1. What kind of clothing do I need?``
Come as you are, nothing special is needed. Most clubs dance in casual clothes during the lessons. When you are ready for a weekend dance, you may wear dressier clothing. Square dance attire is not required; however, you may find that you want to wear it. There are many resources for free or low-cost square dance clothing.
Shoes should be comfortable, as you will be on your feet a lot!
2. Do I need a partner? Can I bring my family?``
No, you do not need a partner! We encourage singles, couples, two people who are not a couple, friends, relatives, and families to attend. Most clubs with a new dancer class will accept children, as long as their attention span will allow them to focus on the instructions. This may be as early as 8 in some children.
3. What is the format for the class, and what can I expect?``
This varies by club, so we encourage you to research the club that fits your needs.
Clubs typically have lessons for 1 to 1 ½ hours once a week. Teaching is usually in 10-15 minute increments, with breaks between to rest and socialize. There are often other more experienced dancers, who will be there to dance with you.
The intensity of the exercise will be at a faster pace of walking, depending on the beat of the music. Our motto is “if you can walk, you can square dance”!
You will start out learning the “basic” calls, then move on to more complicated ones at the “mainstream” level. You can stay at that level if you wish, but in California many clubs are “plus level”.
For most clubs, it takes a year to go from the basic through mainstream calls. However, during that time, there are weekend (usually Saturday night) dances at class level. Some dances are exclusively for new dancers, and others alternate between class level, and “plus level”.
As with any new endeavor, it takes commitment to learn to square dance. We encourage dancers to come every week when classes are in session. There are videos and web sites available to support your learning.
4. What are the fees?``
Again, this varies by club. Some will charge by the quarter, some by the month. Lessons are a nominal fee, ranging from $5-7 per lesson.
A weekend dance usually charges a $10 donation, to cover hall rent and the “caller” fee.
Many clubs offer free lessons the first week or two.
Most clubs are non-profit social organizations, and are dedicated to keeping costs low so more people may participate. Overhead costs include caller fees, and building rent. Everyone else involved in helping to organize and run the club are volunteers who have a passion for dancing.
5. What is a “Caller” and what is a “Cuer”?``
A caller is the instructor for the class. He or she will teach you all the figures. They will play music so you can move to the beat, and often will do a “singing” call to familiar music. Callers are able to teach, sing, and direct the dance patterns for squares on the floor.
For a weekend dance, a caller is hired for the evening. The caller leads square dancers in patter calling, and singing calling. Callers enjoy mixing up calls to keep the dancers on the floor engaged, and alert. Watch a video to see a caller in action.
A “cuer” is someone similar to a caller, except this dancing is “cued ballroom dance”, also called “Round Dancing”, for couples. All of the familiar steps are named from ballroom dancing, but it is easier because the “leader” (usually the man) doesn’t have to do his own choreography. The cueing tells you the steps to dance.