12 Ways to Turn a Great Square Dance Into a Pure Disaster

Square dancers in colorful costumes.
Square dancers in colorful costumes. | Source

History of square dancing

Square dances were first recorded in 17th-century England but were also quite common in France and most of Europe. They, square dancers, came to North America with the European settlers and have undergone considerable development here.

Writer's note: I had intended to publish a comedy-based hub about terrorism, but in lieu of the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of citizens in Brussells by godless monsters, I will hold off on that one just out of respect for those innocent people. (Kenneth).

Square dancing: Some truths

So your dream was, and still is, to be a top-notch square dancer? Well, sport, you are not alone. There are literally hundreds of thousands of eager square dancers-to-be just waiting for the right time to enter into one of our country's oldest form of dance. Actually, square dancing is more of an art form than a social outlet as it was once thought.

Is square dancing for everyone? No. Can anyone learn to be a square dancer? No. I answered 'no' to that one because a true teacher of square dancing will not delete any of those intricate-but-beautiful dance moves that couples are taught to make while keeping time with the person "calling" the square dance and the band who is providing the music.

Square dancing at the YMCA Aug. 1, 1947.
Square dancing at the YMCA Aug. 1, 1947. | Source
Young square dancers in photo shot Dec. 1947.
Young square dancers in photo shot Dec. 1947. | Source
Seniors enjoy square dancing.
Seniors enjoy square dancing. | Source
Seniors wearing colorful costumes while square dancing.
Seniors wearing colorful costumes while square dancing. | Source
Adolescents learn the fine art of square dancing.
Adolescents learn the fine art of square dancing. | Source
Square dancers in 1950.
Square dancers in 1950. | Source
 Square  Dancing  at Oakland  Folk Dance  Festival  May 1 1962.
Square Dancing at Oakland Folk Dance Festival May 1 1962. | Source
 May 1, 1962  Man singing  at Folk Dance Festival.
May 1, 1962 Man singing at Folk Dance Festival. | Source
Young square dancers at the Ramp, Asheville, N.C.
Young square dancers at the Ramp, Asheville, N.C. | Source
 Couples swirl  around a fiddler  at a square dance in 1952.
Couples swirl around a fiddler at a square dance in 1952. | Source

All people cannot square dance

Some, not all, will grow frustrated at not learning these dance moves fast enough and simply give-up. But I estimate that for every one burned-out square dancer there are three who do master this grand old way of having some good, clean fun like they did in rural America in the late 1940's and even until the early 1960's.

But before you get all cocky and sure of yourself, you best sit down and take note of the things contained in this hub which I am calling . . .

12 Ways to Turn a Great Square Dance Into a Pure Disaster

12.) YOU DO NOT - - drink a fifth of whiskey or half-case of beer and expect to learn how to square dance or even be a respectful square dancer. Matter of fact, drinking this much will make you a flop at most any event or job you may undertake.

11.) YOU CANNOT -- show-up to learn the art of square dancing or watch a square dance dressed only in your pleated pants, black and white slippers, but not wearing a shirt. Bare-chested square dancers, either men or women or even those sitting in the stands is strictly forbidden and heavily frowned upon.

10.) YELLING AT - - a young, pretty female square dancer will cause the couples who are enjoying the square dance to be distracted and instead of doing a "Do Si Do," they will stumble over their own feet and end up doing a "Bow to Your Partner" and cause other dancers to fall on the floor in embarrassment.

9.) THROWING -- apples, oranges, or grapes at the square dancers is not only a good way to ruin the square dance, but get the attention of a couple of husky guys who would love nothing better than to toss you out on your behind and stand there laughing at you.

8.) DRESSING UP -- as a mule or elephant (with another insensitive friend) and charging the circle of square dancers is a good way to get you and your "doofus" friend to be banned from this and all other square dancing events.

7.) EATING - - items such as crunchy potato chips by the handful and chewing with your mouth open (which amplifies this annoying sound) is not tolerated at a square dance, much less any event that is planned and attended by civil-minded people.

6.) IF YOU ARE NOT - - an accomplished musician, DO NOT bring your guitar which is severely out of tune and sing to the top of your lungs while walking near the square dancers. These men and women love the art of square dancing, but they do not love the sound of a donkey braying over and over. NOTE: the donkey braying sound is YOU with that awfully-tuned guitar.

5.) TOSSING HANDFUL'S - - of multi-colored marbles on the floor so the square dancers will trip and fall on them will cause you to meet your "buddy," again, the husky bouncer. And you just might get to meet a few lawyers who are representing the injured square dancers who you caused to fall to begin with.

4.) LAUGHING AND -- telling telling jokes to those around you in the stands so loudly that even the band stops playing due to your loud mouth is NOT acceptable. To make matters worse for you, your jokes are not funny at all.

3.) STANDING UP - - to yell at a buddy who is sitting clear across the recreation or civic center where the square dance is being held is also forbidden. Do you just have to open your mouth at all, during something as enjoyable as a square dance?

2.) "CUTTING IN" - - when the square dancers are doing those pretty dance movies is an easy way to ruin the square dance for everyone, but your "close friend," the husky rural guy who is now having a ball seeing how far that his muscular arms can hurl you on the asphalt outside.

