Nine Wild West Squares graduate

Photo courtesy Carla Roberts
Nine recently graduated as part of the Wild West Squares introduction to square dancing class. Front row, left to right, are Luann Ormonde, Eileen Day, Susi Mays, caller Carla Roberts, Val Beaudry, Karen Swain, Sharon Parker and Tom Parker. In the back are Peter Beaudry and Bruce Swain.

By Carla Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW

After months of learning, nine students graduated from the Wild West Squares square dance program’s mainstream level on Dec. 21.

Receiving their mainstream credentials means they have learned at least 69 calls and will be eligible to dance at square dance clubs and events anywhere in the world.

Mainstream is the first level of modern western square dance and plus is the second level. The Wild West Squares teaching program strives to work with dancers at the level they need to progress.

Today’s standardized dance programs make it possible for someone to dance at any dance at their level throughout the country, or the world. Yes, square dancing is done in other countries and most people don’t know that the calling is always done in English.

Why square dance is standardized worldwide

All square dancing is based on one or more “squares” made up of eight dancers (four couples), who start in a “squared up set,” with one couple facing each wall. The “caller” gives directions to the dancers, who must follow the directions (calls) as given.

In the early days of square dancing, there was little standardization of what calls were used. It varied from caller to caller, and from region to region. This created problems for people traveling around the country who may not know the calls being used when they danced to a new caller. This situation has been remedied by the adoption of standard dance programs set by an association of square dance callers known as Callerlab.

The levels of square dance programs

Mainstream: The level taught in most beginners classes and danced by many square dance clubs across the country. It is a fun level, easily mastered in less than a year. Most people who dance this level enjoy the activity as a fun way to meet and socialize with other people.

Plus: A slightly more difficult level for experienced dancers. Many people move up from mainstream to plus after dancing for a year or so. There are probably more square dance clubs dancing at the plus level (or offering both mainstream and plus dances) than there are at mainstream only.

Advanced: Consisting of two levels, A1 and A2, advanced dancing is for those who are more serious about the activity and want to improve their dancing skills beyond what is needed for just a social activity. Advanced dancing is lots of fun, but you have to be willing to study and work at it a little harder.

Challenge: Consisting of five levels, C1, C2, C3A, C3B and C4, challenge-level square dancing is for those who want to see how far they can go. There is absolutely no end to how hard it can get and only a very few dedicated souls ever make it all the way to C4. But, however far one progresses, there is always something new and, well, challenging, to learn.

Stay healthy this winter with square dance. Call Carla Roberts at 903-6478 to find out about Wild West Squares.