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Palmquist Palm Springs Round-Up, 50th Anniversary, 2021 -- A Tribute to the Palmquists

by Sandi & Dan Finch

Eddie & Audrey Palmquist started the Palmquist Palm Springs Round-Up in 1971, a West Coast showpiece designed to bring in the elite of round dance teachers for an extended weekend of fun, friendship, and learning. They handed it off in 1994 to the Migliorinis, and Dan and Sandi Finch took over 12 years ago to carry on the tradition.

This year had special meaning in many ways. Not only was it the 50th anniversary of the event, it is the last time we, Dan & Sandi, will host it. We announced that we are easing our load and turning the Round-Up over to David & Dawn Mee to carry it into the next half century.

Palm Springs Round-Up

The 50th was supposed to have been celebrated in 2020, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, almost all events everywhere were cancelled that year. It was touch and go this year, too. After restrictions were lifted in California in June 2021, the Delta variant brought back even more stringent regulations by August. The City of Palm Springs imposed a mask mandate—wear masks indoors even while dancing (applied to the city’s indoor basketball teams too) -- and required proof of vaccination to eat indoors in public restaurants.

Registrations for the weekend were off because of Covid concerns generally, but when the Palm Springs city decision went out, cancellations started coming in. We received notes that some considered coming but only if we imposed a vaccination requirement (which we were unwilling to do if it wasn’t part of the city’s protocol). On the other hand, some told us they were not coming because we were requiring masks. In all, we had 22 cancellations.

As we came into the last two weeks before the event, we knew the city would allow us to cancel without penalty up to the week before the event. We were hearing that festivals all around were being cancelled because of too few registrations, mask mandates, or Covid fears in general. Ron Rumble’s Baltimore weekend, Nolen’s New Mexico weekend, the Colorado Gala, the Washington Summer Weekend of Rounds--all cancelled since August.

We knew we were going to be in the red if we went forward. That gave us pause, until we stopped looking at the glass as half empty. We realized we had nearly 100 dancers--from Oregon, Washington, Ohio, Georgia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, as well as Northern California and our local dancers--who wanted to dance, mask or not.

The Class of 2021 photo was taken Saturday night in the middle of the evening program at the Round-Up, showing those 94 dancers, plus teachers, all wearing masks.

We are ever so grateful that they came, that we could celebrate the legacy of a teaching couple who brought so much to round dancing during their career and that we could publicly send the Round-Up on its way in eager, energetic, new hands.

And it was a fun weekend. Bill Goss taught his three new dances--all uploaded to Glen and Helen’s website: Small Planes, phase IV west coast; My Paris Is You, phase V foxtrot; and Volvares, phase VI bolero. Carol Goss wasn’t with him, partly so she could stay home and do more therapy on her broken foot. Debby Vogt filled in for her beautifully.

We were surprised and awed by the thank you gift from the dancers--a money vase--and the tribute medley put together by Tom Hicks and Doris Ho. We were told they were doing a medley of Palmquist dances, but instead they danced five Finch dances--Sandi’s Waltz, Love to You, My Tango Baby, Wicked, and Sam’s New Pants, our Hall of Fame dance.

One last word. The Covid crisis has divided the world -- some hibernate from it, some defy it. We each have to decide how to live through it. “Science” can be found to support every position. We were distressed to be called “irresponsible” in the social media for putting on this event and our classes, but we gave it great thought. We have held classes when allowed, and we followed all the government protocols for the area. We have heard that someone anonymously wrote to a church chastising it for allowing dancers--who were referred to as super spreaders--to use their hall. That facility now may be lost to dancers. You are entitled to your opinion, but don’t force it on others. If you must espouse your opinion, put your name on it. Stand behind your convictions. Most of all, be kind to each other.

From a club newsletter, September 2021, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, November, 2021. Find a DRDC Finch archive here.


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