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A Trend In Round Dancing

 by Frank Hamilton

The desire to "round dance too" is prevalent wherever square dancing is done. However, far too many potential converts either lack the time required to become reasonably good round dancers or they are frightened by hearing that it is now impossible for a new dancer to catch up with the experienced couples — many of whom are not inclined to help the novice. The gap between the beginner and the "expert" is widening all the time. The trend toward more difficult routines has not been offset by a slackening in the number being introduced and taught — quite the contrary. 

Some newer dancers, by dint of natural ability and great effort, are managing to persevere and join the ranks of experienced round dance groups. However, we are of the opinion that the increased number of advanced clubs and the heavy round dance participation in local and national round dance workshops is actually due to the fact that "a lot of dancing is being done by a comparatively few people who are taking advantage of the opportunity of attending many different groups and events." We see the same faces everywhere we go. Many area leaders report that there are more "advanced" clubs than there are beginner classes — a situation as unsound as our educational system would be if we had more universities than elementary schools. They admit that they are having a real struggle to keep their round dance groups going — that recruitment of new dancers is not keeping up with the loss of long-time participants. Too many old timers are dropping out due to health, age, business and family reasons, or to seek another group or another recreational outlet, which will not be so exacting and demanding of time and energy. Competition of too many new teachers and clubs for the comparatively few available trained dancers has resulted in a very noticeable dilution in the round dance picture. Obvious friction between round dance teachers with different backgrounds and goals — but all possessed with the same desire to get a larger share of a very limited "pool" of dancers — increases the odds under which the movement is struggling. Potential recruits among capable dancers are scared away by a program which existing members insist must be geared to their interests and capabilities.


From Roundance Manual by Frank Hamilton, p 6–7,
published by The Sets in Order American Square Dance Society,
Los Angeles, Calif., 1970, and reprinted in DRDC newsletter, February 2010



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