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Peach

Peachtree Squares - Square Dance Club

Frequently Asked Square Dancing Questions

Peach

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How do I learn to square dance?
- dancers - Peachtree Squares has Dances for Beginners in Atlanta, starting in September each year.   These dances are once a week, Tuesday nights from 7:30 to 9:30pm.   Our caller, Dan Mitchell, is known as an extraordinary teacher and makes it lots of fun.   Experienced Peachtree Squares club members join in the dancing to accelerate the learning process for new members, and to keep our skills up as well.   In this role the experienced club members are called "angels". 
Can I come and watch a dance sometime to see if I would like it?
- Couple - Please do! We have a special Visitors' Square Dance especially geared for anyone who is interested in finding out more about square dancing.   We have Open House in September to start our Dances for Beginners.   We would be happy to give you a reminder phone call or e-mail shortly before the Visitors' Dance.
I have two left feet when I try to dance.   Is there any hope for me at square dancing?
- Star Promenade - Absolutely!   Square dancing is considerably different from other types of dancing you may have tried.   There is no fancy footwork to contend with.   It's more like walking in rhythm and forming patterns with the other dancers.   Throw in some swinging and twirling, and some optional flourishes, and you will have a ball.
What kind of music is square dance music?   What is a "singing call" and what is a "patter call"?
- AARecord -

Just about any music with a lively rhythm will do for square dancing.   At Christmas time we even dance to Jingle Bells.   With a "patter call", the caller uses the music as a background for prompting the dancers' moves.   For a "singing call", he actually sings parts of the song, interspersed with the moves.

Although we don't use them at our dances, one can buy square dance CDs complete with calls.   To get a better idea of what square dance music and calls sound like, take a listen to the CDs for sale here:

http://www.dosado.com/cgi-bin/lib/shop-wrapper.pl?page=dancer&shop=dosado

The "Yesterday & Today" CD is probably the most typical one on that page.

If you don't have an audio player on your computer yet, click on the "listen side A" button on that page, and it will walk you through downloading a free player.

Is this the same kind of square dance that I did in grade school?
- Wave Circulate - It bears some faint resemblance.   There is a lot more to it than a simple "allemande left" and "right-and-left grand".   Square dancing is terrific aerobic exercise and mental exercise, and the best good clean fun you can find.
Why do I hear that square dancing is so much more social than other types of dance, such as ballroom, country, line, or Western dance?
- squaregroup - Not only will you "square up" with many different couples during the course of an evening, but you will rotate partners around the square during each "tip" or group of dances.   In other words, you will mix naturally with a large group of people during the evening.   Add to that the open and welcoming nature of square dancers, and you have a great way to meet new friends.   It is a terrific choice for a newcomer to Atlanta.
Isn't square dancing just for "old geezers"?
Of course not, but you will find that many older folks who started square dancing years ago are still dancing.   They have kept themselves in fantastic shape this way.   Sounds like a good recommendation, doesn't it?   Many new dancers are baby boomers in their forties and fifties looking for a fun way to stay fit.   An evening of square dancing is equivalent to a brisk three to five-mile walk.
Peachtree Squares' classes include basic, mainstream and plus calls.   What does that mean?
- Ferris Wheel -

Ferris Wheel

"Basic" calls are the simplest and most straightforward, like "allemande left", "right and left grand", and "promenade."   "Mainstream" calls are the next level.   Some clubs have dances limited to basic and mainstream calls, and some classes at other clubs stop here.   "Plus" calls are the next step up, and involve a whole series of related moves.   They appear complicated at first, but once you learn them, they are easy and great fun.   If you have mastered all three levels, you can dance just about anywhere.   (There are more advanced levels, but they are uncommon).   Dan mixes up all three in his classes, and it works very well.
Are there other square dance clubs in Atlanta?

There are several dozen square dance clubs in Atlanta and the surrounding towns.   Peachtree Squares is one of the most established, in existence for over 25 years.   Our club has a large, modern, centrally located facility in Buckhead, and our caller is one of the most popular in the metro Atlanta area.   Join us, and you will have many opportunities to visit other clubs and get to know lots of dancers.   Soon you will have friends at any club you visit around Atlanta.   The square dance community is very friendly and welcoming.

Do I need a partner for the dances?
- Dancing Dolls - Generally speaking, our club draws pre-existing couples into our classes and membership.   Persuade a friend to take lessons with you.   Other options are the several singles square dance clubs in Atlanta that specialize in solo dancers.   We strive to keep a balance of men and women so that everyone can dance.
Will I be ready to dance with the club after Dances for Beginners are over.
- Wrong Way Thar - Absolutely!   In fact, when you are about half-way through, the new members usually gets an invitation from Dan to come to Friday night dances.   He will then do a good portion of the dances limited to calls you already know.   After you finish Dances for Beginners you may want to visit other clubs.
After I take lessons and join the club, can I dance when I go on vacation to Timbuktu?
- Couple Clip Art - Probably! The same standard calls are used not only across the US, but around the world, and the international language of square dancing is English.
Do women have to wear those full short skirts with lots of petticoats that show our knobby knees?
- Long Skirtt - Not unless you want to (although they are kind of fun). Lots of women wear the popular long mid-calf skirts, or prairie skirts.   For Tuesday night Dances for Beginners,  casual wear, work clothes or slacks are fine.   Low-heeled shoes are a good idea. - skirtt -
Does a man have to buy any special clothing for square dancing?
- Boots - No, but it's kind of fun to wear something special.   Long-sleeved shirts are preferred, and the western-style shirts are popular. Some gents may chose to wear fabric ties that match their partner's skirt.   Others may wear collar tips and bolo-ties. Cowboy boots are a fun addition too.
Will people get mad at me when I mess up and cause the whole square to stop dancing (break down)?
As in many sports, square dancing is a group activity, where participants strive to be in the right place at the right time so the moves will be smooth.   The more experienced dancers are very supportive and will guide and direct the beginners.   However, squares do "breakdown", and dancers go back to their "home" positions to wait for a new starting point.   The most common response from the group is a lot of good-natured laughter, and perhaps a comment from the caller about a "train wreck".   Everyone is always gracious and helpful to a new dancer.
What do the Peachtree Squares do on Friday nights besides square dance?
- laugh - Talk, hug, eat, laugh, round dance, talk, hug, eat, laugh…
Is smoking allowed at square dances?
- hat -   NO!   NO!   NO!
Is there alcohol at square dances?
- psychadelic - No. In fact, since square dancing will use all the mental sharpness you can muster, it is considered poor form to drink before a dance.   We're not prudes, though.   We've been known to go out and have a drink after dancing.
I am not a member of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, whose facilities you use.   Can I still take lessons and join the Peachtree Squares Club?
- Packsaddle - Of course!   A number of Peachtree Squares do belong to the church, which graciously provides us a wonderful hall for our dances, but your religious affiliation is not relevant.
I understand you do "Round Dancing" in between your square dancing.   What is that?
- Thumb NEW don & Linda - Round Dancing could be called "Ballroom Dancing to Cues".   It is a couples dance, and can use any dance rhythm, such as Two-step, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Tango, Quickstep, Mambo, Salsa, Bolero, Paso Doble, Samba, etc..   Check out our Round Dancing page.

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An original work by David King © 2014 Peachtree Squares - Square Dance Club of Atlanta, Georgia

  DK:tlf     February 2014     [#12]