I have been collecting references to square dancing in popular culture, such as examples of square dancing on TV, or songs with the words “square dance” in the title. For the most part, it is pretty bad news. Our image is pretty hokey and, for the most part, not actually representative of what we do.
I do think we have a huge image problem. I am constantly telling my friends how much fun I have at my square dance club, but I can see the doubt in their eyes from the moment I utter the words “square dance”. I also see the surprise on their faces when I tell them that we dance to all kinds of songs, like Michael Jackson hits and What Does the Fox Say?, at my club. I can tell that some of them are intrigued, but getting any of them to actually commit to coming to a class is all but impossible. I know that people have tried changing the name of our activity from “square dancing” to “pattern dancing” in order to give it more appeal. While I laud the efforts of anyone who is trying to effect change, I don’t think that making our activity even more obscure will help.
I think we need to find a way to get square dancing mentioned in a positive way in popular culture. For example, if someone famous AND VERY OBJECTIVELY COOL is seen to like square dancing, and if that famous+cool person can be seen square dancing to current, popular, (preferably non-country) music in regular clothes, there could be a chance of us redeeming the image of our beloved activity. I’m not sure what else would work to get rid of that “look” that people get in their eyes when the words “square dance” are mentioned.