Looking through some old newsletters, I came across an article that bears revisiting. And since we will be meeting new people at our Dance Party tomorrow, it would be good if we all reviewed it.
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 social activity in a friendly atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. To keep square dancing pleasurable, we must all observe a few guidelines. 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 dancing.
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 the 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 be careful not to hurt the other dancer’s feelings. Do not be too critical of the 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.