April 13, 2012
WHAT IS THIS ACTIVITY
The information on square dancing, round dancing, clogging and contra is
provided for the use of people who may be interested in learning more about
this activity. It was developed by the Media Committee of the 11th Canadian
National S&RD Convention which was held in 1998 in Ottawa. The
material can also be used by the media in their coverage of the activity.
detailed information on beginning to dance or arranging interviews, photos,
etc., contact the Canadian Square & Round Dance
Society, Provincial Federations,
Area Associations, Callers, Cuers, Instructors set out in this
web site or local Clubs. This can be done by checking Provincial Federation
websites; check also to see if the Association in your area has a website;
failing that call the Federation or Association at the telephone number indicated.
They will have information on when and where New Dancer Classes are being
Overview of Square Dancing, Round Dancing, Contra Dancing and Clogging
Square and contra are group dances. Square dancing is for eight persons
while contras are for six, eight or more. Round dancing is a form of choreographed
ballroom dancing with a cuer, and, like ballroom dancing, is done in
couples. Clogging, a form of step-dancing, is done by each person as an individual.
Both square and round dancing have been adapted for wheelchair dancers.
These activities are excellent for maintaining health. Women who exercise
briskly reduce potential of stroke by 20-30%.
for new dancers generally begins in September/October; some may start in
As a rule, Clubs dance once a week with periodic breaks through the year.
Most clubs dance in the evenings, but some dance during the day. The average
cost is approx. $5.00 per week per person, plus a yearly membership /association
fees which includes third party liability insurance coverage. Coffee and light
refreshments are usually available to encourage socializing.
For square and round dancing ladies are encouraged to a wear comfortable
skirt to ensure freedom for moving. If desired, dress may change over to shorter
fuller skirts along with a crinoline, especially for square dancing. Prairie
skirts are becoming more popular. Gentlemen wear a long sleeved shirt; western
or string tie is usually worn also. Soft-soled shoes are a must for all.
For additional information check out the article on "Square Dance Attire"
at the United Square Dancers of America
Web Site ( http://www.usda.org/ ).
SQUARE DANCING INFORMATION
is Modern Square Dancing?
Square Dancing is a social activity where eight people form a square with
2 people on each side, then dance a series of movements as "called" by the
square dance caller. It is a healthy, recreational, fun activity. It is often
said that square dancing is "Friendship Set to Music". Dancing is done to
modern music, 50's and 60's to 80's and 90's or later - from Pink Cadillac, Bill Bailey,
When the Saints Come Marching In, Elvis Presley tunes, Oklahoma, etc.
What is the difference between Old Time and Modern Square
In Old Time Square Dancing there is a set pattern followed for each dance.
This never varies, no matter how often that dance is repeated. Usually the
first couple executes a number of moves with each of the other couples in
turn. Then the second, third, and fourth couples do the same moves with each
of the other couples.
Square Dancing there are no set patterns for a dance. The dancers learn a
number of moves which the caller then puts together to form the dance. The
caller "calls" out these moves and the dancers execute the "calls". The dancers
do not know which moves will be called next. Usually all dancers move together,
although some calls are executed by just four people.
do Modern Square Dancers learn the movements?
Anyone can learn to become a square dancer by joining a square dance club
where the basic movements are mastered. New dancers enjoy an evening of fun
while being taught the movements by the caller.
What countries have square dance activities?
Modern Square Dancing is a worldwide activity. Square dance calls are standardized
and are called in English around the world. Once dancers have learned the
calls, they can dance at any club or square dance event anywhere.
Are there square dance competitions?
There are no competitions, except that some
teen clubs and adult clubs at special "games" may do so. Square
dancing is recreational and done strictly for the fun of it. There
are various programs within the square dance activity, each program
encompassing an increasing number of calls. Dancers move at their
own pace through the programs. They may decide to dance a certain
program for an extended period of time, or they may decide to move
on to the next program, learning additional calls.
