a square with 6 other Swedish dancers. Thanks Lars, Lotta, Else, Yvonne, Leif, and Bjorn for making the squares lots of fun! These people were super dancers, and made the whole weekend lots of fun for my partner and me. An English couple on their way to Virginia Beach joined us at Mike Jacobs' home club, Spinning Windmills, for an evening of Advanced dancing. They too added a lot to our dancing enjoyment at Convention. Several dancers from Japan were also at Convention, as were German and Canadian dancers. They all were a pleasure to dance with throughout the weekend.

Square Dancing has added a lot to my life. It's an activity that satisfies my interest in another language, and yet also allows a physical interpretation of that language. Best of all, I now have international friends from abroad who share my love of square dancing, and we all speak the same language, Square Dance. I look forward to the day when I can travel abroad and dance with them in their hometowns. {author insert: I was priviledged to accompany Anne Uebelacker to Sweden in the spring of 1991, and dance up a storm with the very same ones who were at convention the year before. The Swedish language is a very difficult one, and yet, we all were on common ground as soon as we started dancing. It was a wonderful experience} After all, square dancing is just "friendship set to music!" So until then, keep on dancing, and yellowrocks to you all!


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