We are one of the hundreds of clubs across the United States (and more around the world) who dance Modern Western Square Dancing, a form descended from English country dancing and developed through 19th and 20th century American folk dancing. It's a dynamic form that is still evolving. You can learn about it through many online sources. Just one of them is the The Country Dance and Song Society. One story of a manufacturer in the early 1900's describes how it encouraged its employees to square dance in order to try and keep them out of the taverns. Perhaps, more should do that today! Square dancing is good, clean fun for all ages.
The music for modern square dancing has changed since those early country dances and is still changing. Some of it has a country and western flavor, but much comes from the contemporary scene with new hits being added every day. Callers often use personal computers, which means they can control the speed and choose the tempos that fit their floor's abilities, and challenge dancers without breaking squares. A live caller is the greatest luxury! They are the individuals who teach us and challenge and surprise us at every gathering. Even high-level dancers continue to be surprised. The experience of square dancing teaches them to open up to it even more. And, at every dance there is a tip or more than one that the caller makes more exciting than the rest.
We are all eager for you to succeed and join our world, so don't be afraid if this square dancing all seems new; none of us were born knowing it. We look forward to having you join us in our squares. If you're by yourself and happen to be without a partner for a dance, just walk out on the floor and hold up your hand. It's the symbol there's an open space. People will see you and see the other empty spaces in your square and come to fill them.
Our teacher and club "Caller" at Great Plain Squares, who leads us through all of our dancing development, is: Bob Butler. He has been with Great Plains for six years, but before that he was a caller with many years of experience teaching square dancing at all levels. If you think he's good to dance to, you're not alone. He is extremely popular as a caller in New England! Ask him any question you have about square dancing. He loves to talk to all dancers.
Some of our club members come to the class (the “Angels”) to help show the new dancers how to do all the new things they're discovering. They will partner with you and fill out your squares with the required number of dancers.
Like many other square dancing clubs, Great Plain Squares also has a program of Round Dancing, which is a structured form of ballroom dancing directed by a "cuer" in the same way that square dances are coordinated by the caller. Our club cuers are: Phil Gatchell and Scott Cohen who divide their weeks with the club. Like Bob, they work for other clubs in the area and are up to date with with the latest of what those clubs are doing. They will also be happy to tell you about round dancing.
Soliciting Your Feedback
It's quite certain you'll notice things we haven't thought of. And, there also may be solutions to problems you have that you don't realize we can solve so easily, so give us your feedback. We thrive on your opinions and conversation.
Besides occasional weekend dances and visits to other clubs' dances, Great Plain Squares' schedule is to gather regularly at Carter Memorial Church on Wednesday nights at the hours:
We dance every week with only a few exceptions. This year there is one on Ash Wednesday and another on the first Wednesday of December, when Carter Memorial Church uses the hall we dance in for itself.
Wednesday dances cost $7, which covers the cost of the hall, the caller, and the insurance. Children 10 to 15 dance for $3. If you arrive late, just jump into a square and we'll chase you down later for the admission. Square dances at almost all clubs usually cost about $7 per person.
Depending on the weather, you may see some of us with square dance ties or dresses, which we do for our simple amusement. But, we are an informal club. Square dancers like to dress up when going to weekend dances with other clubs. But, fancy attire is never required for weekly dances anywhere.
But feel free to join the well dressed! There are many places to find good square dancing attire, (including eBay for those who want to save some money.)
Square Dance Class Curriculum
The square dance class will start by covering the various calls of "Mainstream" square dancing. You wil be introduced to a few moves each week with LOTS of review, so don't be worried about forgetting things. What you learn will be reused for as long as you square dance, (with exciting variation!)
Between classes you can see and review all the calls at home by going to the website at Saddlebrooke Squares. But, since later moves depend on knowing earlier moves, please make sure to come every week. If our class is strong, we might finish the program early and even be able to continue into a higher level of dancing called "Plus." Learning Mainstream AND Plus equips an individual to dance in just about every tip with the best dancers at all the square dances and at every square dance convention throughout New England and the world!
If you have Internet access and can read Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) data on your computer, you can get online access to the full list of call definitions by going to: http://www.dehnbase.org/sd/callerlab/def.
You can see all calls diagrammed in motion beside their definitions by going to the site www.tamtwirlers.org/tamination, clicking on the dance level at the top of the page, and choosing a call from the list. Noreen King, your class coordinator, also has printed lists available for you.
Welcome to square dancing - New Square Dancers!
To see the Class Handbook click here.
To see the Class Schedule click here.
To see the Class Square Dance Calls click here.
To see what Mainstream dancing looks like, (which you'll be
doing)! Check out this Youtube