What to expect from the New Dancer Program

What a learner can expect

Learners and experienced dancers (called "angels") will gather each week to learn and practice the movements of Modern Square Dancing. This is really a session of dancing with some instruction. Instruction will be provided by the "caller" who will give the dancers the "calls." Each call corresponds to a movement the dancers in the "square" will execute. Some calls involve individual dancers, others involve two or four or all eight dancers in the square working together.

Modern Square Dancing is mildy aerobic with dancers moving to the beat of the music at about a normal walking pace or slightly faster. It's not a marathon but it may not suit folks with mobility issues. The free intro sessions are one way to see if it's for you.

In Modern Square Dancing there are two different parts called the "boy" part and the "girl" part. Everybody is welcome to dance the part they want to, lots of experienced dancers are comfortable dancing both parts, they are "ambidancetrous." Learners should pick one part and stick with it throughout the new dancer program. The parts are mostly the same, folks dancing the "girl" part get more chances to twirl. When dancers form a square the boys will stand on the left side of each couple, the girls on the right.

Calls are strung together by the caller into sequences that should get everybody back where the sequence started. A "tip" is a segment of a dance session during which each group of eight dancers stays together in a square. Everybody is encouraged to mix from tip to tip.

We expect that new calls will be introduced each week and that calls taught previously will get plenty of practice. Learners are strongly encouraged to study the calls outside of the weekly dancing; there are several learning resources available in the Resources section.

The caller will string the calls together into new and interesting sequences. The unpredictability of which call will come next is part of the puzzle-solving fun of Modern Square Dancing.

It is inevitable that sometimes a call will be misheard or a movement misremembered or something will go differently than expected. There's no good reason to fret over a mistake; it's best to just get back to dancing and maybe ask for review or clarification after the tip.

After completing the first two sections of the new dancer program we will have covered all the calls of the Mainstream "level" of Modern Square Dancing. There are dances all around the world that use the Mainstream level. Everybody is encouraged to do as much dancing as possible. After completing the entire new dancer program we will have covered the Plus level as well. These lists of calls are standardized world-wide by Callerlab.

The dress code at Oaktown 8s is "street legal, " clean and comfortable is fine, t-shirt and jeans is the usual. There are clubs that do have a dress code; please talk with the caller of an experienced dancer if you want to know more.

What is expected of learners

Learning Modern Square Dancing is a cumulative process, learners are expected to consistently attend the sessions. There is a limited amount of time and a learner who has missed a significant portion of the instruction will disrupt the process for everybody.

Learners are most strongly encouraged to study outside of the instruction sessions. There are resources suitable to various learning modes available online.

Modern Square Dance is a smoke and alcohol free activity