The formal organization of Modern Square Dancing
The basic unit is the local club. Clubs may have anywhere from eight to
several hundred members. However, the average club has 50 to a 100 members.
In Canada, clubs are usually affiliated with an Association such as the Eastern
Ontario Square and Round Dance Association. Associations are part
of a Federation; such as the Ontario Square and Round Dance Federation. The
Federations in turn are part of the Canadian Square and Round Dance Society.
These Associations, Federations, and the Society publish magazines, sponsor
special dances and events, assist callers in obtaining training, and, in
general, work to promote square dancing and to ensure the smooth operation
of the movement. The callers also have organizations at the local, national,
and international levels to ensure the standardization of calls and to help
them in the planning and running of the best programs possible for the dancers.
Number of clubs and dancers
There are hundreds of clubs, 10 federations, and many associations, and dancers
registered in Canada with the Canadian Square and Round Dance Society.
ROUND DANCING INFORMATION
is Round Dancing?
Round dancing is best described as choreographed ballroom dancing for
couples. It is a social, non-competitive activity, for fun rather than
competition. On the dance floor, choreography is directed verbally by a round
dance cuer, enabling all couples on the floor to dance the same steps at the
same time. Round dance has many choreographed sequences of steps that are
borrowed from or can be transferred directly to normal ballroom dancing. Dances
include the two-step, waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, jive, cha cha, rumba and
more. There is no prize for being perfect - dance for the fun of it! If you
make a mistake the round dance police will not get you.
What makes Round Dancing unique?
Round dancing has the same origin as ballroom dancing. While round
dancing choreographed, ballroom is freestyle. Round dancing uses a cuer, so
that dancers don't have to memorize a vast list of dance sequences. There
is a strong western dance influence in the 2-step and early level waltzes.
And thanks to hundreds of choreographers over the last 30-35 years there are
many superb sequences of dance steps in the rounds "classic dances".
How does the round dancer get started?
Join one of the many clubs dedicated to Round Dancing! There are hundreds
in Canada. The aspiring round dancer joins a club which teaches beginners.
Beginner clubs offer instruction, workshop, review of a previous dance, and
lots of dancing fun in a smoke and alcohol free environment. A club dance
varies from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours long. Some clubs dance in the afternoon and
others in the evening. The dance season usually runs from September through
to the end of April with a graduation dance at the end of the season. If really
interested, dancers can buy videos to supplement class instruction.
How difficult is it and how complicated?
Round Dancing is no more complicated than many other activities. New dancers
include those who have never danced before in their lives, dancers who have
done other dancing and people of all ages. You choose how far you want to
go and how fast you want to get there.
and Levels There are levels from beginner through easy, intermediate,
to advanced. The dance music used is mostly popular instrumentals and vocals
from the easy listening category, dating back to the 1950's and earlier. They
include show tunes, swing, rock, and western.
Countries have Round Dance Clubs?
Rhythms The easy level emphasizes the 2-step and waltz.
As one makes the transition to the intermediate level, new rhythms are added,
including the foxtrot, quickstep, tango, rumba, cha cha and jive are introduced.
Advanced levels add more rhythms and sophistication.
Round dancing is a world-wide activity, although most clubs are in North
America, and the world-wide language is English. An international association
of round dance teachers, called Roundalab, maintains the syllabus, instruction
standards, and the introduction of new steps and rhythms.
National square and round dance conventions are held not only in Canada
and the USA, but also in Australia and Europe. In the southern USA, popular
round dance destinations include Florida, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas,
Arizona, and Southern California. Most provinces and states have major dance
Clogging is a type of dancing of which the three main characteristics are:
. loud, fast footwork with steel plates or taps on the shoes;
. fairly rigid torso; and
. an up and down knee motion (which differs from most other
is continually in a state of change and improvisation by its individual
performers, so that today it is performed not only to country and bluegrass
music, but to pop, jazz, and rap. Although clogging is performed by each
dancer individually, it is often done as precision dancing by a group of
people. The dancers do the same steps at the same time as cued by a leader
using a sound system. Clogging is often a family affair. All ages from 4
to 84 can and do participate. It is not unusual for three generations of
a family to be clogging together. Not only do they keep fit, but they have
a wonderful time.
did Clogging Originate?
