The usual order of the programs is Basic, Mainstream, Plus, Advanced, and Challenge. However, several variations of entry programs have been proposed. This chart gives a visual representation of the differences between several square Dance entry programs. The totals on the right indicate how many times a particular call has been included in one of the programs. The higher the number (and the darker the colour), the more popular the call is.
Category Archives: Learning to Dance
Folk Dancing Through the Grades by Catherine Flynn
This is a rather comprehensive guidebook on teaching folk dances to elementary school students. The author offers many suggestions of age-appropriate activities for the students and gives a list of possible music and dances that might be taught at the end of the book. This will be useful to people who are planning to teach square dancing to elementary school children as it will give some insight as to the children’s abilities according to their ages.
Learning to Dance: Moving and Grooving
Moving and Grooving is a series of eight CDs and 169 page instruction manual that will help people in schools and communities learn how to square dance. It was created by Nick and Mary Anne Turner of Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada. The first section, called “Moving”, teaches some traditional square dancing. The choreography is quite simple and can be applied to many different kinds of music. This is a good way to warm up a group. The second section, called “Grooving”, teaches modern square dancing. There are ten units in total. All of the teaching and calling is on the CDs, so teachers and community groups can use these CDs to teach the art and sport of square dancing without a great deal of previous knowledge.
Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS): Square Dance Resources
The Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) has a great page on square dance resources.
ABC Square Dancing
ABC Square Dancing is a simplified version of modern square dancing that allows dancers to learn a subset of the basic program very quickly so they can start dancing immediately. It was developed by Jerry Story. As some people are not willing to commit to weeks and weeks of lessons, this method can provide a way for them to enjoy square dancing without having to give up a great deal of their time. It can also be used to introduce the basic elements of square dancing to people at any time of the year, as a one-off lesson, rather than having them wait until the next set of beginner classes start.
Square Dance Lesson
Description from YouTube:
Teaching some square dance lessons to a random selection from the audience at Square Dance Demo Saint Cuthbert Church Fall Festival – Delta, British Columbia.
Presentation on Square Dance Learning Tools
Here is a presentation that I made to help beginning dancers understand how to enhance their learning of the calls. I hope you find it useful!
Lesson Plan: Swing your Partner! It’s a Virtual Square Dance
Lesson plan for teaching children how to square dance.
Video: Kindergarten Square Dancing
This is a good example of an authentic square dance song that can be taught to very young students instead of teaching them the Barney song.
Video: Line Dancing vs. Square Dancing
When I say that I do square dancing, some of my friends say “Oh, Achy Breaky Heart!” and I have to correct them. They are thinking about line dancing, which is a kind of dance that is done over and over to the tune of a particular song. The dancers memorize the dance and do it in time with the music.
Square dancing involves sets of 8 dancers working as a team and one caller. The dancers memorize a large number of potential steps (e.g. 100 steps) ahead of time. The caller then plays music and calls out some of the steps that the dancers have memorized. The order of the calls is not decided, and it usually cannot be guessed ahead of time by the dancers.
In this video, the explanation is not quite right. First of all, vines are not square dance steps. Also, square dancing can be done to any kind of music that has the right beat. It doesn’t have to be commercially available music that is designed specifically for square dancing. If you are interested in learning more about the kind of music that is used in square dancing, you can have a look at some songs that callers have recommended in the past.