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Square dance calling

2022-02-06 04:39:04.462048+01 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

The pandemic has been hard on my enthusiasm for square dancing. In the few years the Petaluma group has been going, it's been kicked down to nothing by fires, by floods, by ... I know there was another natural disaster in there. Every time we build it up to 3 squares, something happens and kaboom. And then the pandemic hit.

And in the mean time I've been having conversations online. I was one of the first people to buy a Zoom subscription, so I've been host of a Saturday meetup for newer square dance callers that's been going strong, and having lots of conversations with various people in the square dance community, and some of it has made me wonder about whether this is the right hobby to use to hang community off of. I mean, even as the roots of square dancing are in Black America, the whole Henry Ford promoting square dance because of his prejudices thing is also real, and much of the community is... not my people, and the whole hierarchical notion of a bunch of people operating in synchrony under the direction of one can be problematic if you look at it through some of those lenses.

And I've got other venues; Know Before You Grow is growing and taking up a lot of time, the Cool Cities Challenge is starting to kick in and causing me to meet even more of my neighbors, I have no shortage of opportunities for building community.

So my enthusiasm for square dance calling has been flagging.

About a year after we started square dancing, in 2013, we went to the IAGSDC Convention in San Francisco. And had so much fun there that we went to all of the subsequent ones through 2019. At the SF convention, we met a family that was local to us that brought fantastic energy to the dance floor, and we hoped to run into them again, but we didn't, and kinda wondered. You can see them in the front square in this video (Charlene and I are visible in the square behind them). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kxZGr2SrDo Scott Byars is a caller of some renown who has been a mentor to many of us, and who is having some health problems that are stopping him from calling, and there's a celebration of his life coming up at the end of the month. And I've been looking at it like I wanna go, but I'm still not really comfortable being inside with other people yet. So last night I get a call from a friend and neighbor, saying "hey, there's this family that used to dance, that wants to go to the Scott Byars celebration, that needs a refresher, would you....?"

I offered the back deck, figured it was outside, and they all were hanging out with each other anyway. They came over. It was the same family (a decade later). We started with "join hands & circle left", got a good bit of the way through Plus, and it was So. Much. Fun.

I miss dancing. I still haven't gotten back to dancing. But calling again, getting in front of a mic again, actually using this voice I've been practicing so much with, was amazing.

Which, I guess, means that I'm gonna continue to make square dance calling a core part of my community building.

[ related topics: Interactive Drama Health Movies Bay Area Sociology California Culture Automobiles Community Video ]

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