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Changes Over the Years

by Sandi & Dan Finch

Round dancing has traditionally started with two-step and waltz, the two rhythms standardized at phase I and II of the RAL Manual of Standards. But, times change. We believe people want something they can take out to a wedding reception or night club. The Latin rhythms with waltz seem like a better place to start.

Round dancing is continually undergoing change. Originally, all round dancing was part of square dancing, then in 1948, the first round dance clubs were being formed. In 1950, the first round dance syllabus of basic steps was written. In the 1970s, English techniques and cue terms (called “international”) were introduced, and drew much criticism in the beginning. Instructors were even blackballed in the 1970s for introducing rumba and cha cha. Round Dancer Magazine 40 years ago (March 1975 edition) carried an editorial that noted that 1700 new gimmicks had been added to square dancing in the previous 10 years and no one complained. That’s how an activity grows, it noted. Round dancing should also be allowed to grow, it said. “Ballroom” was a term used derogatorily by many in round dancing, but the editor wrote “I would wager if all ballroom steps were eradicated from our round dancing, only about 30% of the presently used basics would remain.”

In the March 1975 edition, the #1 most popular dance was Eddie & Audrey Palmquist’s Tips of My Fingers. Dream Awhile, Spaghetti Rag, and Let’s Dance, one of the first advanced quicksteps in round dancing, led the classics list in the magazine. We’ve come a long way since those days, but those dances are still perennial favorites.

Some sense a new shift in round dancing today. More and more teachers are commenting that their clubs don’t want so many “killer” dances, even at the advanced level, but want to enjoy smooth choreography to great music. The December 2014 Carousel Club list of most taught dances by member clubs featured four phase IV dances among the Top Nine. Where do you stand on that idea?


From a club newsletter prepared by Dan and Sandi Finch , March 2015, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, May/June/July 2015.



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If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.



If you are not a member of DRDC, do consider joining. The group sponsors triquarterly weekends with great dancing and teaching, and the newsletter is one of the most informative available.

Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.

Aditional articles and dance helps by
Sandi & Dan Finch
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Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)



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