CALIFORNIA SQUARE DANCE COUNCIL, INC.
Learn to Dance

CALIFORNIA SQUARE DANCE COUNCIL, INC.

 

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Learn About Our History

The California Square Dance Council was incorporated in 1971, but its origins date back to the 1950s.

[READ MORE]

CONTACTS

President
Jim and Pam Kidwell
619-294-9893

Vice Presidents

Northern Area
Jim Davis
408-981-9129

Central Area
Joe Boyajian
805-489-5436

South Central Area
Jerry Ferguson
951-893-3806

Southern Area
Adrienne Cooper
& John Gordon

760-613-5923

Webmaster
Joe Dehn
408-774-1570

Learn to Dance

Why Learn to Square Dance?

Because it's fun!

Because it's good exercise for both the body and the mind!

Because you like moving to music!

Square dancing is a combination of many enjoyable things.

It is a physical activity, a mental activity, a musical activity, and a social activity.

If you enjoy any of these things, and especially if you enjoy more than one of these things, maybe it's time to give square dancing a try!

So what exactly is this?

If you have already watched some of the videos on this site you may have a general idea of what modern square dancing is about. But for a basic introduction to things like what makes a square and what a caller does, intended for somebody who may have never even heard of square dancing, watch this quick introductory video from Sweden:


"What Is Square Dance?"[MORE VIDEOS]
Of course by now you know that the "square" in "square dancing" doesn't mean "old-fashioned"! It refers to a geometric shape, formed by four couples, a total of eight people. In modern square dancing the dancers form many different shapes, like circles, stars, rectangles, and diamonds. Sometimes the caller will play games with the dancers and make even more complex patterns. Watch this video to see some examples, along with some comments about how square dancing has changed since 10 or 20 years ago:


"Modern Pattern Dancing"[MORE VIDEOS]

Not convinced?

Maybe you don't think of yourself as the type of person who dances. Many people who are now square dancers thought that before they started!

But somebody convinced them to try it, they came for a few introductory or class sessions, and discovered that they did like it:


Some people who needed convincing...[MORE VIDEOS]

Square dancing is not a spectator sport. It's very hard to understand what it's like just by watching. We do it for fun, as a recreational activity. Except for a few groups specifically organized for that purpose, we are not putting on a "performance" for the benefit of spectators. You are welcome to watch, but to understand why we like it ... You really need to try it yourself!

 

How Can I Learn to Dance?

Like most sports and hobbies, square dancing is an activity that can be enjoyed on many levels. The basics are very simple. You can come to an introductory-level event and be dancing in just a few minutes!

People who want to make square dancing an ongoing part of their life usually join a square dance club. Members of most square dance clubs dance together on a regular schedule - weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. In addition, these clubs may sponsor events to which they invite dancers from other clubs nearby. So that they can all dance together, they all learn a particular set of calls. That way the caller doesn't need to explain everything from scratch each time -- they can just start dancing right away!

Many clubs that dance using a particular set of calls (a "program") offer classes that teach these calls. Once new dancers have learned a program (set of calls), they can dance at any club that uses that program.

The programs most commonly taught to beginners vary by geographic area, to match the programs used at club dances in those areas. The programs most commonly used at club-level dances in California are called "Mainstream" and "Plus". ("Plus" includes more calls than "Mainstream", so it takes a bit longer to learn.) Some clubs make use of smaller sets of calls to make it easier for new dancers to get started - these may have names like "ABCs of square dancing", "Basic", "GDP", "SSD", or "50 call program".

But it doesn't really matter much which program you learn to start. It's generally best to begin with whatever program is recommended by current dancers in your area - they know what will be most useful for attending events in that area. And once you get the idea of how square dancing works, you can always learn additional calls, if you want to be able to dance in other areas or at more kinds of events. The important thing is to get started!

 

Where Can I Learn Square Dancing?

Many square dance clubs offer introductory sessions suitable for people who have never done any square dancing before, as well as ongoing classes for people who would like to learn the calls normally used during their club dances.

Contact the clubs in your area for information about when these sessions and classes are being scheduled.

Or contact any of the California Square Dance Council's area Vice Presidents or other officers and they will be happy to help you!

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