THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE:
F. William Chickering's Guide to Excruciatingly Correct
Square Dance Behavior
- What is square dancing all about? Square dancing is all about pleasure:
the pleasure of calls well executed, the pleasure of a good laugh if your
square does break down, the pleasure of a social activity in a friendly
atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. To keep square dancing
pleasurable, we must all observe a few guideline. After all, square dancing
is a group activity.
- Avoid drinking and drugs that may affect your reaction time and cause you
to break down a square (or even cause serious injuries). Most clubs
discourage drinking both before and during dancing, as the smell of alcohol
on the breath can be unpleasant to others.
- Start out Fresh. Shower, use deodorant, and brush your teeth. Avoid eating
strong smelling foods like garlic right before dancing. This may sound
corny, but it can make a big difference to your fellow dancers.
- In most clubs, for each new tip dancers form new sets by squaring up
randomly. It is considered unfriendly and discourteous to pass by a forming
square to look for another.
- At the beginning of a new tip, introduce yourself to dancers you don't
know. Friendliness is one of the best aspects of square dance activities.
- Rule: once in a square, under no circumstances abandon it. Exception: in a
medical emergency or if someone is injured, of course you should use common
sense. There is an accepted "emergency call for medical
assistance": members in a square should surround the ill or injured
person with uplifted arms to notify the caller or other persons in charge.
- Help your set dance its best. Be friendly about it. If you see a need to
direct a fellow dancer be sure that you are correct, and be gentle in your
assistance. Think of the best interest of the group and take care not to
hurt other dancers' feelings. Do not be too critical of others. This can
ruin everyone's fun if it results in bickering or a condescending attitude.
Remember, we all make mistakes and the next one might be yours. Be
especially supportive of new dancers; without them our pleasurable pastime
would die out.
- Listen to the caller. Do not talk when the caller is talking or calling.
Not only is it rude, but all dancers may need the information offered.
F. William Chickering is a member of the
Times Squares Square Dance Club; this
is taken from an article in the Times Squares newsletter. It is not subject to
copyright and may be freely copied and distributed.