1.) DO NOT - - barge in and take over the job of calling the square dance. The people who call the square dances must have as much knowledge about this dance form as the dancers themselves. The audience, band, square dancers, the man who was calling the dance whom you shoved off of the podium, and your "pal," the husky rural bouncer DO NOT need you up there doing a poor job of talking like the late Rodney Dangerfield and doing an even worse job at doing an impression of Burt Reynolds by trying to quote key lines from "Smokey and The Bandit"

Oh, you have changed your mind about being a square dancer and opting to be a Nuclear Physicist?

Good call. Being a Nuclear Physicist is way easier than learning how to square dance.

Are you interested in square dancing? Watch this.

Square dancing at the YMCA. Photo shot Aug. 1, 1947.
Square dancing at the YMCA. Photo shot Aug. 1, 1947. | Source

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Comments 12 comments

Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 8 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

I took square dance lessons in college. Though some venues teach newcomers if they arrive half an hour early, it's best to take some classes.

I wrote a hub on contra dance, which is like sqare dance but predates it. It is called, "Bohemian Cottillion: a Valentine's Day Story".

Have you ever been to a contra dance? They have groups all over the country. Check the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) website for a dance near you. It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, Say Yes To Life,

Good morning. I just love your comments on these hubs. I really do.

And thanks for the info on various dances and locations. Love the line about "most fun you can have with your clothes on." This confirms, not that I needed one, that you are A VERY TALENTED hubber.

And I am honored to call you my "Friend."

Have a Safe Day!

Your Friend for Life,

Kenneth


skperdon profile image

skperdon 8 months ago from Canada

Uh! Sounds annoying kenneth! These "don't do its" takes the fun out of any dance. Great Hub!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 8 months ago

I took square dancing in college, too, and loved it. I actually learned the difference between do si do and alaman left. I will say that square dancing is NOT for the square. My husband is a square, so I don't square dance anymore. Funny, but true hub. I think marbles on the floor would prove that someone has lost his marbles. Love you, Kenneth, and I hope you are feeling well.


Sparrowlet profile image

Sparrowlet 8 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hey Kenneth! Great hub, do you square dance? I remember learning it in school and I loved it. Currently taking a Zumba class and considering Tango next! Enjoyed the humor and I got all the jokes! Hugs.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, skperdon,

Thank you so very much for your nice comment.

I am prone to agree with you about taking the "don't do it's" from square dancing eliminating the fun.

You are right, but I am not one to antagonize "Rube," The Muscular Bouncer who could not afford expensive work-out equipment so he got in shape by lifting cows and mules at feeding time.

Do you blame me?


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Now, now MizBejabbers,

I am sure that your husband is not that square. And even if he was, can't you still pursue a fun hobby such as square dancing?

I forgot to tell people how beneficial it is to the cardiovascular system. So is riding a bike, but seemingly, square dancing looks so cool by those who know how to do it.

Since you took it in college, for me, do not waste the wisdom you gathered about square dancing.

"Long life the Louisiana Hayride!"

Kenneth


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Sparrowlet!

How are things at 12:25 a.m, Friday, March 25, cst?

Is Massachusetts a fun place to live? I hope that one day I can visit you up that way.

Thank you kindly for getting all of my jokes. You are a very rare girl, for most people only look at each other and look confused.

Have a great day and write me anytime.

Kenneth


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 8 months ago

Your suggestion about square dancing: Well, not really, square dancing is a couples' thing, and I don't think he would approve of my dating another man even for square dancing. LOL

Seriously, I've heard several widows complain that they missed square dancing after their husbands died. Maybe someone should start a square dance club for singles ... but then probably no men would show up and it wouldn't be any fun.

My husband really is a Square spelled with a capital "S". I think his PTSD has taken all the fun out of his life, Bless his Heart. But speaking of hearts, he is on oxygen, so I can't insist that he square dance. I do have my other hobbies, so I guess I can't complain. I doubt I will ever be able to dance again after breaking my leg two years ago because it didn't heal properly.

Anyway, thanks for your neat answer, my dear friend.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 8 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

MizBejabbers - so sorry to hear of your troubles! I know about the problems of getting men to square dance. I've heard of groups where women are required to bring their own partners.

Kenneth Avery - what can be done to make square dance more attractive to men? We already have those low-neckef peasant blouses and short poofy skirts that fly up - what else???


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear MizBejabbers,

You are welcome for the "neat answer," which incidentally is the truth.

You strike me as an outgoing girl with a zest for life.

I appreciate your suggestion on forming a square dance club for singles. I cannot see men dancing (with each other) where I live nor girls either. But single people, yes, ma'am.

Why don't you write your State Dept. of Tourism or whatever state government handles such ideas.

You have nothing to lose.

Love, Kenneth


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 8 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Say Yes To Life,

You are so right. I have always thought that square dancing girls look so great in their get-up's and that is NOT a sexual remark.

Actually, and in all honesty, I do not think there is anything you girls can do to make square dancing more enjoyable for guys. But the guys could dress a little more uptown if you know what I mean.

Write me again.

Love, Kenneth

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