This enjoyable, healthy dance form has been around for hundreds of years.
It originated in the Appalachian Mountains of the U. S. when the early settlers
from Holland, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Africa combined their
dance traditions. They called it buck dancing, flat footing, or just plain
dancing. It was usually done to live fiddle music. Clogging and tap dancing
have common roots. Clogging became the country cousin of tap. Tap is high
impact, while clogging is low.
Where did Clogging get its name?
The term clogging comes from the heavy shoes once worn by the working people
of Great Britain. In Holland, Belgium, and France, the dance was done with
wooden shoes and today many people still believe that cloggers dance in wooden
shoes. In the English steel mills in the mid 18th century, dancing in wooden
clogs was a popular pastime. Competitions were held, and they danced on cobblestones
with the upper body motionless, while the feet and legs did all the work.
Heavy wooden clogs were a hindrance so a switch was made to leather shoes.
To compensate for the loss of sound, copper pennies were nailed to the toe
and heel. Present day cloggers use an oxford shoe with a special extra loud
double steel tap.
What is the difference between Clogging, Step Dancing and
Traditional Clogging is a flat foot shuffle unlike any other form of dance
and the body motion is down. This is different from Step and Tap as their
motion is up and the dance is done on the balls of the feet with much jumping
or hopping. Step and Clog are similar in their appearance as they both have
little upper body movement. However clogging is generally more relaxed with
no requirement for arms at all. Tap uses the entire body with specific arm
and body movements.
between these three dance forms are becoming more difficult to define. The
younger, more energetic clog dancer does a form of Clog called Buck and this
looks very similar to Step and also borrows a lot of steps from Tap. However,
in traditional terms clogging is a down motion with a lazy shuffle (thus low
impact) and step dancing is an up motion with a lot of jumping (thus high
does the Clogger get started?
Would-be cloggers usually take a beginner course of 10 to 12 week duration.
All the basic clog steps are taught, as well as 5 or 6 actual dances. The
beginner starts off slowly, then builds momentum, and at the end of the course
is able to dance at a fairly good pace, which is great cardiovascular exercise,
and just plain good fun. Workshops provide an opportunity to learn new steps
and dances and to meet other cloggers from different areas.
What is happening in Present Day Clogging?
Clogging's growing popularity can be seen by the increased numbers attending
workshops conventions and recreation everywhere. In Canada there are over
70 clogging clubs from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia. The U. S.
International Clogging Team is made up of cloggers from 17 different countries.
In the National Capital Region The Ottawa Valley Cloggers have a large enthusiastic
dancing is a North American folk dance which grew out of English Country
dancing during the colonization of North America. It has continually
evolved in the same way other dance movements have and in recent years has
seen a huge revival in the USA.
having similar moves as square dancing, it is characterized by the usual
formation of two long opposing lines and the interaction of couples up and
down the line. However, a variety of formations are used and the lines
may be straight, or in circles or triangles. Quadrilles (square formation)
are also in common use within a contra dance program.
'contra' means opposite and in standard contra dances the partners of a dancing
couple are opposite each other in the lines. In the non-standard lines,
the partners may be adjacent to each other as they are in a square.
Contras are often called 'longways' and could be any length, but some are
limited to three, four, five or six couples. Contra dancing is further
characterized by the fact that dancing is performed to the phrasing of the
music which varies from jigs, reels, and hornpipes to polkas, two-step and
the waltz. Square dance singing calls are often used and Scottish Country
dance music has become very popular. In many regions throughout the
US and in a few Canadian cities, live music is used.
out the real answer to the question "what is contra dance", one must try it.
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