Q. What is square dancing?
A. Square Dancing is one form of American folk dance. (The others are Line, Round, and Contra dance.) Square Dancing is the most social form of dance, with eight people dancing as a group. The group dances to music while moving in formations called out by a “caller”. What makes it so fun is that you aren’t just dancing with one person all night, nor with a whole room of people. Seven others are just enough to interact with and have a good time. Since the choreography is called out during the songs, you don’t have to memorize entire songs, just the calls. Men, that means you aren’t expected to make up a fun routine for your partner on the spot, as with ballroom dancing. Ladies, that means the choreography is left to the professionals!
Q. What is line dancing?
A. Line dancing is choreographed dancing, primarily footwork, done individually without physically contacting others, in lines or rows without regard to gender, by repeating a sequence of steps. Everyone is facing the same direction and executing the steps at the same time. Variations include different levels of difficulty or involving a partner.
Q. Do I need a partner to Square Dance?
A. For singles, there is a rotation system that you can join at any dance to be assigned a partner for each pair of songs. The reality of all dancing is that there are more women than men, so women are encouraged to bring a dance partner. Ramblin’ Rogues class members are guaranteed a dance partner thanks to the generosity of our membership. Also, some experienced dancers learn all positions so that they can dance any role.
Q. Who are the Ramblin’ Rogues?
A. The Ramblin’ Rogues is a dance and social club based in Mission Viejo, California. There are currently over 200 members, and we have been growing over the last several years thanks to friendly people, fun social activities, and most importantly strong support of the class by our membership. Explore this web site to learn more about the things that we do.
Q. Didn’t I learn square dancing in elementary school? I didn’t like it.
A. You may have. However, like anything in real life verses school, square dancing is much more fun when you choose to do it. It’s also more fun when you know more than the dozen calls that you learned as a child, and when you know that you won’t catch “cooties.”
Q. I’m cutting back on spending. Is it expensive?
A. The first class is free! The class is just $6 at the door each week after that, for a two hour lesson. There is no prepayment or commitment. Any other dance class runs twice as much for half the time, and you have to pay for an entire session in advance. Once you have learned and go to dances, they typically run $8 for two and a half hours of fun, exercise, and snacks!
Q. Is it good exercise?
A. Yes! All dancing is good physical exercise. Square and Line dancing are also great mental exercises! Each night of dancing is the equivalent of walking several miles. If you have more energy, you can throw in more flourish to your dance styling to really make it a workout.
Q. Can you help me find another place to learn square dancing?
A. Absolutely! While we are convinced that the Ramblin’ Rogues is the best club in Orange County, we have friends in other clubs too. There are clubs throughout the nation and we’d be happy to refer you to a class that fits your needs.
Myth. I can’t dance; I’m too uncoordinated.
Reality: Can you tell your left from your right and remember if you’re a girl or boy? If so, you can square dance. Unlike most forms of dance, what is important is to move around the floor in patterns with the other dancers to the cues from the caller. Exactly how your feet get you there or where your arms are doesn’t matter much. Line dancing is a lot of coordinated foot work. If you don’t feel that you line dance, that’s just fine. You can sit out that part of the class and chat with your new friends instead, while enjoying great snacks!
Myth: It’s all county music. I hate country music!
Reality: Modern Square dancing is done to any music with a clear beat to follow. Rock songs from Elvis to Aerosmith are played and sung by the callers. American standards are quite popular, as are pop songs. Other surprises you may hear include the Main Street Electrical Parade and Riverdance! Sometimes a country song will even play, but we guarantee you’ll survive it.
Myth: Square Dancing is for old people.
Reality: Modern Square Dancing hit its peak in the 1970’s when it became popular with young adults. As the popularity declined (lost its fad status), many people continued dancing and naturally aged. This lead to an aging demographic, which became self fulfilling as the myth of this being an “old people” activity spread. The reality is that square dancing started as young and exciting, and it still can be. Some clubs cater to high energy youths, while others cater to a slower elderly crowd. At our annual state and national square dance conventions, you’ll see dancers ranged from five years old to ninety-three! The Ramblin’ Rogues range from 30’s through 80’s, most of whom are quite fit, physically and mentally, thanks to years of dancing.
Ready to lean? Come visit a class!
© 2016 by Adam Fanello. Permission granted to copy and distribute provided that this copyright remains intact.