|Western Square Dancing has a heritage in the old West, but it has evolved to be relevant to today's pace and taste and music. In addition to other changes,
square dancer's attire has evolved. At special dances, you will see many dancers wearing traditional square dancing attire (western). However, at typical weekly club dance,
casual attire is the norm.|
|An evening of square dancing is composed of a number of dance tips. Each tip is two dances totaling 10-15 minutes of following the instructions and
choreography of a caller. These instructions may be free-flow or substituted into the words of well-known songs. Although four couples make up each dancing
square, it is not strictly a couples dance. Each dancer interacts with all the dancers in the square - performing square dance movements,
beginning as simply as dosado, promenade and swing your partner, and advancing to more complex calls that involve a sequence of movements.|
|While some square dance tips are quite lively and invigorating, the main idea is not competition but the enjoyment
of the dancers. The challenge of mastering the movements is a great physical and mental exercise as well.|
|Many thousands of people square dance to the very same calls throughout the US and internationally. We recently had dancers from Japan visit Triangle clubs.
There are several hundred dancers and approximately 11 clubs in the Triangle including several in Raleigh. Groups have formed into clubs that usually dance weekly or twice
monthly. If you want to dance often, you will find groups dancing every evening of the week. The clubs vary in size, probably averaging 30 - 40 dancers. Most employ a
professional caller to lead the dances, keeping the dances entertaining, and often including high quality singing and patter.|
|Modern western square dance is standardized and structured into at least eight levels, from the gentle Basic level to several Challenge levels.
Dancers learn 50 movements in the Basic level, and 17 more at the Mainstream level, and learn an additional 35 moderately complex steps at the Plus level.
Beyond those levels are two Advanced and three Challenge levels. Most square dance groups in the Triangle dance at the Mainstream or Plus level.|
|In the Triangle, square dancing is an inexpensive activity, usually costing between $15-$20 per person per month, mainly to cover the cost of renting the
facility and paying the caller.|
|Periodically a club or caller organizes a Saturday evening dance party and invites all dancers in the area. These dances often draw 100 - 150 or more dancers
and cost about $8 - $10 per person. Dancers often dress up for these special dances, but it is by no means required. Western wear for the guys and dress or full skirts,
perhaps with crinolines, for the gals are worn to these dances. Also, in and around NC, there are larger dances and full weekend events that often attract 500-1,000
dancers and feature nationally-known callers. The NC Folk, Round, Square Dance annual convention is held each year at the North Raleigh Hilton. Participation in these
larger dances is optional and many dancers attend only the weekly dances.|
|Classes for new dancers are begun each year. Each club has its own schedules for these classes, and they last between 2 and 3 months. Classes provide
instruction and practice up to the Mainstream level. During classes experienced dancers provide lots of hand holding assistance. Student dancers normally pay the same
per month as club dues but are not required to commit to joining the club. Commitment to regular attendance is a good idea since new steps are taught each session.
Frequently doing these new steps builds on what has been learned previously. Following classes Capital Squares provides additional instruction for a
short interval every regular evening dance. Lots of dancing tutorial information can be found from our web site: